- Paper Chase (game)
Paper Chase (also known as Hare and Hounds or Chalk Chase) is a racing game played outdoors (best played within a wood or even a shrubbery maze) with any number of players. At the start of the game, one person is designated the 'hare' and everyone else in the group are the 'hounds'. The 'hare' starts off ahead of everyone else leaving behind themselves a trail of paper shreds (or chalk marks in an urban environment) which represents the scent of the hare. Just as scent is carried on the wind, so too are the bits of paper, sometimes making for a difficult game. After some designated time, the hounds must chase after the hare and attempt to catch them before they reach the ending point of the race. It is generally done over a long distance, but shorter courses can be set. If the hare makes it to the finish line, they get to choose the next hare, or to be the hare themselves. Similarly, the person who catches the hare gets to choose the next hare.
Hare and Hounds was a sport popular in the United Kingdom in early Victorian times and references to ‘hares’ in modern hashing are a survival from those days. Cross country running following a trail of paper scraps was a major sport in public schools before World War II. A number of running clubs' names reflect this, for example Thames Hare and Hounds.
Literary & cinema references
Tom Brown's School Days by Thomas Hughes published in 1857 depicted a meet by the Big-Side Hare and Hounds. Students busily tore up old newspapers copybooks and magazines into small pieces to fill four large bags with the paper ‘scent’. Forty or fifty boys gathered and two good runners were chosen as hares who carried the bags and started across the fields laying the trail. When scent (paper) was located the member of the pack calls "Forward!" - hashers now call “ON! ON!”. Members of the pack worked together finding scent and straining to keep up.
In the book The Railway Children, written by Edith Nesbit in 1906, the children observe a game of paper chase. The book was made into a television series 4 times and into a movie twice, the most recent of which was in 2000.
In the novel Daddy Long Legs, written in 1912 by Jean Webster, the girls play a game of paper chase where the hares cheat: they leave a paper trail which indicates they passed through a building and got out of the window, while they actually went around the house.
In the 1946 Orson Welles movie, The Stranger, Rankin's students are in the midst of a paper chase through the woods as Rankin kills his former colleague. Rankin mis-directs the "hounds" to keep them from finding the body by moving the shreds of paper.
In the 1954 memoir by Vyvyan Holland, Son of Oscar Wilde, he describes playing paper chase at Neuenheim College in Heidelberg, Germany in 1896. "[W]hen the river was frozen and the snow lay thick upon the ground, so that it was impossible either to row or to play football, paper chases were organized by the master in charge of games. No form of exercise is quite so utterly pointless and boring as a paper chase, and we used to try to slink off and get lost and find our way home by ourselves; though this, if discovered, was apt to lead to a painful interview with the games master."
In the 1975 Disney movie, One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing, the nannies notice a trail of paper scraps on the ground while trying to hide a dinosaur skeleton in a wood. They remark that it must be a a paper chase at which point a group of school boys crash through the wood following the trail.
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