Honeymooning couple’s sexual activities are secretly videotaped by their hotel

Honeymooning couple’s sexual activities are secretly videotaped by their hotel

What makes this legend particularly interesting from a folkloric standpoint is its age – tales of secretly-filmed sexual encounters antedate the development of the home video market by several decades

  • David Mikkelson

What makes this legend particularly interesting from a folkloric standpoint is its age – tales of secretly-filmed sexual encounters antedate the development of the home video market by several decades

  • Published

Claim: A couple who return to the hotel where they honeymooned are shocked to discover their wedding night activities were videotaped and made available to other guests.

Origins: What could be a more painfully embarrassing and shocking violation of your privacy than discovering someone had been watching you (without your consent or knowledge) while you were

engaged in the deeply personal and intimate act of making love with your partner? How about finding out that someone had secretly made a video tape of the that had been distributed to countless others for their viewing pleasure? Such is the premise of this legend.

Tales of peepholes set up to allow the furtive observance of people’s private activities in bathrooms and hotel rooms – and lawsuits resulting from them – have been circulating for years, many of them based on real incidents. In one of the most prominent examples, an Iowa couple who celebrated their engagement night with a private evening in a penthouse suite at the Canterbury Inn in Coralville, Iowa, in 1988 sued the hotel after discovering a peephole behind a two-way peephole that

gave someone a view into their suite that night. They won their invasion of privacy lawsuit to the tune of in punitive and compensatory damages (although they eventually settled for , the limit of the hotel’s insurance coverage).

The Canterbury Inn case involved no cameras, but with the advent of home video equipment has grown progressively cheaper, smaller, and better in quality, the creation of a legend (real or not) like the example quoted above was inevitable. That version’s setting of the Poconos (“the honeymoon capital of the world”) is an obvious one, for the

Pennsylvania Poconos feature no less than eight resorts that cater to couples by offering a variety of romantic facilities. Moreover, it was at a Cove Haven, a small hotel on a lake in the Poconos, where Morris Wilkins invented and installed the world’s first heart-shaped bathtub in 1963.

In these older versions, however, the victims are not sweethearts or married couples innocently engaged in private lovemaking (as in the example above), but characters such as adulterers or bawdy house patrons who are being punished for having transgressed the sexual mores of their times. The following version, for chatango example, comes from a 1927 humor collection:

went there by himself, quietly, asked for a private room, and, after selecting his partner, ordered dinner with lots of wine. After the meal the man entertained himself in various ways with his playmate, who taught him positions of which even Elephantis, Aretino and Luisa Sigea were ignorant. Thoroughly drained, the gentleman from Idaho went downstairs, where he asked the madam what his bill was.

Astonished, but not disposed to argue the matter, her guest left. All next day he hugged his secret to himself. He could barely wait till dinner time before he again presented himself before the bawds. Again he went through his performance, but this time, when he made a bluff at paying the piper he was informed the charges were seven hundred francs.

“What! ” he shrieked. “Wasn’t I here last evening, and didn’t I go through every kind of screw, and you didn’t charge me a sou?”

What’s even more ree elements of this legend (lovers clandestinely filmed by an outsider, the results displayed to others, the principals’ finding out through an inadvertent viewing of the film) date to the very earliest days of motion pictures. Consider this description of the 1903 film, The Story the Biograph Told: