German swings scare the bejeezus out of me. Do you know what those are?

When I was a kid in the 1970’s, we used to go to the shore every couple of years, mostly Nags Head, North Carolina. You’d see temporary carnivals here and there, so naturally us kids wanted to ride and we’d beg our parents to let us.

“German swings” are seats attached to or hung from the outer edge of a large rotating disc by chains. You pull up the bar and sit in the seat, and as the big carousel disc rotates, centrifugal force causes you to swing outward. I have no idea if they came from Germany with the many immigrants to the US, or if it’s some kind of pejorative against Germans, but anyway, we loved them and usually it was a fun thing to do.

One time we were on one, and the operator (a teenager, iirc) left the ride site presumably to use the toilet, but the ride went on and on, and riders were starting to get sick, so parents went to find the operator. When he finally came back, he stopped the ride in a panicked way, kind of jamming on the brakes, and the swings wrapped around the middle of the ride, banging us into the center column once, then unwrapping and banging us again.

Luckily I had the presence of mind to pull my arms in tight because there were definitely injured riders. It was terrifying.

I can’t look at one of those without feeling anxious. 🎡⚠️