Believe it or not, someone managed to put the words "human" and "centipede" next to each other more than 80 years before the infamous surgery horror film. This human centipede wasn't nearly as disgusting, but it was a torture device, albeit a mild one designed for hazing rituals.
This novelty item appeared in the DeMoulin Bros mail-order catalogue in 1928. DeMoulin was a sort of proto-Think Geek, filled with oddball high-tech gadgets. "The Human Centipede, or Night Mare" was designed for fraternal hazing rituals. The man in the front was in control of the device, while three men rode behind him. Any time he wanted to make life uncomfortable for the other riders, the front man could turn up the dial, leaving his fellows to squirm. I'm not sure if this video includes original footage or is a wholly modern recreation, but it gives you a sense of what its unfortunate riders were in for. Of course, it still beats anything that happens in The Human Centipede sequences.
[via Dark Roasted Blend]