cackle-bladder

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

cackle-bladder (plural cackle-bladders)

  1. A bladder containing chicken blood, used by a con man to fake someone's death or injury.
    • 1975, Anthony Greenbank, Survival in the City, page 198,
      Use a cackle bladder to bite on and spit blood whether faced with a gang or a single assailant. This is often enough to dissuade would-be aggressors [] .
  2. (uncountable) A method of making the mark think that he is an accessory to murder by faking someone's death in this manner.
    • 1951 June 16, Racket Squad (television review), in The Billboard, page 8,
      It tells you how they work on the mark's own larcenous cravings for a killing, how they build him up to betting his entire stake — and then "put the chill on" via the "cackle bladder" routine, a prop murder, so named because originally the "corpse" bit on a chicken bladder and drenched himself in chicken blood.
    • 1981, James Sherburne, Death's Gray Angel: A Paddy Moretti Mystery, page 39,
      It's a trick con men call the cackle-bladder. You take a little bag made from a pig's bladder and fill it up with chicken blood, and keep it inside your mouth until it's time to play dead.
    • 2002, Judith Ivory, Untie My Heart, page 141,
      "A cackle-bladder," she murmured.
      "A what?"
      "It's a way to deal with the violent ones. You make them party to the consequences of violence, make them believe they've murdered someone."