The Sound of Punishment

The sound of punishment, terrifying then, is evocative now.

At an English boys school, I attended, canings by the headmaster were rare – but, we were told by those involved – painful in the extreme. Cheating was a certainty for the cane, and so was repeated insolence. Carving a name on a desk was also cause for a caning (because the head had issued a warning only the previous day!). Presumably, because the headmaster’s study windows faced a road, he took a boy to be caned upstairs to an unused bedroom, told the boy to remove his jacket – and then bent the boy over the end of the unmade bed. He then delivered six slow and extremely powerful strokes across the trousers. But – the bedroom was immediately above the sixth form common room, so the sixth form stopped whatever they were doing to listen to –
and quite enjoy – the sound of the caning going on above. Unmistakeable!


Not so much the sound of punishment itself, but my most memorable experience involving sound was at junior school when I and a girl got sent to the Headmistress. I was told to wait outside the door, but through quite a thin door I heard the girl being told to hand over one of her pumps (plimsolls) and then I heard the Headmistress say “pull down your pants”. The trauma was in hearing the ogre who was our Head actually say the word “pants”. The sound of the whacking that followed was memorable enough, but I have never forgotten that one sentence.

The fact that she said it to me a few minutes later is however best forgotten


Yes, it is Loud! It depends on what the person being caned is wearing. If wearing old-fashioned flannel trousers (known here as flannels) then the sound is a quite low pitch with little reverb. But if caning is given on cycle short then is loud, loud with lots of echoes and if caning is done on the sixth floor by the headmistress in the office then can be heard on the first floor in the geography room with maps.


When the cane hit the tightly stretched fabric of my shorts the noise was like a rifle shot. The uniform shorts were hand-me-downs from a cousin. They had been washed so many times it must have looked as though I was in imminent danger of bursting out of them.
Happy days !


Remember vivdly at our comprehensive in Basildon, Essex I was on staff room duties day (we all had to do one once a year or so) and I was assigned the task of sorting files outside the headmasters office.

Was dead boring until late morning when a girl called Carol Hale who was older than me (15 or 16) and all the boys liked arrived at the door, knocked and went in.

Didnt think much else about it until 5 minutes or so later when suddenly the swipe and thwack of the cane could be heard. I’d never heard it before but had heard it spoken of and it was a truly terrifying sound. A couple of minutes later Carol emerged looking a bit stressed and with a tear in her eye.

There was nobody else in that office as I was outside most of the day and only the headmaster came out later. Like all things that happen unexpectedly my memories aren’t particularly clear but I know there were 2 or 3 swipes.

Never found anything else out about it, no idea what she had done and in all honesty I dont think she even saw me there….Was fascinating though.
(This happened around 1972).


The sounds I heard were the feint swish of the cane and the crack sound which was lounder and sharper. Those sounds sent shivers down my spine especially if I wasthe second, third or fourth in line to be caned. A friend of mine was caned in class and the sounds were terrifying as was the site of him being caned. Interestingly the sounds when you were being caned did not have the same impact and I think it is because the actual pain of the stroke and the pain that I would be feeling from the coming strokes were foremost in my mind and the sound did not matter as much…but boy those sound of the cane striking another boy was terrifying and I will never forget it.


It was more the sound of the slipper that I remember. In the 70’s most boys were wearing tight thin trousers, which apart from offering minimal protection , caused a loud smacking sound when the slipper connected. This also applied in PE where we had to wear shiny thin shorts.

Girls were wearing tight mini skirts as well, so any slipperings would have been so much more painful than if they were wearing the loose pleated skirts of an earlier era.


can vouch for the sound of a caning being clearly heard. I had six strokes at school in 1968 over a pair of thin nylon gym shorts. I shall never forget the sound echoing around the gym. Slippering was much the same.

The sound and feel of six strokes across the seat of my grey school trousers was very different – more of a dull thud, rather than the “crack” across the shorts.


The sounds of CP are variously heard and reported. Some mention the sound of the cane or strap in flight, some the sound of impact, others the noises made by the distressed recipient. Reported impact sounds seem to vary greatly.

At my high school the bulk of the canings, boys only, were done in the headmasters office, door closed, by the headmaster himself or by teachers with the headmaster as witness. (No mamby pamby slipperings.) The cane was applied hard to the seat of the school uniform shorts with the boy well bent over. The only sound heard without was a loud rifle crack the echoed down the corridor. The crack could easily be heard in the quadrangle rose garden outside, girls terrain. No voices, no yelps, no swish or whistle, just the sound of impact.

Strangely, in my limited experience, the crack of the cane is not especially noticeable when you are the target. I am probably not alone in this as I recall no recipient commenting on the sound.

Sound is compression vibrations in the air. A rifle crack results from a sudden blast of high pressure hot gasses from the rifle muzzle following the exit of the bullet. I suspect a cane crack is largely due to a sudden discharge of displaced air through the fabric of the trousers. The air is displaced suddenly by the displaced flesh and fabric. This diplacement has been discussed previously in the threads dealing with how the paddle works.

Clothed buttocks make a louder and sharper sound than bare buttocks when caned?

The sound of a paddle could be due to air escaping from between the paddle and skin. Perhaps more a Smack! rather than a Crack!?

Thuds may result when the cane lands on loose folds of fabric or when venting through gaping leg openings in the shorts is possible.