Mystery symbol!
February 19, 2005 11:54 PM   Subscribe

A friend was asking about this, and he aroused my curiosity as well. A strange symbol is turning up in graffiti all over the campus of our university and we are wondering about what it means, if anything.

Hopefully this description will help. Basically the symbol looks like a backward S tilted about 45 degrees counter clockwise. The "bottom" of the S has an arrow, so it sort of looks like a forked tail.

Also, on each of the S's "humps," there is a circle.

This is more of a curiousity thing, and I am sure it will end up being some cheesy "SATAN 666 HORNED HAND" thing, but I was wondering if there was more to it.
posted by synecdoche to Society & Culture (18 answers total)
 
My first thought was that it was some sort of warchalking symbol. If that's the case, though, I've know idea what sort of access point it's trying to indicate.
posted by veedubya at 12:43 AM on February 20, 2005


s/know/no/
posted by veedubya at 12:44 AM on February 20, 2005


Can you post a picture?
posted by Vidiot at 12:57 AM on February 20, 2005


Symbols.com, which is just the site to find the answer to a question like this, didn't come any closer than this lexicographic symbol for electricity (or mythology, depending on context):



Perhaps you'll have better luck.
posted by dhartung at 1:27 AM on February 20, 2005


Viral marketing?
posted by Jim Jones at 1:59 AM on February 20, 2005


It could very well someone's "tag".
posted by geoff. at 2:43 AM on February 20, 2005


Sounds like a tag.
If there is a fictional gang called the Serpents, and they are hated by the Tigers, a Tiger might take the S from Serpent and "flip" it. Since an S does not look any different flipped, they may choose to reverse it. The pointy arrow thing and the horns are kind of like diacritics. They inflect the symbol with meaning- you've strayed on my turf too many times, this guy is dead, etc.
Does the end of the S look like a pitchfork?
posted by oflinkey at 9:51 AM on February 20, 2005


dhartung, that is similar, except flip it so the S is backward, and put the circle on the humps of the S.

I'll try to post a picture and hope it doesn't kill the bandwidth:

posted by synecdoche at 9:54 AM on February 20, 2005


My guess is it's phenomenology. It is basically where people do a bunch of (I'm guessing it is small) spray-paintings with no real meaning behind the image besides the fact it has no real meaning and just tries to get people to think. To think about what? Hell if I know. The point is the sprayings don't really have any intent behind them. Down here at UGA, I know a phenomenologist and they spray a small stencil outline with "OBEY" and a face. At first, I thought it was a Bush thing, but upon asking him, he said it wasn't and people just put them there because it's what they do. Or something like that.
Then again, your spray paintings may have nothing to do with phenomenology as it stands here at my college campus.
posted by jmd82 at 9:58 AM on February 20, 2005


There used to be an image search engine where you could draw what you were looking for, and it would try to find images that were visually similar. Does this still exist?

I'd love to know what a line with three circles under it means, I saw it on a bumper sticker.
posted by odinsdream at 10:03 AM on February 20, 2005


Semi-interesting tangent: "Kilroy Was Here!"
posted by fourstar at 10:27 AM on February 20, 2005


More information on what jmd82 mentioned at Obey Giant.
posted by Coffeemate at 11:17 AM on February 20, 2005


Could it be a tag for a secret society on your campus?

It reminds me of the painted "7"'s at the University of Virginia campus placed by one of the many secret societies there. "7 Society began (it is believed) 1905 that was when the first '7' was painted."
posted by ericb at 1:59 PM on February 20, 2005


Try posting it and.or searching on Streetmemes.
posted by Miko at 2:23 PM on February 20, 2005


Regarding graffiti and tagging...in addition to Obey Giant there is Bomit, Ekosystem, Graffiti.org and Sticker Nation.
posted by ericb at 2:28 PM on February 20, 2005


Miko - on preview - thanks for pointing out Streetmemes!
posted by ericb at 2:29 PM on February 20, 2005


Perhaps they are fans of Serpent's Tail, an indy publishing house.


posted by haqspan at 5:38 PM on February 20, 2005


(Tangent : if you're worried about bandwidth usage, synecdoche, use imageshack.us to host your image. It's free.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:42 PM on February 20, 2005


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