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 (17 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

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, 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

Response by poster: 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

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 addition to Obey Giant there is Bomit, Ekosystem, 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 to host your image. It's free.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:42 PM on February 20, 2005

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