Showing posts with label Hoboglyphs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hoboglyphs. Show all posts

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hoboglyphs


Hobo
Hobo – A System of Symbols or Codes

To manage with the difficulty of hobo life, a system of symbols or code was developed by hobos who would write these codes with coal or chalk in order to provide directions, information and warning to the other hobos.

Hobo is used interchangeably with `bum’ or `drifter’, though hobos was a type of homeless traveller. Hobo used to travel around for the purpose of work and in every new place they visited; they were forced to leave home for the purpose of jobs. Bums usually avoided work and preferred drinking heavily while `tramps’ only worked when the need arose.

Due to their willingness to work on jobs which were rejected by others, they followed a strict moral code where they were tolerated by some and life as a hobo was dangerous and difficult. In order to help each other they developed their own secret language to direct the other hobos and help them in finding food, water or work.

The Hobo Code thus added a small element of safety whenever they travelled to a new place. They played an important role in the history of America which was often overlooked. They comprises of a group of nomadic workers who moved in the country from early 20th century, through the Great Depression and took their work wherever they travelled, never staying too long at any particular place.

Leaving Notes Behind for Other Hobos

In their travels, hobos learned to leave behind notes for each other, providing information on some of the best places to camp or locate a meal or even on dangers of what lies ahead. The unique Hobo Code became known to the brotherhood of freight train riders and then used by all to keep the community of travelling workers safe, well fed and in work.

Hobo_1
The pictographic Hobo Code is an amazing system of symbols which is understood among the hobo community. Since they were not welcomed, they were often illiterate and the messages left behind for them had to be easy for them to understand though they looked like random markings to others with an element of secrecy.

The features of the code had certain elements which appear in more than one simple symbol like the circles and arrows which made up for the directional symbols while hash marks or crossed line meant danger of some kind.

Cryptic & Difficult

Most of the hoboglyphs seems to be cryptic and difficult for people other than the hobo community to understand even if it was spotted. Diverse symbols in the Hobo code were found scrawled in chalk or coal all over the country near rail yards or in places where hobos were likely to meet and the purpose was to reach out to them and their community.

They helped the hobos against authorities whenever they would crack down on vagrants and save them from any trouble. In due course of time the hobo subculture declined, the reason being that the community were intricately connected with the American railway. It was very difficult to hop on and off on a freight train unnoticed than it was many years ago and hence rail-loving hobos steadily reduced in number.