What Are the Mysterious Toynbee Tiles Trying to Tell Us?
Some say they hint at life after death.
For those who haven't heard of the Toynbee Tiles, the story of mysterious tiles that have shown up in cities all over the world with strange markings in them might sound implausible. But for some, uncovering the true meaning in these strange "tiles" is a life's mission.
But just what are they?
The Toynbee Tiles are made of linoleum and they have shown up, smashed into the asphalt of random intersections of major cities all over the world, though especially in the Northeast corner of North America. They all say the same thing:
IN KUBRICK'S 2001
ON PLANET JUPITER
Nobody really knows what these tiles are or why they have appeared, though many have studied them. The most popular theories are that the tiles could be referring to:
- The teachings of British Historian Arnold Toynbee
- Ray Bradbury's short story "The Toynbee Convector"
- The Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey
Toynbee once wrote of the resurrection of the dead, positing that it is actually scientifically and religiously possible to bring back the dead.
In the Bradbury story, a time traveler tells of a utopian world that is possible if only people believe.
The Kubrick theory refers to his film released in 1968 in which Jupiter is the destination. The film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, is very well known and has a massive cult following. At the end of the movie, the main astronaut is taken near Jupiter and goes through both death and rebirth.
There are roughly 150 tiles that have appeared in 25 cities in the U.S. and South America in one style and 300, specifically in Philadelphia, in a newer style. House of Hades is a copycat movement that has laid about 100 tiles. And they are not the only copy cats.
The tiles continue to show up. Generally during summer months. And no one knows why or who is doing it. The mystery has spawned hundreds of articles and a documentary and still, people aren't sure what they mean.
For years, journalists and investigators have looked into it. They were first mentioned in The Baltimore Sun in 1994. They've been spotted in Washington, D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, and many other cities, including Santiago, Chile.
Some tiles have the usual inscription, but others offer instructions on how to make more tiles like it. Creepy.
Apparently, they are made by carving the message onto a piece of flexible linoleum. Two pieces of tar paper then cover the linoleum and they smother it with Elmer's glue and asphalt crack filler. When it is placed on the asphalt of an intersection and concealed by the tar paper, it can be baked into the ground by the sun. Then pressure from traffic really keeps it there. When the top layer of tar paper is removed, the tile becomes impossible to remove.
So what are these bizarre tiles? Do they mean aliens live? Do they mean the dead will come back to life? No one can explain them.