I have loved them ever since I first started reading about them a decade ago.. And just this week, I was reminded of how cool they were when I read an ONLY IN YOUR STATE story about them in the city of Philadelphia, in my state of Pennsylvania.. You, too, can read that here.
The author writes this:
You may have spotted them before, or stepped over them without even noticing. About the size of a license plate, they can easily blend in with the storm drains and manhole covers in the streets. These bizarre tiles have been appearing on streets, not only in Pennsylvania, but throughout 26 major American cities and some cities in South America since the first one was spotted in Philadelphia in 1982.
There are also other cities that have the tiles.. Some iof the include this:
IN MOViE `2001
ON PLANET JUPITER
Others have political messages.
They are also in Boston, Kansas City, and Washington DC. Some reports indicate Baltimore is included with that.. I have even heard there is one hidden one under some brush in the city of Harrisburg PA. I will feverishly look for that one during my daily grind..
There was a story back in 2013 from a FOX affiliate in Salt Lake City freaked lots of people out with a “mysterious message” appears story.. However the story from FOX 13 also offered up some good history on the Toynbee tiles:
In 2011, a documentary titled “Resurrect Dead” followed the efforts of a group from Philadelphia who attempted to uncover the mystery surrounding the tiles. According to their research, the original Toynbee Tile may have come from a man who believed in the theories of a historian named Arthur Toynbee, who wrote that life could be resurrected.
The first tile that appeared carried a message reading, “Toynbee Idea Movie 2001 Resurrect Dead Plan Jupiter.” The image then began to spread to other states and countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Chile. In many instances, it took on different slogans, as copycat artists began to emerge, much like the one in Salt Lake City.
In 2006, WPVI in Philadelphia had a special report on the Toynbee tiles in that city.. From reporter Matt O’Donnell, a fascinating report that goes into some good detail..
The three filmmakers are Justin Duerr, Colin Smith, and Jon Foy. They run a website called resurrectdead.com, and have been investigating the strange case of the Toynbee tiles for several years now. You may discredit them as true investigators by their looks and youth, but they seem to have done a thorough job so far, and claim they have a prime suspect for the tile-doer.
Duerr says the tiles began appearing sometime between 1983 and 1987. He believes they are constructed out of true linoleum, asphalt, crack filler, glue and tar paper. While there has never been an instance where a tile-maker has been caught, Duerr claims he missed seeing one being placed on a West Philadelphia street by about five minutes (he crossed an intersection, went into a convenience store, and came back out to find a fresh Toynbee tile at the same intersection that wasn’t there before; he says the tile was already affixed to the pavement).
x x x
The amazing time: As time goes on the popularity of these tiles have staying power. They are appearing in more places.. their strange and obscure message is constantly being debated..
Because they are really, really mysterious. Fun. Creepy. Weird. And interesting.
Those descriptions of Toynbee Tiles will never go away..