The S symbol

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The S Symbol
Don't make a common mistake

The S Symbol, also known as the Stussy S, the Super S, and numerous other names, is a common doodle made by young children. Its origins are unknown and its link to the paranormal is uncertain. It became a short-lived meme on 4chan's /x/ in June and July of 2009, where threads were made on it frequently and discussion on the phenomenon was high. Some of these threads were also cross-posted to /b/, where they got greater exposure. However, only the initial threads on the subject gathered much useful information. After it was discovered that there was little else to discuss on the subject, threads on it became less common.

Contents

Meme Origins

The initial threads began with a simple pair of questions: "What is this symbol called and how many of you drew it as children?" Immediately, responses from many /x/philes and /b/tards poured in, from all over the U.S., and soon from all over the world. Posters from Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Yemen, Taiwan, and many other countries in six continents claimed that they were familiar with the symbol. It was given many names and often associated with popular brands and logos, such as Superman, Sprite, and other S names.

Purported Sources

A shirt displaying the vintage Stussy S, similar to a shirt posted during a discussion on 4chan's /x/.

Many sources were given for the origin of the S symbol. The most commonly held position was that the symbol was the logo for a skater fashion company called Stussy, which had been operating since the early 80s. No posters could produce visual proof of this, until one anonymous user rifled through his closet and snapped a timestamped photo of a vintage Stussy shirt, including the S logo. The Stussy S, however, was found to not include many characteristics seen in the S symbol and was declared to be hardly more distinct than any other S logo, such as Superman's crest, and therefore unlikely to be the origin of the doodle.

Others said they were told that the S symbol was originally a gang sign, and that they had been punished as children for drawing it for this reason. However, since several gangs in distinct regions of the U.S. have used the symbol, and since the symbol's origins may predate most of those street gangs, it's also possible that a few gangs simply acquired the very common symbol for their own purposes.

Commonalities & Possible Paranormal Links

Many posters became annoyed with the threads, as the previous few days had seen a bad /b/ invasion, and this was considered more /b/ trolling. Some demanded a reason why the symbol should be considered paranormal, as it seemed to be little more than a cultural meme based on a simple doodle that appeared more complex than it was. Finally, after well over 100 posts in the original S symbol thread, and nearly 200 in its /b/ equivalent, some /x/philes noticed a disturbing trend. While the S symbol seemed common the world over, the vast majority of posters who claimed to have drawn it also said they found themselves to be most interested in doodling it specifically at the age of 14. When this was pointed out in both threads, many posters were shocked, and some who had previously not commented on their age in their post returned to state that they, too, recalled being 14 years old when they discovered the symbol. Other posters described their constant doodling of the symbol as "obsessive", with one person remarking, "I drew it on everything I owned." The compulsion to draw the S symbol repeatedly was also noted as unusual.

Age

However, since the vast majority of people on 4chan are are generally found in a very small age range, with the average 4chan poster typically estimated to be somewhere between 16 and 24, even this didn't seem to be a very salient fact. Since those ages would imply that most 4channers were born in the late 80s and early 90s, this appeared to further emphasize that the S symbol was merely a cultural meme of the most current generations of children. However, one /x/phile claimed to have graduated high school in 1975, and also remembered the symbol from his own childhood. This spurred other posters to ask their own parents and grandparents about the symbol. Many returned, and while a few said that their families were unfamiliar with the symbol, several others said that they had found relatives who knew about it, and some who would even draw it. One poster said his uncle saw schoolchildren drawing it in South Vietnam while fighting in the Vietnamese War. Another said his parents, born in the 1950s, were both familiar with the symbol, and thought it had been the team symbol for a high school near their own, and both also remembered drawing it when they were "about 14". Finally, another poster claimed to have shown his grandmother the symbol. He said that she had remembered it, and had even drawn it for him. She also said that she and the poster's grandfather had written the symbol on love letters they had written to each other as children. The poster then said that she had produced one such letter and showed it to him, and that it had, in fact, contained the very same symbol. He also claimed that he had asked his grandmother how old she had been when the letter had been written, and that she had replied that she was 14 years old. While no tangible evidence was provided for any of these accounts, many speculated that the symbol could be far older than previously believed, and that there could be some mystical or paranormal reason for its extraordinary frequency. One /b/tard even quipped, "This thing has seen more 14 year olds than pedobear."

Evidence

Research for the S symbol is surprisingly difficult, due to its commonality, its tendency to be forgotten as those who doodle it grow older, and the fact that it is generally regarded as something childish and non-noteworthy. In addition, searching for it using the internet is also difficult since the symbol has no truly agreed upon name. Most names concocted for the purposes of a search are made of extremely common search terms. For example, the letter S on its own is rarely recognized as a valid search term on many engines.

As such, the hunt is still on for the true origin of the symbol and its meaning. In the mean time, some /x/philes have come up with several theories of their own.

Theories

  • It's a rune or other magical symbol.
  • It's used as a form of social/mind control, as it is often first drawn only when instruction is given by peers.
  • It's a representation of a deity or creature.
  • It's a marking or sigil used for protection.
  • It's actually everywhere, but most commonly seen when the mind is young and still developing.
  • It's intended to have a soothing or alarming effect but is generally ignored, like the word Fnord in The Illuminatus! Trilogy.