Since the 1980’s, hundreds of mysterious “Toynbee tiles” have been found as far west as Kansas City, Missouri and as far east as Boston, Massachusetts. Verified reports of the Toynbee tiles have come from at least 25 cities around the world. Intricately patterned, they’ve been found laid in the sidewalks, in the middle of highways, and on highway on and off ramps. The tiles, about the size of a license plate, and their disturbing messages have proven to have a powerful allure, with several theories developed about their origin and meaning. The tiles all bare the following mysterious message (or some minor variant thereof):
IN MOViE `2001
ON PLANET JUPITER.
The Toynbee Tile history
Solid proof of the first Toynbee Tile goes back to the late 1980’s when the first photographic evidence of a Toynbee tile was discovered but earlier, in 1983, the Philadelphia Inquirer published a story that referenced a Philadelphia-based campaign to “resurrect the dead on the planet Jupiter”. Although the story did not specifically mention the mysterious tiles, the premise of the story bears a striking similarity to the message on the enigmatic tiles.
Prior to 2001, the tiles were intricately patterned, colorful, and often contain ancillary (but still cryptic) messages. From a period spanning 2001 through 2007, the tiles design changed and became less colorful and “simpler”, typically with no other message other than the “resurrection” plea. After 2007, the tiles returned to their original “look and feel” and complex structure.
The Toynbee tiles have been found embedded in streets and sidewalks all over the world including one found embedded in the street only a block from the Whitehouse. There are 150 documented “old-style” tiles (early tiles whose appearance was more artistic) dating from 1985-2001 that have appeared in 25 cities in the United States and South America and more than 300 documented “new-style” tiles that have appeared in or near Philadelphia as well as other places around the nearby area (since 2002, only one verified Toynbee tile has appeared more than about two hours outside of Philly). There are estimated to be thousands of “copycat” tiles located around the world.
How the Toynbee tiles are created
As with the Toynbee message itself, how the tiles are created is a bit of a mystery. The tiles appear to be made of a clay-like substance but it is believed that they are constructed from linoleum. A man who claimed to have found a recently deployed tile, noted that it was wrapped in tar paper and placed on a busy street in the morning, before the pavement had warmed up. A 2011 documentary about the strange tiles, Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, explained one theory of how the tiles are installed:
“It is believed that first, a message is carved on a piece of flexible linoleum. Two pieces of tar paper are used to cover the linoleum, like bread covering the filling of a sandwich. The linoleum is smothered with Elmer’s glue and asphalt crack filler. The whole concoction is then laid down in the asphalt of an intersection while concealed by the tar paper. The tile is then “baked” into the ground by the sun’s heat, which liquefies the asphalt ever so slightly. Pressure from car and foot traffic further impress the tile into the ground. By the time the top layer of tar paper is worn off, the tile will have become deeply embedded and will be impossible to remove without fully repaving the street.”
The movie also theorizes that a floorboard-less car is used to lay the tiles that are found in the middle of busy highways and city streets.
The Toynbee tile message
The tiles typically contain the message “Toynbee idea in movie 2001 Resurrect dead on planet Jupiter” but many contain slight variants of the message, such as the word “resurrect’ replaced with the word “raise”. Many of the tiles contain smaller, more detailed messages located at the top or bottom of the tile. For instance, one Toynbee tile found in New York City contains this message at the bottom: “Every concept of past 500 years don’t exist in Christian heaven. They only exist in Christian hell”.
One tile, dubbed the “Manifesto Tile”, even contained about a page’s worth of text. Located in Philadelphia on 16th and Chestnut, this particular tile was discovered in 1997, was about 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall, and contained an unusually long message but no less bizarre. Tragically it was paved over in 2001. The message on the Toynbee Manifesto Tile read as follows:
JOHN KNIGHT, OWNER OF “THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER” – HELLION JEW – WHOSE HATED THIS MOVEMENTS GUTS – FOR YEARS – TAKES MONEY FROM THE MAFIA TO MAKE THE MAFIA LOOK GOOD IN HIS NEWSPAPERS SO HE HAS THE MAFIA IN HIS BACK POCKET.
JOHN KNIGHT SENT THE MAFIA TO MURDER ME IN MAY 1991. (unreadable…..) JOURNALIST ALL OF THEM GLOATED TO MY FACE ABOUT MY DEATH AND KNIGHT-RIDDERS GREAT POWER TO DESTROY. IN FACT JOHN KNIGHT WENT INTO HELLION BINGE OF JOY OVER KNIGHT-RIDDERS GREAT POWER TO DESTROY. I SECURED HOUSE WITH BLAST DOORS AND FLED THE COUNTRY IN JUNE 1991. N.B.C. ATTORNEYS, JOURNALISTS AND SECURITY OFFICIALS AT ROCKERFELLER CENTER FRADULAENTLY …..(unreadable)….. UNDER THE “FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT” ALL…. ORDERS OF N.B.C. EXECUTIVES GOT THE U.S. FEDERAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE AND GOT THE F.B.I. TO GET INTERPOL TO ESTABLISH TASK FORCE THAT LOCATED ME IN DOVER ENGLAND.
WHEN BACK HOME INQUIRER GOT UNION GOONS FROM THEIR OWN EMPLOYEES UNION TO SEND DOWN A “SPORTS JOURNALIST” -WHO – WITH BASEBALL BAT BASHED IN LIGHTS AND WINDOWS OF NEIGHBORHOOD CARS – AS WELL AS MEN OUTSIDE MY HOUSE. THEY ARE STATIONED THERE STILL. WAITING FOR ME. N.B.C., C.B.S., GROUP “W” WESTINGHOUSE. TIME. TIME-WARNER. FOX. UNIVERSAL – ALL OF THE “CULT OF THE HELLION” EACH WERE MUCH WORSE THAN KNIGHT RIDDER EVER WAS. (MOSTLY HELLION JEWS). WHEN K.Y.W. AND N.B.C. EXECUTIVES TOLD JOHN KNIGHT THE WHOLE COVEN GLOATED ON HOW THEIR SOVIET PALS HAD FOUND A WAY TO TURN IT INTO A…..
The enigmatic messages and their bizarre, sometimes seemingly impossible placement, make the true meaning of the tiles elusive but we can at least decipher some of their gist. “Toynbee” likely refers to Arnold J. Toynbee, a 20th century British historian and philosopher. Toynbee wrote extensively on numerous subjects, but was most interested in the philosophies of culture and history, and particularly questions surrounding the success and failure of individual human civilizations. The phrase “movie 2001” almost certainly refers to Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey movie which was based on a short story, The Sentinel, written by sci-fi guru Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008). In the movie, Kubrick and Clarke crafted a dense, ambiguous and metaphor-laden screenplay that gave rise to a host of interpretations. The first and last half-hours of the film are practically devoid of dialog and confused audiences and critics at first. Still, the film has remained a cult favorite with fans. But how Toynbee, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the colonization of the dead on the planet Jupiter relate to each other is up to anyone’s interpretation.
Most people believe that the tiles are likely being laid by someone with mental problems or social issues. It is unlikely that anyone would spend so much time and effort laying the tiles around the world as a “hoax” or to confuse the public. It’s fairly obvious that whoever is laying the mysterious tiles is sincerely attempting to warn the world of something. We just don’t know what.
Below is a photo montage of some of the more interesting Toynbee tiles.