The Strange Hobo Signs Depicting Who Went Where

These "What Who" Signs are talked about in both Dan Beard's book and Terry Fox's book.


The Terry Fox illustration shows that 2 children (the circles) and 4 men (The full lines) and 3 women (The half lines) passed in the direction of the arrow.

Dan Beard describes these markings as "Tells What or Who Went This Way". He says they are used by the knights of the raod, gypsies, tramps and hoboes. (Click the page image for an enlarged view)

Dan Beard describes the use of these symbols from both the foreign hobo signs and American hobo signs. He also explains a second arrow either pointing down (Has already happened) or the second arrow pointing up (To be expected). (Click the page image for an enlarged view)

In Terry Fox's book by Kunstraum Munchen it describes the same long line for a man and half line for a woman however it uses a "cornered" line to indicate children and the circle at the bottom indicates a dog. (Click the page image for an enlarged view)