The Secret Meaning of Hanging Shoes and Hats

Here's an example of how people can interpret what is basically the same phenomenon in very different ways. Yesterday, (Sioux City, IA) reported that the Sioux City police were concerned about shoes hanging from power lines, noting that far from being just a harmless prank, the dangling shoes have a sinister meaning. They "give the alert that there is drug activity here. That you can find your drug needs at this location or in this area." (I've blogged about Secret Powerline Codes before).

However, over in Olney, Illinois (home of the white squirrels) a couple woke to find 31 hats hanging from a tree in their front yard. Instead of worrying that the hats had a sinister meaning, they concluded their presence there was just "good, clean fun." In fact, they decided their sons must have put the hats in the tree as a roundabout way of saying "Hats off to you, Mom and Dad," or "We'll always have a place to hang our hats."

The parents don't seem to have considered the possibility that the hats mean, "We're selling drugs here, Mom and Dad!"


Posted on Thu Sep 08, 2011


I've been known to hang my kids' shoes in trees in our yard when they continually leave them in the living room and I've had Didn't know the ones on the power lines had any meaning, though, other than someone tossing someone else's shoes up there.
Posted by Crafty Dragon  on  Thu Sep 08, 2011  at  01:33 PM
They don't.
Posted by George P Burdell  on  Thu Sep 08, 2011  at  04:31 PM
I passed by a pair of shoes like that on my way to school for nearly nine was quite fascinating to see what time, rain and a good baltic winter does to a pair of quality sneakers, plus I believe a squirrel may have nested in there. I never really learned who or why would toss their footwear on a branch five metres from the ground and then just leave it there.
Posted by Cliodna  on  Fri Sep 09, 2011  at  03:52 AM
While walking down by the river a couple of months ago I came across a giant fake spider hanging in a tree. If I was a gulliable conspiracy theorist I may have concluded it was a leftover Halloween decoration but luckily I saw it for what it was - a subtle hint that you can buy crack cocaine in the area 😉
Posted by Nettie  on  Fri Sep 09, 2011  at  09:54 AM
I always assumed it was something like maybe the shoes had just been washed and were being hung out to dry. Heavy shoes would damage a dryer and if you live in an apartment, you probably don't have a clothesline. Maybe I'm just naive.
Posted by eviltwin531  on  Mon Sep 26, 2011  at  10:04 AM
Here in Northern Michigan, we like to do it just for fun.
Posted by Rich  on  Wed Apr 11, 2012  at  10:52 AM
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