Friday, 8 August 2014

The Mystery of the "Remember Pearl Harbor" Graffiti

On the morning of December 7, 1939, graffiti was discovered written on the pavement outside Owensville High School in Owensville, Indiana. In huge white chalk letters, someone had written the words "Remember Pearl Harbor!". Then exactly two years to the day, the Japanese commenced a sneak attack on the US naval base, Pearl Harbor.

I first heard about this story whilst watching an episode of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, which happens to be one of my favourite TV shows. Man, I loved that show! I used to come home every day after school when I was 13 and watch it on CBS Reality. It's a shame now that they don't show it anymore, and all they show now is endless repeats of Judge Judy and Cops. I mean, who even wants to see that?

Anyway, let’s not get off topic and carry on with what I was supposed to be talking about. 

Ever since I heard this story, I loved it. I've always liked weird and strange stories. Now, it must be said that the story that is depicted in the episode of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is completely over the top and blown out of proportion. Although, I can see why they did that for entertainment purposes and cinematic effect. I mean, just looking at a piece of graffiti on the floor doesn't make for much entertainment. It should also be said that in the episode, it takes place two days before Pearl Harbor and not two years. However, the story behind it is exactly the same, being that someone predicted the attack on Pearl Harbor prior to the event taking place.  

I highly recommend that you watch the video below.

(If you are viewing on a mobile device, please click HERE)

Okay, let's talk a little bit about the real story for a moment. Who actually wrote this message remains a mystery to this day, but as always, every internet forum has 'theories' to who they believe wrote the message. 

Now, you have to think about when this was written. It was written in the year 1939, and back then there was very little graffiti or vandalism about. So, even to the people back then it must have been a surprise, and something away from how society was back then.  

Another good question is, why isn't there any photographs of the writing? Well, the graffiti was actually seen by approximately 400 people at 8:00 AM on the morning of December 7, 1939 and was washed away by heavy rain shortly after. 

Obviously, quite a few people are going to jump on the phantom writer / time traveler band wagon and claim somebody wrote it in an attempt to warn us of the Japanese attack two years later to the day. Although, if that were true, why would they write it on the pavement outside a school? Why not write it somewhere a large amount of people would see it or even better, the government. 

On the other side of things, it could just be a coincidence. I mean, Pearl Harbor has been a US naval base since 1898 and it’s quite possible that a considerable amount of people knew about the naval base at Pearl Harbor. But again, why write it? It's not a joke or a prank, and it doesn't really mean anything. In reality, the people of Owensville completely forgot about the incident until two years later when they found out what it exactly meant. 

I don't know what to really make of this story, but it still remains one of my favourite stories from my childhood and a mystery which will live on forever. 

I hope you guys enjoyed this post, and I will see you next week.

Catch you later,



  1. yeah, I loved that story on beyond belief fact or fiction as well as the entire series. my facebook is if you ever want to chat about the story or the show/ series or anything else...

  2. This true legend happened four blocks west of our home in Owensville and I've been keeping the late Korean War Veteran Robert W. Roll's story on the Net for a number of years. His white chalk message to his upper floor school teacher was verified by my ball coach and also my cousin of which both were in his Geography class. CJ White

  3. My Tweet to you went unanswered and I hope you are alive and well on this Christmas Eve. CJ White

  4. Just before 8:00 AM so you wrote? The first call to classes bells for the 400 students were heard at 0755 daily for over 80 years. The legendary message was exact to the month, the exact day and exact time of the first bomb to fall on Wheeler Field. Which fell at 0755 two years before America's "a day that will live in infamy!" - FDR CJ White

  5. The way I first heard this story said that there was a big history test scheduled for that day (December 7, 1939) at school. One of the questions that was stumping students when they were called on in class was "Where is the US Naval base at Hawaii located?" Kids were always getting it wrong when called upon. So apparently as a gag someone wrote "REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR" in chalk on the sidewalk as a reminder to the other students taking the test.

  6. I've just watched this episode on CBS reality so it's still on TV!