These signs are posted all over campus, usually near some vegetation. Does that mean that mailing these plants is punishable by death? Is it a warning that anthrax may be in your mail? Is there some poison on these plants that I can learn about by mail? Personally, I think it’s an advertisement for the White Stripes song “Death Letter.”
Apparently Stache, PBR, and Guy were all holding out on me, because they discovered the meaning of this sign but chose not to tell me. It turns out that a Berkeley hippie was conducting a bit of a sociological experiment. He set up a table on campus and provided envelopes with skulls to willing participants. The volunteer would write down the name of the desired recipient of the envelope with a minimal amount of information and leave it somewhere outside on campus. The hippie believed that the envelope would eventually find its intented target by the generous efforts of the public. For example, Stache wrote a note to me, put it in one of these envelopes and labeled it “Jere Dandy, College of Chemistry, Latimer Hall,” and left it somewhere on campus. If the theory proved true, someone would have picked it up, brought it to the chemistry department, and they would have figured out who it belonged to and delivered it.
Stache thought he could cleverly reveal the meaning of the sign by including that information in the very note which was part of the experiment. However, apparently it failed in this case, so he broke down and told me the story yesterday.
So that’s the story of the “death letters,” but I don’t really understand why this guy needed these crazy signs or how he would even get the results of his study. Just file that under “Only in Berkeley.”