Bored weatherman story

Ok, before I ask my question, please read this quote:

*Between 1950 and 1952, a bored weatherman, stationed north of Hudson Bay, left a monument that neither government nor time can eradicate. Using a bulldozer abandoned by the Air Force, he spent two years and great effort pushing boulders into a single word.

It can be seen from 10,000 feet, silhouetted against the snow. Government officials exchanged memos full of circumlocutions (no Latin equivalent exists) but failed to word an appropriation bill for the destruction of this cairn, that wouldn’t alert the press and embarrass both Parliament and Party.

It stands today, a monument to human spirit. If life exists on other planets, this may be the first message received from us.
– The Realist, November, 1964.*

The obvious questions are: Is this for real? If so, does anybody know what word he chose?


I’ve never heard that story, although something similar happened in the comic book Preacher, so maybe author Garth Ennis took it from real events.

I don’t know how you’d even search to find out the veracity of that story.

But I’d guess the word would have been “fuck.”

I tried a google search for “bored weatherman hudson bay” and all I got was 80 bazillion hits for people’s personal quote lists :slight_smile:


I’ve heard this story before, many years ago. I think it had a name attached to it when I first read it but damned if I can think what it is now.

A quick search of Google turned up two sites with the exact same wording as you posted. Snopes came up blank - sounds like one that needs to be submitted for verification.

Given they can’t come up with a name or a more precise date for the event, I’d think the whole thing was bunk.

Well just think about it. A single bored weatherman with a bulldozer built a structure too big to be taken down? And it’s usually so much easier to destroy something than to build it. A pro with another bulldozer isn’t enough? Nor two pros?

That weatherman musta been very talented indeed. Even if he did apparently miss his calling.

Actually, I think the story is that the government didn’t want to call attention to the word, which passing a bill to remove it would.
Although why the Air Force couldn’t perform a ‘practice’ run with live ammo I don’t know.

This one should be easy enough to verify. Get a list of Canadian weather stations (or Air Force bases) for the Hudson Bay region that were in operation in 1950. Then, look at satellite imagery for the areas around these stations. If it’s visible from 10,000 feet, the resolution doesn’t have to be very good at all.

Ok, I did a little bit more research. Two high arctic weather stations qualify: Alert and Eureka, both on Ellesmere Island and part of the JAWS network. Alert was the last one established (in 1950). It’s opening was marked by disaster. A plane ferrying nine people crashed, killing all aboard. Perhaps this bored weatherman was constructing a memorial? Or a longer runway?

Personally, I believe the story belongs in the class as “Inspiraitonal SPAM”. But my interest is piqued, and I’ll likely look into this further.

It’s looking more and more like a definite urban legend. Run a query through Deja and you’ll get half-a-dozen variants: a bored soldier on a mountain in the Rockies, a bored soldier in the desert of the American Southwest, a pious man in Texas.

Also, “The Realist” was known to deliberately perpetuate hoaxes and myths. I’m not familar with the publication myself, but apparently they were the ones who got the ball rolling on “ground up worms in Big Macs”.

However, there are true life examples of words writ-large on the landscape. The Studebaker Company planted 100,000 trees on their proving grounds in the shape of the company name as a message to Martians. You can view a picture of the Studebaker Proving Ground as it appears today.

Or on Terraserver:

I’m not going to search all of Hudson Bay for any words, though.

It seems that some local Brandenburg Nazis did something like this as well. According to the linked news story, it was only destroyed last year. It was kind of a cool effect though, and a little eerie to see something like that surviving into the present day.

Obligatory Nazca link

I stared, squinted and twisted. Still I could not make out anything in that Studebaker picture. Where is the writing?

Yes. The link I provided is a bit higher resolution. You can even zoom in once more, but then you can’t get the whole word on the screen.

It may help to turn your monitor 90 degrees clockwise, or your head the opposite.

How did he get gasoline for the bulldozer?

“What is it with you kids and that word?”[list]- Principal Seymour Skinner

Hi folks,

I’m getting in on this story rather late, but I thought I’d share my own research.

Here’s a scan of the original Realist article with the full text of the letter that was published in that issue:

If the expletive cairn ever did exist, I’d guess from the clues in the article that it’s more likely near one of the DEW line installations in what’s now called Nunavut:

There’s a mention here about KLM and other commercial flights going over the FOX MAIN station, for example:

The full DEW line installations are mapped out here:

I thought this location might be a good candidate, but I couldn’t find anything that looked like letter (naughty or nice) using Google Maps:


I’m pretty sure it spells out: