Fact Check: Do Hex Signs on Pennsylvania Dutch Barns Mean the Owners are Swingers?

For half a decade, the Daily Bonnet has brought you the most reliable information about Mennonites the Internet can provide. Well, starting this week, we’re introducing a new fact checking segment. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and we here at the Daily Bonnet are ready and willing to set things straight.

Today we’ll be looking at hex signs.

What is a hex sign you might ask?

Well, if you’ve ever travelled around in Pennsylvania Dutch territory, you’ll notice this traditional fraktur art on many of the barns of the so-called “Fancy Dutch.” The Fancy Dutch are the Pennsylvania Dutch who are not Mennonite or Amish. But just what do these hex signs mean? Well, it’s a commonly held belief that a hex sign on the outside of a barn means that the owners are swingers. But is that true?

Well, after knocking on the doors of many a barn in Lancaster County, we discovered that not many residents were willing to chat about this topic. Usually we got the door slammed in our faces. On one occasion, we were offered some schoofly pie, and one person thought we were there to groom the horses, but absolutely no one said anything about their swinging activities or lack thereof.

So what did we do this lack of evidence? Well, we decided to use the traditional Mennonite method of coming to conclusions on anything. What is that, you might ask? Is it research? Forensic evidence? Scholarship of some sort? Of course not. Instead, we just jump to our own conclusions based on the scantest of evidence.

Think about it for yourself. Why would you not want to talk about this topic? Why would you slam the door in our faces? We’re not that bad looking. The only possible motivation for not wanting to chat is that the rumours must be true. Yup, you’ve heard it hear first.



(photo credit: Smallbones/wikipedia/CC)

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