The curious hand sign at Lady Bird Johnson’s funeral

In an email, FOTM reader MariaS drew my attention to a curious phenomenon during the 2007 funeral for Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, wherein the mourners all made the sign of the horns.

The sign of the horns, more sinisterly called the Devil’s horns is formed by extending the index and little fingers while holding the middle and ring fingers down with the thumb.

devil's horns

We are told that it is a hand gesture with a variety of meanings and uses in various cultures. In Italy, it means “malocchio” — to ward off the evil eye or ill fortune. In America, the sign of horns is popular in heavy metal subcultures.

But the sign of horns also has another meaning: Devil’s Horns, signifying one’s allegiance to Satan. It was popularized in the late 1960s by the founder of the Church of Satan Anton LaVey (see pic below) and later was passed on to the masses by rock musicians who were into Satanism. They displayed the sign on the stage and the crowd mimicked them without knowing what it actually means.

Anton LaVey

Richard Ramirez, the notorious serial killer whom the media dubbed “The Night Stalker,” is an avowed Satanist. During his trial in the late 1980s, he openly flashed the Devil’s Horns hand sign to signify his allegiance:

ramirez

Oddly, the sign of the horns is also the sign for “I Love you” in sign language. It is said that Helen Keller (1880-1968), who developed sign language for the deaf, was into the occultic Theosophy, which was founded by Satanist Madame Blavatsky.

The sign of the horns has yet another meaning in America: it’s the “Hook ‘em Horns” slogan and hand signal of The University of Texas at Austin (UTA). Students and alumni of the university employ a greeting consisting of the phrase “Hook ‘em” or “Hook ‘em Horns” and also use the phrase as a parting good-bye or as the closing line in a letter or story. The gesture also represents the Texas Longhorns athletics programs, which include UTA’s extramural and intramural sports teams, taking their name from the Longhorn cattle that were an important part of the development of Texas, and are now the official “large animal” of the U.S. State of Texas.

This is what the Texas “Hook ‘em Horns” hand sign looks like:

Texas Hookemhorns

Good grief. The Texas Longhorn hand sign looks EXACTLY like the Devil’s horns:

Texas Hookemhorns

So when the mourners and even the (Episcopalian) priests (!) all made the sign of the horns at Lady Bird Johnson’s funeral, were they “merely” doing the Texas Longhorn “Hook ‘em Horns”?

They must know the hand sign also signifies the Devil’s horns. If I were a Texan, I would NEVER make that sign!

Even if the mourners made the hand sign to show their pride as Texans, why are they putting Texas before America? Isn’t it more appropriate for mourners at the funeral of a former First Lady to show their patriotism toward their country instead of toward their state?

You can see photographs of elites (musicians, actors, media, politics) making the sign of the horns, HERE. They must all be making the Texas Longhorn sign — even the non-Texans! [snark]

~Eowyn

26 responses to “The curious hand sign at Lady Bird Johnson’s funeral

  1. It is a sign that is very close to the words for I love you in sign language. My little boy was hearing impaired and all of my family used sign language with him. All of my sisters, my brother and all of my nieces and nephews use this gesture whenever we are leaving each other after visiting. The position of the thumb is different but the rest is the same.

    • Thanks, hrmfc. I just added that to my post.

      You should know that Helen Keller (1880-1968), who developed sign language for the deaf including the “I love you” sign, was into the occultic Theosophy, which was founded by Satanist Madame Blavatsky. It is curious that, of the many possible signs one can make with the hand, she chose a sign for “I love you” which also signifies the Devil’s Horns. Wouldn’t you pick another hand sign instead? Just sayin….

      • I agree, Eowyn. Why did Keller include the sign, knowing full well what it meant? The more the signs and rituals are performed, (including the millions upon millions of human sacrifices in the satanic abortion industry) it is their belief, that it will bring their New Age and its “leader” (Maitreya, Madhi, Buddah . . .et al ) into power. Sick and slick.

        • Keller was also “a member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned for women’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, and other radical left causes.” (Wikipedia)

          Keller was also an admirer of eugenicist Margaret Sanger. In a Dec. 8 1952 letter to Sanger, Keller called Sanger’s founding of Planned Parenthood in India to be “wonderful news”. Keller wrote:
          “Affectionately I salute you, Margaret Sanger, as the prophet and the the woman Prometheus of humanity’s highest physical and mental welfare.”

  2. You have to remember Texans are Texans first. That sign in TX means only one thing. It wouldn’t occur to them that others would think it meant anything else. I applaud them for that. :)

  3. The sign for I love you is made by combining the hand formations of I, L and Y. I think your post makes me think twice about it.

  4. If you’re doing “malocchio,” you have to point the horns toward somebody and say “Malocchio!” at ‘em like you’re warding off the Devil. Otherwise, it’s Anton LaVey or AC/DC material.

  5. Wow, where do I start with this….!?

    [1] “If I were . . . the U. of Texas, I would go out of my way to pick a different hand sign.”

    I will start by saying that I agree with this statement.

    I will get to the differences in this “devil” symbol and the ASL’s symbol for “I love you” in a minute, but for right now, let me just say that those are two different symbols.

    However, the symbol used by the Longhorns is exactly the same as the one used by Satanists. Why would the Longhorns not find a way to differentiate their hand symbol (at least a little)?

    I have two answers for this question: (1) These Longhorn fans are not thinking of anything but their school and think this is the best hand sign to represent their mascot (the Longhorn); and/or (2) the University of Texas is located in Austin, Texas. Austin is a great town and one of the neatest places in Texas. However, it has always been a center for “hippie” culture and seems to be stuck in the 1960′s and 70′s. Seriously, if you went to Austin today, you might think you fell into a time-warp and landed in the year 1968. This isn’t a bad thing, but seeing as LaVey really kicked things off in 1966, it makes sense that Austin (the San Francisco of Texas) would share and embrace these odd cultures. — However, having said this, I think the reasonable explanation for why Longhorns use this symbol has more to do with the first reason I listed.

    [2] “The position of the thumb is different but the rest is the same.”

    I wanted to point this out as well. These are two different hand signs. One has the tumb inwards, and the other has the thumb outwards. While they are similar, they are also different. There are only so many hand signs one can make, and being close or similar in appearance is not enough evidence to say that one has something to do with the other.

    You need a little more evidence that the two signs were intended to be related other than the fact that they are similar in appearance.

    [3] “They must know the hand sign also signifies the Devil’s horns. If I were a Texan, I would NEVER make that sign!”

    Okay, this is probably the most important part of my comment/post. I am a Texan, and I would never (and have never) made that hand sign. Please do not confuse the University of Texas with the State of Texas. (Or, don’t confuse a “Texan” with a “Longhorn,” as they are not necessarily the same thing.)

    All UT (or t.u.) students are not Texans (some are from California, Louisiana, etc.). While a lot (probably a majority) of t.u. students are from Texas, there is a significant portion that are not from Texas.

    Further, not all Texans (i.e. people who live in, and are from, the State of Texas) care about the University of Texas. To think that they do would simply be ignorant of all things Texan.

    There are around 25,500,000 people in Texas (or 25 Million Texans). However, there is only about 50,000 students at t.u. in any given year. That is only .002 or .2% of the State’s population. There are also schools like Texas A&M (also has 50K students), Texas Tech, SMU, TCU, Baylor, Rice, Univ. of Houston, UTEP, UNT, etc. that are all Division 1 (FBS) NCAA institutions in Texas. This doesn’t include schools like Texas State, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, etc. that are all Div 1 FCS NCAA institutions. In other words, when it comes to school allegiance, believing that Texans (in general) all care about the Univ. of Texas in Austin, is a gross generalization of a large population.

    Basically, in the quote I referenced for this point [3], you should have used the term “Longhorn” and not “Texan.” Here is how your quote should have read:

    “They must know the hand sign also signifies the Devil’s horns. If I were a Longhorn, I would NEVER make that sign!”

    [4] “The University of Texas at Austin (UTA)”

    Just a point of clarification. The University of Texas (actually called the “University of Texas at Austin”) has the abbreviation of either UT (if you are a Longhorn) or t.u. (used by Texas A&M students, and a few others).

    The abbreviation “UTA” is the name/abbreviation used by the University of Texas at Arlington. Similar name, but different school.

    [5] “Even if the mourners made the hand sign to show their pride as Texans, why are they putting Texas before America? Isn’t it more appropriate for mourners at the funeral of a former First Lady to show their patriotism toward their country instead of toward their state?”

    Again, they are not making this hand sign to show their pride as a Texan. I am a Texan and am very proud to be one, however, I would never use this hand sign for any reason, especially to show any kind of pride.

    They are using this sign to show their pride as Longhorns.

    Another way to think of this is:
    – Yes, most Longhorns are Texans and Longhorns identify with the State of Texas (and as Texans)….but the sign they are using is exclusively used by only ONE kind of Texan, and that is a Texas Longhorn.

    A similar analogy would be if a German citizen saw a Texan doing something while holding a Texas and US flag, and after seeing this, the German referred to the Texan as only an American. What if he happened to see a Longhorn football game, and when they held their horns up, the German said “Wow, do Americans not know what that means??” I would think that most Americans would say to the German that those people he saw were Americans, but that they were specifically Texans. Further, those Texans were not what every Texan is like, but those were specifically Texas Longhorns….as there are other types of Texans too.

    Now…back to the rest of [5]

    “Why are they putting Texas before America? Isn’t it more appropriate for mourners at the funeral of a former First Lady to show their patriotism toward their country instead of toward their state?”

    (Assuming for this instance that the Longhorn sign, at least to the people who went to the University of Texas, displays some sort of “Texas” pride.)

    I don’t think anyone in that crowd is putting Texas before America. I can also tell you that any Texan I know that is Proud to be a Texan, is just a proud to be an American. Further, displaying pride in ones state does not mean they are not proud to be an American, and doesn’t trump their pride for their country.

    I actually have a hard time understanding why you would think that a display of Texan pride is somehow automatically a showing of putting Texas before America!? Can one not be proud of both at the same time? Do most states not display both the US and State flag at the same time?

    However, even if the people at this funeral were putting Texas before America, you have to remember that Texas is part of the South. The Southern states have always had a lot of pride in their particular state and have always held a high allegiance to it. It is simply part of our culture. While no Texan means any disrespect to the US, we are always quick to show a sign of Texas Friendship to a fellow Texan.

    In the case of Lady Bird Johnson, she was a Texan (was from Texas) and so was her husband LBJ. They were both Texans. They grew up in Texas, moved to D.C. while LBJ was a Congressman and President, and then moved back to Texas when LBJ left the White House. Do you remember President Bush #1 and #2? It was always abundantly clear that they were from Texas (or that they were Texans). This is just the way Texans are — they are very proud of where they are from.

    Further, Lady Bird attended the University of Texas (she was/is a Longhorn). Also, LBJ’s Presidential library is on the Univ. of Texas Campus in Austin, Texas.

    So as you can see….the Johnson’s have a strong connection to both the University of Texas, and the State of Texas. It is for this reason that so many in that crowd at her funeral were displaying pride in the University of Texas and for their fellow Texan by use of a hand sign (their fellow Texan in this case, would understand and appreciate their Longhorn hand sign as a showing for UT and Texas….b/c she was both a Longhorn and a Texan).

    You will also notice the band at the funeral. You don’t typically see college bands at funerals, but this is the band for the University of Texas. Again, there was a lot of “Orange Blooded” Texans there that day.

    So, to answer the question, in this case….it would not be more appropriate to show an allegiance to their country at her funeral (instead of their state). That would be like asking a member of her family (like a sister or daughter) to show allegiance to the US and the loss of the First Lady instead of grieving over their loss of a mother or sister. Its different b/c they have a different relationship with the deceased.

    [6] “You have to remember Texans are Texans first. That sign in TX means only one thing. It wouldn’t occur to them that others would think it meant anything else. I applaud them for that.”

    Just a quick note. Yes, Texans are Texans first. You are right about that.

    However, that sign in Texas doesn’t only have one meaning. While it is most commonly used as a reference to the University of Texas…..we Texans do know that it is also a reference to something else.

    However, I only really see it used in the context of the Longhorns (like at a football game or University of Texas event), in which case I know it isn’t a reference to Satan (or that isn’t what the user is intending).

    [7] “You should know that Helen Keller (1880-1968), who developed sign language for the deaf including the “I love you” sign, was into the occultic Theosophy, which was founded by Satanist Madame Blavatsky. It is curious that, of the many possible signs one can make with the hand, she chose a sign for “I love you” which also signifies the Devil’s Horns. Wouldn’t you pick another hand sign instead? Just sayin….”

    I would love to know where you found this info about Helen Keller.

    I am assuming we are referring to the sign language known as ASL (or American Sign Language)….as that is where the sign for “I Love You” appears as described in your post.

    [A] Here are some links to the history of where Sign Language and ASL came from (and who invented it):

    http://www.start-american-sign-language.com/who-invented-sign-language.html

    http://www.start-american-sign-language.com/history-of-sign-language.html

    – I couldn’t find anything in these links that say Helen Keller developed sign language for the deaf, or that she created the “I Love You” sign. If you find it, please let me know.

    [B] Here are some links on Helen Keller (the first one says she did not invent sign language, but only helped re-create it):

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/When_did_Helen_Keller_invent_the_sign_language

    http://www.perkins.org/vision-loss/helen-keller/helenkellerfaq.html

    [C] Finally, here are some links on the “I Love You” sign itself, neither mention Helen Keller as its creator:

    http://www.start-american-sign-language.com/i-love-you-sign-language.html — This link actually refutes the idea that the sign comes from Satanic origins, and shows how the sign is made up by the letters I, L, Y (for I Love You). This makes a lot of sense, considering sign language developed over time from different ideas such as spelling each word out (letter by letter) with you hand. Making one sign for ILY or I Love you is easier than spelling out I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U.

    [D] This link is probably the best reference for your argument (that the ILY symbol is somehow derived from the Satanic Salute used by LaVey):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ILY_sign

    However, the Wiki article states at the top that it has insufficient citations and needs more references. In other words, there are factual assertions in the article that are not backed up by any information or alternative sourced information….so for all we know, the writer of the article is completely incorrect.

    However, the article does suggest that the ILY sign is either a part of “Deaf” or “American” culture. My guess would be that during the 1960′s (Peace & Love), those using sign language created a sign for “I Love You.” Since that time, the sign has caught on and been used by everyone (just like the “Peace” sign….two fingers caught on).

    Another way to think of it would be to say that it wasn’t invented or created in the 1960′s, but that is just simply when everyone else (those who didn’t speak in sign language) took notice and started using it as well.

    Thanks! Great blog!!

  6. Although I can’t stand LBJ or his legacy, I am still inclined to think a Texan means Hookem Horns, and nothing sinister when making this sign. You’ll see similar accusations of another Texan president, George W. Bush.

    Just my opinion,

    ~ TD

  7. The popular Hawaiian “Hang Loose” hand sign is practically the same – extended pinky finger and thumb with the three middle fingers all folded down.

  8. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this interesting post which motivated also interesting comments. Thank you also Normand for your comments which are noteworthy. Nevertheless, if my university knew that its hand sign was also the sign of Satanism, even considering your comprehensive comment and response, I would definitely choose another sign. I think that is the main point of this post.

  9. Just Satan doing one of his counterfeit “sign” things.
    Scripture talks of “signs will follow them” so I guess he picked up on that and went into the “sign business”.
    he must have been a litte “horn*” Sorry if I offended anybody, he makamecrazy angry and there it is.

  10. I’m a little late to this party but, The Univerisity of Texas was founded in 1883 and the hook em horns sign was introduced by Harley Clark in 1955, which is prior to the time you have posted Anton Lavey began using it in the late 1960′s. I’m sure you noticed this when you did your research since the photos you have used are from the same sight.

  11. Why do ppl keep sayin I love you is devils horns? I love you has always been with the thumb out. Can ppl please educate themselves???? This is offensive to ppl who actually use sign language! !!!!!!

    • What I find offensive is why ppl like you not only never ask why the “I love you” hand sign is so similar to the Devil’s horns sign, but aren’t in the least bothered by the remarkable and disturbing resemblance. If I were involved in hand-signing, I would want to be as far away and different from the Devil’s horns as possible.

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