Welcome brothers and sisters to this week’s meeting of the Royal Order of the Holy Mackerel!
In this week’s meeting I discuss the second episode of Dipper’s Guide to the Unexplained – Grunkle Stan’s Tattoo!
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Brothers and Sisters, in this meeting I break down the three main secrets hidden in the second short of the Dipper’s Guide to the Unexplained, Grunkle Stan’s Tattoo.
The first fun secret is hidden over Soos’s shoulder when he tries to trick Grunke Stan into taking his shirt off. The Mystery Shack’s gift shop has a Fur Bearing Trout hanging on it’s wall – a creature that’s a reference to a real cryptozoological oddity! The Fur Bearing Trout started as a tall tale in Iceland – a mythical fish with a coat of fur that had the power to make a man pregnant if he ate one. This story morphed over the ages and was next referenced in America in a 1929 article in Montana Wildlife Magazine. The article talked about a hairy trout that would explode when brought above the surface – leaving behind a solid pelt.
The Fur Bearing Trout was cemented in American folklore when legendary con man Wilbur Foshay turned it into a tourist attraction for the small town of Salida, Colorado. Hundreds of fishermen and journalists from all over the states came flooding into the area to try their hand at catching this impossible fish – and brought much needed tourism cash to the poor town.
The second secret hidden in this short can only be viewed on an HDTV! Dipper keeps a bulletin board covered in notes about Stan’s Tattoo – one page (torn from a book) describes various symbols used by secret societies – and has a large block of micro text that is actually readable! It talks about how all secret societies worship owls in some way, and makes veiled references to a sinister society whose symbol is an eye with a red X through it.
The final reveal in this short is never actually shown on screen. You see, Stan’s Tattoo is an alchemical sigil created by Alex Hirsch and his creative team to paint a broad picture of what the portal does using parts influenced by various symbols. A sun in a sky shining on two different worlds – separated by time and space – yet linked through a doorway.
The sigil points downward toward a Native American symbol – a ward against evil spirits. This was likely included to help keep the portal safe from the influence of outside forces like Bill Cipher!
But what do you think? Why and How did Grunkle Stan get the tattoo in the first place? Since owls play a part in secret societies, does Grunkle Stan buy into all of the ceremony as well? Why does Grunkle Stan need to keep his tattoo hidden at all times? Leave your theories and suggestions in the comments below!