Cryptid enthusiasts (and people with morals) are horrified that TikTok’s “gnome hunting” meme has nothing to do with actually hunting gnomes. Instead, the trend is a not-so-subtle dog whistle targeted at identifying other nazis on the platform.
It started in April 2023, with people pretending to ‘hunt for gnomes in the woods’ with text overlays that include variations of: “gnomes are real (I’m schizophrenic)”, “(forgot to take our meds)”, “(I’m schizophrenic),” and other phrases associated with the alt-right such as, “(millions wear the hats)” and “(billions must die).”
@johnny__cannon #CapCut #fyp #viral #meme #funny #gnomes #gnomesarereal #algorithm #hunting #pointyhats #spreadtheword #beready ♬ original sound - Jonhson Cannon
In a video uploaded by @johnny__cannon with over 20k views a man inaudibly talking and showing an alleged gnome sneaking around in the background quickly cuts to fake security footage of a man opening a car trunk, falling over, and a gnome climbing out.
The caption, which has been removed, emphasizes “The gnomes are coming (time to get your ass up and start hunting).” The most liked comment supports the anti-semitic references with, @classicsurfer: “I wear a pointy hat but it’s white” and others repeating the phrase “millions wear hats.”
In a response to a commenter mocking the video with “someone’s been on mushrooms,” @johnny__cannon responded, “There are hundreds of billions they will slowing take over with[out] anyone realizing.”
@gnome_hunters_poland #gnomes #millions #billions #hunters #fyp #GNOMESHUNTING #help #deny ♬ Gnomepills - ᛖᛚᛊᚲᚨᚱ ᚾᚨᛏᚢᚱ @98wolfssangel14719 Gnome hunting#fyp #gnome #forest ♬ Dunkelheit - Burzum
Internet historian @thehistorywizard shared a video explaining the underlying message behind gnome hunting explaining that, “gnomes represent Jews, or really any group that would have been considered undesirable by the Third Reich.” He shares evidence showing that people who engage with the trend use nazi symbols in their usernames including “88-s” and add lightning bolt emojis to videos and the overlaid text mentioned earlier, “(millions wear the hats)” a reference to yamakas.
@thehistorywizard Share this with everyone you know. #thehistorywizard #historytiktok #edutok #learnontiktok #wizardcommunism #gnome #greenscreen ♬ original sound - The History Wizard
The phrase “(billions must die)” is an alt-right meme catchphrase from 4chan.
A confusing part of the trend, however, is the schizophrenia (I’m schizophrenic) references. In a video stitching The History Wizard, @visualeyesmusic explains that the point of referencing schizophrenia is a tactic used nazi to invoke “plausible deniability.”
@visualeyesmusic #stitch with @thehistorywizard on Schizophrenic Nazis #politics #rights #dogwhistle #leftist #fascist ♬ original sound - Holly Mavermorne
The phrase “I’m schizophrenic” helps nazis separate accounts like themselves – real nazis – from people mocking gnome hunting and the poor souls who are actually trying to find gnomes.
@thegnomesarereal0 Im not going insane #gnomes #thegnomesarereal #millionswearthehats #huntgnomes #CapCut ♬ original sound - Third Strike @gnomehunter63 #gnomes #fyp #gnomehunters #funnyvideos #melbourne #meme #australia #mentalhealth ♬ original sound - ϟAnthony Le Fasc ☦️ϟ
TIkToker @2.rude is one such account that fell for the trend without realizing it was a dog whistle for nazis. He has since deleted the original video but posted a follow-up explaining that he was bamboozled because at first glance the trend appeared to be a silly joke about harmless gnomes.
@2.rude Replying to @alligatorforeskin #greenscreen ♬ The Nac - BLP KOSHER
So be warned, if your friends ask you to go gnome hunting in the woods this summer the only thing you'll find are nazis.