September 11, 2001: The Wingdings Prophecies
Netlore Archive: Forwarded email notes 'interesting' results obtained by typing certain strings of letters ('Q33NY,' 'Q33NYC,' etc.) into Microsoft Word, and converting the font to Wingdings.
Description: Email rumor / Conspiracy theory
Circulating since: Sep. 2001
Status: Speculative / False (see details below)
Email contributed by Tiffany, Sep. 19, 2001:
Subject: Did Bill Gates know?
Email contributed by James A., Sep. 20, 2001:
Subject: FW: Scary
One of the planes that hit the trade centre towers was flight number : Q33NY
1) Open a new Word document and type in capital letters Q33NY
Analysis: I encourage everyone to try these experiments to see the results for themselves. For those who don't know how (or actually have lives and no time to play around with computer fonts), here's what the fuss is about:
Both the Webdings and Wingdings fonts, available in Microsoft Word and compatible programs, consist of small graphic icons in place of the standard letter set. If you convert a block of text to either Wingdings or Webdings, you end up with a string of simple pictures.
Wingdings have been around longer than Webdings, and indeed it was first observed in the early 1990s that converting the letters "NYC" to Wingdings produces "interesting" results:
At the time, some folks not only saw a hidden message in this but leaped straight to the assumption that it must have been intentional. A 1992 article in the New York Post even proclaimed, in screaming headlines, "Millions of computers carry secret message that urges death to Jews in New York City!"
Microsoft, which first bundled the font with the release of its Windows 3.1 software, vehemently denied the charges, responding that any so-called "secret messages" were purely coincidental, and that allegations of anti-Semitism were "outrageous" which, let's face it, they were.