The Travelling Gnome
This appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 24th September 1986, "An Eastern suburbs Gnome Owner was distressed when she discovered her gnome had been stolen at the weekend.
A note was found in its place: "Dear Mum, couldn't stand the solitude any longer.
"Gone off to see the world. Don't be worried, I'll be back soon.
"Love Bilbo, xxx."
And thus, it is believed, "Gnoming" was born.
The Travelling Gnome activity developed into the practice of a Garden Gnome’s return ‘to the wild’. The prank involves kidnapping a Garden Gnome, taking it on an adventure or holiday, taking photographs with it at famous landmarks, before returning the Gnome to the owner with the photos, or in some cases, sending postcards from around the Gnome's travels.
The activity has grown so popular that www.wikihow.com even includes a
“How To Go Gnoming” To Do list:
1) Get a group of friends together. All of you must swear to secrecy! This is only for people who are not worried about getting in trouble.
2) Find a neighbour's house with a Garden Gnome. Make sure your neighbour is a good sport or away for the weekend. If they are cranky/don't like kids/or very possessive with their Gnomes do not do this!
3) Take their gnome. Do this subtly and quietly and send only one or two people, so other neighbours don't get suspicious.
4) Drive around town doing random things with the Gnome. This might include shopping, ice skating, having lunch etc. Do anything that comes to mind that looks like it would be a great photo opportunity for the Gnome. If you have any town-specific landmarks (town hall, monument etc), take pics of him near that too.
5) Take pictures during each activity. Put them in a small photo album, or scrapbook.
6) Return the gnome to the porch of his house with photos. Make sure the neighbours are home or you'll miss the fun that ensues.
7) Ring the doorbell.
8) Run away. You and your friends should remain hidden but try to be somewhere that you can observe the neighbour's reaction. If your neighbour is a really good sport, ask them about it a few days later.
Gnoming went mainstream in the 1990s and it often made the news...
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