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What in the world is a Gremlin Bell?

by Brian Pehrson about a year ago in Historical
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Nuggets of knowledge

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Man do I have some nuggets of uncommon knowledge for you to add to your conversational tool bag. We all have one, don’t be shy. Uncommon, weird, or strange knowledge is mandatory for everyone. Some people have some strange facts tucked away about how sharks clean their teeth, some have the golden nugget of how many stairs are in the Statue of Liberty (not that it matters) while others have more socially acceptable nuggets about household cleaning cheats (please share them with me).

Today though I will gift you all with the history of the Gremlin Bell! I am sure someone is saying “a what now?” and that’s perfect. Read this short article and store this information away to wow your friends or the person of your dreams at your next social gathering!

A gremlin bell has many different names it turns out. Some of its other names are a Guardian Bell, Ride Bell, Motorcycle Bell. These bells, whichever name you want to give them, are attached to the lowest part of the frame on a motorcycle to ward off gremlins and bad spirits wandering roads. Supposedly when these bells chime the gremlins flee keeping the rider safe from all those nasty things out there.

If a motorcycle does not have a gremlin bell the gremlins and bad spirits will try to attach themselves to a rider’s motorcycle and wreak havoc on the mechanical parts or cause an accident somehow. Sounds silly huh (add that nugget to your tool bag)? There is a reason for this and I am getting there. I promise.

Now there are some rules to these gremlins bells we should all know about.

First; the person who owns the motorcycle CAN NOT buy their bell! This is important. If they buy their own it attracts more gremlins and bad spirits. The same goes if the owner of the motorcycle puts the bell on themselves. Purchasing and installing the bell is supposed to be done by a close friend or loved one of the riders. This act will keep the rider safe. And let’s be honest, it is important to us all to keep our loved ones safe while riding motorcycles.

Second; Never…. ever…ever…ever steal someone else’s Gremlin bell! When you do this the gremlins and bad spirits know what you did (like Santa I guess). They will then actively seek you out to get the bell back whether you ride a motorcycle or not. Just a fair warning for y’all.

Third; if you or a loved one purchases a motorcycle check it for a gremlin Bell. If there is one on it you need to remove it and return it to the owner. Why? Well, the gremlins and bad spirits are not the brightest bunch you see. They will believe you stole the bell….so reread point two on what happens (keep putting these nuggets in your tool bag).

Man! Did you get all those nuggets of knowledge in your tool bag? Do you have room for a few more that may apply to a wider social circle (other than motorcycle riders)? I got you!

So how did these bells come about? The answer is related to World War II and the Army Air Corps. Yes, you read that right. The Army Air Corps was the predecessor to the Air Force. Back then all planes, helicopters, and piolets belonged to the Army Air Corps. Airplanes and bombers back then were not as fast or solid as they are now. Most bombing runs on Axis-occupied areas and bases took eight or more hours to complete. Unfortunately, pilots and planes were in a bit of a short supply then due to obvious reasons. What pilots and planes we did have would have to make back-to-back runs to complete the missions. Sometimes as much as three straight days of bombing runs.

These extended and long missions cause havoc to the planes due to constant use, the axis forces defending themselves, and the crew's sleep deprivation. Eventually, the pilots and bombing crews believed they saw gremlins or little beings out of the corner of their eye. Why did they think this though? Well, European folklore has gremlins throughout it and they are constantly tinkering, breaking, and messing with people’s things. The American Pilots' very close relationship with the Allied Forces combined with sleep deprivation, extreme overuse, under repaired equipment, and government-issued amphetamine tablets and you got tweaked out, tired pilots and crew who are seeing gremlins cause havoc on their planes. Sounds out there right? Well, it is true (minus the gremlin being real…. I think).

Let’s fast forward to after World War II.

Upon returning from World War II those pilots and bombing crews had unbreakable relationships and comradery. Those people tended to stay near each other and wanted to continue their bond and be near the people who would understand what they went thru. What better way to do this than ride motorcycles together? With this, this American motorcycle culture started to boom, and with it their superstitious gremlins and bad spirits. The legend of gremlins was born in America!

There you have it. Multiple amazing nuggets of very uncommon knowledge. Put them in your conversational tool bag and use them to wow your friends and family or maybe just to keep your loved motorcycle rider safe.


About the author

Brian Pehrson

I am a 38 year old retired Army Military Police Officer. I am married to my absolute best friend and the most amazing, supportive and intelligent woman I know. We have three children and currently live in Virginia.

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