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What is a Mystery Tortilla

A Mystery Tortilla, in the simplest and most accurate terms, is a corn tortilla, placed in a plastic zip-top bag with a message written on it, and taped up anonymously in a public space.  The tortillas that we’re discussing here have occurred in Bellingham, Washington.  I haven’t yet heard of similar tortillas being spotted in other places.

The Mystery Tortilla phenomenon seems to have started in February 2013.  There have been reports of tortillas cropping up before then, but these remain unsubstantiated.  A few downtown denizens noticed photos of these tortillas popping up in their feed and wanted more.  As a result, the Bellingham Mystery Tortilla Appreciation Society was born.

As far as we’ve been able to tell, the tortillas are being posted by a person or persons as a public art project, which I think is mighty generous of them.  The tortillas seem to go up at night, sometimes before the bars close… several have been spotted by folks headed home from a night of debauchery.  Still others aren’t seen until morning, when people are on their way to work.

The tortillas seem to be largely limited to the downtown area of Bellingham.  Sometimes they appear on or near a particular series of local businesses.  We don’t yet know if these businesses are chosen as some sort of mark of approval, or if it’s because they are businesses that are frequented by members of the Society (they are.)  Other times, they seem to appear along a path, as if the Tortilla Bomber is just strolling along with a handful of the things and just slapping them on to things.

Tortillas appear on signs, paper boxes, business windows, poles and other structures.  There have been a few found inside, but they mostly appear out of doors.  A couple have been found on or in vehicles parked in downtown.  They do not seem to appear on government buildings, or for the most part, on chain businesses.

The tortillas do not seem to be menacing.  One tortillateer who found a tortilla left in her car noted that nothing had been taken from the vehicle.