Tattooing for thousands of years has been a part of many ancient cultures. Yet, the look and feel of tattoos have changed over time as new styles emerge or gain popularity. The redrum tattoo is one example of this. If you’ve ever seen pictures on the Internet of a red tat with ‘murder’ written backwards, then you’ve likely seen a redrum tattoo.
The term redrum, which is often used to refer to this style of tattooing because it has been etched into so many skulls and knuckle tattoos, stands for “murder” in reverse. This type of tattoo style was first popularized by inmates who would etch images of death and destruction into their skin with sharpened blades after watching violent movies. In most cases, these tattoos have been completed using homemade devices such as a guitar string tied to a wall or pole.
It is possible that the name of the tattoo style comes from Stephen King’s “The Shining”. In this novel, an ax is used to kill a number of people within the book. The ax is also referred to as a “redrum” in a number of scenes.
It wasn’t long before prison tattoo artists who were adept at using tattoo guns started to create redrum tattoos with inmates. In many cases, these redrums are done in black and grey ink or outlined using a combination of black and grey ink.
Redrum tattoo background and meanings
Often, the word “redrum” will be etched into the forehead or placed directly below the skull either horizontally or vertically. Often, “murder” or a different word that is displayed in reverse will be placed below the skull to complete the redrum tattoo. In some cases, blood dripping from the eyes of the skull will be included either as part of the etching process or as an additional design element.
Inmate tattoos are often symbolic and based on their personal experiences. For instance, many inmates who have committed murder will tattoo a skull to symbolize death or killing someone. A redrum can also be used as an omen for the viewer, especially if it is done in color.
Many people think that prison tattoos are gang related, which isn’t always the case. However, there are some prison gangs that have adopted redrum tattoos as a part of their identifying symbols.
Criminal street gangs such as the Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood and Texas Syndicate all use redrum or variations of it. This is one way in which this type of skull tattoo distinguishes members from other prisoners in a prison facility.
Think twice before getting this tattoo
If you’re thinking about getting a redrum tattoo, it’s important to realize that this type of ink is often associated with prison life. As a result, many people on the outside may find this type of design offensive or not understand its meaning. Unfortunately, that can lead to problems for you when you are trying to get into an apartment or secure employment.
If you’re not certain that you want to go through life with a redrum tattoo, you might want to think about getting the design inked onto your body using henna instead. This type of ink is temporary and can easily be washed off later. Many people are choosing this method for adding tattoos because they are trendy at the moment.