#FolkloreThursday 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, United Kingdom, WC1N 3AX. His description was pretty detailed, as well: The creature was large, with a “thick, short beak” and a “stretched” head. Gargoyles: Demons in the Sky or Grotesque Guardian Angels? She is usually armed with either a mace, a particle beam cannon, or both. In ages past, it was customary to decorate buildings with stone statues of demons that were enchanted to serve as guardians and protectors of those within. Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. She was, you could say, tired of having children. Folklorist Katherine Briggs maintains the gargoyle, along with church bells and the weathercock, has long been believed to be one of three known ‘defences against the Devil’ (20). Those who survived were cursed to sleep in their stone forms until their castle rose high above the clouds. When she was about to have her thirteenth child, however, she cursed it, saying that it would be the devil. Sometime around the year 600 a priest named Romanus arrived in Rouen and promised to deal with La Gargouille if the residents agreed to build a church in town and join his congregation. Gargoyles Notre Dame de Paris © Krzysztof Mizera (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17301717). New York, N.Y.: Pantheon Books. An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures. These vile creatures have many magical immunities, making them tough opponents for magic wielding adventurers. He did manage to capture a bizarre photo with his smartphone — it shows a dark figure shaped like a goat, with two horns and what may be wings. This interpretation of the gargoyle as a ‘sort of sacred scarecrow’ subsequently inspired artists and authors to create truly grotesque creations to keep such evil away from holy places and protect the Church’s loyal parishioners (Benton 24). Unusual animal mixtures, or chimeras, did not act as rainspouts and are more properly called grotesques.
The curse is finally broken when billionaire, and sometimes-antagonist, David Xanatos relocates the castle and its petrified monstrosities to modern-day Manhattan. Gargoyles are probably the most notorious breed of Winged Demons. It’s no secret that our fascination with all things monstrous, the macabre and horror has not dissipated in the slightest throughout the ages—it’s part of the human condition and is precisely the reason why gargoyles have endured in popular culture today. from New York University and her M.A. Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time. In China, there are dragons that work the same way that gargoyles work, to drain water from rooves. I was ten or eleven and parked in front of my television in Southern California hooked on a new animated series called Gargoyles (1994-97). Moreover, gargoyles continue to make appearances in films and television—Stephen King speaks candidly in his essay for Nightmares in the Sky (1988) about his love of the made-for-TV film, Gargoyles (1972)—and Disney has recently announced they are producing a new live-action film of the cult animated series I fell in love with as a child. The premise of the story is pretty simple: a thousand years ago in tenth-century Scotland a clan of gargoyles were betrayed and nearly wiped out by the humans they were sworn to protect. Gargoyles was a natural choice in the Schraner household. Without going into further detail, the series was far from rainbows and sunshine with its monstrous protagonists and antiheroes, dark undertones and tendency for melodrama. Print. From Chicago to South America, and even into Spain, gargoyles, it would seem, are out there. There are many interpretations regarding their symbolic role in society, but their practical function as decorative gutters in architectural design is indisputable. Its body was “bulky” and a pinkish color, and it didn’t seem to have front legs. If we’re going to get technical, my beloved animated gargoyles fall into this latter classification of stone beasts, although I can sympathise with the producers’ decision to call the series Gargoyles instead of Grotesques. All Rights Reserved. They’re always watching us, but the question still remains: Why? Who knew decorative waterspouts could be so fascinating? Both ornamented and unornamented waterspouts projecting from roofs at parapet level were a common … Some argued these monstrous creations were merely stone demons—representations of ‘evil forces’ like sin and temptation—which skulked outside the safe confines of church and waited patiently for its next victim (24). Holy Terrors: Gargoyles on Medieval Buildings. Yet still the question remains: Do gargoyles exist beyond the walls of those old buildings? Just last year, in 2017, a story appeared out of Spain of a “Gargoyle-like” creature sighting. The Celts were distinguished hunters and believed the heads of their prey were infused with magical abilities which ‘attract[ed] luck and repell[ed] evil’ (16). I must warn you, however, the beginning of this tale does not involve me standing beneath the grandiose flying buttresses of Notre Dame de Paris and experiencing some epiphany about monsters and our ongoing fascination with the Other, the grotesque and horror. They were both a form of entertainment and responsible for shaping the narrative of public behaviour. The stories you’ll find below may prove their existence, or at … New York, N.Y.: Abbeville Press, 1997. © #FolkloreThursday 2018 When she saw it, she screamed. (1885).). Yes, those snarling stone creatures who devour countless pedestrians with their terrifying gazes are actually glorified (although some might argue ghastly) drains. Subscribe to the Stranger Dimensions mailing list to get updates whenever a new post is added! If you’d like to help keep #FolkloreThursday going, do check out our Patreon page to pledge a small monthly amount to tell us you think #FolkloreThursday is great! Company registered in England & Wales, no. Now free and allowed to resume their evening activities, it’s only a matter of time before the clan adopts the unofficial role as the city’s newest, secret night-time protectors. He’d been driving home from work when he noticed “what he thought was a llama running in and out of the trees lining the road.”. It was ‘described as having a long reptilian neck, a slender stout and jaws, heavy brows and membranous wings’ (11).
The Jersey Devil is considered something of an urban legend. Well, of course they are — by their ordinary definition, gargoyles are nothing more than simple water spouts with elaborate and grotesque designs. The myth and legacy surrounding gargoyles, those ‘Nightmares in the Sky’ as the king of horror, Stephen King, affectionately calls them, is colourful and varied in art history and religious studies (4). Crist argues early Christians used the figure of the gargoyle to attract pagans to worship, and Benton does acknowledge the possibility that these stone monstrosities were ‘survivals’ of paganism which the Church incorporated into their ‘decoration for superstitious reasons’ and improved attendance numbers (23).
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