Weirdest statues from around the world

Ever since mankind first learned to whittle, humans have been making statues nonstop. Some of these sculptures have been incredible works of art, while others don't exactly live up to da Vinci. But in between the good, the bad, and the ugly, there's a whole lot of weird. After all, artists are an odd bunch, and as a result, the world is covered with incredibly strange statues, from horrific horses and menacing messiahs to stray dogs and goat-headed demons.

The Black Jesus of Huntsville, Texas

Huntsville, Texas, is one of the most haunted cities in the Lone Star State. The town is home to a little street known as Demon Road, where motorists have spotted all sorts of ghostly images. And if you're brave enough to take a trip down this diabolical dirt path, you just might find your car is soon covered in mysterious handprints.

Huntsville is also home to a spirit that haunts the library at Sam Houston State University, and some theorize it might be one of the original librarians. Then there's the ghost of a Native American chief that pops up from time to time at the Huntsville prison. But of all the paranormal phenomena in this Texas town, the creepiest has got to be the Black Jesus statue of Oakwood Cemetery.

The statue was built in the 1920s by a family hoping to honor their son who'd passed away at age 5. The monument originally had a copper sheen, but due to the elements, the Christ turned black over the years. But that's not what makes this statue so unsettling. During the day, if you visit Oakwood, you'll notice Jesus' arms are outstretched and his palms are facing upward. However, according to local legend, if you visit at night, Black Jesus sometimes turns his hands palm down. Nobody knows for sure if the stories are true, and we're certainly not brave enough to find out for ourselves.

Moscow's Peter the Great

Peter the Great hated Moscow. In fact, the tsar hated the city so much that he decided to build St. Petersburg and make it the new Russian capital. So he probably wouldn't be pleased that there's a 308-foot-tall statue of him in the Moscow River. According to the Washington Post, this thing weighs 1,000 tons, and it depicts an oversized Peter standing in a ship, dwarfed by a gigantic mast. Weirder still, the ship rests atop a pillar made of smaller boats, and the whole thing rests on a manmade island.

Yeah, it's a pretty tacky statue, and those Christopher Columbus vibes aren't just your imagination. No, sculptor Zurab Tsereteli originally wanted to make a Columbus statue. However, when a long list of American cities turned his idea down, he took the same design concept but went with Peter the Great instead. (Tsereteli did eventually make a Columbus memorial for Puerto Rico.) The statue was unveiled in 1997 to mark the 300th anniversary of the Russian navy, but when the sculpture was finally revealed, the locals didn't think it was all that great.

Moscow citizens have dubbed the monument "The Moscow Monster," and one disgruntled citizen described it as "the ugliest statue of the end of the 20th century." And with all the hatred aimed at Peter the Great, there's been a lot of talk about taking it down and shipping it off to St. Petersburg. But moving this monstrosity could cost over $30 million, so Peter is still standing there to this day, guarding the waterways and offending everyone who walks by.

The Kalashnikov statue

Lt. General Mikhail Kalashnikov was one of the most influential figures of the 20th century … and one of the most destructive. In the 1940s, the Soviet soldier created the AK-47, the most popular assault rifle in the world. Around 50 armies use this particular machine gun, and there are approximately 100 million Kalashnikov rifles on the planet. Tragically, quite a few of these weapons have ended up in the hands of terrorists, criminals, and rogue states, a fact that once prompted Kalashnikov himself to write, "My spiritual pain is unbearable."

But despite all the death, Kalashnikov was honored in September 2017 with an approximately 30-foot-tall statue, depicting the iconic inventor holding one of his trademark rifles. The statue was created by Salavat Scherbakov — an artist who specializes in famous Russian figures — and the project was partly funded by a group that owns the Kalashnikov company. And when the statue was recently unveiled, the Russians made a pretty big deal about it, revealing the monument on a holiday called Weapons Makers Day. Church officials even blessed the statue with holy water and a prayer.

Unfortunately for Scherbakov, his statue has already hit a bit of a PR snag. In addition to the monument itself, the sculptor created a bas-relief depicting all the other weapons Kalashnikov designed. But somehow, Scherbakov accidentally added a Sturmgewehr 44, a rifle invented by the Nazis. It was particularly embarrassing goof as some have claimed that Kalashnikov might've stolen his idea from the German gun. Once the mistake was pointed out, the Nazi weapon was cut off the statue, leaving behind a sizable and humiliating hole.

The Sylacauga meteorite statue

It was November 1954, and Ann Hodge was just minding her own business. A resident of Sylacauga, Alabama, Hodge was sleeping on her couch when something crashed through the roof of her house. It ricocheted off her radio and hit the poor woman in her thigh, leaving a nasty bruise. But what had come hurtling into her home?

Well, it was quickly determined the object was a meteorite. The thing weighed nearly 9 pounds, and according to National Geographic, Ann Hodge had just become the only confirmed person who'd ever been struck by a stone from outer space. Sadly, the incident led to a legal battle where Hodge's landlady attempted to get the meteorite for herself. After settling out of court, Hodge tried to draw in curious customers who might want a gander at the galactic rock, but no one ever showed up.

Out quite a bit of cash from the settlement, Hodge gave the meteorite to the Alabama Museum of Natural History. But the story of the Sylacauga meteorite doesn't stop there. Later on, an artist named Don Lawler drove into town, hoping to buy some marble for a project, and he learned about the 1954 incident. Inspired, he created "Falling Star," a sculpture of a white meteorite that looks like it's some sort of otherworldly octopus. Today, the statue sits outside the Sylacauga city hall, commemorating the day when Ann Hodge made history by napping in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Malchik

Back when the Soviet Union was still going strong, stray dogs weren't much of a problem in Russia. Mangy mutts were regularly put down or used for experiments, but after the fall of the USSR, people had bigger problems than wild canines. As a result, the stray population skyrocketed, and as of 2014, there were 35,000 dogs roaming around Moscow. According to Slate, that's one pooch for every 300 humans in the city, and a lot of these dogs have set up shop in Moscow's subway system.

In fact, these dogs have been hanging out down there for so long that they've figured out how to use the escalators and ride the trains. But when you have that many dogs and people trying to claim the same space, something horrible is eventually going to happen. Take the story of Malchik, for example. A black dog who hung around the Mendeleyevskaya metro station, Malchik (which means "Boy") was generally regarded as a friendly stray, but one day, he made the bad decision of barking at a fashion model named Yulia Romanova and her pet terrier.

The fashion model did not respond well.

To the horror of everyone nearby, the model pulled a knife out of her purse and stabbed Malchik six times. Tragically, poor Malchik passed away, and as a result, Romanova was arrested and sent to therapy. But even though he died a gruesome death, Malchik's memory still lives on. Believe it or not, there's a bronze statue of the murdered mutt standing at the station's entrance, memorializing Malchik and warning all fashion models to leave their weapons at home.

The Hannah Duston memorial

On a little river island in Massachusetts, there's a 30-foot-tall monument of a pioneer woman named Hannah Duston. Built in 1874, this striking sculpture is the oldest statue of a woman in U.S. history. But despite its significance, few people visit the little island, and according to the podcast 99% Invisible, the memorial has fallen into disrepair. That probably has something to do with what Duston is holding in her hands. In one, there's a hatchet, and in the other, she's got a fistful of scalps.

See, in 1697, the real Hannah Duston was kidnapped by Abenaki warriors, along with her nurse, Mary Neff, and newborn child. According to the story — though some dispute this part — one of the natives murdered Hannah's baby by slamming it against a tree. Eventually, the raiding party left Hannah and Mary with two native families, comprised of two men, three women, and several kids. These natives also had a young white boy named Samuel, and one night, Hannah plotted an escape plan with her fellow slaves.

Of course, her getaway involved killing her captors. At night, Hannah and her co-conspirators armed themselves with hatchets and attacked the natives in their sleep, killing ten people, including six children. Only a grandmother and a little boy escaped, and it's believed that Hannah did almost all the dirty work. After the killings, Hannah then scalped her victims, and when she returned to her town of Haverhill (where she became something of a superstar), she sold the scalps for enough money to buy some primo real estate. So yeah, the Hannah Duston story is pretty controversial, as is her monument, and with those problematic politics at play, it's easy to understand why nobody ever visits the blood-soaked statue.

Victor's Way Indian Sculpture Park

When Irishman Victor Langheld returned from a trip to India, the journey changed his life and inspired him to create one of the strangest parks in the world. Known as Victor's Way Indian Sculpture Park, this grisly garden opened in County Wicklow, Ireland, in 1989, and it was created so wanderers "between about 28 to 60 years of age" could study the statues, assess their own lives, and come to some sort of enlightenment. But honestly, most people will probably walk away feeling completely freaked out.

Granted, not all the statues are nightmare fuel. The park is filled with sculptures of Hindu gods like Ganesh (keep an eye out for the elephant's rodent friend who's playing on an iMac). However, the real highlights are the statues specifically made to prompt a spiritual awakening. There's "The Birth of the Ferryman," which shows a child crawling out of a skeletal hand, and then there's "The Dark Night of the Soul," which depicts a starving Buddha contemplating the universe while slowly wasting away.

But the creepiest statues have got to be "The Split Man" and "The Ferryman's End." The former shows a guy cutting himself in two while screaming in pain, and the latter depicts a decrepit old dude wading through a swamp (although he looks more like a zombie from The Walking Dead than an actual human being). Of course, kids aren't allowed inside the 22-acre park as it's supposed to be a place of self-discovery, but that's probably best for the kids who don't want "The Split Man" to show up in their nightmares.

Blucifer

It's safe to say the Denver International Airport is the weirdest airport on the planet.  Ever since opening in 1995, it's been the center of pretty much every conspiracy theory imaginable. Some claim it's the HQ for the New World Order, others say it has ties to the Third Reich, and some believe there are aliens scuttling back and forth in underground passageways. Sure, it's all nonsense, but the artwork around the airport has provided crackpots with a whole lot of ammo.

For example, there are gargoyles hanging around the baggage claim areas, and there are murals depicting burning buildings and machine gun-wielding thugs. But things get especially weird when you're driving to the airport and spot a gigantic blue horse rearing up on its hind legs. Standing 32-feet-tall and weighing 9,000 pounds, this statue is officially called "Blue Mustang," but the locals know it by names like "Demon Horse," "Satan's Steed," and best of all, "Blucifer."

And honestly, the statue does look pretty freaky, especially with its eyes that glow red at night. Artist Luis Jimenez fitted the horse with LEDs, supposedly to honor his father who made neon signs for a living. But in addition to its demonic facade, the horse has an incredibly twisted history. Blucifer was supposed to be ready in 1995, but it took over a decade for the statue to show up. Complicating things was the fact that Jimenez was killed in 2006 when a chunk of the horse fell on his leg and severed an artery.

So when the horse finally went up in 2008, some claimed it was cursed, with others describing it as "horrible" and "disturbing." But even though some wanted Blucifer torn down, the horse is still standing today, frightening travelers from around the world and possibly warning people about freemason-reptilian-apocalyptic conspiracy.

The Baphomet statue

America has a weird relationship with religion, especially when it comes to the separation of church and state. There are quite a few courthouses across the U.S. that boast sculptures of the Ten Commandments, and this doesn't sit well the activist group known as the Satanic Temple. Hoping to prove a point, they created a statue of Baphomet and planned on putting their demonic goat right next to the Ten Commandment memorial at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

The winged devil cost around $100,000 to make, and its body was based on the physique of rock legend Iggy Pop. The sculpture stands 9 feet tall and weighs about 1 ton, and in addition to Baphomet, there are statues of two kids looking at Satan in admiration. Naturally, this satanic statue angered quite a few people, but the figure never made it to capitol grounds because, in 2015, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled the Commandments had to come down.

No longer needing to prove their point, the statue was unveiled in Detroit that same year. The location of the ceremony was kept a secret until the last minute in an effort to keep troublemakers away. And if you wanted to buy a ticket to the event, you had to agree to sell your soul to Satan, guaranteeing angry zealots would stay far away. But since then, the Satanic Temple has been looking for a new home for Baphomet, and according to their official website, they just might send him down to the Arkansas State Capitol where there's another Ten Commandments statue.

The Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden

Located in the Thai city of Bang Saen, the Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden is full of plaster and concrete statues being tortured in all sorts of horrible ways. It's a sadistic little slice of the Buddhist underworld, and it's all part of a plan to scare you into following Buddhist law, because if you break the rules, you might get sawn in half, chopped up with axes, or have your head knocked off with a metal bar.

But before you witness the torture, first you have to walk past the Preta, giant statues of hungry ghosts with incredibly long tongues. And beneath the ghosts, you'll spot a number of humans with animal heads, with each beastly face representing some sort of sin. The jealous become rabbits, thieves turn into monkeys, the ungrateful morph into tigers, and the corrupt become pigs. Further in the garden, you'll find statues of alcoholics being served boiling hot oil and a drug dealer having his throat cut. A woman who had an abortion is being pressed with a vice, and one unlucky guy has a throwing star sticking out of his head.

And then there are the nude statues climbing thorn-covered trees, hoping to escape the angry animals below. Of course, the walking tour ends on an upbeat note, with statues showing that if you follow the rules, you'll get your own magical tree, one that will provide anything you want when you're reincarnated. Just make sure you donate some money before you go, and you're all set for the afterlife.