More Gargoyles

Gargoyle photo by Bill Styple (
Gargoyle photo by Bill Styple (

Since my last gargoyle post I have heard from so many people and learned so much! I had no idea that gargoyles were such an object of fascination for so many people. I spoke to some wonderful bloggers in Australia, England, France, and the United States who are interested in gargoyles and have their own photos and stories to share with me. I have also had people I already know tell me that they are interested in gargoyles and are enjoying what I am writing. I have seen photos of metal gargoyles, kangaroo gargoyles, and gargoyles inspired by ancient gods. I am truly surprised by the gargoyle love out there and all the people interested in what I have to say about them.

Paisley Abbey Alien grotesque
The Alien grotesque at Paisley Abbey in Scotland. Photo by Mark Harkin via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

First up, I give you an alien gargoyle from the medieval Paisley Abbey in Scotland. When I googled this odd little dude, I found several recent articles from British news sources. It seems that the abbey underwent restoration in the 1990s, and got new gargoyles. Apparently the design was up to the craftsman hired, and he seems to have been a fan of the movie “Alien”. You can read about it here and also see a short video and a photograph of another one of the abbey’s modern gargoyles.

Denver Airport grotesque
Terry Allen, “Notre Denver”, 1994. One of Denver Airport’s two grotesques. Photo by pravin.premkumar via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Also, check out Denver Airport’s gargoyles. The work of artist Terry Allen, the two gargoyles are sitting in suitcases, apparently waiting for their flight. The airport’s website says that they are placed near the baggage claims “to ensure the safe arrival of baggage”, clearly following the theory that gargoyles were originally apotropaic devices. I found both the Denver gargoyles and the alien gargoyle from this Pinterest board, which is definitely worth a follow. Update 3/4/19: Recently, Denver Airport has also become home to a talking animatronic gargoyle, who looks much like the one above. You can see a video of his antics here.

I found these gargoyles that were obviously inspired by ancient Mexican, Central, or South American art. I don’t want to post the photos without permission, but please click on the link to see them at Gargoyles of New York. I am very curious about these gargoyles because this motif is uncommon and nothing else about the building suggests the same influences. I wonder if there was something about the architect or the original use of the building that inspired these unusual gargoyles. I am going to dig around a little and see what I can find. Maybe after that, I will explore the origins of other non-traditional gargoyles. (Edited 11/20: Read my answer to the mystery of the Mayan gargoyles here.)

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