The traditional gargoyle is a horrendous creature who leers out of medieval church walls. But people have continued making gargoyles right up into the modern day, bringing science fictional flourishes to these fantasy creations.

A Xenomorph on Paisley Abbey, Scotland, built in the early 14th century

Many of the original gargoyles were replaced during the renovations in the early 1990s, so we’re afraid that one of the stonemasons was in a funny mood.

19th and 20th Centuries Although not designed to drain water and therefore technically not gargoyles, the grotesques on modern structures are still considered by most people to be gargoyles. Grotesques were used as decoration on 19th- and early 20th-century buildings in cities such as New York (where the Chrysler Building’s stainless steel gargoyles are celebrated), Minneapolis, and Chicago. Gargoyles can be found on many churches and other buildings. One extensive collection of modern gargoyles can be found in Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The cathedral, begun in 1908, is encrusted with the limestone demons. This collection also includes Darth Vader, a crooked politician, robots and many other modern spins on the ancient tradition. The 20th Century collegiate form of the Gothic Revival produced many modern gargoyles, notably at Princeton University, Washington University in St. Louis, Duke University, and the University of Chicago.

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MU/TH/UR 9000

“The wildest hath not such a heart as you.
Run when you will, the story shall be changed:
Apollo flies, and Daphne holds the chase;
The dove pursues the griffin; the mild hind
Makes speed to catch the tiger; bootless speed,
When cowardice pursues and valour flies.”  
 ―    William Shakespeare