Larger than Life – statues to rival the gods: a treatise on megalophobia


Which would be one explanation why every time I see one, I (nearly) jump out of my skin, barring the Statue of Liberty and actually not much else. But even though they scare the life forces out of me, I have a not-so secret fascination with these megalithic statues. And by megalithic I mean anything over about ten feet in size. I’m 5″2, and while tall people don’t scare me, I do tend to do a double take when I see someone over 7 feet tall. 

The statues, however, are a whole different thing. The first time I noticed that they were better avoided was when we were going somewhere with my friend, and she insisted to her dad that he park the car, so we could walk across the bridge. The local equivalent to the Ritz-Carlton (but only in the town’s mind) had splurged on a Löwenbräu statue for a few weeks. This being Germany and with Swabians being super stingy – Swabians live by stinginess (not cleanliness) is next to godliness – it was a huge deal. 

Löwe means lion in German, and that’s exactly what they had, a way-too-big statue of epic proportions standing right by the sidewalk. As if that weren’t enough, every fifteen minutes or so the damn thing would roar, and raise its triple pint (or whatever the proper expression is, a) I don’t drink beer, and b) just think Oktoberfest). I had nightmares about it for weeks. My friend, who was one year older than me, loved it. 

Can’t say for sure if that was the trigger, or if other factors weighed in. We moved and traveled a lot when I was growing up, mainly between Europe and America, so there must have been a few of them along the way. Either they didn’t scare me and were therefore insignificant, or they completely traumatized me and I chose to forget by blocking it out thoroughly and completely. 

The next one I remember was the statue on Gellért Hill, Hungary’s very own Statue of Liberty. The first time I saw it, I was fifteen. My dad was giving me a tour of Budapest, and I remember approaching with trepidation. But I also remember sitting there, on top of the hill, in some type of makeshift café. 

Five years later, I insisted a friend take me. It was on his itinerary as well. We might not have made it completely up the hill, because we were goofing off too much. But the statue was there. Several years later, when I was in college, my frenemy – upon hearing about my fear – literally dragged me there in the middle of the night, before we went clubbing, using a combination of daring and cajoling tactics, only to stop in front of the statue with the words, “there! What’s so scary about the damn thing?” 

She meant well, and truly it was more beautiful than scary up there (the view from the hill is pretty out of this world). But there was something about the statue that irked me so badly I had to write a poem about it. An English teacher I hated assessed it for me and commented on how dark it was, ending with the words, “you and Edgar Allan Poe.” I hated the teacher, so I started hating Poe. I hadn’t even realized it was gothic. In fact I was pretty convinced it was just a poem about fear. And since I managed to lose it, we’ll never know. 

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. I am 5 feet 3 inches and for me the statues are bigger the better. In Kolkata we celebrate Durgapuja with great Grandeur, a worship of a goddess with 10 hands, will blog about her this September. The idols are created only for 3 days, sometimes rises up to a height of 100 feet. often the monsters accompany her of same height. If not Durga for Kali there will surely be 2 monsters, rising to great height. They are supposed to scare us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, that’s the other one I forgot, floats and parades. Always felt weird when I saw these statues. But I love parades and those floats at the same time. If I’m in Kolkata, say, I’d love to check out Durgapuja. And even though I have no talent when it comes to shaping and building, I’d love to help in the process of shaping and building one of those statues.

      I can imagine it looks awesome and fearsome and beautiful. I don’t know what scares me so about them, unless it’s the lion statue I saw as a kid, or a memory from a past life. So, is that what you like about them, that they’re meant to scare people? I love looking at them, because of the fear, if that makes sense.

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  2. I have not had luck of seeing many statues, will love to!

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  3. I swear, in European cities you cannot avoid them. We like our manmade things over here. Check out the Colossus of Rhodes project. Although I really love the idea. Wait, I’ll write about it here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I will love to see one in real life! your blog tells it again and again YOU ARE ONE ARTIST! This blog looks so exquisite!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I love playing with photos, so to hear that others like them, too, that means a lot.

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      1. I love them! you are super, super artistic and talented and I love anything related to beauty 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. ☺️☺️☺️☺️ Thank you! I’m the same with beauty. Clearly, it’s hard to judge your own work. I mean, I can do something to the best of my abilities, but it’s so subjective. I’ve had people tell me it’s very dark and spooky, almost demonic. Then others say it’s beautiful. Or they hate it. But as long as I’m able to share it, I’m happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sharmishtha says:

      have not yet seen one demonic- then we all interpret art with our own set of eyes 🙂

      I agree- we can never judge our own creations, we artists have tendency to look down upon them!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! Absolutely! I will sometimes realize that a photo / piece of writing is good, but a lot of times the ones I was about to throw away are the ones people like most.

        I like that about art, that we can all see what we want / need, and it’s interesting to see how people see what you see. I once wrote a story and was sure everyone could see straight away who it was about. One friend of a friend, who was a stranger, got it. No one else did. Everyone who knew me thought I’d written it about a friend’s husband. That thought never crossed my mind. But when they mentioned it I could see it.

        I did have people tell me early on, when I was a child, that my stuff was dark. I don’t even notice it. But every opinion is valid and means a lot to me.

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