The 9 Most Baffling Monuments to Great People

The great monuments tend to also be simple -- Abe Lincoln's is just him sitting in a chair, Mount Rushmore is just a bunch of giant heads. But some sculptors decide to get creative, to create a memorial that will really blow people's minds. The results are often the stuff of nightmares. Like ...

#9. Martin Luther King Jr. -- Toledo, Ohio


Martin Luther King Jr. has been memorialized everywhere from Milwaukee to Westminster Abbey. But this depiction, by Constancia Gaffeney and Wil Clay in Toledo, Ohio, is the one that has really stuck with us the most (by earning itself a rightful place in our nightmares, that is).

Stop for a minute and take in everything that's wrong with it: the dark, vacant eyes, the dead expression, the four dismembered Martin Luther King Jr. heads super-glued around a globe. And let's not ignore the uncanny resemblance to the Necromongers from The Chronicles of Riddick:

From the Pitch Black sequel that went all off the rails.

We're thinking everything will suddenly make perfect sense when the statue powers up and Martin Luther King Jr.'s faces start spinning around, twin death rays wreaking destruction from each set of eyes.

#8. Walter Johnson -- Washington, D.C.

Washington Times

AHHH! HOLY SHIT! Was Walter Johnson ... the end boss of a Resident Evil game? A victim of the Thing? What's going on with his arm?

Actually, Walter "Big Train" Johnson has been ranked by The Sporting News as the greatest pitcher in baseball history, and from 1907 to 1927 he and his 91-mph fastball established a shitload of pitching records, some of which remain unbroken to this day. So when sculptor Omri Amrany was commissioned to create a Johnson statue for the center field plaza at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., he decided to honor the great pitcher with a statue featuring the "repetitive motion" effect, also known as the "holy shit run he's coming straight at us with his mutated murder-arm" effect.

Really, it's groundbreaking work in the field of Shithouse Crazology.

Turns out Walter Johnson's grandson isn't too happy about the memorial, either:

"It just doesn't work. Those big pieces of matter coming out of Walter's shoulder look like driftwood. But I don't like any part of the statue. I really object to it. It's ridiculous, not even close [to accurately portraying Johnson]. He looks awkward. His delivery point is all wrong. His legs are too stiff. The 'W' on his uniform is too big. And the inscription is on the back [of the base]. It doesn't even face the plaza."

Oh, hell no. We maybe could have gotten past the flailing-arm-of-death thing, but the "W" is too big. God help us, the "W" is too big.

The Historical Marker Database
From this angle, it's less "I'm going to make you crap your pants" and more "I just crapped my own pants."

#7. Pat Tillman -- Phoenix, Arizona

B-Bottom, Harmony Central
He bears a startling resemblance to Jim Carrey.

You may remember Pat Tillman as the football player who, after the 9/11 attacks, walked away from a $3.6 million contract to serve in the U.S. Army. After going through Ranger training, he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2003 and was tragically killed by friendly fire in April of 2004. So how do you honor this great man who so succinctly embodied the ideals of selflessness and sacrificing oneself for one's country? You put up this statue of him at the University of Phoenix, entitled Pat Tillman, Running and Screaming With Head Aflame.

Harmony Central Forum
"Stop, drop and roll, Pat! STOP, DROP AND ROLL!"

If you're wondering how they came up with such an odd pose, it's based on a photograph of Tillman taken during his days with the Arizona Cardinals:
His great-grandfather was a lion.

But someone forgot to tap sculptors Gary Tillery and Omri Amrany on the shoulders and remind them that what makes a great photo doesn't necessarily make a great statue. For one, wind-blown hair is really hard to convey in a sculpture. Also, with a statue, you've got all those pesky "other viewing angles" to worry about.

Andrew Mills, the Star-Ledger
Alternate title: Pat Tillman, Running into an Invisible Wall

#6. Oscar Wilde -- London, England

He's either rising out of a poorly made coffin or a seriously ill penis.

To memorialize the brilliant novelist, poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, sculptor Maggi Hambling came up with that monstrosity you see above, entitled A Conversation With Oscar Wilde. But perhaps we're being a bit harsh here -- sure, it's a disembodied head and hand sticking up out of a stone sarcophagus, but we suppose we could look past all that if it meant we could sit and have a spiritual one-on-one with the guy who could deliver witty and devastating one-liners like they were $5 pizzas.

OK, let's get a little closer:

Alan Stanton
Too close!

Gah! Is he made of worms? Or is that just what tattered zombie-flesh looks like when rendered in bronze? And why does he have a putrefied stoat growing out of the side of his neck?

"A conversation With Oscar Wilde," huh? Yeah, any conversation with that thing would begin with it beckoning our souls down into whatever pit of hell it slithered up from and end with us dousing it with holy water and sticking it with the pointiest crucifix we could find. Anything to ensure that no one ever had to endure that conversation, ever again.

"Learned conversation is either the affectation of the ignorant or the profession of the mentally unemployed."

#5. St. Bartholomew -- Milan, Italy


St. Bartholomew is perhaps the only saint who has the dual distinction of being skinned alive and having a massacre named after him. So when memorializing the patron saint of the Saw movies in stone, how does one do him justice? Well, Marco d'Agrate certainly gave it the old college try way back in 1562 when he created his statue of St. Bartholomew, seen above at its home in Milan Cathedral. Go ahead, stare at it for a while -- we'll wait.

Wow. Pretty eerie, right? But not exactly horrifying. At least he has some kind of sheet wrapped around him, so he's not a creepy bald guy who's also rocking it out, if you catch our drift. Wait, something's a little off about the texture of that fabric -- let's take a closer look:

We're ... not sure how PETA would feel about this.

What's that draped over his shoulder? Is that -- is that a face? And down near the bottom -- are those toes? What the hell kind of a sheet has a face and toes?

Oh, right. He's wearing his own flayed skin.

Well, that explains the baldness and the truly impressive muscle definition. No word on what that book is he's holding, but we have to assume he's researching how to solve the puzzle box from Hellraiser.

"These head nails don't help at all!"

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