“…all the best freaks are here, please stop staring at me…”

Lately, people point me to gargoylish doings wherever I go—including my home state. While rushing across Princeton last week, I learned that since the university’s guide to gargoyles (grotesques, to be accurate) is far from complete, hunting for neo-Gothic doodads still leads to charming surprises.

At McCosh Hall, I might have missed this erudite goat.

Or this monk. (“Prends moi—je suis a toi—mea culpa!”)

Or this macabre baker making Taylor ham the traditional way.

On 1879 Hall (built in 1904), monsters howl silent o’er summer lawns…

…monkeys tear apart a human face…

…and despite what a few lines of poetry claim…


…those “unseen things” may be studying you.

5 thoughts on ““…all the best freaks are here, please stop staring at me…”

  1. These are really good ones! I never see ones this good in real life…I’m going to have to take a look around the UChicago campus soon, I have no idea if they have any grotesques but it seems like they should.

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  2. @Jonathan: Yeah, that one building, which I’ve walked past for years, is vividly festooned with monkeys mutilating human and feline faces. Freaky! The grotesques on other buildings include a footballer in an early 20th-century uniform and two lovers in an automobile. I’d bet that 90 years ago, some Princetonians found them crassly modern.

    @CMM: Thanks for stopping by! I hope all’s well south of the border.

    @Nicole: The U. of Chicago was established during the heyday of “collegiate Gothic” architecture, when schools were trying to outdo each other the way they now do with football stadiums, so I suspect you’ll find grotesques galore. (Some quick online research shows some promising doodads on Reynolds Hall and Mitchell Tower…)

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  3. …and for what it’s worth, a 1906 issue of Architectural Record confirms that the monkeys-on-faces grotesques at Princeton were designed by Gutzon Borglum, whose ambiguous New York angels I wrote about here.

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