Statues, Weeping Angels, and SCP-173
Culture & Community
Statues. A historical piece of arts and crafts that have been enumerated in our everyday life & cultural history. Quite literally, statues have been around since humans, and we find plenty to be as fascinating in some shape or form as they ever have been. Take a statue in your local town for example; a site that has probably been enshrined by the locals to show a piece by an artist, or to commemorate a historical individual. Most statues that we tend to observe are religious pieces that depict religious icons such as Jesus Christ, such historical individuals, or other god-like, reverence-worthy figures.
Take the Virgin Mary for example, a statue that you most likely see in a religious shrine, in a church, or maybe at a fountain. When looking at the Virgin Mary, concepts in terms of appearance tend to vary depending on your location, though many seem somewhat standardized — the Virgin Mary posing to those observing by static blessing, praying, actively crying, or by moving her eyes.
Wait, crying? Their eyes moving?
That’s right. There have been some interesting cases where the weeping statues, often as the Virgin Mary statue and other religious figures, cry out tears — and disturbingly sometimes even blood. You may be thinking that this idea was derived from a confic article, but these reported occurrences go way back, before SCP-173 and even the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who, both of which were conceptualized back in the mid-late 2000s.
Based on what I’ve been able to research, this phenomenon goes back to at least 1643; 364 years ago before the very idea of the Weeping Angels was created. Of course, these occurrences must be taken with a grain of salt as most of these tend to be hoaxes, misperception of natural phenomenons, optical illusions, grifts, et cetera. But before we throw out the strange and supernatural explanations, let’s talk about the origins of these disturbing phenomenons.
The Eyes Turned, The Eyes Teared!
Let’s rewind to 1643, the earliest point in history that the “weeping angels” phenomenon was reported. It was November 10, and the town of Rottweiler was besieged by the French during the Thirty Years' War. In a Dominican church, there were those who observed the blessed Virgin Mary turn pale as her eyes looked upward, symbolizing the heaven above, and then turned right back down at the city. There were many eyewitnesses when this phenomena occurred, both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Allegedly, there were even some who claimed that it also spoke. I wasn’t able to verify it with other sources, however. Even more bizarrely, 15 days later, the statue was once again observed as its eyes moved while shedding a tear. The face of the statue was said to turn red.
The Bavarian troops won in the Battle of Tuttlingen, defeating the French and Weimaran troops; many believed this victory was an attribution to the phenomenon of the blessed Virgin Mary. The statue was eventually renamed as Muttergottes von der Augenwende, translated as “Our Lady of the Turning Eyes.”
After 1643, the frequency of weeping angels reportedly shedding tears increased. Nothing too drastic from your usual crying Virgin Marys, but there is one particular event that changed the game and, like a series of one-up-ing confic articles, evolved the tears of water to tears of blood. The earliest known event of a Virgin Mary statue crying blood was early April 1992 in Lake Ridge, Virginia, when a Catholic associate pastor allegedly observed such an event. After, blood-tearing sightings continued along with the weeping angels phenomena.
Weeping Angels and SCP-173
As aforementioned, these manifestations of “supernatural” phenomenons are to be taken with a grain of salt. After all, something so bizarre should be scrutinized to determine hoax from reality. It's one thing for a single person to believe that a statue is weeping tears, blood, or even have eyes staring back at them, but it is an altogether different thing for it to be accepted by a larger, skeptical society.
As such, the subject and phenomenon is fertile for enthusiasts within the corners of the internet to create and write creepypastas, or inserts in other horror genres that are based on these things. In fact, as you know, there was one relatively minor pop-culture instance that helped spark a new genre of fictitious writing. Ours.
On June 9, 2007, the Doctor Who episode "Blink" was aired. This episode involved a statue-like Weeping Angel that attacked their victims once eye-contact was broken. Their abilities are long-listed, and you can check it out at the Tardis Wiki where it details the Weeping Angel.
Behind the scenes, the creator of the Weeping Angels, Stevan Moffat, stated that the development was conceptualized when he saw an angel statue at a graveyard in Dorset. A few years later after "Blink" was aired, Steven came back to the graveyard around the Christmas holiday and was baffled to find that the statue was no longer there.
The Weeping Angels statues were depicted by their faces being in their palms. They were usually human-sized, but given a life-size instance mimicking the Statue of Liberty that appears, they carry the notion that any statue may be secretly disguised as a Weeping Angel.
A few months after the Doctor Who episode, a 4chan post from paranormal /x/ forum was posted with an image named “Untitled 2004.” Whilst there were some speculations that the SCP-173 concept was inspired by the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who, even in that original 4chan thread, there never was officially a confirmation on this. But due to the fact that this was posted at or around June 22nd of the same year, weeks after the episode was aired, it’s safe to assume that there was some inspiration going around.
Weeping statues was a concept that grew from an old period of history. Many within those respective communities contribute their creativity based on what they’ve experienced, dreamed, thought of, and in this case, what they’ve heard from the strangest parts of the world. There were many mythological tales and stories of apparition, and the idea eventually rooted its way to the minds of those who created our corner of the internet. From that came a cornucopia of other ideas; disturbing stories, and psychological tales, all with avid readers to this day. We recognize SCP-173 as what inspired a genre and a community to form, but it is the idea of the statue that SCP-173 owes its inspiration to in turn.
© Confic Magazine
In honor of statues' originative place in our community, we present to you INDIECON, the first indie containment fiction contest, themed around statues. Entries are being accepted now through June 30th. If you are interested in entering, submit to firstname.lastname@example.org. See here for more information.
Check out Dr "Blake" Pierson's other work on his YouTube channel:
See a non-competing, example INDIECON entry here:
Maria Lim J.F (2021) ‘Mary of the Day (10 November) - Our Lady of the Eye (Muttergottes von der Augenwende), Rottweil, Baden-Württemberg, Germany’ Immaculate-One.com. Available at [shorturl.at/xF028] [Accessed: May 12, 2022]
Hendrickson, Paul (1992) ‘’The Mystery of the Weeping Statues’ WashingtonPost.com Available at [shorturl.at/uGPV3] [Accessed: May 12, 2022]
Wikipedia (2019) ‘Weeping Statue’ Wikipedia.com. Available at [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weeping_Angel] [Accessed: May 12, 2022]
Diver, Tony (2016) ‘Steven Moffat reveals how he came up with the weeping angels’ Radiotimes.com Available at [shorturl.at/djAD3] [Accessed: May 12, 2022]