Saturday, 15 November 2014

European Adventures Part III: An Automatonophobe's Nightmare

This week I learned that automatonophobia is the fear of inanimate objects that represent humans.  Thanks, Google!

In part three of the Europe travel notes, we look again at Oviedo Cathedral, and more specifically at a few of the statues around the place.  First, St. Anthony.

We’ve looked at St. Anthony before, and the main reason he’s here is because I still love the adorable pig by his side. 

Adorable but sad, as if he knows he’s just a thought away from being turned into bacon for his master.

I guess saintly animal companions were pretty popular.  This guy has a stoned lion hanging out with him, which doubles as a book stand.

Next up: St. Leocadia. 

The combination of her wild lightning bolts on a plate, combined with her creepy, slightly reptilian eyes, reminds me of one of the weeping angels from Doctor Who crossed with a rogue Pokémon.

Speaking of the Timelord, here is the Eleventh Doctor’s patron saint.

This is apparently the corner for people who crossed St. Leocadia, with shock and seizures being the result.

I am not sure who this guy is, but the demon he is walking over looks more annoyed than conquered.

Of course St. Peter gets a central statue spot.

The jaunty angle of his beehive hat, the gaping mouth, the crazed eyes looking in slightly different directions...he’s holding out the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven as if to say, “PLEASE TAKE THESE KEYS BECAUSE I DON’T REMEMBER WHERE I LIVE.”

Finally for this installment, I present this lovely altar featuring the Holy Family.

There are a lot of statues of Mary holding Baby Jesus, maybe with a dove shooting laser beams over their heads to represent her Baby Daddy.  I like this one, however, because Mary is on her own being glorified on top of a pile of children, while Joseph has been left with babysitting duties overhead. 

He is holding that baby like he is not quite sure which way is up, and he definitely does not want to change the Holy Diaper. 


  1. St Peter looks as if he's being executed in the electric chair, so the keys would be impossible to prise from his grasp. "Did someone say this was better than crucifixion" is what he might be thinking.

    1. I always wanted to see the shocking conclusion to his life.

  2. I have a-ton-of-phobias but none involve these photos. The angels atop St. Anthony look as if they might jump. I too like pig but when they sacrifice that baby it's always called an abomination that causes desolation - clean up aisle 5!

    The guy with the lion - do you think at one time his index finger was pointing up? And are we sure that is a lion and not some smallish dude hanging out under his skirt?

    Oh look St. Peter must have started "Easter Seals" - the emblem atop his sword, right? And now we know where the Marty Feldman family tree began.

    I'm checking out the Holy Family altar and there's a guy above Joseph with a bowling ball - see it? He probably just missed bowling night with the guys because he's babysitting. And wouldn't you hate to polish that monstrosity? Looks like someone's been using the holy ditey to do just that - note the nice brown-bronze tones!

    Ah I feel so elated. It's rare I'm allowed in museums but I can't imagine why. Great post!

    1. It might be a smallish dude. It might also be the friendlier brother of that demon who's getting stepped on later.

      You're right I had no idea the Feldman line had such illustrious Papal heritage!

      As for the gentleman with the bowling ball over Joseph, I'm pretty sure that's God, and what's especially disturbing is that to the left of the sphere is what appears to be a decapitated head he is glaring at. I mean, there are the usual flying baby heads around, but this one looks like a genuine human head that has lost its body. And really that's not the kind of thing I would want dangling over a child as a fun mobile.

      This cathedral could easily employ a staff of a dozen duster/polishers full time forever. And I fully expect that my face is on some museum watch list...Thanks for your comments!

  3. I am definitely a little of an automatonophobia then... but more so things that mimic other things but are alive, like clowns and santas and characters as Disney World. *shudder*

    1. You know, I'm kind of surprised there isn't a "Holy Land" amusement park somewhere with people walking around dressed as all the top saints. Maybe a regular parade with a lively musical number for the dragging of the cross to Golgotha.

  4. Are you sure these are inanimate? They look like more sinister versions of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who. Though I didn't know what automatonophobia was until now, it's good to have a real fear diagnosed.

    1. I cannot be 100% sure, because I was careful not to blink through the entire visit hour-long visit. And I am glad to be of help with a complicated diagnosis - I am a doctor, technically speaking...