Gargoyle on outside portal to Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By Dorevabelfiore (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons.
I probably should have saved this one for closer to Halloween, but I just couldn’t wait because it’s almost too good to be true. This very threatening-looking, shackled gargoyle can be found on the exterior of the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I’m not sure if the gargoyle is functional or not, but it fits perfectly into the prison’s neo-Gothic design. In the nineteenth century, when Eastern State and many other American prisons were built, much was made about the relationship between revival architectural styles (including Gothic and Egyptian) and philosophies of crime and punishment. It would make a fascinating topic of study, but I’m not sure I would have the stomach to poke too deeply into the history of the penitentiary system.

Eastern State isn’t a functioning prison anymore, but it’s still a pretty creepy place and hosts an annual Halloween event called Terror Behind the Walls. I know I wouldn’t have the stomach for that one.