Look at These Scary Sculptures to Determine Your Life's Purpose

Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
March 7 2014 10:18 AM

Victoria's Way: A Sculpture Garden Designed to Change Your Life

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

Feeling a bit lost on this meandering path called life? Need to discover your ultimate purpose and feel at peace with yourself? Perhaps you ought to venture to County Wicklow, Ireland, and look at a statue of a man screaming in agony as he cuts his own head in half.

The Split Man is one of the sculptures at Victoria's Way, a garden built to induce self-reflection. Creator Victor Langheld established the park in 1989 after traveling to India in search of spiritual enlightenment. He describes it thusly on his website:

Victoria's Way was designed as a contemplative space to be used by individuals (i.e. single wanderers) between about 28 to 60 years of age who feel the need to assess the quality and direction of their lives. It's a sort of mid-life (-crisis) self-reassessment and self-reorientation pilgrimage.
Advertisement

The process of rebirth begins at the gate — to enter the park, you walk through a large black granite vagina dentata guarded by a stone snake. Then it is time to confront the seven forest sculptures that will lead you from pain and confusion to self-actualization.

victorias
The park's vagina dentata entrance and a sculpture of the fasting Buddha that inspired one of the works

Photos: Yablochko and Cea./Creative Commons

First up is the Birth of the Ferryman, a sculpture of a child being born from a giant, rotting human fist. Then comes When One Becomes Two, a large-breasted woman with a scaly tail for a right leg who laughs maniacally as she clutches at a young girl. The Split Man is next — he represents the self-destruction that results from failing to commit oneself to a life goal — followed by Dark Night of the Soul, an emaciated Buddha in the lotus position.

A giant finger sticks up from the ground at the next contemplation stop. "Create or die" is painted on the fingernail. Whether it is intended to be a middle finger is open to interpretation, but there is a feeling of defiance regardless.

Two sculptures remain: the Nirvana Man, a calm character who sits on a ledge with his eyes closed, and the Ferryman's End, which rivals the Split Man in the disturbing stakes. (The Ferryman, a cadaverous old fellow, sits half-submerged in a green-tinged lake, crying out as his boat slowly sinks.)

If all goes according to plan, you ought to be self-actualized now. As a reward, take a moment to admire Victoria Way's Ganesh statues, carved by Indian sculptor T. Baskaran. The elephant-headed Hindu god is depicted dancing, reading, reclining, and playing musical instruments.

Intense and scary sculptures around the world:


View Indian Sculpture Park in a larger map

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.