Michelangelo said when asked about his David, how he was able to capture the human form so perfectly. After a moment of thinking, the famed sculptor said the statue had always resided within the stone he had started with, and that he merely had to chip away the excess. Statues have a certain look of being alive when we pass by them on the street or see them in museums. Sometimes they look real enough to reach out and shake our hands. And there are those who say these same statues are often real enough to actually speak.
As incredible as it sounds, the phenomenon of speaking statues has been around for a long time. The word Locution is simply Latin meaning “to speak,” but this paranormal form of locution is the phenomenon whereby an inanimate object, often a stone statue or painting, begins to speak as though it were alive.
Since there is no observable scientific phenomenon that would allow this practice, it is often dismissed as nothing more than mass hysteria or a misinterpretation of the world around us. And yet there are examples throughout history that tell of locution in action. Are these merely cases of mass hysteria? Or is it possible that some unknown force uses statues as a vessel to communicate their intelligence?
Perhaps the most famous account of locution comes from an account by Sir Henry the Dane of Coquet. Sir Henry was a Hermit who was being called out by a group of his fellow countrymen to return to his homeland where he would find himself in more desirable territory for his practice of solitude.
Sir Henry said that he could not, because of a statue of the crucifixion which had come to life and told him to stay where he was. For years afterward, people the world over made pilgrimage to his place of residence to see the talking statue. Accounts vary, and it is unknown if it ever spoke again.
More recently in 2011, a series of videos were uploaded to Youtube that claimed to show locution by statues of the Buddha in Malaysia. While the videos are all overwhelmed by the excited talking of the crowd, cameras focused on the statues’ faces appear blurred.
Different viewers to the videos have cited seeing different things, making it unclear how much of this is simply due to confirmation bias. But there is no question that the witnesses to the event were certain that something special was happening. The bank of statues of Buddha were reported as moving in addition to talking.
Statues are a sign of human influence on the world. We use them to remember the things in our lives that are important and special, but also the things that we hold in reverence. Some have suggested it is the projection of reverence we place upon certain objects give them a level of power.
Though whether this power is purely in the mind or manifesting physically in the objects themselves is something believers and skeptics tend to disagree with. The subject is also interesting because of the uncanny similarities an inanimate object can share with a living being, often called the “uncanny valley.”
Perhaps you’ve been passing by a statue in the past and sworn it moved. Was it simply a trick of the mind? Or is it possible you too could have been witnessing locution by an statue that wanted to say something to the world?