Gargoyles, those terrifying-looking creatures squatting on the corners of many old European buildings, were popular in Gothic architecture between the 12th and 16th century as spouts that allow water to drain away from buildings. They were so popular, in fact, that they were even added to cathedral roofs. But, of course, gargoyles and their decorative counterparts, grotesques, have their own place in mythology as well. They were believed to be made of animated stone which gave them the ability to come to life when darkness fell. Some also believed that these fantastical monsters guarded the buildings they sat on and frightened evil spirits away. Others, however, feared the gargoyles and believed that they could be possessed by demons and as such used for sinister purposes.
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