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The World's Strangest Monuments

Kindlifresser (Child Eater) Fountain, Bern, Switzerland

What It Commemorates: Legends abound, but no one is sure what it means.

What Makes It Strange: Though it sounds like an outlandish piece of modern art, the Kindlifresser, or “Child Eater” fountain, has scared the children of Bern since 1546. Dressed in vibrant red and green robes, the rotund Kindlifresser is munching on an infant’s head, while more distraught babies await their grim fate in his knapsack. Some postulate that the statue served as a warning to Bern’s Jewish community, because the cannibal’s hat resembles the yellow pointed version Jews were forced to wear in that era. Others say it is Kronos the Titan from Greek mythology, who ate his children to prevent them from usurping his throne. Most likely, though, the fountain was created as a sort of boogieman to remind the town’s children to behave.

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