September 25, 2022

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Posmievačik in Bratislava, Slovakia

Hidden in plain sight in Bratislava’s Old Town is a stone statuette of a man leering at the people walking the quaint street of Panská. Above the façade of a neon-signed ice cream shop, the creepy little man—known in Slovak as Posmievačik, meaning “mockingjay” or “sneerer”—has an oversized phallus, big enough for him to appear to be sitting on it.

There have been many stories speculating on the unusual effigy’s origin, which is believed to date back to the Middle Ages. In one story, the statuette was created in order to poke fun at the former owner of the building, who would spy on the passers-by below from his bay window. Another tale relates a drunkard’s unsuccessful courting of his neighbor’s wife. The statuette was apparently made to ridicule his inappropriate behavior, and eventually caused the man to sink into alcohol and flee the city out of shame.

Other stories claim the little stone man belonged to the mayor’s house, or that it was erected to win a love triangle. No one seems to know the true background of Posmievačik, and few locals even know of its existence.

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