Hidden Easter Eggs
We all know the typical Easter egg is usually something chocolate filled, left by a giant bunny in the Spring time. But did you know that the term easter egg has a second meaning? It can also be used as an intentional inside joke, a hidden message, or a secret feature.
From historical paintings, motion pictures, music to essentially every form of design imaginable, little hidden gems or “eggs” have been carefully placed into works of art. Examples of these little gems range from Michelangelo’s interpretation of a floating brain that God lays his head on in the painting The Creation of Adam to The Beatles’ secret high-frequency note (that only dogs can only hear) to the second side of the Sargent Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band album. One instance that may come as a surprise you can be found locally in the DMV area.
Like all good easter eggs, many people in the DMV area have never noticed this major gem in our backyard. The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, better known as the Washington National Cathedral, is the single highest point in all of Washington. There is one interesting gargoyle hidden away. In the 1980s, while the Cathedral’s two West towers were under construction, the Cathedral held a design-a-carving competition for children. Word of this competition spread nationwide through National Geographic World magazine. The third-place winner Christopher Rader submitted a drawing of a fearful villain: Star Wars’ Darth Vader.
The fierce head was sculpted by Jay Hall Carpenter, carved by Patrick J. Plunkett, and placed high upon the northwest tower of the Cathedral. The other winning designs included a raccoon, a girl with pigtails and braces, and a man with large teeth and an umbrella.
How do you find the infamous Darth Vader?
- Bring binoculars—Darth Vader is difficult to spot with the naked eye.
- Exit the Cathedral through the ramp door (near the Abraham Lincoln statue).
- Turn and look up at the closest tower; find the two large points (pinnacles), on the corners at the top of the tower, and a much smaller one in the center.
- Follow the center pinnacle down and find the first tiny peaked roof (gablet). Darth Vader is the “bump” on the right side of the roof.
Next time you are watching your favorite movie or in a busy city you might want to pause it for a moment – you never know what might pop up!