They Come To Life At Night

This is a statue of Queen Victoria in Hyde Park. We have quite a few statues of her in Sydney….she is quite revered in this neck of the woods. What I love about this statue is the incredible detail on her gown – the patterns and the folds of it. It looks like a real garment.

I took this photo a couple of months ago and got talking to a guy in the park as I was snapping away. Even though the guy was very well dressed and beautifully groomed he turned out to be a homeless guy who slept regularly in the park. He loved the statues and the fountains and the trees, telling me the history of every one. He was so knowledgeable he should have been a tour guide.

I asked him if he slept curled up next to one of the statues for a bit of added protection from the elements and he answered with a resounding: NO!

Why not? I asked.

Because they come to life at night, he replied.

What comes to life at night? I asked, not quite following his line of thought.

The statues, he replied.

He put his finger on his lips, mimicking a SHHHHSHHing sound, looking at the statues with a touch of reverence and fear. They move around, he said, You never know where they’re going to end up.

I know what you’re thinking now – NUTTER….ABSOLUTE NUTTER. You’re hoping I took that as my cue to get the hell out of there, aren’t you? Well, I did make a very polite exit but what he said to me got me thinking. It got me thinking of stuff I used to believe when I was a kid like my dolls coming to life at night and sitting on my dressing table using my hairbrush and putting on my bracelets. And the garden gnomes my Aunt Jo had in her garden having tea parties every night by the light of the moon. And my much loved teddy bear, Big Arthur, plopping himself on the couch in the living room at night to watch his favourite TV shows.

I used to believe those things really happened. I used to believe in the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and in Santa Claus and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. I used to believe in real, live magic like the kind they have in Harry Potter with wands and potions. And believing in that magic made life more wonderful, more bearable.

So really, if a homeless guy who lives in Hyde Park wants to believe the statues there come alive at night does it really matter? Does it mean he needs to see a psychiatrist or get on some medication? Does it mean he should be avoided at all costs?

Maybe the truth is that living out in the wildness of the world he knows something we all don’t. Maybe he’s more in touch with what is real than those of us living in our comfortable homes with the breadth of our lives mapped out every second. Maybe he knows that some things do come alive at night, shuffling around in the space where time and space converge, and that the magic we all know and love is actually still out there.

30 thoughts on “They Come To Life At Night

  1. What an amazing statue!

    There must be that feeling at dusk in the park, increasing as it gets properly dark that the statues (and possibly everything else!) are moving around. A sense of disorientation too, so you wouldn’t know where exactly you were in the same way as during daylight, then you’d suddenly find a statue where you thought it shouldn’t be….



    1. It’s a good one, isn’t it Juliet? There is definitely that sense of disorientation. I’ve noticed that too at night. Or maybe it is just magic……


    1. It is so kind of you to say that, slpmartin. I am really honoured. And you are so right – who is to say what we believe is any more real?


  2. what a wonderful thought, that maybe magic is perceived more easily by children and people on the edge of ‘reality’. i do think there is wisdom in
    seeing magic, and that really strange miraculous things do happen, and i loved reading this, thanx selma


    1. I think chidren definitely see things we don’t, Tipota and your comment about people living on the edge of reality also seeing things has really struck a chord with me. I believe that is probably true!


  3. Of course they walk around at mid-night! They pick that time because most people are asleep (and they haven’t much time for humans) πŸ˜‰ Teddy bears and other soft things also get around at mid-night because they like to hang out with like-minded soft toys (they do like humans but need a break from them occasionally) – they really appreciate all the miniature furniture and small teas sets etc., so they can really party on in style.


  4. This is indeed a beautiful statue! The concept of cemetary statues coming to life at night is not a new one. I like to believe that it could be possible. I think we are all so quick to dismiss the posibilities of what is magical or mystical, yet we know not everything in life is tangible. If one believes… anything is possible!


    1. I like to believe it could be possible too, Josie. With all the stuff I’ve been reading about quantum physics lately it does seem like it could happen. You just never know. All you have to do is believe…..


  5. You are not alone!
    I gain a sense of enlightenment each time I visit a cemetery at night.
    Imagination breathes fresh and the calm permits clear thinking.
    Oh how grand to see you return Selma:)


  6. That’s a great looking statue. Amazing details.
    As for the guy, if he is harmless then yeah, leave the poor guy alone. But if he starts ranting and causing a nuisance then he needs help. But…I think he needs help even if he isn’t hurting anybody. It’s good to fantasize and dream and see exciting things that aren’t there but if they think that’s real and it affects their life they should see someone.


  7. Yes, great post, Selma. I know you love quotes, so here is one which is apposite: ” The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper”. (Eden Phillpots)……


  8. Hmmm…I dont think he is crazy. I mean what ever floats his boat as far he is not hurting anyone. And what’s life without some kind of mystery and magic πŸ™‚

    As adults , we tend to lose some of the imagination and creativity. I think he has held on to it. Ah, such grand statues coming to amazing that would be. And the detailing on that statue is really good, like you said, the gown is just seems so real.

    If you do see him again, and if you can please ask him, what do the statues do when they come alive? Do they talk to him or each other? or discuss the sad affairs of the world???

    Jeeez I hope I don’t sound crazy here πŸ™‚

    But its like Seal says, ‘ You never gonna survive unless you are a little crazy’!!!! πŸ˜€

    Such a great photo Selma, I loved it!


  9. It took this post to show me how many of my friends are stark raving mad!
    Um… maybe they are my friends for reasons I don’t know about. That little thought deserves a little thought.


  10. “It got me thinking of stuff I used to believe when I was a kid like my dolls coming to life at night and sitting on my dressing table using my hairbrush and putting on my bracelets.”

    OMG! When I was a little kid, I used to think my dolls came to life at night too! In fact, I was sooo scared of this one doll, we had to get rid of it.

    “Maybe he knows that some things do come alive at night, shuffling around in the space where time and space converge, and that the magic we all know and love is actually still out there.”

    Maybe, Selma! Maybe!



    1. I had a doll I had to get rid of too, Meleah…. her eyes followed me around the room at night. Freaked me out so much I couldn’t sleep. I am convinced she was possessed or something 😯


  11. Hey, look!

    Toys have been coming to life at night from the days of Hans Christian Andersen right up to Disney and Toy Story. In general, kids don’t actually believe this stuff, but they WANT to. This gentleman just didn’t stop wanting, that’s all.


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