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These Spooky, Surreal Gargoyles Are Watching You From Above (PHOTOS)

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Gargoyles are essentially elaborate, stylized rain gutters. Their mouths provide a spout that lets water drain from the roofs of churches and temples where they typically reside -- which begs the question of why a place of worship would want such eerie statues to adorn its walls.

In addition to their functional purpose, gargoyles in Medieval times were thought to ward off evil and to serve as a frightening visual incentive for people to obey church teaching. Over time they became more ornamental but largely continued the 'grotesque' aesthetic most associate with gargoyles.

Bizarre, grotesque and just spooky, here are 20 amazing gargoyles looking altogether too real:

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The interior of Rosslyn Chapel on February 9, 2012 in Roslin, Scotland. Built between 1446 and 1484 it is a category A listed building, covered in ornate stonework and carvings of individual figures and scenes. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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Gargoyle on Notre Dame in Paris, France. (Getty Images)

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The gargoyles see all from the top of Notre Dame cathedral on Ile de la Cite - one of two islands in the middle of Paris, France, that are neither Left nor Right Bank. (Photo by Josh Noel/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

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Gargoyle perched on Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France. (Getty Images)

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Gargoyle from the old city-hall in Stein am Rhein - Kanton Schaffhausen, Switzerland, Europe. (Getty Images)

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Dragon Gargoyle of Milan Cathedral. (Getty Images)

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'Cabeza Clava' (Gargoyle heads, representation of the Jaguar god) at the Chavin archaeology complex, in Huaraz department of Ancash, some 460 km northeast of Lima on October 20, 2011. (ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP/Getty Images)

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The hundred fountains: Built in the 16th century for Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, by architect Pirro Ligorio, the villa is renowned for its landscaped gardens and fountains. (Getty Images)

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Gargoyles watch over the streets of Paris from the top of the 11th century Notre Dame cathedral, Friday Jan 10, 1997. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

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Gargoyles at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Dijon in the Burgundy region of France (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

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Saint-Corentin cathedral, Quimper Stone gargoyle. (Photo by: Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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Notre Dame gargoyle above the Paris skyline. (Getty Images)

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Gargoyle in Notre-Dame de Consolation church designed by Raymond Vaillant. (Photo by: Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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Gargoyle at St Peter's Church, St Albans. (Flickr)

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A gargoyle watches over the cloisters of St Gatien cathedral in Tours, France. (Getty Images)

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Gargoyles on Freiburg Cathedral, Freiburg, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, Europe. (Getty Images)

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Gargoyle and bird statue. (Getty Images)

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Notre Dame de Paris cathedral gargoyle and Left Bank of the Seine river. (Photo by: Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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Gargoyle carved stone grotesque carving of a figure on St Peter's church in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

church gargoyle
Gargoyle carved stone grotesque carving of a figure on St Peter's church in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

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