In the annals of history’s greatest pranks are classics such as BBC’s announcement of Big Ben going digital, or the mysterious iceberg that appeared in Sydney Harbour in 1978, Richard Nixon’s announcement that he’s running for re-election in 1992, and a British news show convincing viewers that spaghetti grew on trees. Now, there can be a new addition to that list.
A random Austrian citizen—or so we believe—took the liberty of erecting a giant penis statue on top of Mount Ötscher, a 1,893-meter (6,211ft) prominent peak in south-western Lower Austria that’s a popular tourist destination. Unlike other seemingly excessive practical jokes, one can’t help but feel that this particular prank had the perfect mixture of humor and satire.
The phallic statue was discovered by longtime hiker and blogger Marika Roth, who proudly proclaimed the sculpture to be ‘Ötscher’s new mascot.’ While it’s arguable that the statue is in poor taste, you can’t help but applaud the prankster’s commitment and perseverance at having lugged up a wooden penis the size of a grown man up 2 km in the country’s frigid weather; that too, without anyone noticing it.
News about the statue soon spread across the country and had citizens discussing and debating the possible identity of the mysterious artist. The picture was also uploaded to social media platform Reddit where it unsurprisingly went viral and was soon making its way across Twitter and Facebook as well.
Ötscher’s ski-lift operators were puzzled about the appearance of the peculiar penis as well but embraced it as the mountain’s new tourist attraction. One, in particular, wrote cheekily on social media: “With us, not only winter is coming.”
The statue is currently secured using a collection of rocks and operators fear that a storm would cause the magnificent piece of art to meet its unceremonious end. Thus, the operators and citizens alike have called for prankster to reinforce the structure so it can withstand strong winds.
The work was initially thought to be the work of company attempting a viral marketing stunt, but no one has come forth to claim ownership of the equipment as of yet.
The post was accompanied by a plethora of wiseass remarks, including one which read: “Archeologists a few thousands of years in the future will probably think this is a part of a fertility cult.”
Another referred to the many traditional wooden mountaintop crucifixes in Austria, and asked: “Instead of a summit cross, we now get summit penises?”
This is not the first incident of a phallus being erected in public in the nation either. Back in April, Juergen Hesz, an antique dealer, put up a giant two-tonne penis sculpted 2,000 years ago up in his garden, sparking public outrage in the Austrian town of Traunkirchen.
Hesz set up the statue, which is reportedly meant to represent fertility, after a run-in with the local council. Citizens created a petition demanding that the phallus be removed and Local mayor Christoph Schragl sent in workers to put a metal fence around Hesz’s garden, which was then covered with green tarpaulin to hide the art.