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Creepy Crosses

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"And a cross from a faith that died before Jesus came..."
Sarah MacLachlan
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Crosses are the iconic symbol of Christian religions, being used as a symbol of hope, healing and salvation. However, crosses have their dark symbolism too. After all, crosses were originally used as torture devices. They only became associated with religion because of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and subsequent resurrection.

Nowadays, crosses are commonly used as gravestones, causing them to turn into a representation of death or impending doom. The inverted Latin cross symbol, known as Cross of Saint Peter, was used as a Christian symbol to represent how the apostle Peter was crucified upside down. However, in recent years, the upside-down cross has begun to be used as a symbol of atheism and the occult. Several black metal bands use an inverted cross to call attention to their supposed devotion to Satan. Upside-down crosses also appear in horror movies as a signal of demonic activity.

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Although crosses are popularly known to ward off evil, it's not rare to find villainous, antiheroic or undead characters such as vampires wearing crosses in fiction, likely as an irony or to highlight their closeness to death.

Due to gothic architecture being famous for cathedrals, crosses have also become popular images in the gothic fashion style, mainly silver gothic jewelry. A goth character can wear the cross to complement their fashion style. Not to be confused with the ankh, an Egyptian symbol.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • A Certain Magical Index: Vento wears two crosses earrings and also has a cross hanging from a chain from her tongue. Intentional on her part; her magic, God's Divine Punishment, causes people who are hostile towards her (whether through thought or action) to suffocate.
  • Bakemonogatari: Episode is a half-vampire and a vampire hunter who carries around a giant cross that he uses as a weapon and wears a jacket with crosses emblems on both sides of the collar and side seam.
  • Berserk: The Crystal Dragon Jesus church uses a falcon on a T cross as its symbol. Not quite creepy in itself (except that one panel where a priest has a staff with the falcon nailed to it), at least until Griffith's true nature as a Dark Messiah pops up.
  • Black Clover: Witch Queen uses her magic to form a large pool of blood from which crosses arise to crucify Vanessa and her friends, taking control of Asta and having him kill them while they're restrained.
  • Bleach: Crosses are all over objects associated with Quincies, as they're humans with strong spiritual power.
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: Gin, who is an assassin working for Port Mafia, has a cross on her choker. This detail is omitted from her anime design, though.
  • In Cowboy Bebop's fifth episode, aptly called "Ballad of Fallen Angels", there's a cross and other church imagery the fight scene takes place in.
  • Death Note: Light's Yandere Perky Female Minion and Perky Goth Misa wears cross necklaces and earrings that are popular in commercialized gothic trends.
  • Dorohedoro: Magic User gravestones are upside-down crosses on top of large eggs.
  • In Dream Dimension Hunter Fandora, Pope Gilsburg's victims are usually tied to crosses and sometimes burned alive.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Hatsuharu Sohma usually dresses in gothic clothing and sometimes, wears a cross necklace because of the fashion choice.
    • Hatsuharu's girlfriend Isuzu, also known as Rin, is a Broken Bird with a penchant for gothic fashion. Like Hatsuharu, she sometimes wears a cross necklace as part of the fashion style.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Greed (Mk. 1) lowered from the ceiling pinned to a cross after Wrath recaptures him. Of course, this cross appears to be the piece of sewer floor Wrath pinned him to—they just sliced up the concrete rather than risk unpinning him and starting over on the capture thing. The dialogue afterward is all about sons and fathers and submission, and in the end, Father sacrifices his son and reincorporates him into the greater whole of himself. Does This Remind You of Anything? No, not that. Father has a huge god complex, by the way. However, the cross was changed to a generic block of metal in the anime, presumably to avoid causing offense.
  • Hunter × Hunter: The leader of the Phantom Troupe, Chrollo Lucilfer, has a cross both on his forehead and on his trench coat.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean: Enrico Pucci's outfit has a cross that stretches out across his black robe.
  • The anime opening of Kakegurui features a number of candles with the image of Virgen de Guadalupe, an apparition of the virgin Mary and one of the most important symbols of Mexican catholicism. They have no relation whatsoever with the story and are just there for creepy effect.
  • Lyrical Nanoha: Hayate's quirky miniboss, Vita, has crosses all over her Elegant Gothic Lolita costume, which Hayate created for her.
  • MÄR: Halloween, a psychopathic villain, is chained to a cross-shaped ARM.
  • To further highlight his Dark Messiah nature, Scirocco's The O from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam emits a cross-shaped beacon from its head to guide the Titan fleet with.
  • M×0: The man behind the incident at the Culture Festival made his accomplices wear crosses in one way or another to be recognizable.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: The vampire girl Evangeline has been seen wearing a black Sailor Fuku with the emblem of a cross on the tie.
  • The title character Nyanpire from Nyanpire: The Animation has a yellow cross on his stomach that he got once he was turned into an actual vampire.
  • One Piece: Dracule Mihawk evokes a lot of vampire imagery with his design, so he carries a pair of cross-shaped blades to go along with that.
  • In Princess Resurrection the vampiress Reiri seems especially associated with crosses; standing on them for effect or having them in her background.
  • Crosses are the motif of Kana, the main villain of Private Actress.
  • Problem Children are Coming from Another World, aren't they?: The pureblooded vampire and former Demon Lord Leticia Draculea wears a gray tie with an emblem of a cross.
  • In Rosario + Vampire, some vampires wear crosses as jewelry that represses their power until they need to fight at full strength. The main heroine, Moka, wears a cross on her choker. Her Wicked Stepmother Gyokuro and half-sister Kahlua wear crosses as a hair accessory and earrings respectively. Moka's younger half-sister, Kokoa, wears a Sailor Fuku with the emblem of a cross on the collar, but in her case, it's merely for fashion purposes.
  • Rozen Maiden: The living doll Suigintou's Elegant Gothic Lolita dress features white inverted crosses as decoration. She's also the main antagonist for a major portion of the first series.
  • Shugo Chara!: Ikuto Tsukiyomi and his sister Utau Hoshina wear small silver crosses accessories as part of their gothic style clothing.
  • Soul Eater: The aptly named Death Room is full of hundreds of grave marker style crosses.
  • Sword Art Online: Death Gun crosses himself before he shoots his victims with his handgun to kill them in both GGO and the real world. Kirito later theorizes that this gesture masks the fact that Death Gun is actually checking his wristwatch so he can sync up shooting the player's avatar with one of his two real-world cohorts injecting the player with a drug that stops their heart and kills them.
  • In Zatch Bell!, when Koko was mind controlled by the demon Zofis, she wears thigh-high boots with crosses.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The inverted cross is all over the Adam Chaplin film, from the one etched into Denny's mask to the one scarred into Adam's right shoulder as a sign of his demonic pact. At one point Adam's cross scar spurts blood against a wall to form another once, just before he lays into the police inspector.
  • In John Wick: Chapter 2, Bowery King's lair is brimming with Gothic-ish crosses.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse: The villainess Huntress has a lot of cross motifs.
  • The Keepers: The graveyard in The Old Forest is filled with Christian-style crosses, despite Christianity not really existing in Middle-earth.
  • The Stand (2020): The poster plays with the cross imagery. In "The Walk" we see people crucified on the streets of New Vegas, and Glen talks in episode 8 about how the crucifixes are a good sign because they mean Flagg can't trust his own people.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In RuneQuest cross is the Rune of Death. It represents the sword of Humakt, the god of death, and can 'coincidentally' be used to repel undead, such as vampires.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Christianity is a forgotten religion, but you still have crosses: they're usually combined with skull motifs, and worn by The Empire's elite terror troops. It doesn't really get any creepier than this.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: The Limen crater has an enormous crooked cross in its center, while the crater's outer edge is surrounded by crosses. Later, C visits an unknown area with a mural that has seven dark crosses with skeletal markings.
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood: Crosses are found throughout the Lairs of Romulus, which to be honest would probably be a good secret symbol to have if you were trying to hide your murderous cult in the capital city of the Papal States... more so, if some Templars are ultimately behind it; crosses are kind of their thing.
  • BlazBlue: The vampire girl Rachel Alucard wears an Elegant Gothic Lolita dress decorated with red crosses on the shoulders and the sides of the skirt. Also, her Astral Finish displays a giant stone cross as it grinds upwards out of the ground.
  • Crush Crush has The Dark One, a goth girl wearing a necklace with three small crosses.
  • The vampire and former tyrant Valvatorez from Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten has inverted crosses embroidered on his pants.
  • In a rather odd manner, Dragon Quest VIII uses a stylized cross as the symbol of the game's obvious Catholic Church Expy, which makes sense so far. The manner in which it is stylized, however, has the two arms bent upwards and both, along with the "head" are tipped with points that give it a sinister pitchforked design... which seems all the creepier because the church isn't secretly worshiping expy-Satan behind the expy-Christ facade.
  • In Ensemble Stars!, cross imagery is used extensively by UNDEAD as part of their gothic motif. They were also star of one of the only two Easter events the game has run, and it played up the death and resurrection spookiness for all it was worth. Ironically, the unit contains one foreigner character, but he's actually Arabic, and so implicitly Muslim.
  • The mercenary Seifer Almasy, one of the main antagonists in Final Fantasy VIII, is distinguished by the Templar cross that he wears.
  • Slayer from Guilty Gear makes use of cross motifs, being a sufficiently different vampire and all.
  • In Gungrave, the Anti-Hero Beyond the Grave has a silver cross motif on the front of his hat, the back of his coat, on the red "kneepads" of his pants, the back of his boots, and the soles of his boots. Even his guns have a cross on them.
  • The asylum of Hitman: Codename 47 is shaped like an inverse cross when viewed from above.
  • In The Legend of Zelda series, every tombstone in any game has a cross on it. Word of God explains that the motif is caused by the fact that the original plan was to have Christianity as the main religion in Hyrule; the three goddesses weren't invented until after the two NES games were released.
  • In Love Nikki - Dress Up Queen, many suits with the "Gothic" tag have crosses incorporated into the design to play up the occult nature of the vampire/demon/witch/ghost/monster slayer the suits portray. Examples include "Attachment of Spectre" (undead bride), "Black Rose" (bride of death), "Blood Beckon" (vampire queen), "Demon Huntress" (vampire/vampire hunter), "Demon Lament" (goth rocker), "Eternal Instant" (vampire), "Moon Justice" (vampire hunter), "Red Nightmare" (demon hunter/demon summoner), and more.
  • Cassandra, the main villain of Pico, has golden inverted crosses on her shoes, which are seen by many as a blasphemous symbol.
  • Punishing: Gray Raven:
  • In Senran Kagura, Hebijo Academy's logo is an upside-down cross with two snakes wrapped around it. Fitting for a school that trains evil shinobi.
  • A boss in the first game of Splatterhouse is a floating inverted cross. This was replaced with a more generic-looking floating monster head in the American TurboGrafx-16 release.
  • Ivan Uralia from the Strike Series reveals, at the end of his introduction mission, that among his numerous burn marks, he has a cross-shaped one on the palm of his right hand. Creepily fitting from three reasons: he received lethal doses of radiation during his time in the Soviet Air Force as he was helping to contain the Chernobyl disaster but was saved by an experimental treatment, his recruitment mission happens in Transylvania (which is drenched in radioactive fallout during the time of the mission) and the main enemies of said mission are two elite tank units codenamed "Vampire" and "Zombie". There's even a Scare Chord when he shows you his hand scar.
  • Despite being a vampire, Remilia Scarlet of Touhou Project likes cross imagery, and uses them in her spellcards.
  • In The Treehouse Man, The Betrayer has a cross emblem across his chest, and his hair also seems to have somehow been braided into crosses. This rather fits his whole role as a Dark Messiah.
  • In What Lies In The Fog, the cross on the front wall of the inside of the church is a normal cross. But in one of the endings, it inverts to reveal that the church has been a trap laid by a demon the entire time.
  • In The World Ends with You, CAT's graffiti in the Japanese version incorporates lots of inverted crosses. Appropriate, since CAT is a Fallen Angel.

    Visual Novels 
  • Tokyo Dark: The main antagonist Reina has a cross on her choker as part of her Elegant Gothic Lolita getup.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: Kyrie wears a black tie with a red cross on it. Although she appears to be a coolheaded and affable woman at first, but she's a murderously jealous Yandere. EP7 reveals she and her husband were the culprits of the real-life massacre of Rokkenjima.
  • XBlaze: Kiri's scars are cross-shaped and while he looks rather harmless, he's still creepy-looking.

    Web Animation 
  • Broken Saints: In Raimi's lucid dream in Chapter 7, rising crosses are depicted in the context of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. According to the commentary track, partly a nod to The Wall.
  • The intro sequence of Empire of Sock depicts the titular evil hamster being crucified, driving home the Satanic vibe of the series.
  • RWBY: Qrow has a misfortune theme as a result of his association with crows, which are believed in Remnant to bring bad luck. His uncontrollable Semblance brings misfortune to anyone within its area of effect, including himself. He favours shades of grey with muted accent colours, dark rings and fights with a Sinister Scythe. He uses crosses to round out this look and add to morbidity of his aesthetic, wearing a titled cross at his throat until Volume 7, where he switches to cross-shaped waistcoat buttons.

    Webcomics 
  • In Vampire Phantasm, the vampire Maximilian Orlock sometimes wears an upside-down silver cross on his chest.

Alternative Title(s): Creepy Cool Crosses

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