Did you ever notice Darth Vader’s helmet on the Washington National Cathedral?

Darth Vader National Cathedral

This is one of those “once you see it, you can’t unsee” revelations that are both mind-blowing and extremely awesome. If you’re going to Washington, D.C. soon, you must stop by the Washington National Cathedral in the Woodley Park neighborhood. Not only is it an iconic site, you won’t want to miss the sight of Darth Vader’s helmet staring down at you as you walk around this Roman Gothic church.

Okay, so we’ve never heard of how Darth Vader was a secret Episcopal in the movies or the comics. Of all of the fathers he was, we didn’t think he was the holy father. So just how did the Sith Lord end up on the pillars of this church?

Darth Vader National Cathedral

The answer is in the National Cathedral’s pamphlet, which explains that a competition in the 1980s by National Geographic World Magazine invited children to design a sculpture for the cathedral. Of the many designs it received, the organization selected Darth Vader as its third-place winner. The artist responsible was Christopher Rader of Kearney, Nebraska, who conjured up a “futuristic representation of evil.” Since then, Darth Vader has been watching D.C. across the hilltops for decades.

It’s also an adventure to find our favorite Sith Lord at a venue that’s not in an inaccessible galaxy far, far away. In order to have this sculpture in clear sight, visitors have to venture to the northwest corner of the cathedral, walk past wooden doors and ramps, and find themselves in a parking lot where they have to turn around then look up and hope to spot Darth Vader between two louvered arches. But thanks to its location high up in the sky, you’ll probably want to bring binoculars or a digital camera with mega-zooming capabilities.

In case you were curious, other winning children designs featured a raccoon, a girl with pigtails and braces, and a man with large teeth and an umbrella. We’re not sure what any of these have to do with church or evil, but perhaps you should know ahead of time before wondering why you stumbled upon an umbrella man with an overbite hanging out in the National Cathedral. And if you are already aware of this easter egg/hidden gem, feel free to share with us your photos or experience of this evil, evil sighting.

And yes, we understand this isn’t exactly news, but we thought you should also know that thankfully, the 2011 earthquake last August did not affect the Sith Lord despite the church suffering some destruction. It’s still a very cool and geeky reason to visit our nation’s capital now that spring and summer is headed our way.

Image Credits: Flickr / laurapadgett

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