WEIRD MACON: Replica sphinx Mercer professor’s weird moment

January 21, 2014 

Editor’s note: This piece is part of a continuing series called Macon in the Mirror. The project is being produced through a partnership involving the Center for Collaborative Journalism, which includes The Telegraph, Mercer University’s journalism program and Georgia Public Broadcasting. The goal is to examine the community and convey your stories, passions and concerns.

A 7-foot replica of a sphinx was at the heart of Mercer University art professor Eric O’Dell’s weirdest Macon moment.

Back in 2000, O’Dell was involved with designing and installing artwork for Mysteries of Egypt, an exhibit of Egyptian artifacts at the Museum of Arts & Sciences that brought in record attendance.

“Along with that came some promotional props and some of those props were large, tall sphinxes on large pedestals,” O’Dell said. “The staff got together and the board got together and said we’d love to put a sphinx in the Macon mall. ... I was like OK, that sounds cool and then looked around the room and realized I was the one guy with a pickup truck.”

He said the next thing he knew he was driving a large sphinx in the back of his F-150 truck.

“As we drove, I realized that a lot of people were hurting themselves to try to turn around and see what was it that man had in his truck,” O’Dell said.

“So I slowed down so people could get a good gander.”

He pulled up to the mall and said he assumed they would unload the sphinx and carry it inside.

“The mall had not quite opened and so they simply flipped a few levers and pushed a few buttons and the doors opened up really wide and tall and they let me drive in the mall,” O’Dell said. “So I’ll never forget driving through the mall with what looked like an ancient Egyptian sphinx in the back of my truck.”

-- Krista Holden and Racquel Richards, Center for Collaborative Journalism

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