Since Denver International Airport (DIA) opened in 1995, conspiracy theories about many parts of the airport’s construction have swirled around and grown in popularity. A certain inscription on the capstone of a time capsule, some notorious murals from artist Leo Tanguma, and a series of gargoyles looming above the baggage claim area are all supposedly indications of a sinister influence on the airport most likely linked to the New World Order, a secret society of global elites hell-bent on world domination. Also, there have been rumors that DIA sits atop a system of underground bunkers that are meant to house the world’s billionaires and political elite in the event of an alien invasion.
While none of the aforementioned conspiracy theories can be solidly confirmed, there is one feature of Denver International Airport that is undeniably strange and mysterious and has a pretty mind-boggling history to it: Blucifer. If you drive on Peña Boulevard, the street linking the airport to the city of Denver, you’ll inevitably notice a giant blue horse statue with glowing red eyes. This sculpture, which is actually titled Mustang but has been nicknamed “Blucifer” by the residents of Denver, is at the center of several conspiracy theories concerning DIA. And while we won’t know if one of the Four Horsemen will jump on Blucifer’s back and ride off into the apocalypse until the end of days actually comes, there are some seriously creepy parts of this statue’s history.
The Blucifer Statue’s Background
The Denver Airport horse statue was originally commissioned by the City of Denver in the mid-1990s when construction of DIA was underway. Many thought that the construction of an entirely new airport in Denver was unnecessary and a waste of money, which has contributed to the many conspiracy theories surrounding the airport. Still, the city wanted to create an iconic statue that would sit between the airport and the city on Peña Boulevard, and so they hired American sculptor Luis Jimenez to do the job.
The design for Mustang was based on an earlier eight-foot-tall sculpture that Jimenez erected on the campus of the University of Oklahoma. Unlike that statue, however, Mustang was to be 32 feet tall, 9,000 pounds, and covered in a coat of vibrant blue paint. The statue was meant to be a nod to the Mexican muralist style pioneered by artists like Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco and the bright colors that Jimenez had seen every day growing up in El Paso, Texas and working in his father’s neon sign studio.
Jimenez’s style was influenced by Southwestern and Hispanic themes as well as the lowrider culture that was popular when he was a young boy in Texas. His use of unique texture and exaggerated styling for Mustang reflect these cultures and make the statue seem like a mythical creature even though it’s an anatomically correct representation of a horse. During his lifetime, Jimenez would become known as one of the founding fathers of the Lowbrow and Urban Art Movement that branched out from his characteristic style.
Jimenez worked on Mustang for nearly a decade from the mid-1990s until it was unveiled in 2008. Unfortunately, Jimenez never got to see the finished product. Blucifer killed its creator in an act of patricide that would cause many to associate the statue with evil and would influence countless conspiracy theories.
Killing Its Creator
In 2006, with Mustang nearing completion, a piece of the cast fiberglass of which the statue was made fell down, killing the artist. At that time, the statue was being housed at Jimenez’s studio in Hondo, New Mexico. One of the three pieces that made up the statue became disconnected and fell onto Jimenez’s leg, pinning him under one of its steel supports and severing an artery. Jimenez bled out and was pronounced dead on arrival when they finally got him to the Lincoln County Medical Center in southern New Mexico.
Jimenez died at the age of 65, and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson ordered that flags in the state be flown at half-staff in the days after his death to honor the fallen artist. Luis Jimenez was a proponent of marginalized people during his lifetime, often depicting thought-provoking images of oppression and homages to the underrepresented communities where he came from through his work. His death was a devastating blow to the artistic community, the Hispanic communities of the Southwest, and the world as a whole.
Even though Jimenez died before Mustang was ever completed, the statue only needed a few finishing touches before it was ready to be unveiled. So, after Jimenez’s untimely death, many of his family and friends joined together and finished the statue with the help of Richard LaVato and Camillo Nuñez, two artists known for painting lowriders and racecars. Once they had finished painting it, the statue was sent to California for its final assembly and then shipped to Denver where it has remained ever since.
Blucifer Stands Tall
The statue was finally unveiled in 2008, woefully behind schedule for obvious reasons. When it was first put up, Mustang was met with widespread distaste in the media, with some Denver locals even demanding that it be taken down. However, the City of Denver has a policy that public art commissions are guaranteed to remain on display for at least five years. Thus, Blucifer was guaranteed to stand tall until at least 2013, at which point the public could bring forth petitions to take it down.
Since its unveiling, though, Blucifer seems to have garnered popularity among the residents of Denver (and if not popularity, at least morbid curiosity). No one has petitioned to have Blucifer removed since the beginning of 2013, and it seems like the Denver Airport horse statue is here to stay, at least for now.
Today, you can still drive down Peña Boulevard and see Blucifer’s glowing red eyes staring towards the Rocky Mountains. During the day, you can see Blucifer in all its glory, standing aggressively with veins popping out and acting as the gatekeeper to the city of Denver. But at night, all you can see are those luminous red eyes against a dark background, tracking your car as you make your way to or from the terminals.
Blucifer Conspiracy Theories
Now, obviously, this story is creepy and ominous on its own. But to add to the lore surrounding Blucifer, some people have assigned the statue a more cosmic meaning. The apocalyptic-looking horse conveniently fit into the existing conspiracies about the New World Order’s influence over the construction of Denver International Airport. Theorists claimed that it was a smug reference by the New World Order to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the mythological forewarnings of the Apocalypse from the New Testament.
Some people have even taken a more fantastical stance toward the horse statue, saying that Blucifer will actually serve as the steed to one of the Four Horsemen when the Apocalypse is upon us. While all of these theories seem a bit far-fetched, there’s certainly something sinister about having that menacing horse statue watching over Denver and its airport at all times.
Who knows? Maybe the day will come when Luis Jimenez’s famous statue comes to life and rides off into the sunset, leaving a trail of fire in its wake. Maybe laser beams will shoot out of those red eyes and destroy Denver International Airport altogether. In all likelihood, though, it’s just a strange and masterful piece of art created by a man who lost his life making it. I’d say that’s creepy enough on its own.