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The Mythic Child-Stealing Thunderbirds of Illinois

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I love cryptozoology. And reading about weird creatures. I just ran across this story by accident and it's pretty strange, yet believable! 

The evening of July 25, 1977 was just like any other hot summer evening for the Lowe family of Lawndale, Illinois. The smell of sizzling beef and grilled vegetables permeated the air as the adults kicked back on lawn chairs, and the kids tussled on the family’s expansive yard outside.

The following is Ruth Lowe’s harrowing eyewitness account of a particularly frightening avian encounter, as written by Jerry D. Coleman of Cryptozoology.com

At approximately 8:10 p.m., the Lowes were cleaning up after their al fresco dinner, the kids still playing outside. And that’s when it happened.

Ruth, the matriarch of the Lowe clan, was cleaning up in the kitchen where she couldn’t see her children. She heard a piercing scream, and knew it was none other than her 10-year old son, Marlon. 

When she ran outside to see what the commotion was, she was stunned. Two massive birds, flying in a tight wingtip to wingtip formation were chasing her son, Marlon, pecking and clawing at his shoulders. As Ruth ran to Marlon’s aid, the larger of the two birds sunk their claws into his shirt, fully lifting the 56 pound boy off the ground.

But the birds were no match for a defensive mother. Ruth kept attacking the bird, and it dropped her now terrified son to the ground - after carrying him a distance of over 35 feet.

When the Lowes went to the police, they were laughed out of the precinct. One of the cops allegedly said to Ruth (over the guffaws of his fellow officers), “Now let me get this straight. A giant bird attacked your nephew?”

In her statement to the police, Ruth described the bird as such,

“It had a white ring around its half foot long neck. The rest of the body was very black. The bird’s bill was six inches in length and hooked at the end. The claws on the feet were arranged with three front, one in the back. Each wing, less the body, was four feet at the very least. The entire length of the birds body, from beak to tail feather was approximately four and one half feet.”

<snip>

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-mythic-child-stealing-thunderbirds-of-illinois

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THUNDERBIRDS OVER ILLINOIS
STRANGE THINGS ARE HAPPENING IN THE SKY!

Illinois Thunderbirds
American Indian lore is filled with stories of strange, monster birds with enormous wingspans and the propensity to carry away human victims. They called these creatures "Thunderbirds" because the legends claimed that their flapping wings made a sound like rolling thunder. The birds have been described as having wingspans of 20 feet or more; hooked talons; razor-sharp beaks; and sometimes descriptions that seem oddly close to the pterodactyls of prehistoric times.

One of the most famous of the early American legends of these giant winged creatures comes from the bluffs outside of the small Mississippi River town of Alton, Illinois. Many visitors to this historic town are often startled to see a rock painting just north of the city that portrays a pretty vicious-looking winged creature. Years ago, this rock painting was actually a petroglyph that showed two such creatures. These monsters, like the modern rendering of the paintings, were called the "Piasa" by the Illinwek Indians. The original painting existed near this location for hundreds of years and was first described in the journals of Marquette in 1673. The original site of the painting is now long gone, but Marquette described the creatures portrayed there in this manner:

As we were descending the river we saw high rocks with hideous monsters painted on them and upon which the bravest Indian dare not look. They are as large as a calf, with head and horns like a goat, their eyes are red, beard like a tiger’s and face like a man’s. Their tails are so long that they pass over their bodies and between their legs, under their bodies, ending like a fish tail. They are painted red, green and black and so well drawn that I could not believe they were drawn by the Indians, for what purpose they were drawn seems to me a mystery.

Father Hennepin, another early explorer of the west, published a book in 1698 called "A New Discovery of a Vast Country in America" and he also wrote about seeing the paintings of the Piasa, which incidentally, were first incised and cut into the bluff and then painted over.

<snip>

http://www.prairieghosts.com/thunderbirds.html

This is really interesting!  

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Posted (edited)

This is the internet I love. Thank you so much. 

If the Americas could have a scavenger as large as the california condor, then why not a raptor of equal size? 

Edited by lostlogin
condor logic
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4 minutes ago, lostlogin said:

This is the internet I love. Thank you so much. 

If the Americas could have a scavenger as large as the california condor, then why not a raptor of equal size? 

Me too, this is also what I love to read about!  And you're welcome. I remember hearing stories about a frog that had been trapped in a rock for I don't know how long, I'm trying to find the story on that and post it.  And accounts of pteradactyls (sp?) being sighted. 

 

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34 minutes ago, Blipkints said:

A Aus Sea Eagle or Wedge Tail could fly of with 30kg.......with a good tail wind.

Imagine standing near the edge of the cliff looking off at sea and-wham!-talons in the back. I had a hawk strike next to me once and they hit hard, that mouse was really dead. Good idea if you don't want dinner chewing your ankles on the way home.

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When I was a child, I lived very near there. The picture of the Piasa bird was the stuff of childhood nightmares

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