Lechuza: Mexico’s Witch Owl

A supposed Lechuza killed in Northern Mexico. Photo: Mexico Unexplained

Since the 1820’s the people of Texas and Mexico have reported sightings of unnaturally large owls with some even being said to have faces like a human. These creatures have been dubbed Lechuza: witches that transform into owls.

The Legend of La Lechuza

According to legend Lechuza was a witch who was executed for practicing black magic. After her death she became a giant owl that kept her human face.

In other versions of the legend Lechuza are witches that are able to astral project into the form of a giant owl with a human face. While they are doing this their body remains unconscious in a safe place. It is said that if a Lechuza is killed while in owl form their human body will die as well. Then when someone is found to have died unexpectedly in their sleep it could be that they were the Lechuza.

Description of Lechuza Owl

An artist’s interpretation of a Lechuza witch owl transformation. Photo: kixs.

The Lechuza is described as an unnaturally large owl with a wingspan of about 15 feet and the face of a woman. Sometimes the Lechuza is said to be the size of a normal owl but still with the face of a human woman.

The Lechuza likes to prey upon people who are wandering home drunk after a night on the town. She also has a fondness for children who are outside after dark.

La Lechuza is said to leave scratch marks on the doors her future victims as a warning that she is coming for you.

According to legend if you shoot at a Lechuza you will die instead of the creature. If any part of the Lechuza touches you it will kill you. If you have a dream about the creature it means that someone in your family will soon die.

You can protect yourself against a Lechuza attack by hanging a rope with 7 knots in it outside your door. You can also throw a mixture of chili powder and salt at the creature to scare it away.

The Lechuza is similar to the Thunderbird: a giant bird creature described by the Native Americans.

Encounters with Lechuza Witch Owl

A retelling of a Lechuza witch owl encounter

People all over Central America have reported run ins with strange owl-like monsters that seem to fit the description of a Lechuza.

In a recent encounter a man was driving with a friend on a dirt road just out side of El Tigre, Chihuahua. Suddenly a huge bird creature began swooping down and attacking his truck. It attacked the truck’s windshield then bounced off and fell onto the road in front of the vehicle.

The man ran over the bird then reversed over it to make sure it was dead. When the man looked in the rear view mirror to check that it was dead he saw the Lechuza rise up off of the ground. The man immediately had a heart attack and passed away. The man’s friend reported this story to the local authorities.

Another Lechuza was spotted several times near Nuevo Laredo in the 1950s. The people of the town were terrified and came up with a plan to kill it. They decided to use a small child as bait.

The Lechuza saw the small child and swooped down to pick them up. The men of the town emerged with guns and shot at the creature but only managed to injure its claw.

The next day the people of the town went to see the local witch to see if she knew anything about it. When they arrived they realized she had a severely injured leg. Was the witch the Lechuza?

There was a mass sighting of La Lechuza in 1977 in Santa Rosa, Texas. The bird was seen sitting in a tree before swooping down to one woman’s front door and scratching as if it wanted to get inside.

The noise attracted the neighborhood dogs who chased the Lechuza away. The next morning all of the neighborhood dogs had mysteriously died. The locals were mystified by the sudden deaths of the dogs and the mysterious giant bird.

Do you think the Lechuza is a shapeshifting witch similar to the Skin-walker or just an unusually big bird? Let us know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this article you might be interested in some other Central American legends such as La Siguanaba or the Cadejo.

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