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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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Nandi Bear: A Ferocious African Cryptid




An artist’s interpretation of the Nandi Bear. Photo: Cryptid Archives.

The Nandi Bear is a ferocious cryptid spotted in the highlands of Kenya during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Description of the Nandi Bear

A footprint of a Nandibear

The Nandi Bear is also known as the Chemosit, Kerit, Koddoelo, Ngoloko, or Duba. It has been described as as a carnivorous animal with a formidable build, possessing long legs exceeding a height of four feet, and a back that slopes downward. It is described as being highly aggressive in nature.

Nandi Bear Sightings

A drawing of a Nandi Bear encounter by A. McWilliams

A number of early 20th century authors mention the Nandi Bear in their work.

Richard Meinertzhagen claimed in 1905 that he was told by the Nandi people that the Nandi bear was once widespread when they first settled in the highlands of present-day Kenya, around the early 17th century.

The Nandi people believed that the rinderpest epidemic towards the end of the 19th century pushed the Nandi bear to the brink of extinction. Although the Nandi bear was never numerous, it was not uncommon prior to the epidemic.

Unfortunately, the population never fully recovered from the impact of the outbreak. During the colonial era, the Nandi bear was held responsible for the deaths of numerous native people, whose skulls were found crushed every year.

While the Nandi Bear was widely feared by the native population, it does not appear to have been known to Europeans or colonial officials until the beginning of the 20th century.

Prior to 1912, the Nandi reportedly killed a Nandi Bear after it climbed onto the roof of a hut, broke through, and killed everyone inside. Subsequently, the village inhabitants burned down the hut with the animal still inside. Geoffrey Williams had heard of a similar animal’s preserved skin in Kabras, but was unsuccessful in obtaining it.

There were rumors that a Boer had shot a Nandi bear, but was unable to retrieve the carcass. C. W. Hobley wrote of this story.

Similarly, a farmer from Uganda named K. R. Williams supposedly unintentionally poisoned a young Nandi bear while setting out bait for hyenas.

Williams described the animal as being much larger than a spotted hyena, with the same yellowish fur, and a head similar to that of a bear. However, when he returned to his camp to retrieve a knife for skinning the carcass, actual hyenas had dragged the Nandi bear’s body away.

In 1905, while on the Nandi Expedition to the Uasin Gishu in western British East Africa, Geoffrey Williams wrote of his experiences with the Nandi Bear.

He observed an animal of around 5 feet in height sitting upright like a zoo bear, with small pointed ears and a long head, about 30 yards away.

The creature then ran away with a sideways canter towards the Sirgoit Rock. Williams quickly took a snapshot of the animal with his rifle, but missed it.

He claimed the Nandi bear was larger than a typical zoo bear and heavily built, with thick fur covering its forequarters and all four legs. The hindquarters were relatively smooth, and the color was dark.

Williams could not recall much about the ears, but mentioned that they were small, and the tail, if any, was tiny and barely noticeable.

Engineer Dennis Burnett and his wife Marlene reported the most recent documented sighting of the Nandi bear in February 1998.

While driving along the Koru-Kisumu road near the base of the Nandi Escarpment during a rainy evening, they saw a large animal crossing the road.

Upon reversing their car, the couple observed the animal for about fifteen seconds. Although they initially thought it was a bear, they soon realized that it was “an enormous, shaggy hyena – resembling a Striped Hyena but significantly larger.”

Theories about the Nandi Bear

Bob Gymlan of Bigfoot hunting fame has posted a detailed video telling the history of the Nandi Bear.

In 1923, Charles William Andrews proposed that the Nandi bear might be a surviving species of the extinct Chalicothere. Louis Leakey later suggested in the 1930s that the Nandi Bear’s descriptions matched those of the Chalicothere, despite chalicotheres being herbivores.

The Chalicothere hypothesis was eventually abandoned. In 2000, paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs stated that if Chalicotheres still existed, they would have been discovered, much like the giant forest hog. Jacobs concluded that if there was any truth to the Nandi bear story, it could be a description of gorillas passed down orally across the continent.

Zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock argued that the Nandi bear sightings were actually misidentified spotted hyenas. The British Natural History Museum also stated in 1932 that many reports of the Nandi bear were nothing more than spotted hyenas.

Paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson claimed that the Nandi bear turned out to be honey badgers, which zoologists had been aware of since 1776.

Have you ever seen a Nandi Bear? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed learning about the Nandi Bear you might also be interested in the J’Ba Fofi: A Giant Congolese Spider Cryptid or the Tikoloshe, a South African Cryptid.

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Squonk: The Saddest Cryptid




The Squonk as featured in Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods by William Cox. Photo: Wikipedia

The Squonk is said to be the ugliest creature in the world. It is so ashamed of its appearance that it will hide from anyone who approaches and, if caught, it will dissolve into a puddle of tears.

The Legend of the Squonk

The rock band Genesis wrote a popular song about the Squonk

The first mention of the squonk in written history is in William Cox’s 1910 book “Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts.”

Cox describes the as the ugliest animal in the world and claims it is aware of its unfortunate appearance.

Cox claims that the squonk used to have a wide distribution and preferred habitats with plenty of desert vegetation on high plains. As these areas changed into swampy, lake-dotted regions, the squonk was forced to adapt to the water.

Due to its low intelligence, the squonk constantly searched for food by swimming in the marshes, and over time developed webbing between its toes, but only on its left feet that were submerged in water. As a result, it could only swim in circles and could never return to shore, leading to thousands of squonks dying from starvation, as evidenced by fossil bones found in the lake bottoms.

Cox also claimed that the squonk can only be found in the hemlock forests of Pennsylvania. It is said to be shy and reclusive, and can be seen mostly during twilight hours.

It is covered in a loose and warty skin that doesn’t fit properly. The squonk is known to be perpetually unhappy and often weeps due to its distressing appearance, leaving a trail of tears that can be followed.

The best time to search for a squonk is during moonlit nights, as it tends to stay hidden in its hemlock dwelling, afraid to catch a glimpse of itself in a reflective pool.

Sometimes, the sound of a softly weeping squonk can be heard, which sounds like a mournful call resembling that of the cross-feathered snee.

A Mr. J.P. Wentling had a disappointing experience with a squonk near Mont Alto. He captured the squonk by mimicking its crying sounds and tricking it into hopping into a sack. As he carried it home the sack suddenly became much lighter. Wentling unslung the sack and looked in. He found that the squonk had dissolved into tears and bubbles.

Squonk Meme

A variation of the squonk meme that has become popular in recent times.

The squonk has become a meme in recent times, with many internet users feeling like they can relate to the poor little creature. The squonk has even featured in one of our paranormal meme dumps.

Have you ever seen a poor little squonk in the wild? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article you might also be interested in the story of the kushtaka or the Central American Whintosser.

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