The Lechuza

Posted on Posted in Cryptids and Legendary Creatures

owl_witchWhat’s that huge creature in the skies of Chihuahua?  In this episode we will investigate the gigantic bird sightings happening all over northern Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas for centuries.  The massive bird has been called La Lechuza for its resemblance to an owl.  Is this creature real, or is it part of folklore and myth or maybe something else?

There are many descriptions and stories about the Lechuza and we will first describe the creature and relate the stories.  Depending on which telling you hear, the massive bird can range in stature from the size of a small human to 7 feet tall and can have a wingspan of 15 feet.  It is sometimes described as black in color and sometimes as white as snow.  In most cases it has been said to resemble an owl.  In other cases it is more like a huge raven.  Some accounts say that the Lechuza’s face is that of an old woman, or of something more otherworldly with large, dark, almond-shaped eyes.  In all cases the Lechuza flies and is seen at night.  It has been reported only in the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas and on the American side of the Rio Grande in Texas.

There are many different legends surrounding the sighting of this creature.  What could the large variety of explanations mean?  The fact that there are so many different legends may indicate that sightings have occurred over a large geographical area over the years among people who were isolated from one another.  One town may have made sense of their sighting one way, while another town a thousand miles away may have made sense in another, without ever communicating with each other about it.  I will explore a few of the main legends here.

One of the main themes running through stories regarding the Lechuza is that the creature was once a woman who was wronged and who is seeking revenge.  Some say the Lechuza is a woman by day and turns into a huge owl by night.  Some say that the Lechuza snatches kids because her own child was killed by angry villagers for a crime he did not commit.  In a variation of this, the child was killed by a drunk and so now the Lechuza exacts revenge by hanging around bars, waiting until closing time to attack bar patrons who stumble out into the street after hours not knowing the danger from the sky about to rain down on them.  In some of the legends, La Lechuza is not a shape-shifting person at all, but a witch’s familiar, much like a 021black cat, and does the bidding of the witch, attacking people and destroying property on her command.  Other stories say the bird is a minion of Satan himself.  Not only is the Lechuza said to take humans as prey, it also preys upon the negative emotions of humans, acting as a psychic vampire, drawing power from emotions surrounding human conflict and distress.  The Lechuza has been known to appear outside of houses during domestic quarrels, waiting for one of the people involved to storm out of the house to then be snatched and carried to the Lechuza’s lair.  The Lechuza has a special fondness for children, especially for those who wander away from home after dark.  If you feel secure in your home, the creature will make crying sounds like a baby to lure you out of your house.  It’s also been known to make a whistling sound, like a human whistling.  If you answer it back with a whistle of your own, the Lechuza will swoop down and carry you away.  If you wake up in the morning and see large scratches on your doors or windowsills it means that the Luchuza was there and is coming for you, so you must prepare yourself accordingly.

Can the Lechuza be killed?  How can you protect yourself?  Because the creature is magical, according to legend the Lechuza possesses supernatural powers and care must be taken to kill it or to ward it off.  If you shoot at it and it doesn’t die, you die instead.  If any part of the Lechuza touches you – even a feather from its wingtip – you will die.  If you dream about the creature, that means someone in your family will die.  In many stories, the Lechuza has been killed, but when the sun comes up the body of the bird transforms back into the body of a haggard witch.  There are several things one can do to ward off an attack by the creature.  Hanging a rope with 7 knots in it outside your front door or on your porch shows the creature that you acknowledge and respect it and it will leave you alone.  If you see the creature flying at you, an attack can be repelled with a combination of salt and chile powder thrown into the Lechuza’s face.  If salt and chile powder are not handy, you can always recite The Magnificat – in Spanish, La Magnifica – a Catholic prayer taken from the Gospel of Saint Luke where the Virgin Mary is praising the power of God.  It is also called the Canticle of Mary and celebrates the Visitation, the second Joyful Mystery of the Holy Rosary.  The prayer must be recited in the normal manner AND backwards.  I am not sure if this would work; how much time would there be to say this payer forwards and backwards if a massive bird came out of the sky and was swooping down on you?  In any event, it made the list of possible Lechuza repellants.

Some stories of Lechuza encounters have happened well into the 21st Century and continue to this day.  In one recent story, near the town of El Tigre, Chihuahua, a man was driving on a dirt road outside of town when the creature began swooping down on his truck.  At one point, it hit the truck’s windshield and bounced on to the road in front of the vehicle.  The driver gunned the engine, ran over the Lechuza, backed up over it and ran over it again to be satisfied that he killed the creature.  Unfortunately, from the rear-view mirror of the truck the man saw the Lechuza rise again and instantly had a heart attack and died at the wheel.  This according to the passenger in the truck.

In another story, the Lechuza was hanging around a small town near Nuevo Laredo sometime in the 1950s.  The townsfolk gathered together to come up with a plan to kill it.  One person lured it out of the trees using his young child as bait.  When the Lechuza swooped down to take the child, several men shot at the bird, but only hit it in the claw before it flew off.  The next morning, members of the town went to the house of a supposed witch and she answered the door with a crutch and a bandaged leg.  The story ends there and we don’t know what happened.

LechuzaIn the United States, in the town of Santa Rosa, Texas, near the border with Mexico there was a mass sighting of La Lechuza in 1977.  The bird was spotted on a tree and then flew to the front door of a woman, scratching the door as if it wanted to get in.  By then the neighborhood dogs arrived, barking, and the Lechuza flew away.  The dogs ran after the bird as far as they could, but gave up when the Lechuza flew too high.  The next morning, all of the neighborhood dogs were dead.  Several people saw the massive bird and all were mystified by the nighttime death of the dogs.

Could the legends of the Lechuza exist because they are describing an actual animal?  If so, is there physical evidence of the animal’s existence?   Among the many reports on the internet about this creature – most of which is written in Spanish – there exists only one photo of a supposed Lechuza killed in northern Mexico.  I have a copy of that photo on the podcast website Mexico Unexplained dot com.  The bird appears to be a huge white barn owl with a 15-foot wingspan.  Some dismiss this as a hoax or a fake, something cropped and photoshopped.  This, however, is the only piece of photographic proof of the creature’s existence.  No gigantic feathers, bones or massive nests have been discovered or uncovered thus far.

On the American side of the border there are many native groups who have similar legends of gigantic birds collectively classified as “Thunderbirds.”  These huge nocturnal birds are in the oral histories of the peoples of the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest and can be found among the Algonquin, the Ojibwe and Winnebago of the northern US and Canada.  The Thunderbird has garnered serious interest from cryptozoologists – those who study fabled or yet-unknown animals – as sightings of these massive birds have also continued through to the 21st Century.

Grey_Alien_headThe Lechuza might turn out not be the stuff of legend or a mysterious animal yet undiscovered.  It could have a more otherworldly origin.  Many people connected with the alien abduction phenomenon have reported the sighting of owls before and during their supposed abduction experiences.  Many alleged abductees, or “experiencers,” claim that the owl is used as a “screen memory” to take the place of the aliens themselves so as to cause the human less trauma in dealing with the abduction experience.  Owls are often associated with arrival of The Greys, the short, menacing, spindly, hairless creatures with big black eyes who carry off humans for experimentation and tests in UFO lore.  The topic of screen memories and the alien use of owls is discussed at length in a nearly 400-page book by Mike Clelland titled The Messengers:  Owls, Synchronicity and the UFO Abductee.  Whitley Strieber, the author of the famous book about the alien abduction phenomenon, Communion, also links owls to the arrival of The Greys. Could the Lechuza be used to manipulate people during an alien abduction?  The possibility that the Lechuza is being used by The Greys in their nefarious doings is not off the table here.

So, is this massive bird a figure of the collective imagination?  Is it a genuine cryptid?  Is it part of something not of this earth?  There has been very little serious investigation into the Lechuza and for now the creature remains mostly the stuff of legend and a way to keep children inside and safe.  It’s an interesting phenomenon, but it is waiting for some serious examination.

REFERENCES:  Internet research only.

51 thoughts on “The Lechuza

  1. Great podcast. This reminds me of el tecolote that is associated with la santa muerte and flower face of welsh lore, cant spell her name but i will try Bloediweth

  2. i live in chicago. i work near a park called Oz Park. a mothman (as far as i can tell same appearance as lechuza) was sighted in this park on april 7 2017. the story scared the crap out of me. then there were 3 more sightings of it on the night of april 15-16 2017. 2 miles out on lake michigan by several adults on a boat at 10pm (a green light was seen moving along horizon). when mothman fled it wdnt toward montrose beach. half an hour later there was a sighting by a group of people 10:30pm but no location specified. then ssme night at 2am at international plaza near damen (not sure if this is chinatown) another sighting. the latter 3 were reported to MUFON website. the april 7th one you can find if you google mothman oz park chicago. freaking out about sightings so close to where i work. i lean toward alien or being from a other realm.

    1. Or maybe the Lechuza is heading north? 🙂 Thanks for the comments. I’ll have to follow up on this. Thanks for listening, too. I appreciate it.

  3. I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, and as a child I remember hearing whistling coming from outside my grandmother’s old house. My grandmother told would warn me about the Lechuza and tell me not to go out. You see, my grandmother’s oldest sister is a bruja in Mexico so she was always very cautious. Thank you for the podcast!

    1. Thanks for your comments. Of all the podcasts I’ve made, it seems like the lechuza show is the one that has gotten me the most feedback from eyewitnesses. There has to be something to this.

  4. Thank you very much Mr. Bitto, I had been looking for a podcast that ws about Mexican folklore and tales. I have been intrested in this for many years and was looking to find a place to listen.
    Thank you again very much…

  5. I live in Montclair California and i something like this in 2007 I was black and flew maybe 10-15 feet over my head. I don’t know why but I looked up and saw it flying over me into a tree across the street from my house. I could not hear it flying if I didn’t look up when I did I would have never know it was there. It was black and had long black hair like a woman I couldn’t see the face it was around 3 1/2 – 4 tall and but it’s wings weren’t really that big . It looked like the body was too big for the wings and I could tell that it wasn’t only the wings that helped it fly but it looked like some kind of magic lingered around it. ( its flew because of the magic). I had a feeling of complete loneliness ,sadness and dispare as it flew by.

  6. i live in the pensacola florida area. my sister and i recently snuck out and went on a very long walk at 2 in the morning, we were walking home and i saw something that looked like and owl in a tree but it was hard too see. i pointed it out to my sister and we didnt think much of it. as we looked at it while walking its head moved as we did and it looked as if it got larger maybe 5 or 6 feet. we started to walk faster and after that night didnt think of it again. we were watching a youtube video and it mentioned the owl and how it likes children and kids that do bad things like sneaking out and we were freaked out. we then started to do research and found this article and saw how it likes too take kids who wander out of the house late at night. im scared. never going out late again.

  7. Okay so today midnight , I was late up at night was bored decided to clean my room I\\\\\\\’m only 15 years old I see a lil moth flying crazy ,and it went in my closet I left it there knowing it was a harmless moth later I hear the most beautiful whistle ever I said it in my head do it aging as I heard it aging I got the chills feeling that some one was staring out side my window i called my girlfriend telling her what happen I felt so sad like I couldn\\\\\\\’t even talk to her as I hanged up I whistle the same sound it whistle but that was the first time later I just wanted to keep whistling so I did and the second time I heard the whistle aging I\\\\\\\’ve done it the third time and ass I heard a bird out side my window flying trying to get in I panicked not knowing what it was i sat there staring at the wall shocked then I heard the bird fly away I search it up and now I\\\\\\\’m worried since I whistle backed..

    1. Wow, that’s a great story of what happened to you. Thanks for sharing. It seems like there are a lot of sightings of this Lechuza creature. Thanks for listening to my podcast.

  8. I live in Las Cruces NM and iv seen and heard owls numerous times but twice I\’ve seen a gigantic dark brown owl far larger than any of the other ones in my experiences, stalking me, once while standing outside I saw it sitting there perched on the wall across from my cuzs house in the neighbors back yard and another time flying light post to light post as I walked down a semi-secluted street closer to the mountains and remaining desert than the rest of town and both of them, if they weren\’t the same exact one had to be at least 5 feet verticaly with a body around 2.5-3 ft wide and a wingspand around 12-13 ft long and both times just like almost every single other time I\’ve had experiences with either seeing or hearing owls was around 3am also known as \”the witching hour\” but apparently praying to God and roseries are definitely a very good possibility for warding them off, maybe even a Bible, I\’m not extremely religious but I always wear a rosery and I always keep a Bible in my backpack for protection, that along with asking Jesus to be my sword and shield to protect me both in front of, in back of, beside,above and Bellow,in and all around me- against any and all evil,human,non-human,living or non living, worldly or un-worldy has worked Everytime for me so far but anyways thanks a lot for the information and to anyone reading just because public school and mainstream science says something is fact or fiction,possible or impossible doesn\’t mean that\’s the truth stay open minded and research things for yourself there\’s A LOT of information that\’s manipulated and hidden from us keep yur 3rd eye open and yur mind awake God bless &peace

    1. What a great story. Religious items and prayers seem to ward this thing off. It’s too bad you didn’t get a picture. Thank you for sharing your information and for stopping by to listen to the show.

  9. Long story: My family owned a plantation that burnt down in 2005. The home was built in the early 1800\\\’s by the founder of the city. He\\\’s in the history books in Texas and my dad\\\’s foster mother was born in the early 1900\\\’s. Her and her husband worked on the plantation and she had kids. One of those kids married a very rich man who bought the plantation for a gift to my dad\\\’s foster mother. Living in that home his foster mother and them experienced weird things. Once, they had came home and found out that someone broke into the home and put some sort of white powder all over the home. My dad even said not a lot of people liked his foster mom and they would find boxes burried in the ground of the land with pigs blood, chicken heads, or other sorts of dead animals stuff. However, my dad experienced sleep walking outside too at night and they lived next to the woods.. … Their doors would have scratches on them, too…Also, his foster mother would always wake up with scratches and hickies on her. My dad said it happen once to him when he slept on her bed. He said he dreamt of old witches talking in some launguage laughing at him. Then scratching and leaving hickes on his body. So, he never slept in her room and started experiencing whistling outside the window. He said he would run to his foster mother and she would bless the room in some launguage. Then she would cuss in spanish after words… He only knows Spanish and English. So, he didn\\\’t know what she was saying besides the cussing in spanish and the whitsling would stop. When he was a teen the experiences still continued in the home. He said he got tired of seeing his grandmother praying and one night they saw lights coming from one of the old slave home building. They were scared because they were in there house. Him beeing a teen told his foster mom that he\\\’ll handle who ever was in there. She told him not to but he didn\\\’t listen. He grabbed a broom and went outside to the old slave home. He said the lights turned off when he got closer to the bulding and it went dark. When he was walking he stopped because a car passed by….He said this scared him because he saw the shawdow of a bird. He said the shawdow looked 6 or 7 ft. Then the bird expanded its wings in the shawdow. He said he was in shock and dropped the broom and took off running inside the home. Also, my dad has no history of mental illnesses. I\\\’m not sure but the previous owner owned many slaves on the plantation. He used to abuse his slaves. I was told that if the slaves were bad they were thrown into the wells. His foster mother covered them up so my dad wouldn\\\’t play in them when he was younger….his foster mother really loved my dad…..But was a person doing this because they bought the home? Was this a grudge? I\\\’m not sure, but this is scary. Too many people exsperience this. I\\\’ve heard stories of other people experiencinga give bird like owl, too.

  10. I need help!!
    Well not me, but my boyfriends neighbors.
    They’ve said that they’ve seen it every night at around 3 am.
    Something happened last night.
    They have two or three dogs, but they’re all chained up. The chain they have is a hella strong chain, covered in hard plastic, then it’s the chain itself.
    Well, they said that their dog was taken by it… The chain was ripped in half. No human could possibly do that. Then their other dog barked and barked at the sky for about two hours.
    I would really appreciate the help as they don’t know what to do.
    They see it every night, it’s up in their trees.
    What can they do to keep it away?? It already took one dog, I fear for the other(s).
    Please, help, it’d be greatly appreciated!!

    1. Hi Liz, Thanks for your comment. In the podcast I talk about the different ways to ward off the Lechuza. I hope this helps.

  11. I live in La Joya, Tx. I was driving back into my neighborhood when out of the trees was the biggest owl that was very white. It seemed like it was following my car until it flew away. It was definitely the scariest thing that has happened after hearing these stories. It was my first time witnessing one.

  12. im living in san Antonio for a few more weeks and i went out last night around 2am to walk my dog in the Alamo Heights neighborhood of san antonio. And my dog stated freaking out and when i looked uop i saw a masive bird with its wings open flying over me before it perched on a window sill of a complex window above me. I was so freked out but also amazed at how big it was and i took out y cell phone to take a photo but as soon as the camera app opened and i faced it towards the bird my phone freaking died! (my phone was aready dying) Anyway i was so spooked by this bird watching me that i went a cross the street to look at it and then finaly continue walking. I kept talking to the dog about what we just seen it really freaked me out since this is Alamo Heights its a suburbs right next to down town. I walk the dog all the time at night and i never see any birds. Anyway as im going over what just happend i turn the corner and head up the street and half way up ythe dog starts going crazy again! i look up and the bird was there !! It was sitting on a telephone wire across the street from me. (the streets are small) it was there again i was shook! I stood very still thinking is this thing following me !! It stared directly at me and i startefd screaming at it and making sounds to try to scare it away but it just stared at me stared down at me. I kept imagining it attack me or the dog. I started to slowly walk away up the street to my home. as i was walking the bird followed me with its head it watched me walk away. I was soooo spooked when i finaly got home there were stray cats outside my door(becasue i feed them sometimes, they are kittens) and one of them scracthed me and made me bleed. WHen i got inside i told my roommate (who is a mexican) what happened and he told me its not good and its a devil bird and means im going to die soon. And ive been freaking out ever since. I even went back out that night with the dog and my professional camera to try to get a shot of it but it ws no where to be found and now its the end of the next day and ive been in fear the whole day thinking something is going to happen to me.

    1. I forgot to mention the bird was HUGE and looked like an owl but wayyy bigger then a normal owl and i found this site and it looks like that drawing. Which freaks me tf out !!!! Anyway im super paranoid now and the more i think about yesterday the more i think about all of the things that happened that day that was out of place idk im moving to NYC in january 13th and i just hope i make iit there before i die. I dont want to die in San Atonio !!

  13. Im from a small town in south Texas and I am researching this because I just came across one staring into my bedroom. I have a 2 story house and a unfinished patio so I basically have a door that leads to no where but a big fall to the ground. . I opened the door and it just stared at me for a few seconds and flew off. At first it looked as though it were going to fly at me but my dogs saw it and chased it off. . . Now I’ve seen and heard them many times before but never has one stared me down and try to fly at me. Another thing that creeps me out it Everytime I see or hear them, death is always near. My mom, mother in-law, grandparents, and so forth. . . Being Hispanic I know the lore but again, never has it ever been directed at me… I’ll keep y’all posted… Goodnight

  14. I have almost hit a white owl twice when it flew towards me driving on the highway at night and at my friends shop i had the largest bird like the size of a person but was a white owl dive towards me and i had to duck to the floor just so it wouldnt get me but that is 3 times i have dealt with a white owl and i hear birds day and night non stop and i have the worst luck possible and i lose everyone i love. I just remain alone no matter what and its harsh punishment

  15. We have a large white owl that has been around our apartment complex for about 3 years now. We have seen it, two apartments had too put wite over their balcony to keep it off. It is seen and heard day and night, but sounds like an owl, hooting. Could this be the same kind of owl as the Lechuza? We have had many deaths here, but mostly older people. My mom was one. We are of Spanish heritage on my mother’s side.

  16. We’ve seen a scary big owl looking creature outside on a light post my husband tried to throw a rock at it when he turned around it was gone , later that night a huge black cat was charging at him making noises and seemed like it wanted to bite him … so scary we live in California …!

  17. I grew up (mostly) in a small town in the panhandle of Texas, outside of Lubbock. But I was raised within a migrant farm workers\’ family, we traveled from Minnesota and Michigan every late Spring and transitioned back to Texas in the late Fall. My mother told us folktales, odd stories, and personal experiences about many things, of which also included the Lechuza. Sometimes, I didn\’t know what to believe. Some of it seemed so far-fetched but my brothers and sisters also experienced similar sightings of the Lechuza. They have run from it! They have seen Lechuzas from afar – making deals with witches – hoping they wouldn\’t be seen and worried what would happen if they were caught spying.
    As an adult, I moved to Chicago where I met my boyfriend (now husband). I realized that after living in Chicago for so long, how unafraid I was about being outside after dark. The main reason was because there are so many street lights illuminating the night sky – I forgot. But when I go back \”home\” I remember. I shared the lechuza stories with my boyfriend. We are both of Mexican American descent but had never heard of this mystical creature. He just assumed we were all crazy. He was born and raised in the city of Chicago and had never really ventured outside of his urban bubble — until he met me. I took him to visit my parents and see where I grew up. He quickly realized how quiet and dark the streets were one night while we went out for a walk. To be funny, he decided to whistle, long and loud – I immediately began to sprint home, extremely upset at what he had done. He started to laugh and said nothing would happen – again that I was \”crazy\” – and not even 7 seconds later his whistle was answered with another whistle from the silos where the Lechuzas were always reported to be seen in our town. He begins to run alongside me, asking if I had heard the whistle – I told him \”Keep running and start praying!\” One minute later, another whistle – this time it was much closer to us! I remember it that the whistle sounded like it had different chords to it – not natural, demonic. We made it back safely to my parents home just in time to hear it whistle again, in the neighbors tree, but we could or didn\’t want to see it. We told my mother, she went outside to pray and sprinkled salt around the house. She said it wouldn\’t touch us. My mother also placed a mirror in the window and said if it saw itself that it would see how ugly it was and scare itself away. He believes now.

  18. Ill tell you and everyone that a Lechuza is a witch. They have that kind of ability to change into an animal because they have to sacrifice human lives in order to have those abilities from Satan. But let me tell you that if you are with God and you believe that Jesus is lord and savior and accept Jesus into your heart you are covered in the blood of Jesus so nothing or No one can harm you. Im not scared of anything and anyone on earth except for God. Amen

  19. I know this post is kind of old but I live in a small town in South Texas as well. Most of us grew up hearing old stories about the Lechuza and I was always told she is nothing to play with and that her presence means something bad is gonna happen soon or death is near. There is alot of witch craft done around here so I feel like she’s always near. Well one night about 3 years ago, me and my friend started experiencing weird supernatural things. He had just got out of prison, gang banger, not scared of anything. He told me one day that he woke up and every door in his house was open, including cabinets, front/back door, etc. We thought it was weird but just let it go. Soon after we would always hear a knocking/scratching sound across the street in the middle of the night for a few weeks. It was always coming from a spot where the street light didn’t shine, pitched black. So one night he told me he had seen her twice, once she chased him as a child and both times death came to people close to him right after. He also talked about having dreams in prison and he knew he would die young. We were up talking in the middle of the night one night in my car, parked parallel to the street, and he was in the passenger seat on the side nearest the road. All of a sudden he starts SCREAMING something along the lines of “THERE SHE IS! LOOK! SHES RIGHT THERE! OH MY GOD!” Etc. I absolutely refused to look but I have never seen that type of pure terror from someone. I didn’t know what to do so I drove off. We parked outside my house and I gave him a minute to calm down before I asked what he saw. She was standing in the street light, about the size of a child, staring at him. Then she flew up into the trees and disappeared. He was shaking and had tears in his eyes so I knew it wasn’t a joke. We stayed at my house terrified for a good while and he mentioned dying young again. I told him not to think like that. So about a year after this he passed away. During the time that all these weird things were happening to us, he said “I can’t wait to turn 24.” He died when he was 23. To this day it has been something that I still have a very hard time with because I can’t forget that night. It’s like a nightmare. I feel as if what happened is something straight out of a horror movie but no, this was very real, and I lost my friend because of it. I would never mess with something so evil. Even talking about it scares me sometimes. She’s out there. I see it as a bad omen in a way. This story is something that I will always live with and the only other person who was around to witness it is no longer living. Don’t take it lightly.

    1. Wow Naomi, what an amazing story! Thank you for having the courage to share it here. So sorry to hear what happened to your friend. Perhaps your story will serve as a lesson or warning to others. Take care.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *