Thunderbird(?) Snatches Boy (Lawndale, Illinois; July 1977)

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{Pterosaurs ... } are not to be confused with the thunderbirds, which have essentially been proven (among cryptozoologist academics) to follow a specific migratory patter throughout the year. They frequent the north-east, especially. They are not pterosaurs, but appear to be surviving remnants of a bird (raptor bird, specifically -- as in eagles, hawks, vultures, etc.) species that officially is presumed to have gone extinct thousands of years ago. I cannot remember the exact scientific name given to the fossils, but I believe it is something like "Archetavius." It was/is of a monstrous size, it's wing span reaching about twenty-five feet. About a century ago, it successfully stole a child... for food. It almost happened again a few decades ago (search keyword 'Lawndale Incident'), but the mother of the targetted child came to her childdren's rescue, swatting at the birds with a broom. The only damage that was done, physically, were some scratches left when the bird had begun to lift into the air holding the child, preparing to devour him, in all seriousness. ...
 
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littleblackduck

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After reading today's news short (see below) about the 10 year boy picked up by a giant bird, I checked the Web for birds of prey that have a white ring around their neck and a wing span in the neighbourhood of eight feet.

Here is a picture which is quite convincingly similar to the description of the Illinois mystery bird:

manuexpeditions.com/images/Treks/Condor.jpg
Link is dead. Here's the photo, salvaged from the Wayback Machine:

condor.jpg


It is a condor, the largest known, and one of the rarest, birds of prey.

I love fortean photographs and artifacts, even when they de-mystify the article in question.

On July 1, I bought some small fossils, including two belemnites in a rock matrix. These are the fossil "squid" skeletons which the British sometimes call "Fairy Shot" according to Charles H. Fort. Mind you, Fairy Shot probably includes stone arrow heads as well. When we find these, we attribute them to the natives.

The closest fortean phenomena have hit to home for me is an Alien Big Cat (while, an Alien Middle-sized Cat, at least), namely a Siberian Lynx, in the village nearest where my parents live, which attacked a local woman. I have a photograph of that one. But one of the episodes recounted in Fort's Collected Works happened in the Shire Town of my native County.

Forteana is everywhere--even in places too small to figure on most regional maps.

It's a good thing people keep manufacturing new mysteries, though, or we'd soon run out, thanks to cameras and cam-corders. At least they haven't caught the big black ABC's which roam my native hills.

Excerpt from Fortean Times website:

25 July. Feast Day of St James the Great, patron saint of Compostela, Spain, portrayed as a knight in armour decorated with scallops. Before him, the shrine was dedicated to the sea goddess Brigit, and the scallop (Latin: vulva) represent the female principle. In 1977 two giant birds swooped down on Lawndale, Illinois, and one seized 10-year-old Marlon Lowe and carried him about 30 feet before releasing him. Marlon weighed 65 pounds. The birds were dark with white rings around their long necks, curled beaks and a wingspan of around eight feet.

:eek:
 
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Condors have very small and weak feet for their size (at least comparatively to, say, eagles) because they are exclusively scavengers, and never pick up their food, just landing next to a carcass and eating their fill while on the ground. It would be impossible for a condor to pick up a 10 year old boy, hence this case becoming a part of "Thunderbird" mythology.

Of course, scientists could have got it wrong about condors' feet - they also claimed that it is impossible for a bumblebee to fly...

The description of the bird does fit a condor, in fact the wingspan is smaller than a condor's (10 feet) and much smaller than the 15-20ft reported for Thunderbirds. Maybe they downscaled it because noone would believe a story of a boy seized by a 15ft bird? Or maybe the boy was just telling porkies...
 
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Goldstein said:
Condors have very small and weak feet for their size (at least comparatively to, say, eagles) because they are exclusively scavengers, and never pick up their food, just landing next to a carcass and eating their fill while on the ground. It would be impossible for a condor to pick up a 10 year old boy, hence this case becoming a part of "Thunderbird" mythology.

Of course, scientists could have got it wrong about condors' feet - they also claimed that it is impossible for a bumblebee to fly...

Check out this link:
straightdope.com/classics/a5_045.html
Link is dead. The MIA webpage can be accessed via the Wayback Machine:
https://web.archive.org/web/20021122154552/http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a5_045.html
 
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littleblackduck

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On this day ....

25 July. Feast Day of St James the Great, patron saint of Compostela, Spain, portrayed as a knight in armour decorated with scallops. Before him, the shrine was dedicated to the sea goddess Brigit, and the scallop (Latin: vulva) represent the female principle. In 1977 two giant birds swooped down on Lawndale, Illinois, and one seized 10-year-old Marlon Lowe and carried him about 30 feet before releasing him. Marlon weighed 65 pounds. The birds were dark with white rings around their long necks, curled beaks and a wingspan of around eight feet.

(From the Fortean Times Front Page today)

Sometimes solving a mystery is just a click away. The Andean Condor fits the description of these birds perfectly: white ring around neck, curled beak, wingspan up to 10 feet.

The following is not the best photograph I found in Googling for Images, but it does show a man being "attacked" by a condor.

condor.jpg


Here is a darling picture of the head of the Andean Condor, showing the "white collar".

lp-03.jpg


And here is a good zoo page, complete with an animated Vultur gryphus in flight:

Andean Condor
Link is dead. No archived version found.

It looks to me like the Thunderbird of Middle American Native Lore is one of Fort's "out-of-place" animals rather than a genuine cryptid like Bigfoot and Nessie.

Speaking of misplaced wildlife, my favourite has to be the Kangaroo that was hit by a car in Austria. As if geographical dim people don't have enough trouble keeping the Austria/Australia distinction straight!

In the episode of the Simpsons where Bart angers the Australian Government by refusing to pay for a reversed charge (collect) call and wrecks havoac by introducing his pet frog (like the Cane Toad) to Australia (and the Koala Bear to the United States) , the Australian Parliament building is an Austrian building with Austria crossed out.
 
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A

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one problem with the andean condor identification. Andean condors are not predatory and vultures tend to have rather weak talons. they aren't very well suited for swooping down and flying off with prey rather than sniffing out a corpse from a mile up and decending to gorge. An eagle would fit more the description of these birds that reportedly flew off with the Lowe boy, but then another problem is encountered, even the strongest eagles can only carry their own body weight. The largest Eagle is the stellars sea eagle which weighs in at roughly 9 kg, records are probably a bit larger. It is a magnificent bird and the patterns on its wings could vaguely resemble white patch around its breast at a certain angle those patches on its wings give it the other known name of white shouldered sea eagle
ssehokk4.jpg

still, a bird as big as the one that carried off the Lowe boy would need to weigh in at more twice what a stellars sea eagle weighs, and would be truely spectacular. possibilities exist but these thunderbirds and rocs seem to elude all the thousands of bird watchers out in the woods, fields, mountains, etc, however reported sightings seem to be rare. I've seen a golden eagle outin the wild close up, it's very easy to mistake its size for something much larger than it really is when you see it so where I, who haven't seen eagles in the wild very often would say "that is the largest bird I've ever seen" and experienced bird watcher might shrug off a bird that truely is larger than it appears as a common eagle, especially without any reference points by which to gauge size. anyone who's seen an eagle in the wild can understand what I'm saying I hope :D
 
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Mighty_Emperor

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This 2004 article describes an alleged filming of the Lawndale birds the day following the Marlon Lowe incident.

Published on Monday, May 17, 2004 11:40 AM CDT

Film crew documents Tuscola chief's big bird story

By NATHANIEL WEST, Staff Writer

FINDLAY -- The large "Thunderbirds" return every 27 years to steal away the children of the Cherokee people, according to legend.

On Sunday, Chief John "A.J." Huffer returned to the lake where he claimed to have filmed two such Thunderbirds almost 27 years ago.

Were they really the monstrous predators of Cherokee lore, or were they just turkey buzzards basking in the warmth of summer?

Huffer believes in the former. But a film crew from Canada is trying to separate fact from fiction, and, perhaps, entertain young viewers of the non-fiction show "Mystery Hunters" in the process.

After all, entertainment follows closely behind Huffer, a Tuscola resident and chief of the Illinois Cherokee Band.

"It takes a Cherokee to film a Cherokee legend," said Huffer, 69.

In a deep yet gravely voice, he narrates the story like someone who has told it a thousand times. He probably has.

"I think I have photographed a living legend," he said.

Thus, he boarded a canoe Sunday with 16-year-old Araya Mengesha, one of two "reporters" on the documentary show aired by networks of Discovery Communications Inc.

With a cameraman, sound man, director and production assistant in tow, Huffer and Mengesha paddled across Lake Shelbyville while the chief recalled his tale.

A host of Internet Web sites describe how, in the summer of 1977 in Lawndale, a large bird swooped down and momentarily grabbed a young boy by the name of Marlon Lowe.

And rumors soon took wing that the Thunderbirds of old were back again. Of course, a sizeable reward was offered for pictures of them.

Huffer, who had learned to use a 16 mm camera with the U.S. Marine Corps, set out with his son, Jason, on the morning of July 26, 1977.

As they entered a cove near the Findlay marina on Lake Shelbyville, they spied two large birds in a tree. Huffer turned on his camera, the noise of which scared the birds into flight.

He shot about 100 feet of color film. Copies have since been purchased by television producers all over the world.

Huffer estimated the jet-black birds had wingspans of 18 feet and 14 feet, respectively.

Almost 30 years later, the story caught the attention of Montreal-based Apartment 11 Productions, which produces the children's show "Mystery Hunters."

"We're doing legends and myths," said Serge Marcio, director of the Thunderbird segment. "We're into ghost stories."

Mengesha and the rest of the Canadian crew also spent time Sunday in Normal with an Illinois State University professor and bird expert, Angelo Capparella.

After viewing Huffer's film, the professor told the young reporter that the birds probably were just turkey vultures, according to Cassie Fifer of Sullivan, the crew's production assistant, who was recruited for the Illinois shoot.

Marcio said "Mystery Hunters" will leave it up to the viewers to decide.

"There are pros and there are cons," he said. "That's what makes a mystery — there are no definite answers."

http://www.jg-tc.com/articles/2004/05/17/news/news03.txt
 
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WhistlingJack

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Reading Emp's post, I was reminded of the 1977 case in Lawndale, Illinois, where Marlon Lowe was allegedly attacked by one of two 'thunderbirds':

cryptozoology.com/articles/marlon
Link is either a dead end (into a registration-required site) or the content is MIA.

As of the time of this post, the webpage was titled:

THE 1977 LAWNDALE, ILLINOIS THUNDERBIRD CASE
As told by the eyewitnesses by Jerry D. Coleman

The 2006 version of the webpage is accessible at the Wayback Machine:

https://web.archive.org/web/20060618044914/http://www.cryptozoology.com/articles/marlon.php


... the article doesn't carry any photographs of the incident (I'm sure I've read somewhere that at least one did exist), but it has what is claimed to be a film still of a thunderbird - any thoughts as to its validity?

Here is the MIA photo image from the MIA webpage. The caption indicates it's a still from an amateur movie filmed by A. J. Huffer the day following the Lawndale episode.

huffer2-1.gif
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's a scanned image of an article appearing in the Peoria Journal Star sometime in late July 1977. It describes the Marlon Lowe incident as well as a pig-napping attributed to a giant bird in the general area at the same time.

PeoriaJrnlStar-7707.jpg

 
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