Classic Mysteries

More on the ‘Birdman’ of Chaparral, New Mexico

by Brent Raynes

In my Reality Checking column in the October issue, I quoted an informant who described a recent sighting of an apparent ‘birdman’ seen by his brother, who lives in the desert community of Chaparral, New Mexico, and by a truck driver neighbor who lives next door but directly behind his brother, a man who allegedly had a really, really close encounter (close call?) with this winged anomaly.

On the evening of Sunday, September 30th, my helpful informant visited his brother’s next door neighbor, with cell phone in hand, to help me to get the low down on this man’s incredible sounding account. The neighbor is a truck driver who speaks only Spanish, so my informant agreed to act an interpreter. So back and forth we went between English and Spanish and back to English, repeatedly.

“Actually he thought that it was coming towards the dog to attack it, but the dog went in back of him and started barking really, really loud,” my informant stated. “That’s when he looked up and that’s when he saw that.” A tree nearby was swaying back and forth “like there was a wind storm.” I asked about feathers, as I had been told second hand that it had such, but was soon told otherwise. “He said he didn’t see feathers on it.” I asked at one point about eyes. “He didn’t see the eyes,” I was told. “You know what he did say? He said his head was tiny. He had a tiny head. A tiny head, big fanged teeth, (and) sharp claws on his hands. He said he has hands in addition to his wings.”

As best as the witness could recall the incident occurred sometime between 2 and 3 a.m., either in early August or late July of this year [2007]. He was outside, it was very dark, and he was about to smoke a cigarette, when he heard the commotion from the tree, and so he flicked his lighter, and that’s when he saw it.

“You know what?” my informant and interpreter on the other end of the phone said. “He said that it made a horrible sound, kind of like a – he can’t even describe it – it was like a squealing but a really, really loud – I guess like in between a – he said in between a [he stops to converse again in Spanish with the neighbor] kind of like the way a crow sounds? A crow and like a hissing sound, at the same time.”

I had heard that there was like a hissing and a screaming sound, but I didn’t know that they occurred together. Again he confirmed it: “Yeah, it was at the same time. Like a squealing and a hissing at the same time. He said that when he saw him he made that noise…he was so shocked that he kept trying to turn on his lighter when he was seeing that and he kept doing that motion.”

“So he was saying that he didn’t think that animal saw him until he started lighting his lighter…. It came down like the way an eagle comes down like when they’re landing. That’s the position he saw him in.” “Kind of like with his front legs up in the air?” I asked. “Exactly,” he replied. “And his hands were like close to his chest…” I asked how tall he looked. Again he conversed in Spanish with the man and then came back with “He said six [feet] or more. ….So it’s pretty big.”

I asked how long this event went on. Again a conversation in Spanish erupts in the background, then he returns to me: “Okay, okay. He’s telling me that [a little more Spanish, and then he laughs] He said that to him it probably lasted a long time but it might have been like 5 or 6 seconds. He said that it was so close to the ground that it was coming down and at the same time when he saw the lighter flickering he stopped. It was kind of like in mid-air, but so close to the ground that he turned around flying…” Then he supposedly landed on my informant’s brother’s garage roof and sat “like in a squatting position” briefly. “He said he turned around and looked at him again, kind of like the way an owl tilts its head and he made that same sound and took off flying..” Later he added that it “flew really, really, really fast,” and in the direction of nearby mountains.

On September 28, I talked with my informant’s brother about his sighting. It occurred around 5 a.m., he said, on September 14th. He described how he and his wife were outside their home talking to each other. He was laying on the back of his car looking at stars and about 30-50 feet up in the air, close to his outside light, situated on a pole, he saw a black form go by through the air. “It didn’t have any feathers,” he said. “You know to me what it appeared to be like? Like somebody hang gliding. The wingspan was pretty big.” I asked how big and he said, “I would say about a good 15 feet, from side to side.”

Recalling how it had occurred, he described how they were watching a light moving in the sky and then, “…all of a sudden you could see like a black cloud, so I told my wife ‘Look, look…Look at that! ….’ The only thing that she saw was this black cloud, but I saw it real good because I stood up and I looked towards it. I was following it. I followed it for about 3 or 4 seconds…” He felt his wife was kind of in denial “because she’s so scared of that thing, of people talking about it.”

I am told that others in the area have seen this thing also.

My informant, who holds a responsible position with the judicial court system of El Paso, Texas, wrote me: “The only reason the neighbor told my brother was because his kids and my brother’s kids get together at my brothers house and they tend to stay up late and play so he said ‘as crazy as it may sound’(and) then proceeded to tell him what he saw. He said ‘I’m only telling you this because what I saw has the capability to take a child or two.’”

“I don’t know what the hell it is” – John Keel

The people sounded credible, and the events quite strange, though in a hauntingly familiar way at this stage of the cryptozoological/paranormal game. I called John Keel up on October 10th, and chatted with him about these sightings. Who better than the author of The Mothman Prophecies to discuss such weird and winged oddities with? After I completed telling him the story about the truck driver John remarked, “But he saw the fangs?” and I replied “Yes.” “That’s a great sighting,” he said. “I don’t know what the hell it is.”

I guess we probably never will. That seems to be the way it goes.

At any rate, John and I talked about a number of other odd cases and caught up with what was going on in each of our lives. As usual we didn’t solve any mysteries, but it’s always interesting discussing and speculating about them anyway!