The New York Times reports a supposed 'big brown owl' with a six-foot wingspan seen by police officers in the Bronx. The cryptid was also reported by residents.
Reported June 1904: Acting Capt. Wilson of the Bronx Park Police Station last night asked the Superintendent of the Zoological Gardens to try to take into custody a big brown ‘owl’ for which the past three weeks has been scaring the policemen who were assigned to Post 16, which is one of the most lonely posts in the gloomy old Bronx.
For many days it was believed that a winged demon had deigned to hover over Post 16, and the policemen who were assigned to duty there came into the old station in the Lorillard Mansion night after night with wonderful tales of what had happened on the hoodoo post. Policeman Patrick J. Hickey said it was the most horrid thing he had ever encountered.
“It’s not an owl,” said Hickey, “it’s a devil with wings. Sure I know an owl when I see one, but no man has ever seen an owl with wings six feet wide. And it “whooooo’s” like a ghost in a graveyard, too, when it’s not growling beneath its breath. Why, men, he’s no owl; he’s a devil; and I’m going to get transferred.”
And when Hickey was transferred, a German policeman was assigned to Post No. 16, which takes in Lorillard Lane. The German policeman had only been on the post an hour one night when he came running into the station house and shouted:
“I saw it! It had a stick on its claw, and it tried to smash my head. When I ducked it ducked, too, and I had to run behind a tree. I think it is supernatural, that’s what I think.”
Then policeman Walter Kane was assigned to the “hoodoo” post, and he got a transfer in a hurry after the strange creature on wings had knocked his helmet off while patrolling the lane.
Policeman Frank Campbell, who was sent to the Bronx station from a downtown Manhattan precinct, was on duty on Post 16 only two nights when he encountered “something strange” that flew down from the trees and attacked him. He had not heard of the experiences of the other men who had been on Post 16, but when he entered the station a few nights ago with his face scratched and his helmet battered in, he wrote out this report:
“Shortly before midnight encountered a dark, flying object with four legs and two wings, the beast attacked me as if it was a beast, and I fought back. Has the resemblance of a tall, slim man at times, and at other times assumes the form of a mountain dwarf.”
Last night (June 21) Julius Wensch who resides in Bronxdale, ran into the police station and shouted for help. He told Sgt. Appel who was at the desk, that he had been attacked by something wild that “yelled like a tiger.” He said the strange thing had carried away a young woman who was in his company, and he asked for police assistance. Policemen Ollet and Baker were sent to rescue the girl, and they found her running through Lorillard Lane screaming. She explained that a wildcat with wings had attacked her and had torn the feathers from her hat.
The policeman went back to the station and reported that it was undoubtedly the big brown owl that had been frightening policemen for the past three weeks. The acting Captain notified the Bronx Park folks and a squad of men was sent out to capture the thing at midnight. (No additional information as to what occurred).
Source: 'The New York Times,' June 22, 1904
NOTE: Gryphon (Griffon) or possibly a Mothman? Interesting account. Lon
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