Eyewitness Accounts... Page 25
Eyewitness Accounts... Page 25

Big Bird Sighted by Odin Family

Centralia, Illinois Sentinel, Thursday, August 11 1977

Odin- A huge bird, similar to the giant creatures which were sighted recently in Central Illinois, was spotted three miles south of Odin this morning by John and Wanda Chappell and their son, John.

The sighting took place at the Chappell residence along the Odin Road near the M & I tracks.

We were sitting there drinking coffee at about 7 a.m. and we looked through our sliding glass door toward our pond and my husband said, “Look at that!” I’ve never seen anything like it,”” Mrs. Chappell related.

“It was the biggest bird I have ever seen. I saw some buzzards several weeks ago and there was no comparison in size. We have a boat down by the pond that is 16 feet long, and I would say the wingspan of the bird was 14 feet”, she said.

The bird was approximately 300 to 400 feet from us and it flew over the pond and lifted up high in a tree. It stayed there five to 10 minutes. I got a good look at it through my binoculars. It looked like it was about four feet tall.

“It looked like a prehistoric bird. It was really fantastic,” Mrs. Chappell said. “The head didn’t have any feathers and it had a long neck, crooked, kind of S shaped. The body was covered with feathers and was grey or charcoal colored. We couldn’t tell much about the feet, but it had long legs.

‘It was big enough to lift something. Our daughter is a year and a half old and it was big enough to lift a child bigger than her. It was that huge.”

Mrs. Chappell said it looked somewhat like a vulture , but was much bigger than any vulture she had seen.

It makes you feel like you’re in another world to see something like that flying around,” she said. “When it settled in the tree, the tree settled quite a bit, so I know it was heavy.

The Chappells wanted someone else to see the bird so they called their son and he also got a good look at it. They did not awaken their young daughter.

“I got a very good look at through the binoculars,” Mrs. Chappell said. “We didn’t open the glass door because we were afraid we would scare it away.

Chappell said it appeared the bird flew in from the north before circling the pond and landing in the treetop.

“When it took off it headed towards Raccoon Lake towards Centralia. “Mrs. Chappell said. “We were hesitant to report it because we thought people might think we were exaggerating , but when I called my sister in Alma on the phone she said it was also sighted yesterday, so we thought if we reported it someone else might see it,” Mrs. Chappell said.

The bird made no noise during the time it was on the Chappell property , she indicated.


Sightings of giant birds with wingspans of 12 feet were reported by several persons in central Illinois about two weeks ago, and a Lawndale mother said one lifted her 70-pound son two feet off the ground before dropping him.

One man filmed one after sighting after sighting two of the huge creatures.

The Illinois Department of Conservation later said the central Illinois sightings apparently were of turkey vultures, common birds with wingspans up to 6 feet.

Mrs. Chappell said she had read about the central Illinois sightings and “I never dreamed I’d ever see anything like that.”

And she added that she has never seen a buzzard or vulture quite like this.

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