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Winged Witches - A True Story


This following story was shared by a lady from Southern Mexico to my mom back in 1981 or so…and of course I was there being nosey and listening to this great story.

The lady was drinking coffee and shooting the breeze with my mom and she began to talk about her life and her home. She stated that she was from a little village in the state of Chiapas a place of greenery and thick jungle. Her little village rested at the foot of a small mountain surrounded by dark rolling hills and a small river. The lady was a member of an indigenous tribe and even spoke an ancient Mayan dialect. She began to speak about her tribe and their way of life customs, and beliefs. 

She told my mother that she was married off by her family at the early age of about 14 years old…which was their custom at the time. She moved into the little village of about 20 or so families that worked the land and raised cattle, sheep, goats, and any other form of your typical farm animals. On some days while working in the fields at the edge of the jungle many of the villagers would feel uneasy and nervous, they would always tell her to make sure to get her work done before dark. She was new to the village and did not really understand the uneasiness but admitted that the looming mountain always provided a feeling of gloom and danger at times.

The months passed uneventful till she became pregnant with her first child, the village was happy for the young couple and began to treat her with more care and concern. She was not permitted to go the fields to work anymore and instead was instructed to stay around the village and not stray. She was provided with an older man and woman that would spend the entire day with her; sort of keeping an eye on her. As she was getting closer to her due date the happy little village began to act strange and in ways kind of paranoid. They began to look after her even more closely and soon she was not even allowed to step outside her little wooden shack. 

Concerned she asked the old couple what was going on and why was everyone acting strange and so unsettled; the old couple did not really give her an explanation and simply avoided her questions. About a week or so before her due date the sleepy little village experienced a surge of activity. The villagers were all over the place here and there, moving things, preparing things, fixing doors, fixing fences and roof tops. The old couple allowed her to go outside the day before she gave birth and the entire village was there to greet her and congratulate her. She noticed that all the men were armed and appeared ready for something. The men had sharpened their machetes and knives; the few that had guns carried their weapon with them…which was odd because they only brought them out to hunt game. 

She noticed that groups of men had made makeshift camps at the edge of the village and yet others were standing guard on top of roofs and tall trees. The village women had organized a feast of traditional foods and drinks and everyone began to enjoy the evening. Once the sun was almost over the mountain she was ushered inside by a few of the older women and they began to prepare her for labor. She was given a strong drink of herbs and roots that would help induce labor and the plan was for the baby to be delivered that very night. Here is when they explained to her of why the village was acting so strange and protective. One of the village elders sat her down and slowly whispered into her ear with a raspy Mayan dialect “tonight they will come to try and take your baby.”

The woman told my mother that she gasped and began to cry out “what, what are you talking about, no one is going to take my baby!” The old woman explained to her that every time the village received a new member the “winged ones” would come down at night from the mountain in order to steal the newborn. “Newborns have a gift of energy and this winged ones take them to devour their essence” rasped the old lady. That is why the village prepares for them and for the following few nights after delivery the entire village stays ready and guards the baby. That night after the labor inducing drink took effect the baby was born around 2:30AM. They cleaned and washed the infant, and dressed it in a small blanket along with some small roots and leaves; this was to mask the newborns scent.

She told my mother that the entire villagers were prepared, small children were all hidden away in a small underground bunker in one of the storage shacks and the older adults kept them company. Torches were lit, and the men began to scan the dark skies, the village dogs were set lose, and other villagers stood guard over the animal pens. The night was cold and eerie and according to her everything was more pronounced and amplified; perhaps due to the heightened and altered nerves of the hell that was soon to come.

She said that about an hour or so after the delivery everything was calm and quiet, but gradually a cold wind began to blow, the village dogs began to release their haunting howls from somewhere in the darkness. The wind began to blow stronger and stronger; the men began to yell in dialect “get ready, get ready, here they come!” The mutts began to bark and growl; running wildly into the darkness the echo of their howls mixed with the bellowing winds filled the air with disturbing energy. A shriek was heard in the distance, followed by a faint flap, flap, flap. The man in the high tree yelled as he climbed down “she is here, she is here!”

Everything exploded in to a loud chaos, dogs yelped in pain, others ran for cover; men yelled and swung their machetes, loud bangs of shotguns and rifles filled the village with smoke. A few defended with their fiery torches swinging desperately into the air. The woman told my mother that she was crying uncontrollably and with every flap of some huge wings she would hold her baby tighter and tighter. The sounds were terrifying everything from the men yelling to the women and children screaming and crying. She said that she could hear the resounding swoosh of this hellish being as it flew over the tiny shacks, desperately seeking to locate the newborn. 

The entire village was alive desperately trying to fend off the hell fiend, valiantly protecting the newest village member. She could hear some of the men yelling for help from somewhere in the darkness; suffering from deep gashes and long bloody scratches. The battle went on till the golden rays of the sun graciously began to peek over the hills. The fiendish beast retreated to the shadows of the nearby mountain; the fading flap of massive wings provided some much needed relief to the exhausted villagers. 

With the sun fully present they gathered themselves at the center of the little village, tending to their wounded and counting their blessings. Besides a few deep cuts and scratches there was no severe injuries and everyone was accounted for. There were a few dead dogs and a couple of goats missing from the pens, but overall they were mostly safe and sound.

The woman explained to my mother that it was expected in the village that when there was a birth these winged witches would leave their dark caves and attempt to steal the babies. They would only desire newborns, no more than seven days old, any older and the child was safe. These winged witches had the body of a woman and the head of a bird, usually an owl, and at times a vulture. They stood over seven feet tall with black sharp talons on their long fingers and oversized feet; with a wingspan of over 20 feet. Usually there was more than one that would come seeking the newborns, but at times it seemed that the leader or strongest of them would appear alone. They would normally attack a couple of times and appeared not to want to risk enduring an injury so if they were met with fierce resistance these things would tend to hold back further attacks. 

For this instance the winged witch did return a few times but it appeared to not want to launch a full attack, perhaps it had been wounded during the wild battle. The villagers could hear her cackling and scratching coming from just beyond the light of the torches. Every once in a while they would catch a glimpse of large fiery glowing eyes…just watching and waiting, peering from the penetrating darkness. It would do fly overs tormenting the humble little village, but it never did a full attack. Some of the village men would fire off a few rounds from old rusty shotguns and it seemed to keep this fiend at bay. The winged thing was able to kill few more dogs and on one instance it swooped down grabbing a large dog from the neck and flying off with it. Only to drop it on the roof a small shack spilling its gory entrails all over the thatched roof.

The woman explained to my mother that according to the village history these disturbing events had take place ever since any of them could remember. This things were believed to live in deep caverns and caves on the looming mountain. They referred them as winged witches and pronounce a word in her dialect that I cannot recall. The closest I found was an Aztec word for “owlman” which is Tlacatecolotl. The woman told my mother that her husband decided to move his young family away from that little village, eventually making their way to the United States. 

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