THUNDERBIRD SITE LIST: Giant Birds and Other Flying Creatures In Fact and Legend


Giant Birds and Other Flying Creatures In Fact and Legend

"During the time that elapsed between being knocked unconscious following the suicide of my uncle and being left as a young boy on the curb to live with the flower shop people a few months later, it took years for me to begin to recall anything that transpired between those two events --- and even then only a smattering of coming-and-going fleeting glimpses.

"However, there is one thing my grandmother said I told her right after she picked me up, and of which other than her telling me, I do not remember. She said when she asked how in the world I ever ended up so far out in the middle of the desert, especially all alone, I told her I got out of bed while it was still dark, and all by myself, walked up to the hill behind my aunt's house. There I climbed up to the top of the highest boulder I could find and stood there. I told her while standing on the boulder a huge bird as dark as the night sky and as big as I was or bigger, landed on the rock just opposite me. I got scared and turned to leave. Just as I began to move the bird swooped down and picked me up.

"My grandmother scoffed at the story figuring it was either the run-away imagination and ramblings of a little kid or I was recalling some sort of dream or hallucination. However, I told her one more thing as part of the story. Before I got up and left my aunt's house I had been put into the room of one of my cousins. Following the events of that night my girl cousin would not leave the side of her mother so, unconscious as I was I was put into her room. Her bed was covered with stuffed animals and dolls of which there was a matched set of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. When I left her room in the middle of the night I apparently took the Andy doll with me, something my cousin noticed missing almost right away when things for her returned closer to some sort of normalcy. Of course no one knew what happened to it and in all the searching nobody was able to find it no matter where they looked. My grandmother, after learning I carried the doll with me when I left my cousin's room asked what I had done with it. I told her I had dropped it on the mountain (i.e., the boulders up and behind my aunt's house) when the bird took me.

"While it may be quite reasonable for any person to identify totally with my grandmother's feelings that what I recounted regarding a giant bird was either the run-away imagination and ramblings of a little kid or I was recalling some sort of dream or hallucination, it should be noted what happened many, many months later when my boy cousin was playing, as he often did, in a fort he had built in the same rocks and boulders up behind his house. In the process of his playing, way down between the crevasse of some of the boulders, he found the long missing Andy doll of my girl cousin. The exact same Andy doll that I told my grandmother I had with me and dropped the night I wandered away from the house.

"It should also be noted, if nothing else, when I was found it was the next day and I was out in the middle of the desert many, many miles away from the location of my aunt's house in the mountains. "


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Why all the fuss about giant flying creatures, giant birds, and giant feathers, and all somehow and in someway related back to the Wanderling?

According to comments over the years by his uncle, the Wanderling's fascination regarding all aspects of giant flying creatures, and thus then his destiny, went back to an incident that involved the fly over of a giant airborne object that the Wanderling witnessed as a very, very young boy. The object, of an unknown nature and an unknown origin, was seen by literally thousands of people along the coast of California barely three months into World War II. Eventually to be called The Battle of Los Angeles: 1942 UFO, the incident is mostly forgotten now. However, during the early morning hours of February 25, 1942 the whole city and surrounding communities were in an uproar as thousands of rounds of anti-aircraft shells were expended in an attempt to pull down whatever it was in the sky that night. The slow moving object, said to be as big or bigger than a Zeppelin, was caught in the glare of the searchlights from Santa Monica to Long Beach and seemed impervious to the the constant barrarge of shells. It eventually disappeared out over the Pacific after cruising along the coast and cutting inland for a while. The huge object was never clearly explained and was basically hushed up without response from the authorities.


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Four hundered miles north in Reno, Nevada, in an article recounting the L.A. event from reporters on the scene and witnesses that contacted friends or relatives in Reno, the major local newspaper, the Reno Evening Gazette, dated February 26, 1942, presented the following:

"Still others who watched the spectacle, if it can be called that, sighted no planes in the glare of the army's searchlights. A number, however, reported seeing 'something that looked like a giant butterfly.'"

On the third page of my paper ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT: The Path Unfolds, relating living with my artist Uncle some years following my mother's death, I write that it was under his auspices at age ten, that I first heard of Leonardo Da Vinci. Actually, more clearly, what happened was that the moment my Uncle first showed me pictures of Da Vinci's flying machines I recognized them from my past as a preschool three or four-year old, I just didn't know (or remember) who Leonardo was or how the drawings related to him.(see) Later I tell about seeing the 1947 Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movie titled Tarzan and the Huntress wherein Tarzan's son Boy builds a glider-type plane capable of flying while carrying him. Then before Boy has a chance to test it, their chimp Cheetah, apparently seeing the glider's potential, steals it. Hanging on for dear life Cheetah jumps off some rocks covering quite some distance through the air. Afterwards I had to build one. My Uncle drew a life size drawing of one of the crafts on the floor of the studio and from there, together, we built an actual machine capable of flying. I go on to say I was not sure what my Uncle's exact plan for the machine was, but one day without his knowledge a friend of mine and I hauled it out of the studio and up to the top of the second story apartments across the compound, and hanging on for dear life, launched it.

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Initially the flight played out fairly well, picking up wind under the wings and maintaining the same two-story height advantage for some distance. Halfway across busy Arlington Street though, the craft began slowing and losing forward momentum. It began dropping altitude rapidly, eventually crashing into the porch and partway through the front windows of the house across the way. Other than a few bruises and a wrecked machine, nothing was broken, although as it turned out, my dad wasn't nearly as proud of me as intended. I never forgot the thrill of that flight and carried that thrill and Leonardo's dreams into my adulthood.

The idea of manned-flight didn't end for me the day I crashed glider into the neighbor's house across the street. Matter of fact, as a grown man, after hearing of a powerful 'devil wind' that blows downslope in the High Sierras given the name 'Washoe Zephyr' by Mark Twain and others, and wherein the wind was able to lift a mule off of Mount Davidson up and behind Virginia City, Nevada and carry it 5 miles across the valley setting it down unhurt, I had to see it. My seeing it ended in a second attempt at manned-flight. See:


The whole Da Vinci and flying thing was a huge metaphor for things to come, of which I get into somewhat more throughly in Codex Atlanticus. As it was, my Mentor, either before or after his stay at the ashrama of Sri Ramana Maharshi, and I believe it was before --- even though it is not mentioned by William Somerset Maugham in his book --- traveled to Bijapur to meet with another Indian holy man, Siddharameshwar Maharaj. The Maharaj taught that the only way one can reach Final Reality, that is, Enlightenment, is through what he called Vihangam Marg, the bird's way. For me, at the time, of course, I knew nothing of such things. I only know who the holy man is now because I was able to put together bits and pieces of information such as time and place with such clues as "the bird's way." The holy man had related to my Mentor that only by hearing and practising from the teachings of the Master and thinking over it, just like the bird flies from one tree to another, can one attain Awakening very fast. This is the shortest way to achieve the Final Reality. In that initially I had made little or no progress toward Enlightenment my mentor told me of Siddharameshwer's method.


Where Is It Now, What Happened To It?


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Da Vinci's flying machine from roughly 1490 A.D.

DA VINCI: Did He Fly?


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As a young boy with several years under the auspices of my Stepmother growing up in, or at least operating out of as a base of operations, the so-called Adams District of Los Angeles, of which encompassed Arlington Street where it crossed Adams, there was an exclusive gated area called Berkeley Square and close by, near the corner of Western and Adams, a huge bricked in compound where some guy had his own private domed observatory. When I went back twenty years later seeking out my infamous two-story high Arlington Street launch site, I discovered that the Santa Monica Freeway, which didn't exist when I was a kid, ran eight or more full lanes wide right through the old neighborhood, completely wiping out Berkeley Square and other houses for blocks around.

"Lavish mansions stood prominently along West Adams Boulevard and nearby Berkeley Square housing the affluent. They were symbols of stateliness and elegance, designed by the best architects of Europe and the US."

Berkeley Square was an exclusive gated neighborhood located in Los Angeles, California, just east of Arlington Street between West 21st and West 24th, bordered on the west by South Gramercy Place. The neighborhood is now gone and covered by the 10 FWY, but from 1920 through to the early mid-1950s was full of dozens of large and expensive mansions. Multi-millionaire Erle P. Halliburton, who founded what eventually became Halliburton Oil, maintained a residence at number 19 Berkeley Square with his immediate family. His youngest son, David J. Halliburton, who I met and had an abstract impact on my life, was born there. Although I lived with my uncle at the place we called 'the compound' my stepmother's primary residence was a few blocks away, and like Halliburton's, also in Berkeley Square, he and is family at number 19, my stepmother at number 10.

SEE: BERKELEY SQUARE: Historic Los Angeles

--------Number 10 Berkeley Square