A couple of years ago, while visiting St. Louis, I drove over to Alton, Illinois. I was curious about a legend I had heard of. The legend of the Piasa Bird. Piasa means the bird that devours men.

Legend has it that Indian tribes of the Upper Mississippi say many thousands of moons before the arrival of the white man, during a time when mastodons roamed the prairie, a humongous sized bird like creature existed that was so large it could carry off a full sized deer. But this bird preferred to eat people.

For years, indian warriors hunted the Piasa bird, with no success. The men were dying off so that entire villages were threatened with depopulation of the Illini tribes.

A brave Indian chief named Ouatoga, whose reputation was known as far as the Great Lakes, took it upon himself to pray and fast until the Great Spirit answered him. It is said Chief Ouatoga went off to himself and prayed and fasted for "the space of a whole moon," or for about 30 days.

The last night of Ouatoga's vigil, the Great Spirit came to him in a dream. Ouatoga was to gather 20 of his warriors, give them a bow and poisonous arrow, and hide in a concealed spot. One warrior would serve as a decoy near the warrior hiding place. The plan was for the Piasa Bird to pounce on the decoy but not before the warriors could kill it.

At the designated place, Chief Ouatoga stood openly at the bluff. Soon he would see the Piasa Bird eyeing him. Standing firmly, Ouatoga braced himself for the huge bird that was thundering toward him. Before the Piasa Bird could reach Ouatoga, the poisonous arrows from the warriors reached their target, killing the Piasa Bird.

The image that is seen on these photos were taken at the Meeting Of The Great Rivers National Scenic Byway in Alton. The image on the side of the bluffs is actually a recreation of the original legendary painting.

Legend has it that every summer, the Piasa Bird comes back to that same area, looking for human flesh. They say it rises from the depths of the Mississippi seeking its next victim. For years the Illini Indians would fire arrows at the place where the Piasa Bird was slain.

Enjoy the photos, thanks for checking out Teasas World.


Teasas Tips said... @ February 4, 2009 at 5:46 AM

Is this where Jeepers Creepers got its idea from?

CAP said... @ February 5, 2009 at 7:22 AM

i love your blog...U always have something wonderful....thanx

Post a Comment