“Look at that!” I said to my roommate, pointing and slowing way down. He saw it and asked, “what kind of a bird is THAT? Its huge!”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word cryptid as “An animal whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated, such as the yeti.” For the following witnesses to living cryptids, there is no dispute. In this series of National Cryptid Society’s case files, you will read what the witnesses have experienced in their own words.
Keep an open mind when reading these accounts, and also remember one’s perception and memory of an event can be influenced by the emotions felt at the time of the occurrence. The contributors to this series of articles are doing the best they can to recount what are in some cases very shocking and traumatic experiences.
If you have a personal cryptid sighting story you would like to tell us, our contact information is at the bottom of this article.
NCS Case File #49: Monstrous Crow Sighted in Iowa
Submitted by: Collier
Location: Near US Hwy 30 between Marshalltown and Nevada, Iowa
Date: Mid-October, 2009
“I was driving with good friend and roommate [name withheld] headed west, bound for my hometown for a reunion. It was mid-morning and the sun was behind us. The countryside there, like most of central Iowa, was/is cornfields, but the corn had been picked and the fields we were passing were just full of dried, broken cornstalks.”
“Movement in the corner of my eye attracted my attention and I turned to see a huge black bird flying low – 5 to 6 feet above the ground – and fast, over the field to our right, that is, on the south side of the highway. It was flying to the southwest as we drove due west, and it had to have just flown almost directly over the car. When I first saw it, it was no more than 20 feet from us.”
“Look at that!” I said to my roomate, pointing and slowing way down. He saw it and asked, “what kind of a bird is THAT? Its huge!” In all aspects other than size it looked exactly like a crow or raven, but much larger, and it was flying faster than I’ve ever seen either of those birds fly. I had a good view of its wingspan as it flew at an angle away from us, and a decent scale in the rows of 2-3 ft tall corn stubble to compare it to.”
“The wings spanned approx. 8 feet, and unlike other large birds I’ve observed flying before, this one was flapping its wings very rapidly. I had slowed down when I saw it and when it got about 100 yds. away from us it turned due west and paralleled our route, staying right with the car, essentially pacing us for about 1/4 mile.”
“I saw it in profile then, and this affirmed my first impression that it looked exactly like a huge crow or raven. I have seen golden and bald eagles in flight and it was not either of those. We remarked on how fast it was flying and I checked the speedometer – we were doing 34 mph and it was staying neck in neck with our vehicle. It suddenly climbed then and swooped over a heavy line of trees at the edge of the field then, then dropped down on the other side of them and we lost sight of it.”
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4 thoughts on “Monstrous Crow Sighted in Iowa”
The witness states that the he used the corn stubble as a scale for the size of the bird and that the stubble was 2-3 feet tall. Corn stubble is, at most, 1 foot tall after harvest (source: I farm), therefore his scale should be cut in half (if not more since he thought the stubble was up to 3 feet tall). Using the stubble he estimated that the wing span was 8 feet. If we cut that in half it becomes 4 feet. The common adult raven can have a wingspan of up to 51 inches (a little over 4 feet). They clearly saw a large raven, but not large enough to be considered a Cryptid.
Anonymous: it is possible for corn stubble to be higher than one foot, but I agree that three feet may be an unintentional exaggeration. For those who are not familiar with agriculture, sometimes as a farmer harvests a field of corn, the stalks may be cut at a specific height from the ground with the root portion remaining. This practice does serve a few purposes, one being that the remaining plant material can be used for silage, or feed. The link I am sharing is from a study where the height of harvested corn stalks are measured in relation to its nutritional value as silage feed to dairy cows. In many areas anonymous is correct, the harvested corn fields have relatively short stubble. But in other instances the stalks are cut higher. In the study linked, the stalks are measured on the high end (average) at 19.3 inches (+/- 2.8 inches).
It may be possible that this field was harvested with the corn stalks cut higher for the above purposes, however that is only my speculation.
I’ve read with interest the comments by Anonymous and Chaospirations. There were lots of cornfields in that area of Iowa at the time that had tall stubble, with an ear of corn still on it here and there. I grew up in that area and worked on farms as a teen, but I’m no farmer, so I don’t know why stubble would be cut to any particular height. Of course I did not get out and measure the stubble — I based the 3 ft. figure on the following observation. On this stretch of road there were no ditches alongside, just a little trip of grass. The surface of the fields were roughly even with the road, the stalks only about 15 ft. away, and they were even with the bottom of the car’s window (a 2009 Ford Mustang) that I know is just a bit higher than 3 ft. I’d also like to make a small technical correction to my account. After the huge bird passed over the car, it flew over the field to our left, not to our right, as we headed west. Simple snafu on my part- sorry.