Legends

El Paso–Thunderbird

Main Piece:

The Participant is marked as BH. I am marked as LJ.

LJ: Can you tell me some history about El Paso?

BH: Oh, so…in El Paso there is this…legend that if you look up into the mountains as the sun is setting, you can see the shadow of a Thunderbird. And…one of the..as a result of the shadow that you can see in the mountains, one of the school’s in the city…their mascots is called the Thunderbirds. That’s pretty much all I know. I’ve never seen the Thunderbird myself, but it exists on the mountains…its has a really big wingspan.

LJ: Who did you hear it from?

BH: I had heard it from my boyfriend, but previously I had also heard it from other people. Some other El Paso-ans. They were old–like in their fifties.

Context:

I had visited the participant and her family in El Paso, Texas in March. This was recorded after.

Background:

The participant is a fourth year student at the University of Southern California. She is a firm believer in religion and likes “scary stories,” including television shows and hearing about hauntings. She grew up primarily in El Paso, Texas with her mom and two sisters.

Analysis:

So much history and lore in El Paso! The Thunderbird, according to the Wikipedia page (most refutable source that I could find on it), is a creature from North American beliefs. The other three accounts from El Paso (find them on my account) include a more recent ghost history in El Paso High and a perhaps older ghost story about a monk traveling along the mountain. This story ties not into the Western culture that came into Western Texas during the 1700s, but about the rich cultures that we almost wiped out.

They have transferred over  into the general pool of El Paso-an stories/legends. It might be a way to continue remebering the peoples that inhabited that land before Americans or even “mestizos” from Mexico.

Wikipedia Page:

Thunderbird (mythology). Retrieved 4/25/17. Web. wikipedia.com

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