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Native American Indian Thunderbird totems and statues.

Thunderbird

Native American Indian Thunderbird totems and statues.

By Steven Hampton

Giant birds of Native American lore reflected in their totem statues may be residual expressions of these Ice Age Paleo Indian thunderbird figurine art!

Updated with New Stuff: 04/21/2014

Terror from Above

Understanding the behavior of people long past starts with a glimpse of their beliefs and how it is reflected in their art: We know that Indian thunderbirds played heavily in Native American Indian life. There are also accounts of giant birds preying on man as far back as history records.

Olivine Granite Indian Thunderbird

Green Thunderbolt. This beautiful green granite Ice Age thunderbird figurine was first stacked when Ice Age Indian walked in the Midwest North America long before the first totem pole was carved.

90.  Green Thunderbolt

Teratornis merriami

Because of the shape of this figure's head, we first thought it to be meteorite so carefully sliced-off a tiny piece from the back of the head (at the viewer's right - where it does not affect the stacking or appearance) to be tested by an outside lab. The analysis came back negative, but the geologist said it was an "unusual sample"[7] none-the-less. It appears to be a beautiful granite quite heavy in olivine and could pass as a semi-precious stone with a deep, rich green color when cut and polished. The dime-size sample piece is included with the figurine and the place on the head where it was removed has been polished to a high sheen, revealing the inner beauty of the stones. The tail arc where it joins the body appears to have been worked by the ancient Native American Indian artisan to fit the body stone. Olivine granite with extensive weathering, 3 parts. 4.5"h; 808 gm  Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

It's 11,315 years ago and you are walking across a prairie meadow on a bright sunny June morning. A shadow falls across the ground beside you as a stabbing agony sinks deep into your shoulders. You can't raise your arms to fight because the pain is paralyzing. You suddenly realize you are being lifted off the ground as your legs automatically flay for solid footing. Then the terror of what is about to come grips your gut. Your mind reels as it plays out the nightmarish events to follow that only can be dulled by the blessing of shock. Then suddenly your feet snag a tree-top branch and the monster screeches out as it struggles to stay aloft. It releases its grip and you tumble down into the sanctuary of leaf cover while the giant bird disappears back into the sky.

Olivine Quartzite Indian Thunderbird

Native American Indian Thunderbird totems and statues. Native American Indian Thunderbird totems and statues.

84. Thunderstorm Bird

Avis tonitrus procella

This massive Indian thunderbird statue and egg has more color than most of the figurines we've found. Extraordinarily beautiful when wet. The green color is the shade of the summer sky just before a big thunderstorm - when icy hail lurks above and reflects the greenery below. Rare green olivine quartzite with equally rare pink conglomerated quartzite egg (glacier ground), 3 parts. 6.3”h; 1762 gm  Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

In the Americas, huge condor-like birds with wingspans of up to 20 feet have been reported: Lawndale, Illinois July 25, 1977 at 8:30 p.m. two boys were playing in their backyard when one boy was suddenly lifted off the ground and was almost carried away by such a monster.[1] These birds may be related to the extinct predatory Teratornis merriami, or the gigantic eagle-like Argentavis magnificens with a wingspan of over 24 feet and feathers 5 feet long.[2]

Hornblende Indian Thunderbird totem

Thunderbird Totem. Giant birds of Native American Indian lore reflected in their totem statues may be residual expressions of these Ice Age Paleo Indian thunderbird figurines!78. Thunderbird Totem

Avis tonitrus aerius

 

In the Pleistocene, being carried off by a giant bird was a real threat – even to a grown man. This Indian thunderbird leans forward as if silently gliding the thermos scoping-out prey below, yet the figure is very stable. Black hornblende schist w hornblende gneiss body, extensively worked by the River Owl and quite likely a tool kit, 4 parts. 6.4”h; 435 gm  Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

Native American Indian folklore is loaded with stories of the giant “teratorn” or thunderbird who created thunder and winds with the flapping of its wings and flashed lightning from its eyes.[3] They caused rain, hail and snow as well as tornados. Native American Indian Thunderbirds reportedly nested in caves on high limestone bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River within a half-hour flight from the figurine recovery site.[4]

Peppermint Chalcedony Thunderbird

Native American Indian Thunderbird totems and statues.123.  Preening Red Hawk with matching arrowhead

mundities rufus accipiter

Made of a uniquely different chalcedony I call "Peppermint", this avian has its beak dug into its back as if preening or cleaning its feathers. His crown is sticking up at the back of his head. This figure was hard won: The head was discovered in 2000. A matching arrowhead made from the same beautiful quartz chalcedony was found nearby in 2002 along with the body. The tail stone was found in 2011 - all from the same site on the hill. A very rare peppermint chalcedony, 3 parts plus arrowhead, 5.1"h; 718 gm  Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

There have been reports down through the ages from around the world of huge birds silently swooping down and carrying off grown men.[5] Some say they still exist and sightings in South America have been reported as recently as the last decade.[6] It’s little wonder we've found so many Indian Thunderbird figurines at this site.

Quartz Crystal Indian Thunderbirds

Lightening Bird. Quartz and quartzite has the peculiar characteristic of generating sparks of light inside the stones when rubbed together. This Indian artifact thunderbird figure shows by the wear on the stones that Ice Age Indian knew of this property.79.  Lightning Bird

Ales alitis fulguralis

In ancient Indian mythology, some Thunderbirds created lightning with their eyes. Rubbing these stones together in the dark makes beautiful piezo-electric “lightning” sparks within the stones, which may account for the wear along the edges of these stones. (Wear glasses or goggles when doing this) The figure parts are of the same mother stone and composed of milky metaquartzite. However, after millennia in the iron-rich Illinois soil, they have acquired a creamy patina. Pale yellow milky (Creamy) metaquartzite crystal, piezoelectric, 3 parts. 3.5”h; 605 gm  Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

Quartz has the bizarre property of generating electrical sparks (piezo-electric) when impacted (like in a modern cigarette lighter), squeezed, or rubbed with another piece of quartz. In the dark, some translucent figurines will make bright sparks within the stones when the parts are rubbed together. Judging by what those figurines represent, it's certain early man knew of this strange property. These sparks however are not intense enough to start a fire without a volatile gas like that in butane lighters. Quartz, being piezoelectric, is also the heart of modern electronics.

Jasper Indian Thunderbirds

Thunderbird Chick. Being fed piece-by-piece to a thunderbird chick was probably a nightmare to many a Native American Indian.80. Thunderbird Chick

Avis tonitrus pullus

 

Even the little ones were scary-looking: With a face only a mother could love, this ruffled infant looks like something fresh out of the Cretaceous. These stones have not been worked. Cinnamon jasper w high sheen and natural umber red "eye" embedded in its head, 2 parts. 5.4”h; 1066 gm  Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

 

Native American Indian thunderbird figurine totem artifacts suggest giant birds once patrolled the skies and preyed upon the lone Paleo traveler.

 

Thunderbird & Child. Some Ice Age Indian art may have been instructional. This figurine set may have been a warning to the young on the dangers of being out in the open without a sense of what was above.

82.  Thunderbird and Child

Avis tonitrus & Infantis

Is this a warning to children to keep a weather-eye out for large sweeping shadows and the soft swoosh of death from above?  The right wing is free-standing and contours the bird’s body as if the wind is in the wing. The left wing is one with the body. We know this to be a figurine set because all these stones were found together. The baby’s head is also shaped to fit into the crook of the left wing. It’s as if big bird is about to swoop-him-up; a grim reminder to young mothers not to leave their babies out in the open. Caramel jasper w light alkali patina, 6 parts. 3.8"h; 556 gm  Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

 

Brooding Red Hawk. This Indian art displays a realistic bird of the hawk or raptor persuasion down to the feathered striations shown here filled with field dirt. Pre-Columbian Native American Indian thunderbird antiquities and fine figurine art for sale.58. Brooding Red Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis

Probably represents the Red-tailed Hawk, of which many are red all over. Umber jasper, w minute crevices resembling feather patterns (still holding field dirt). Finding a red figurine is rare and suggest they were rare with the River Owl as well.  Bird is red jasper. Nest is a collapsed chalcedony geode w sparkling crystal-coated botryoidal "eggs", 6 parts. 3.0"h; 289 gm  Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

 

First Flight. Native American Ice Age Paleo Indian thunderbird figurine set.

101.  First Flight

Aquila chrysaetos

With a protective wing outstretched, this mother Thunderbird is watching over her fledgling about to take its first flight. Wind in its wings, tail feathers trembling for trim and eyes on Momma, this chick has a naturally formed head with two eyes and a hawk-like beak just like Momma's. The fledgling's tail feathers is the only part that has been worked by the ancient artisan. Momma bird is a little darker in color than baby bird - just like in real life. Caramel and butterscotch jasper, 6 parts. 3.8"h; 390 gm total.   Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

 

Sky Dream Falcon. This dignified raptor gazes down intently on its next meal - and victum - a vole, field mouse or chipmonk busy looking for a meal itself.56.  Sky Dream Falcon

Falco rusticolus

Of all the varieties of falcons, this figure resembles most the Gyrfalcon, which habits northern climes and would have been a regular at the River OwlSky Dream Falcon. There is a fossil shell imprint resembling a flying raptor on its head. site near the end of the last Ice Age. Other falcons such as the small Kestrel are again flying over the farmlands of Illinois as they slowly make their comeback from DDT spraying in the 1950s. Sharp and dignified, this raptor quietly waits. On top of the head stone, which was worked on its right side by the ancient artisan, is a deep imprint of a fossil bivalve shell Mucrospirifer holding sparkling micro-crystals. This fossil has an uncanny resemblance to a flying falcon. The bottom side of the head stone has another recessed fossil shell of the same species with signs of wear that show it was seated on the body in ages past. (We take great care not to grind figure stones together as wear-marks are clues to original assembly.) The body stone is loaded with fossilized crinoid "Indian beads" resembling tiny bones of the birds' prey. Khaki jasper w “flying” fossil shell on head, 2 parts. 5.0”h; 393 gm  Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

 

Red Granite Indian Thunderbird

Red Bird. Preening itself. Prehistoric Native North American Indians collected Spoon River stones to make figurine art and some statues are for sale.Red Bird. spreading its tail feathers.

114.  Red Bird

Acredula curalium

This may have been a representation of a sunset thunderbird, but could have been a cardinal. Cardinals are abundant in Illinois. Today, their feathers are illegal to own, but would have been a beautiful adornment to Paleo / Archaic Indian. This figurine is made of red granite, a material that is rare in this area. Where did it come from? In the left photo I posed the figure with the bird looking over its back preening itself. Its tail is laying flat. The right photo the head is forward and the tail is up edge-wise against the body stone. Red granite 3 parts. 4.5"H x 7.5"L; 776 gm  Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

 

Hematite Indian Thunderbird

Red Thunder, front. This red hematite thunderbird figurine representing the giant bird that has just laid an egg, is an Ice Age totem statue first stacked by Paleo Indian.81.  Red Thunder

    Argentavis magnificens

This beautiful red figurine, hand-polished by the ancient artisan, was first thought to be meteorite (nRed Thunder, rear. Looking over her shoulder she eyes the next generation of terror in the skies. Giant birds of Native American lore reflected in their totem statues may be residual expressions of these Ice Age Paleo Indian thunderbird figurines!o sample pieces have been removed from the stones), but it is actually a rare form of hematite.[7] Here, this Indian thunderbird has just laid more terror in the skies - and has turned her head to see her egg. Red minerals fill the iron matrix of these stones giving them the appearance of tiny scales or feathers. The smoky metaquartzite egg found near the bird has minute hinge fractures giving it the speckled-egg appearance. Apparently, the egg was glacier-ground and hand-polished by the Native American Indian River Owl as well. Red hematite w blue-black specks (not a tool kit) w smoky metaquartzite egg, 3 parts. 3.5”h; 217 gm total.   Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

 

Sandstone Indian Thunderbird

Soaring Red-Tail Hawk. Is a sandstone Native American Indian thunderbird figurine.83. Soaring Red-Tail Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis

Soaring Red-Tail Hawk. Native American Indian thunderbird antiquities and fine figurine art for sale.

Red Tail Hawks, though a protected species, are quite numerous in this area. In fact, the Red-Tail was made famous when "Pale Male", a light-colored Red-Tail Hawk, arrived in Central Park in New York City Delores with a Red-tail hawk "Sky Dreamer".in 1995. I found the body stone first, thinking it might be a small hammer head, but I couldn't find any impact marks on this hard shale piece. Later I went back and found the matching shale head and red sandstone tail. A cute little dead-ringer for the real thing. Were some red-tails lighter in color shortly after the last Ice Age? Gray Pennsylvanian glacial slate body with gray and white-stripped glacial banded slate head and red sandstone tail, 3 parts. 3.0h; 164 gm  Interested parties email paleoart@frontiernet.net

Next Page: Thunderbirds were rivaled in size only by mega fauna Ice Age Animals

 

Endnotes/Bibliography

[1] Thunderbirds Over Illinois! http://sped2work.tripod.com/thunderbirds.html

[2] Evidence of the Giant Birds http://sped2work.tripod.com/evidence.html

[3] The Thunderbird Myth http://www.tbird.org/memorabilia/myth.htm

[4] http://www.prairieghosts.com/thunderbirds.html

[5] The Piasa Monster Bird http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/bodhidharma/piasa.html

[6] To see Indian petroglyphs of Thunderbirds, visit www.geocities.com/Athens/oracle/2596/thunderbird.html

[7] Russell Kemp, Director, New England Meteoritical Services March 4, 2004

 

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