Impundulu/Lightning Bird

Known by many names, the Lightning Bird is known across the Pondo, Zulu and Xhosa tribes of South Africa. This creature is feared as blood-drinking like creatures known only in mythology as vampires. This infamous creature is always closely related to witchcraft. It is known to often be the familiar of a witch or witch doctor. Much like a vampire, it is said to take the form of a beautiful young man to lure its master’s enemies or seduce women. Thus you can see why it would be so similar to Dracula.

Much like a dragon is capable of breathing fire, the Lightning Bird can use its own body fat to produce lightning strikes and as valuable components in traditional medicine. It is also claimed to be immortal and often outlives its masters, being passed down from mother to daughter as a continual familiar to its master. It normally manifests itself as lightning, except to young women taking on the form of a bird. It is not known to have any weakness except for one–fire. If you set the Lightning Bird on fire, it can be destroyed.

The hammerkop

The above bird is often associated by some African cultures with the Lightning Bird, despite the actual features of the Lightning Bird taking the form a man-sized bird with black and white feathers. It uses its large talons and claws to summon lightning and thunder. These bird, as they are associated with witches, are said to be symbols of bad luck and can only be dispatched by a witchdoctor. The flesh of a lightning bird is also said to be used to trace thieves and witchdoctors use this ability to maintain control over their tribe–both criminal and law-abiding.

In order for witchdoctors to catch the Lightning Bird, they must wait for it to strike lightning once it does this they are able to capture it. It is also supposed that where they lay strike lightning is also where they lay their eggs. This site can either be blessed or cursed and these eggs need to be dug up and discerned by the witchdoctor whether or not they are blessed or cursed.

It is true that the Pondo, Zulu and Xhosa all fear this creature. I am beginning to notice more and more as I look into my country’s legends that there is a definite pattern to their shared beliefs. All these different cultures believe that these creatures are evil spirits or cursed in some or other way and, also, that they bring only misfortune. This story bears a strong resemblance to the legends of the Thunder Bird which some believe was in fact a pterodactyl. I, myself, have seen drawings of the Thunder Bird as it was described by the North American indigenous peoples and strongly side with those who believe it was a pterodactyl. However, it is for your own discernment whether or not you believe these creatures exist. I have given you the bare facts as I researched them and now leave you with one question: What do I believe?

If you want to share your own opinions on the topic or have some more information you want to share, you can post in the comments or on the forums. 🙂

God bless you all my darling avidReaders.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.