Monday, June 27, 2016

The Bird Man Of Indiana University

I don't know if the story is true about the Bird Man at I.U., but I have heard several other students talking about it.  He supposedly stood on the roof of his dorm and yelled out some stupid bird call as a signal for a panty raid.  I heard he was expelled from school for doing this, but I don't know where he is supposed to be now.  He's probably in Washington!  
- excerpt from "Hoosier Folk Legends", compiled by Ronald L. Baker
I recently met Mary as we were volunteering for a very worthwhile cause.  As we began collecting giant bags of lost and found items at McNutt Residence Center, and our casual conversation turned to campus legends and lore.  Eventually, the topic of the Bird Man came up.  Although I've only ever taken one class at IU, I had heard of the legend due to Baker's excellent collection of "Hoosier Folk Legends" (a cherished book since I received it for Christmas in 7th grade - thanks, mom!  Best campfire book ever!)  As it turns out out, Mary was a resident at McNutt in the 1960s and has heard the Bird Man live and in person!  It's always kind of exciting to me when a legend turns out to be true.  Mary forwarded me this article from Life magazine wherein the Bird Man is mentioned.  Better still, she sent along an interview from a radio show on the campus radio station.  This discussion with the Bird Man is from 1966.  The interview was broadcasted from Foster Residence Hall, and the Bird Man - whose identity remains secret to this day as far as I know - affects an accent to hide is identity.  Best of all, there is a recording of the Bird Man doing his thing (listen all the way to the end to hear other examples of it).  It is absolutely eerie.

The Bird Man was expelled from Indiana University, but his legend lives on.  Great stuff - thanks for passing along, Mary!

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