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Friday, December 8, 2023

Decemystery (2022.3) 8: The Aztec Giant Insect


Ah, I remember this story; I mentioned it a few days ago when we talked about the giant beetle outside the airplane window. It’s been a few months since I wrote that story, and I remember at the time, I had no intention of covering this story. In fact, I originally planned to cover it next year.

However, as time went on, I thought more and more about the story and figured that I might as well cover it. Sure, it’s really short, but I think I deserve to be given some slack; I’m effectively writing all of these without anything resembling a reasonable break. So come along, dear reader, and pack your bug spray! This is the story of The Aztec Giant Insect; off to New Mexico, we go!

Watch The Skies

I found this story on the Paranormal Strange Wiki, though it was originally documented in “The Monster Book” by Nick Redfern, a cryptozoologist who interviewed today’s eyewitness. I’m somewhat tempted to buy the book since it sounds interesting, but as of the time of this writing, I don’t feel like buying it. Odds are, by the time this goes up, I will have either bought it or forgotten about it entirely. Anyway, onto the story!

Back in May of 2004, a woman identified as “Danielle B.” was living in Aztec, New Mexico. For those curious, Aztec is a small city, having a population of 6,163 as of 2021. The 2000 census lists its population as 6,378, so the population has largely remained stagnant over the past two decades.

Anyway, on this day, Danielle was outside reading a book in Hart Canyon. Suddenly, her eye caught a glimpse of something in the sky: a helicopter carrying a cow. This odd sight piqued her interest, so she got closer to investigate. However, as she did so, she realized that it wasn’t a helicopter that was hauling the cow. No, it was something far worse—and far more disgusting.

It was a gigantic insect.

Okay, it’s time to slam on the brakes so I can address something. If this was all there was to the story, I wouldn’t have bothered covering it. I tried to think of all sorts of ways to possibly mistake a giant insect for a helicopter, but I could not, for the life of me, think of a way. Luckily for you and me, there’s a bit of additional information that helps to make this all sound considerably less absurd. It also comes from the most unsuspecting place imaginable: Deviantart.

A user named McDonaldbros, who makes “Cryptid Quest Cards,” made one for the Aztec insect. Additionally, the card itself can be viewed here, while the artwork can be seen here. Anyway, it’s only thanks to McDonaldbros that I was able to find information that helped to alleviate my incalculable disbelief. So, for now, I’ll be doing something a bit unorthodox and basing this story on what he had to say. I know that’s a bit risky, but if I base it solely on what the Paranormal Strange Wiki had to say, there’s absolutely no way this write-up will be anything more than me questioning if Danielle’s eyesight was on par with Mr. Magoo. We will circle back to it before the story ends, though.

Like the Paranormal Strange Wiki, Danielle was out in Hart Canyon reading. Where things deviated is when she saw the insect; according to McDonaldbros, Danielle said that it initially appeared as “a black dot in the sky.” At first, she thought it was a helicopter until she saw something beneath it. As she looked closer, she noticed it to be a calf; this led her to believe that the helicopter (or whatever it was) was carrying it via some ropes.

That belief was shattered, though, when the object got closer. When it did, Danielle realized that the calf wasn’t being carried by ropes but was instead in the legs of an enormous insect. This behemoth, by Danielle’s estimation, was around 13 feet (3.9 meters) long, so a little shorter than the average sedan. She watched in bewilderment as the thing landed atop a peak and made a meal out of the poor bovine. After roughly half an hour, the insect—presumably satisfied with its five-star meal—flew off to places unknown.

With that, we can now circle back to the Paranormal Strange Wiki. Supposedly, Danielle remained quiet about her sighting until she told Nick Redfern about it for his book. How she met him (or vice-versa), I don’t know, but I imagine it’s mentioned in his book. Either way, Nick was fortunate enough to learn about this six-legged beef eater.

To round the story off, the Wiki has an extremely dubious claim. Supposedly, the area this took place in—at least, I think there have been. The grammar is extremely poor, and it’s hard to discern what the writer was trying to say. Either way, there have at least been other reports of giant insects there, but I couldn’t find any other accounts. So unless Nick’s book mentions any, I’d take this claim with a large grain of salt.

With that, though, this story comes to an end. I have to admit, it’s rather disappointing that I wasn’t able to find anything else about this sighting. Even though I’m deathly afraid of insects (and other creepy crawlers), I love stories about giant insects. I really need to do more stories about them, but let’s not get too sidetracked. There are, as always, some theories as to what this may have been, so let’s move on to them!


1. A cryptid

Let’s kickstart this section with the most obvious: that this was an unknown species of large insect. I won’t beat around the bush; this theory is on incredibly shaky ground—and that’s being kind about it. If there was an insect this large, it would suffocate from a lack of oxygen. There were much larger insects millions of years ago, but Earth had a considerably higher level of oxygen back then. As that oxygen level went down, insects shrank. That’s why flies aren’t large enough to carry you away when you go for a bike ride.

Nonetheless, reports of these supposed massive creepy crawlers exist—and this is one of them. Setting aside the oxygen issue, I must admit that there is at least a bit of precedent here. As I said, there are accounts of creatures like this one; we went over the story of the giant beetle a few days ago, along with that giant tomb spider before that. There’s also the legendary J’ba Fofi and the tales of giant centipedes. So it’s not like this story is in a league of its own.

Unfortunately, there is a major flaw here. Besides the oxygen level situation, this is the only report of this particular giant insect. And usually, when it comes to that, one must ask why that is. Was this the last surviving specimen of some unknown type of massive insect? If so, where are the remains? Why did it die? When did it die? What were its predators? Why am I talking like I’m MauLer? All of these questions, along with plenty of others, lack answers; answers that would make this theory (regardless if it’s for this cryptid or another like it) significantly more plausible. Though it isn’t the only theory, so let’s move on.

2. An alien

The American Southwest has quite the history with UFOs and their occupants, New Mexico in particular, because it’s the state where the infamous Roswell Incident took place. Likewise, stories of large insects being of extraterrestrial origin are by no means novel; quite the opposite, actually! The idea of humanoid insects, or outright gigantic insects, being aliens can be traced back to at least the 1900s.

With that said, I have no idea if Aztec—or the areas surrounding it—are hotbeds for UFO sightings. Nor am I familiar with giant insects being a part of UFO sightings outside of creative fiction. Now, humanoid insects, that’s a different story; Mantis Man is thought to be an alien (or interdimensional being). However, Mantis Man isn’t a 13-foot-long fly. He’s a bipedal praying mantis who can camouflage. Pretty big difference if you ask me; I understand if you disagree, though.

Jokes aside, this theory—like the one before it—is on shaky ground, albeit for a different reason. While the previous one has a scientific issue, this one relies entirely on creative fiction being a reality. Nevertheless, I wanted to bring it up for two reasons. The first was Mantis Man and other insectoid aliens that have supposedly been seen. It may not be an outright giant insect, but it is an alien insect of some kind—allegedly.

The second is that McDonaldbros’ image mentions Hart Canyon being the site of some weird stuff, including a UFO crash hoax. I don’t know much about the canyon’s strange history, but I would be sorely remiss if I didn’t at least make a note of this. Anyway, onto the next theory.

3. A hoax

I think it goes without saying that people will do goofy things for attention. They’ll also claim to be Elvis if it means getting 15 seconds of fame. Likewise, people will make up the craziest stories if it means the spotlight will be on them.

Given this story was first told to someone who was writing a book, it’s possible that Danielle wanted some attention and decided to tell Nick a nonsensical story so she’d get a bit of attention. It wouldn’t be unprecedented; a lot of people have fabricated stories when being interviewed for books.

Of course, it’s incredibly difficult to prove this since I not only don’t know “Danielle,” but I also don’t know if Nick did any fact-checking with locals in regards to this monster. So it’s possible that by theorizing this, I’m hypothetically accusing Danielle of being a charlatan. Better get my lawyer on the phone!

4. Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth

Laughs in Mirror Force.

My Take

Honestly, I can believe that there may be a relatively sizable insect out there we haven’t discovered. In the case of this story, however, I am incredibly doubtful. Aside from this being the only sighting of this creature, I have a difficult time believing that something this massive could go unnoticed.

At least with something like J’ba Fofi, it was seen in the jungles of the Congo; it wasn’t somewhat hidden. This, however, is an out-and-out giant fly (presumably, it’s never specified, which annoys me) that carried a calf away. To digress for a second, I’d love to know how the farmer didn’t hear this thing. Flies—most winged insects, in fact—make an audible sound when they fly. I imagine one that was this big would have been as noisy as a NASCAR race.

Because of this, I genuinely think this was a hoax; Danielle probably wanted a chance to be featured in a book or something like that. Now, sure, maybe I’m wrong, and she really did see something astounding; perhaps it was some escaped government experiment. However, I didn’t see that mentioned anywhere, and I’m personally skeptical of the US government’s willingness to make gigantic insects. That seems like it has an impossible risk versus reward ratio going on; they may as well have tried to build giant mech suits.

Or maybe it was an interdimensional monster. To be quite honest with you all, I don’t know, and I don’t want to know. If you happen to know more sightings like this one from around the Aztec area, I would be more than happy to hear about them. I never like labeling something as a hoax, as it makes me feel like a real jerk.


Another day, another Decemystery story has come to a close. This one was a fair bit of fun to cover in my eyes; it was strange but straightforward. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, and thank you for reading!

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