I'm going to tell you a pretty crazy story and you probably aren't going to believe it. But I swear that it actually happened to me a number of years ago. I used to live in the hills out in the country on a pretty isolated plot of land. The closest neighbor was a bit over a mile from where I lived. It was nice and peaceful, which is exactly the reason I moved out there to begin with. I had a cabin built, and a place to raise animals. I had a couple of horses, some goats, ducks, and a hen house full of chickens. I'd also put out some salt licks for the deer in the area. I liked being able to look out my back windows and see a plethora of creatures. Sadly, the peace of being out there was disrupted one summer evening by a different kind of animal.
Before it got dark out, I'd make my rounds feeding the horses and goats. The birds always had a source of food, so I wouldn't really have to check on them other than to see that they were doing well. I had been having a problem with some of my chickens disappearing. I wasn't sure if they were somehow finding a way out of their coop or if something was getting in and taking them. There was always a concern that a fox or coyote was getting to them, even if I never saw any signs of violence besides some unusual clumps of feathers in the missing cages. For the past few days before that evening, I had gone through and look for holes in the wire or any signs of tracks, but came up empty besides footprints which I figured were my own. They weren't.
After topping off the feed bowls by the barn, I made my way towards the coop that housed my chickens. Usually, I'd check on the goats first, but I heard a bit of a ruckus coming from the coop. I figured that I might catch whatever creature was stealing my birds. I grabbed a shovel from near the fence and was ready to chase away some sort of canine. But to my shock, once I entered the door, it wasn't an animal at all. It was a human. Well, that's what I thought at first, anyway.
Before I could even register just exactly what I saw, I yelled “Hey!” and but the man didn't flinch. He was barefoot, covered in mud and dirt from head to toe, and wearing a filthy pair of overalls that looked like they hadn't been washed in decades. His back was to me at first, and I could see that his hair was dark and matted with all kinds of twigs and mud. When I hollered at him, he didn't turn around to face me immediately. It was almost like he didn't hear me at all. I watched as he bent down and reached into the now open door of one of the cages. The chickens were running around crazed and making more noise than I had ever heard them make. I thought that maybe he didn't hear me the first time, so I yelled at him again. “Hey, Asshole! What do you think you're doing in here?”
Again, it seemed like he just ignored me. He quickly grabbed at one of the birds and got a hold of it by the neck. What I saw next is the part that you're probably not going to believe, but bare with me, for it's the truth as I saw it with my own eyes. He tilted his head back at an almost unnatural angle, lifted the struggling bird above his head, and lowered it down into his mouth head first. At that moment, he finally turned around to face me. And what I saw made all the blood rush out of my face. Somehow, he was able to open his mouth wide enough to encircle the entire chicken. His head was tilted back to facilitate the amount of separation that he made with his jaw. It was like a Pez dispenser, only a lot more terrifying.
I stood there in stunned silence, as the chicken fought to get out of his grip. But his head rose up and somehow the entire bird was inside of his mouth, besides the legs that he still had a hold of with his hand. I watched as he bite down extra hard and twisted the bird free from it's own legs. The huge mass inside of his cheeks vanished down his throat with a sickening “gulp” sound. I don't remember what happened next, because at that point I was pretty freaked out by what I had just witnessed. I think he put the chicken's legs in a front pocket of his disgusting coveralls, and somewhere shortly after that, I ran out of the coop. I bolted in the back door of my cabin, and ran to my bedroom to get my shotgun.
But by the time I got back outside, he was gone. I found a padlock and made sure the coop was secure. The rest of the birds that were left seemed to not realize what fate they could have suffered and went back to being normal chickens. I saw some footprints leading off towards the woods, but I lost track of them in the now dark evening sky. The very next day, I went into town and bought a bunch of heavy duty spotlights and barbed wire to secure my property.
I stopped losing birds after that. I never did feel that same level of peace as I did before that incident though. I still loved the land and all of my animals. But I knew that somewhere out in those woods, the Chicken Eater is still creeping around. So I sold the land and moved back into town.