Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 31st, 2008

Do extraordinarily large geese exist? Is there a Thundergoose out there?


Sure, you are going to find a history of photographic hoaxes, such as the old postcard pictured above, with real people pictured on top of big geese, but I’m talking about an actual case of an oversized goose.


This article was discovered by Robert Schneck (the author of The President’s Vampire: Strange-but-True Tales of the United States of America) and exclusively shared with Cryptomundo. Appreciation to Schneck for his contribution.

schneck book

Schneck humorously dubbed this critter “Thundergoose” in our email exchange, and that seems to be a fitting name.

The date of the Lake County Times, Hammond, Indiana, newspaper is Friday, November 26, 1926.

Although the articles is not very clear, Robert Schneck transcripted the following text of what he could see from the article:

Huge Goose Brought Down Along Canal

[photograph of large white goose]

WHITING, Nov. 2[?]– The goose pictured above, said to be one of the largest ever killed in this vicinity, was bagged by Edward Dangler, local sportsman and hunter.

The goose, which stands 5 feet 6 1/2 inches and measures 7 feet 4 inches from wing tip to tip, and weights [sic] 24 1/2 pounds, is pure white and took ten shots from the rifle of Dangler (left) and his companion, Thomas J. Sullivan (right), before he was brought down.

“On the morning of Nov. 12,” said Mr. Dangler, “we started out bright and early along the East Chicago Canal, thinking we might have a shot or two. After waiting several hours, and not having much luck, all of a sudden we were startled to see this huge bird flying over our heads at what could not have been more than an altitude of 75 feet [not punctuated]

There were several other hunters around, including a woman, but we proved to be the lucky shots. Hunters in this region, old-timers who know the lay of every foot of ground here, say that never in the history of their lives have seen such a wonderful bag. [This is the way it’s written and punctuated.]

The vicinity in which the bird was brought down, along the canal is a veritable hunting spot for duck hunters every year. [Second comma is left out.]

This region, which is the hub of the commercial world, having the Standard Oil company plant here as well as other industries, was all excited when it heard of the big shoot.

Most sportsmen remarked ” Why go to Minnesota or Wisconsin when we have ducks here flying so low that you can knock hem [sic] down with a club?”

For the record, the Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) is a large white North American species of goose, which is usually no more than 25-31″ in size. The largest goose in North America is the giant Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), with a wingspan of 6 feet and weighing up to 20 pounds. Only swans are officially larger.

Are there Thundergeese flying about?

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

10 Responses to “Thundergoose”

  1. eireman responds:

    OMG! That photo nearly made me spit out my morning Joe! That is the funniest thing I have seen in days. I think it’s the proud, upward gaze toward destiny that really brings on home the absurdity of a man saddled atop a giant goose.

  2. Porkchop responds:

    I’m certainly not going to disparage IN hunters, but could this have been a swan? I don’t know how common swans are in Indiana, so I reserve the right to be wrong. It also says the bird was pure white, they would probably mention the swan’s black bill.

    The article also mentions shooting it with a rifle, rather than a shotgun (maybe that’s being nitpicky) but who hunts water fowl with rifles? But id’ing the man’s gun as a rifle, gives me just enough doubt.

    Then again, those were different times. Every state I’ve lived in (Great Lakes) has had rules to plug your gun so you can only use three shells at a time, not the TEN that were used to bring this bird down.

  3. Saint Vitus responds:

    I’m convinced this bird was a Trumpeter Swan. They are not usually found in Indiana but have been seen there. According to the Sibley Guide: length 60 inches, wingspan 80 inches, weight 23 pounds.

  4. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Those mean hunters killed Mother Goose! *Snif* 🙁

    I hope Humpty Dumpty kicked their butts afterwards.

  5. noobfun responds:

    Cowboys on jack rabbits and Native Americans on geese.

    Certainly an odd postcard week.

  6. dogu4 responds:

    We see gigantism occur in many species, our own included, as well as other abnormalities or rare morphs within populations. Considering that this incident reportedly encountered only one of these birds, perhaps a rare bird is almost an inevitablillty.

  7. Alligator responds:

    The historic breeding range of the trumpeter swan included northern Indiana. In 1701 Governor Cadillac reported that swans in the Great Lakes region were as plentiful as “lilies among the rushes.” That meant there were a lot of them. There were still a few nesting around the Great Lakes in the 1880s. By 1933 only 69 remained in the continental United States most in the Yellowstone area.

    According to the US Fish & Wildlife Service, a male trumpeter can reach up to 35 pounds in weight, stand over four feet high and have a wingspan of over seven feet. The tundra swan remained and is more common but is smaller, reaching only 20 pounds and standing three feet high with a wing span of 6 to 7 feet.

    This bird may have been the last of his kind in the region and avoided being shot for 20 or 30 years, which is their life span. More likely, this “goose” was a mute swan. These are the swans of big city parks and were imported from Europe in the late 19th century. Some took up residence in the wild. Mute swans are only slightly smaller than the trumpeter but clearly within the size range of this “giant goose.”

    Remember that in 1926, most of these people were no longer familiar with swans in the wild. Unless they knew of them from city parks they might be inclined to call them a goose. Furthermore the reporter would probably call any big water bird a “goose” and a smaller one a “duck”. We have a photograph from 1910 of a white pelican shot in our neighborhood on the Missouri River. The hunters spread its wings and held it up in front of the local barber shop. The newspaper labeled it as a “giant goose.”

    I wish we could see the picture of this particular bird. It could be a pelican if not a swan. It’s not an unknown species.

  8. Bob Michaels responds:

    May the Goose be with you!

  9. Artist responds:

    This story gives me goose-bumps!

  10. cryp-23 responds:

    I live along lake Michigan in wisconsin and I have seen both giant trumpeter swans and giant canada geese (giant being 5ft tall with a 7ft wing span) theres no dought in my mind its a large swan.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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