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Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Seven: Case File No. 51-363

Great Horned Owl turned backwards; There's a first for us in this case file.

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Where We Left Off:

The Winchester-Nabu estate was graced with a visit from an old friend we thought we had lost.

Who Are You?:

Oliver sent me to gather the various boxes and catalogs of feathers that we have on file most of which we’ve identified. A few might be incorrect or not narrowed down to subspecies. This is our penultimate case for Year Seven. That’s a decent size collection.

“What are we looking for?” I asked him.

“We’re looking for physical evidence of Eastern Screech Owls and Great Horned Owls,” Ollie replied.

“Why? We know we’ve heard both quite clearly and confirmed the audio identifications,” I said.

“I know. I hear them more than you do, dear sweet human with inferior auditory senses,” he said. “I would love to see what we can match up with other evidence. If we can take the feathers, the audio, and possibly photos or videos from the trail cameras, we’d have indisputable evidence of a species.”

I did as requested because I knew that I had definitely collected Great Horned Owl feathers, but I couldn’t specifically remember which box or catalog they were stored in.

I went to my account on iNaturalist and searched for “owl” which returned four results of feathers. The dates might not be when the evidence was discovered, but here’s what I had:

  • 02-June-2020
  • 08-August-2021 (2 entries)
  • 26-July-2022

As I combed through the feather collection, I remembered that we had some other owl evidence: the undigested remains that were regurgitated in owl pellets. I preserved what I could in resin. Great stuff!

things found in owl pellet preserved in resin pyramid

“Oliver, what’s all this about? Have your CIs said something about the owls in the area?”

“Yes.” He said it plainly and yowled for Gus to come to the office. “Gus, did you allow the human to collect the memory card from trailcam #2 before you went into the woods for your weekly shinrin-yoku?”

Gus sat up, licked his paw and stroked it against his chin. “I think she followed me and stalked me for a while. Then she left. Yes, I think she did go back to swap the memory cards.”

“I’m right here. Why don’t you just ask me?” I said.

“Honestly, you’ve been forgetful lately—quite a lot.” Ollie looked sad to confront me with this information. He was right though. Everyone is now using the silly name brain fog for this condition which is not silly at all. Calling it something a child would name it doesn’t make it less frightening.

Gus whispered to Ollie not quietly enough for me to avoid hearing, “Actually, I think The Butler retrieved the memory card.”


“Something strong within the magickal energy around our estate is happening. There’s something causing the creatures to gather,” Ollie said.

Oliver does one of the things he does best—knocks something off a table. In this case, it was Holly’s To The Heart of Bliss oracle deck. As the deck spilled to the floor, Oliver pointed a particular card that was slightly apart from the rest. Number 40—Owl. This card asks if you’re feeling out of place. Touché, I am and I think the world is a disaster, but I’m not a case subject this time. If you’re feeling out of place, you will receive compassion and help from people you don’t even know.

Scientists have tested the intelligence of owls since these birds have been associated with wisdom since at least Ancient Greece and Rome and probably earlier. As it turns out, parrots and corvids are still highest in the ranks of intelligence. Being creatures of the night, owls have what we would call “street smarts” in human terminology. They’re predators with incredible senses. It’s those abilities to see and hear through the night that created a connection between wisdom, the unknown, the Otherside, the occult and all the amazing owls (whether Strigidae or Tytonidae).

In Laurie Cabot’s Book of Visions, the authors refer to the regurgitation of the owl pellets as a lesson for humans to learn in letting go. In the practice of Yoga, this is the jewel called aparigraha which means “non-grasping”.

Like many birds, after swallowing their prey, they regurgitate the undigested parts as a mass, called an owl pellet, including bones, fur, feathers, claws, beak, teeth, and the exoskeletons of insects. They can teach us to [sic] how to release the things that are not good for us to take in and digest, whether emotionally, spiritually, or majickally.” — Laurie Cabot’s Book of Visions

In Angelica Stuart’s Chakra Animals (which may be considered culturally appropriative by some for using eastern chakras with western world animals), she said, “Owls have held a variety of symbolic roles, ranging from misfortune and death to prosperity. An interesting fact is that a group of owls is called a parliament.” I doubt anyone in India wants to be reminded of the British empire. Nonetheless, it gave me something to think about and take back to Oliver and Gus.

“Do you guys think that there’s something we’re supposed to be doing to protect the land around our little estate?” I asked.

Oliver in his stroller being pushed through the grass by his Butler.

Gus jumped to the top of the cardboard fort (the penthouse). “You signed the petitioned and donated what you could to stop the landfill development from moving in across from one of the farms.”

Oliver crawled under a chair draped with an ivory afghan that allowed him to peek out. “Those meetings were so full of people, they had to postpone them and relocate them to find a bigger venue. But as for the land immediately around us, none of us had half a million dollars to save this side of mountain.”

“Ollie’s right,” Gus said. “There was nothing any of us could do.”

I wasn’t convinced. I know money is what makes policy change, but I’ve seen my friend Tracey do incredible things at a grassroots level. She fought against a warehouse moving into her backyard for years. As Gus and Ollie reminded me, I did what I could to stop the dump here (which I’m not sure is a closed case). There’s another issue that I’d love to fight and unfortunately, it would mean fighting against certain farmers—the very people I will usually do anything to help. If I follow through with this, because of only a tiny percent of farmers, I may make a lot of enemies. It will take the backing of animal rights groups and convincing a lot of humans that noise pollution is a bonafide issue that needs to be addressed just like emissions.

Oliver in his stroller in the grass being greeted by Gus on the ground.

“You got all this by going through trailcam footage?” Gus asked.

“Not exactly. I did find Great Horned Owl footage for the very first time! But the this morning when we were outside, it had slipped my mind because all the noises from all the man-made machines. I was having panic attacks.” I continued to apologize to the cats that I had been absent-minded in my duties about cataloging the images.

Case Findings:

Oliver had me piecing together evidence from owls that we had in our collection. I was perplexed until I realized that I had forgotten to catalog the most recent videos and images from trailcam #2. We did indeed have Great Horned Owl footage for the very first time. Adding this footage of the owl to the gatherings of other magickal creatures, we’ve deduced that the mundane and maging beings are planning on some kind of collective action.

Thinking about the animals like Gary Trashmouth wanting to move into action made me realize that I, a mere human, should figure out a way with my schedule and my broken-ass body to do more.

Case Status: Open

one of the fish crows cawing from a branch above us

Past Cases:

Death Comes as the End


Are owls smart? (comprehensive answer) (2023) Birdfact. Available at: (Accessed: 28 April 2024).

Cabot, Laurie, et al. Book of Visions: A Collection of Meditations. Copper Cauldron Publishing, 2019.

Stuart, Angelica. Chakra Animals: Discover Your Connection to Wisdom of the Natural World. Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., 2019.


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