What would Texas cryptids look like in real life? These fifth graders have some ideas

For a little help imagining the unknown, we took a trip to Mathews Elementary School in Austin.

By Gabrielle Muñoz & Kristen Cabrera; video by Michael MinasiOctober 31, 2023 10:26 am, ,

All October, Texas Standard has embraced the spooky season by diving into the lore of Texas cryptids: legendary creatures like the chupacabra or the Jackalope that are rumored to exist but have never been proven.

There have been reported sightings, of course – perhaps you’ve seen a grainy photo claiming to verify the existence of Bigfoot. But we can’t say for sure what any of these mythical beings would look like in the real world.

Or can we?

For a little help imagining the unknown, we took a trip to Mathews Elementary School in Austin to visit Nicole Cortez’s fifth-grade art class.

“I just love all my creative weirdos coming in and feeling like this is a safe space to be and create and imagine and just have a peaceful place to unwind and enjoy each other’s company,” Cortez said.

“This group [is] really creative and talented in art, but they’re also great at being like good friends to each other and supporting each other. And so they’re just some of my favorite kids to be with.”

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La Lechuza

Deborah Cannon / Texas Standard

Charlie Bodle shows off his version of La Lechuza during art class at Mathews Elementary.

La Lechuza – a woman who has been wronged – “can change in between … a witch and an owl, as I drew here,” says Charlie Bodle. “If you’re out, like, late doing something you’re not supposed to, she’ll come get you.”

👀 What would you do if you saw her in real life? “I would get really scared. I would run as fast as I could. And then I guess if I was, like, far enough away, I would try to capture, like, a picture or video or something of her. But I think I would just run away.”

🎃 Charlie’s going to be the Mandalorian for Halloween.

Deborah Cannon / Texas Standard

Kayla Alonso shares her interpretation of La Lechuza.

Kayla Alonso chose to illustrate La Lechuza “because it sounded interesting” and was inspired by her friend Charlie’s technique of splitting the drawing down the middle, with “one half being an owl and the other half being a witch – so then I’m like, ‘maybe I’ll do that.’ And this is how it came out.”

👀 What would you do if you saw her in real life? “I’d maybe hide.”

🎃 Kayla’s going to be Stitch for Halloween.


Deborah Cannon / Texas Standard

Nathaniel Reagor shows off his version of Hogzilla.

Nathaniel Reagor shared his drawing of Hogzilla, a rumored 1,800-pound wild boar allegedly killed outside Conroe in 2009. (Officials disputed the claim – adult hogs in the area weigh around 150 pounds on average, a Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden told Your Conroe News at the time.)

But if Hogzilla were real, Nathaniel said, it would probably scare people with its sheer size but “probably eat grass … I think he would just walk because, mostly, pigs I don’t think attack humans.”

👀 What would you do if you saw Hogzilla in real life? “Probably run.”

🎃 Nathaniel’s going to be a bluebird for Halloween.

The Houston Batman

Deborah Cannon / Texas Standard

Zoe Kirkendall shows off her version of Houston Batman.

Zoe Kirkendall said she decided that Houston Batman – a mysterious sighting dating back to 1953 – “should have a lot of muscles because he’s Batman. And also he’s Robert Pattinson. … He’s kind of confused, because I don’t think he would know what would be happening at the moment.”

👀 What would you do if you saw Houston Batman in real life? “I would probably try and take a picture, just so I could make a discovery.”

🎃 Zoe’s going to be Jaws (from the book) for Halloween.

Deborah Cannon / Texas Standard

Rosie Goldsberry and her Houston Batman.

For Rosie Goldsberry’s interpretation of Houston Batman, “I kind of made it a cross between a Batman and like – I added more, like, mythical stuff, like, I added wings. And I wanted to make it dark because there was, like, a shadow.”

👀 What would you do if you saw Houston Batman in real life? “I don’t know. I’d probably be scared.”

🎃 Rosie’s going to be Taylor Swift for Halloween, complete with a “who’s Taylor Swift anyway?” shirt, sequined shorts and a hat.

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