Music to Accompy you through out the Article
Owls are, to put it bluntly, kind of creepy. They just are. Perhaps it's because most of them are nocturnal or that they eat cute little mice or that they can spin their heads all the way around. It could be those (relatively) gigantic, piercing eyes. Or perhaps it's the sounds they make at night (except for the beating of their wings which are so soft and fluffy you'll never hear a thing. Bad news for rodents), in the dark, when you're in The Lost Woods.
It doesn't really matter why they are creepy, they just are. Owls have long been viewed as harbingers of disease, death, destruction, and bad luck for thousands of years. To the Hopi of North America, they were a symbol of evil sorcery; to the Romans, they were funerary birds, signaling ill will in the daytime, and to the Aztechs of Mexico the god of death, Mictlantecuhtli, was often portrayed with owls.
This could also be because an owl's face almost resembles a human face, with the beak where a human nose would be. How this is relevant, I don't know.
Here is a list of examples:
• Original references to vampires turning into flying creatures had them become owls, not bats.
• This may be because the Middle Eastern Demon known as Lilith/Lilitu was often symbolized as an owl, and often took the form of an owl.
• The Cahuilla Indian god of death, Muut, was represented by an owl.
• The demon Andras, is a man with the head and wings of an owl.
• There's the saying "when owl hoots, an American Indian dies".
• Most Native cultures in Mexico and the American Southwest consider owls ill-omened — many of them believed hearing an owl hoot is an omen of death. Though Old Man Owl occasionally does some good in Navajo legends, most owls one might meet are probably shape-shifted ghosts”the related Apache tribe wear owl feathers to keep ghosts away. Even when Old Man Owl does his good deed, it's creepy, considering what he says when given a deer-liver as thanks: "Turn your back, my grandchild, I allow nobody to see me feed."
• Speaking of owls and the Aztecs, the Aztecs feared owls: hearing the hooting of an owl was an omen of misfortune, hearing the scream of a screech owl was an omen of your own death, and seeing a horned owl was the beginning of one's own spiritual corruption and doom. Owls also were the symbol of Mictlantehuatl, god of death and ruler of the Underworld in Aztec Mythology.
• The Aztec god Tlacolotl was a patron of evil doers, sorcerers and darkness. He is similar to Tezcatlipoca, though, unlike the Smoking mirror, who is the dark half of the Light and cultivates evil so it can be exposed and dealt with, Tlacolotl cultivates wickedness for the sake of wickedness. In the Codex Cospiano, Tlacolotl is represented as a horned owl nesting in a temple as the blind sorcerer god of obstacles, ice and immobility, Itzlacoluihqui. sometimes described as a negative counterpart to Tezcatlipoca, makes an offering of Scarifice and burning incense, apparently in an attempt to blot out the sun.
• In some parts of Medieval Europe, it's thought only owls could abide the presence of ghosts, so an owl nesting near a house is a sign that it's haunted.
• On the one hand, owls are considered a death omen in Japanese mythology. On the other, they're also considered to be really stupid.
• Stolas/Stolos, a demon and prince of Underworld in the Ars Goetia, is represented as an owl. He knows may things since he is presented as a tutor, albeit one who teaches poisons and other demonic knowledge.
• In several African tribal beliefs, particularly in the Congo, owls were and are considered evil beings that eat the souls of humans.