Those of you who know the Mission may be familiar with a memorable homeless man in the Mission and 16th Street area. It is not uncommon to see him feeding birds. He is often referred to as the bird or pigeon man. Some of you may know that he is called Lone Star Swan or Swan for short.
Lone Star Swan was immortalized in a mural by local artist DD, Dan Doherty, on Clarion Alley. That mural was painted around 2006 and subsequently painted over in 2013 after being tagged beyond repair. We last photographed it in 2012. Larry Jones photographed it in 2008 and saw the man in August 2014 and connected the dots.
For those of you who know him or remember the mural, you might be curious to learn about the man. Swan was called John Ratliff in an earlier life. He was an accomplished journalist. He used to type a daily newsletter he referred to by various names including his Fox Rag, World in Review and Agent World. He handed it out to passersby in the Mission. AgentWorld_Pages contains some of his writings and a short summary of his life story.
His thoughts about the birds.
“These are masked human beings; these are ancient wizards that decided to reincarnate into something without hands so man couldn’t put them to work.”
Swan’s friend Rodger Wolfe produced two videos titled “Portrait of a homeless man with Schizophrenia living on the streets of San Francisco″ , including interviews with Swan and family members. To our knowledge, Lone Star Swan continues to live in the Mission, frequent the 16th Street Bart station plaza and feed the birds.
Watch – Portrait of a homeless man with Schizophrenia living on the streets of San Francisco, Part 1
Watch – Portrait of a homeless man with Schizophrenia living on the streets of San Francisco, Part 2