Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Popobawa: Part 1.1, African Paranormal Series

Before setting foot on the African continent, I’d never heard of a Popobawa, and if I had, I’d have assumed it was some sort of exotic fruit juice. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The Popobawa was first reported in the Zanzibar archipelago and coastal Tanzania, when a particularly obnoxious specimen ate a Chief’s prize cow (or perhaps his daughter; the details were somewhat confused in translation). Initially and understandably, everyone was somewhat upset and suspected a rival tribe of this heinous act. This is no laughing matter in Africa, where whole villages have been obliterated for lesser crimes.
Fortunately, no village was wiped off the face of the map, for even as the warriors began to rally that evening, the beast flew down upon them, insultingly dropped the cow’s (or daughter’s) skull on the old chief’s head and plucked up a fat goat in plain view for all to see.
The name comes from the Swahili words for ‘bat’ and ‘wing’, for at night, when it attacks, it looks like a one-eyed demon or ogre with gigantic bat wings, large talons, long pointy ears, and a pungent body odour you definitely want to stay upwind of.
Upon hearing these sketchy details, I naturally became curious and questioned Jonas, my gardener / guide / handyman / reluctant paranormal guru. The moment the word Popobawa crossed my lips, he disappeared into the garden shed and returned with a glass jar of some creamy looking substance and a World War II German shotgun. I recognized the heavy wood and steel gun: it’s the kind that’s still used by the Kenya Wildlife Services, but I hadn't imagined it could be useful to a gardener.
Jonas held out these items and stared up at me with his small, bright eyes. His wrinkled face was scrunched up with an expectant expression.
What was in the jar? Why did Jonas store an antique shotgun in the garden shed? And what had these items to do with the Popobawa? Stay tuned…

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