Friday 18 December 2009

The monster that haunts the Lake Edward area

It is said that there is a monster in Lake Edward called the irizima; which apparently means 'the-thing-that-may-not-be-spoken-of.' The indigenous people who live near Lake Edward in Zaire refer to it as a "gigantic hippopotamus with the horns of a rhinoceros on its head. "The lake is said to have an average depth of 111 m/364 ft. It is has good fish stocks is said to be free from crocodiles.

Some describe the creature as a gigantic hippopotamus with the horns of a rhinoceros upon its head, others say the irizima is a marsh monster with a hippo's legs, an elephant' trunk, a lizard's head, and an aardvark's tail. The creature seems to have been seen in many places around that area of Africa.

The story goes that Lewanika, King of the Barotse, saw the beast in the marshes of his land, and set a special warrior watch to capture it. 'A monster,' says he in his official report to the British Government, 'with a head like a snake, making a huge track in the reeds as large as a full-sized wagon would make were its wheels removed.'

J.E. Hughes in 1933. wrote in his book “Eighteen Years on Lake Bangweulu” that the Wa-Ushi tribesmen had killed such a creature along the Luapula River, between Lakes Mweru and Bangweulu. It is described as having a smooth body, without bristles, and armed with a single smooth horn fixed like that of a rhinoceros, but composed of smooth white ivory, very highly polished.

In December, 1919, the London Daily Mail published a letter from C.G. James, who had lived in what is now Zambia. He reported that there was an enormous beast with a single ivory horn living in the waters of Lakes Bangweulu and the surrounding lakes and swamps. James said this animal was called "Chipekwe" by the natives. The same creature is also mentioned in both Millais’ 1924 book “Far away up the Nile

So what is or was this mysterious creature? It appears to live in more than one place in the area. Some say it is a quiet hervibore others that it attacks other animals. Could it be more than one species of creature? That would explain the differing descriptions. It sounds like a hybrid of two other creatures but whether a hippo and a rhinoceros would mate is debateable. Certainly one to add to the pile of unexplained and intriguing tales,

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