Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Kikiyaon, real or imaginary?

The Kikiyaon is a cryptid reported in the Gambia, Africa. It is said to resemble a man sized owl . Described as having feathers and wings ( some say a 20 foot( 6.5 metres) wingspan)with a large spur or spike on it’s shoulders and clawed feet. Sometimes it is referred to as the soul cannibal or soul eater. The creature smells like a rotting snake and has strange cries either a deep throated grunting or a scream like a man being strangled. It is a forest dweller where it awaits its prey, man. It is  deadly  being able to outrun a man and swoops down to grab a person.
The description  may also refer to the Sasabonsam, a sort of vampire similarly described in the local myths. Bernard Heuvelmans (1986)discussed a case of an Ashanti carving seen by J.B. Danquah. It depicted the Sasabonsam as human faced creature with horns. It had two short arms and   bat-like wings. A young man apparently told Danquah that a Sasabonsam had been killed by  Agya Wuo, a local man in 1928. He described the creature as about 5 feet tall(1.8metres) with a 20 foot(6.5metres) wingspan and said that it was spotted in colouring, black and white. The body was taken to the home of the District Commissioner, L.W. Wood on February 22, 1928, where it was photographed. However when contacted  Wood was not sure about taking a photograph and said he had been there in  1918, not 1928. Heuvelmans states that the Sasabonsam is probably a kongamato, a large bat reported in the area.
As these creatures are also said to appear in dreams and hallucinations and be conjured up by witches, it is difficult to know if there is any truth in the stories. Those who see it and live are supposed to die a lingering death from a strange illness, that’s if they don’t die of shock first. The creatures seem to be both real and ghost like to the local people. The “real” version could be a giant bat or bird as speculated by Heuvelmans, which may be rare or unknown. Pels fishing owl, Scotopelia peli , comes out at night to fish in slow moving rivers, swooping down from the trees and is brown spotted. It’s cry has been described as sounding like "a lost soul falling down a bottomless pit” This may account for some of the sounds heard that are said to be the Kikiyaon.

Heuvelmans, B.  1986. Annotated checklist of apparently unknown animals with which cryptozoology is concerned. Cryptozoology 5, 1-26.

A Field Guide to Birds of The Gambia and Senegal
On The Track Of Unknown Animals
Folktales from the Gambia: Wolof Fictional Narratives

1 comment:

A. Kat said...

My parents saw Destination Truth and now swear that the Kikiyaon is real and that our cat is it. I can only half tell whether they are serious or kidding :P