Nandi Bear

amyasleigh

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oldrover said:
(quoting Kondoru) Ive read that one too, he was a great lover of nature, wasnt he?

Do you mean the leopard book? He was a nature lover in later life but as I remember in his earlier books he was very much of his time, happily hacking and shooting his way through the local wildlife.
Also re Kondoru's most recent post -- the two don't have to be totally incompatible.
(oldrover quoting amyasleigh): a national hero for his hunting / conservation activities, he personally would have had no problems (there’s a national park there named after him, isn’t there?). Still, “people must do what people must do”.

oldrover:It seems like he did leave as a result of independence, and this does strike me as odd. As you say there doesn’t seem to be any personal reason for him to go. Strange.
He wasn’t Anglo Indian by the way, he was of Irish extraction.
Likely faulty memory on my part then, re what I read long ago. Or conceivably -- his actual reason for leaving India upon independence, seen by writer of the book which I read, as very not-politically-correct; thus a bit of falsifying, so as not to reflect too very badly on heroic Jim??
 

amyasleigh

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Assorted interesting material here – thanks. I feel that Shuker “nails” it in describing the Nandi Bear as “this notoriously complicated and confusing cryptid”: little chance, I feel, of ever getting to the truth about this one; but much fodder for enjoyable speculation. The possible Tanzanian true bear skull gives pause for thought -- though there comes to mind: perhaps from a European bear brought to East Africa by some colonist? The scenario of a genuine bear species having survived, unknown to science, from Kenya right down into South Africa – this I feel has to be the most splendid suggestion yet, however unlikely.

Grand stuff with the comic of Tarzan and the N.B. (I haven’t yet essayed the link supposedly giving access to the whole story – have been away for a few days, only just back.) As the blog observes, crypto-creatures (preferably alarming ones), were a wonderful and much-used theme for boys’ adventure comics / stories in past, less trendiness-obsessed, times. Impression is much got, that most of the young nowadays would find such stuff beneath contempt; though admittedly I don’t know many kids – that could be a too-broad generalisation.

Memories aroused of something from approximately the 1960s: a comic strip for grown-ups, which appeared daily in the “Guardian” in that era: “Colonel Pewter”, by Horner, a gentle satire on English life. The small, remote corner of England in which the strip’s hero the Colonel dwelt, surreal-ly contained a much greater range of elements of Planet Earth, than it had any business to: as in one episode, which involved a Yeti-like creature in the high hills of the region.
 

Kondoru

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There used to be bears in the atlas mountains, didnt there?
 

amyasleigh

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Per Bernard Heuvelmans, writing in the mid-20th-century: bears “are found in the mountains of Spanish Morocco – or were found there till lately”.

Per the third link given by oldrover in his post of 16/5: “In Roman times, bears like typical European brown bears were evidently known and reported in Ethiopia”.

Much blame is given to the Romans, for wreaking devastation on the fauna of north Africa, because of their insatiable demand for fierce animals for their “circuses” – whence one may easily think, “the Romans reported so-and-so; but then they exterminated it”. Nothing to say that that necessarily, inevitably, has to be the case...
 

oldrover

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The Atlas bears went extinct very recently, not the Romans fault, though didn't they kill off the Caucus's tigers. Not surprising given the Roman's views on eco tourism

http://nomadicjoe.blogspot.com/2009/06/ ... lphin.html

There's mention on the link of a supposedly related creature, the Khodumodumo. African tradition seems not to see it like this though.

http://www.afrikaworld.net/afrel/mlb16.htm

That said Hitchens has plenty to say about it

http://www.strangeark.com/reprints/beasts.html
(just noticed the links at the bottom, plenty of early twentieth century accounts there. Isn't capt Stevens one of Hitchens' pseudo-names)

Returning to the Nandi bear, I'd say there's something to be looked at in the word Duba. How much has Arabic tradition affected the Nandi's reports.
 

oldrover

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It's Fulhan not Stevens that Hitchens uses as a pseudonym.

Reading Hitchens' account, the description seems to be very un bear like.

Kitapmetit Kipet, the headman of a Nandi village to which I was sent to investigate raids on stock and children by a chimiset, described the monster to me in these words, which I quote from my report. 'The chimiset is a devil which prowls the nganasa (hut settlement) on the darkest nights, seeking people, especially children, to devour; it is half like a man and half like a huge, ape-faced bird, and you may know it at once from its fearful howling roar, and because in the dark of night its mouth glows red like the embers of a log (i.e. a log-fire).'

I don't have the book anymore but from memory doesn't Heuvelmans also include similar descriptions.

I remember these accounts as being smugly paternalistic but reading them again I find they're downright racist.

It would be easy to dismiss these stories as mere figments of the black man's night-terrors, born of ignorant superstition, or perhaps phantasms due to sitting too long over camp fires and too near to a warm ntulu-beer pot.

Is it possible that the reports of the Nandi bear among whites, which I remember were more consistent with identifiable animals, are an attempt to rationalise African culture in their own terms, with a large dose of people like Hitchens and Jordan peddling their white hunter's tales.

I'm not trying to say this is a complete explanation, I think the use of the word Duba excludes this.
 

amyasleigh

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oldrover said:
The Atlas bears went extinct very recently, not the Romans fault, though didn't they kill off the Caucus's tigers.
So the Romans, reckonably, exterminated the tiger in the Caucasus? Though one would figure that had they not done so, later inhabitants of the area would by now, have finished the job. I seem to recall reading that "next door", in the mountains of eastern Turkey and north-western Iran, there are recent reports which suggest that the Caspian race of the tiger may still just survive there, in very small numbers.
oldrover said:
There's mention on the link of a supposedly related creature, the Khodumodumo. African tradition seems not to see it like this though.
http://www.afrikaworld.net/afrel/mlb16.htm
Agreed -- in the link given, the Khodumodumo is plainly in the "myths and legends" realm, not in the sphere of allegedly factual encounter reports.
oldrover said:
That said Hitchens has plenty to say about it
http://www.strangeark.com/reprints/beasts.html
Reading this Hichens "African Mystery Beasts" link -- it is striking how much of this material by Hichens, appears in the Africa chapters of Heuvelmans's book -- often quoted directly, sometimes paraphrased. Including (putting in "by hand" here, your quote from the second of your two recent posts -- if "multi-post multi-quoting" is possible on this site, I don't know how to do it !): "Kitapmetit Kipet...headman of a Nandi village...: 'The chimiset is a devil which prowls... on the darkest nights,seeking people, especially children, to devour; it is half like a man and half like a huge, ape-faced bird, and you may know it at once from its fearful howling roar, and because in the dark of night its mouth glows red like the embers of a log...' "

Heuvelmans also cites a 1909 scholarly work on the Nandi tribe by one A.C. Hollis, with a (having some similarities) Nandi description of the man-eating "devil called Chemosit": "said to be "half man, half bird, to have only one leg but nine buttocks [!], and his mouth, which is red, is supposed to shine at night like a lamp."

I'm perhaps a little surprised that Hichens's work here, did not attract more attention at the time -- one might wonder how come Hichens has not been acclaimed as "the father of cryptozoology", rather than Heuvelmans. Timing, perhaps: Hichens's material published late in 1937, when people had more urgent and worrying matters on their minds; and Hichens was not a credentialed scientist...
 

amyasleigh

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oldrover said:
I remember these accounts as being smugly paternalistic but reading them again I find they're downright racist.

(quote): It would be easy to dismiss these stories as mere figments of the black man's night-terrors, born of ignorant superstition, or perhaps phantasms due to sitting too long over camp fires and too near to a warm ntulu-beer pot.
Hichens was a man of his time, I suppose; three quarters of a century ago, local blacks tended to be regarded as lovably childish -- very few white people thought of demurring at this notion. Reflecting on Gerald Durrell's books published shortly post-WW2, recounting his animal-collecting ventures in Cameroon: I suspect that nowadays, he'd be subject to censure for, in those books, perceived mickey-taking (no matter in how affectionate a spirit) vis-a-vis his local black assistants / employees on those expeditions, for their in his view comical ways, and strange brand of English.

oldrover said:
Is it possible that the reports of the Nandi bear among whites, which I remember were more consistent with identifiable animals, are an attempt to rationalise African culture in their own terms, with a large dose of people like Hitchens and Jordan peddling their white hunter's tales.

I'm not trying to say this is a complete explanation, I think the use of the word Duba excludes this.
Certainly, I feel, a substantial different-cultures element, in the Nandi Bear "perplex". The Arabic word Duba, "bear" -- name for the creature in Swahili, yes? -- does give pause for thought. Any enlightenment to be sought, I wonder, in the oral traditions of the Arab folks who frequent the East African coast...?
 

Kondoru

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Durrel was cheeky to everyone, I recall.

(Was his family really as nutty as he portrayed them?)

Did the Roman use many tigers in the arena? I heard they were poor in a fight.

(They certainly had a massive catch and despatch industry. The Inhabitants of the Empire must have been very thankful for the apex predator removal service)
 

amyasleigh

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Yes, GD enjoyed "the human comedy", no error. No doubt he exaggerated a bit, re his family; but it seems that they were a colourful bunch -- even brother Leslie, the by-comparison dull one, with his obsession with guns and killing things.

I didn't realise that tigers tended to be disappointing in an "arena" situation -- though I'd imagine that ways could be found, to goad a tiger into being nasty enough to give fair satisfaction. Would reckon that in Rome, they had an "uncommon / exotic" value: they were harder to obtain, since living further away and mostly out of the orbit of the empire, than lions. Nearest source for them, I'd think, would have been -- as discussed -- the Caucasus / east Anatolia / Persia. (A couple of thousand years ago-ish, there were still lions in southern Europe, until the Romans did their usual number on them.)

The "catch and despatch industry" -- it's always salutary to see things from a different viewpoint than our present-day "default" one! If Rome had any crusading environmentalists, their writings would seem not to have survived...
 

oldrover

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I don’t have the book anymore but I’d like to check the other names Heuvelmans includes in his section. So far I’ve come up with a little about the Ngoloko (many gaps as it’s a Google books result) which now appears to be lumped in with it. -

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ybUQ ... ko&f=false

The local tradition seems to be fairly obviously in the same category as the Khodumodurno. Interesting perspective as to how the impression by the man concerned was formed, and that not all white hunters took any notice of these tales.

Certainly, I feel, a substantial different-cultures element, in the Nandi Bear "perplex". The Arabic word Duba, "bear" -- name for the creature in Swahili, yes? -- does give pause for thought. Any enlightenment to be sought, I wonder, in the oral traditions of the Arab folks who frequent the East African coast...?

Definitely. The Arabic/Swahili word for bear is also very close to the Arabic word for hyena.
As far as I’m concerned this probably undermines its significance in terms of pointing to an actual bear.

Heuvelmans does over rely on hunter’s tales and especially on Hitchens. The Nunda/Mngwa is a good example of this, is there any other account of it as a real animal except by Hitchens. There’s reference to it here;

http://www.afrikaworld.net/afrel/mlb16.htm

but firmly as a mythical animal, appearing in folk tales.

Did the Roman use many tigers in the arena? I heard they were poor in a fight.

I wouldn’t want to spill their pint.
 

amyasleigh

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oldrover said:
I don’t have the book anymore but I’d like to check the other names Heuvelmans includes in his section.
Other native names in Heuvelmans's Nandi Bear chapter, for envisagedly possible N.B. candidates: Kerit / Getet / several similar variations on name -- name used in the inland mountain country of Kenya, co-exisiting there with name Chemosit. Ikimizi (Rwanda). Kikambangue / Kibambangue, (other parts of East Africa). Foregoing names also cited by Hichens in your "strangeark" link.

Also, Engargiya (Uganda); Shivuverre (again, Kenyan mountain regions); Koddoelo (used by the Wa-Pokomo tribe); Sabai; Sabrookoo.

oldrover said:
So far I’ve come up with a little about the Ngoloko...
The local tradition seems to be fairly obviously in the same category as the Khodumodurno. Interesting perspective as to how the impression by the man concerned was formed, and that not all white hunters took any notice of these tales.
Agree, your Ngoloko findings, in the myth-and-legend ballpark ("fallen angels" associations, and so on; the apparition described, not biologically credible, and with supernatural powers) -- outside the area of reportedly-encountered potential flesh-and-blood creatures. Hichens (in one of the "links off" your "strangeark" link -- "On the Trail of the Brontosaurus") -- and Heuvelmans, quoting him verbatim -- refer briefly to the Ngoloko, in different (if melodramatic) terms: "the man-ape of the Isansu hills, a weird creature that prowls the dismal stretches of Yaida Lake" (now, I believe, Lake Eyasi, Tanzania; 500+ km inland from the coast, where your Ngoloko link's stories seem to be set).
 

amyasleigh

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oldrover said:
Heuvelmans does over rely on hunter’s tales and especially on Hitchens. The Nunda/Mngwa is a good example of this, is there any other account of it as a real animal except by Hitchens. There’s reference to it here;

http://www.afrikaworld.net/afrel/mlb16.htm

but firmly as a mythical animal, appearing in folk tales.
From my reading, all Heuvelmans's references in his short Nunda / Mngwa chapter are from Hichens, save one, from one Patrick Bowen, who reports tracking (but not catching up with) a specimen of the creature, which had carried off a child from a village. This chap quoted: "The spoor we were following appeared to be that of a leopard as large as the largest lion." Bowen reports hairs presumed to be from this creature, as being brindled and quite different from a leopard's.

Heuvelmans is inclined to take seriously this item from Bowen, because (as he cites in the appropriate chapter) Bowen was not an obvious "pushover" for weird tales; he was sceptical of the Nandi Bear as a real animal, suggesting that local witch-doctors used the legend as a cover for their own nocturnal and in-disguise grisly doings.

For sure, your given link is indeed firmly re myth-and-legend stuff.

A bit of fringe-to-the-topic whimsy: J.K. Rowling would seem to have come across Heuvelmans or his sources. In her little "annexe" book to the Harry Potter novels, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", she has an entry about the "Nundu" (adaptation, I take it, of "Nunda"): "This east African beast is arguably the most dangerous in the world. A gigantic leopard that moves silently despite its size and whose breath causes disease virulent enough to eliminate entire villages, it has never yet been subdued by fewer than a hundred skilled wizards working together."
 

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Be warned guys the link is to a creationist blog!
 

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No matter which filter one uses much of ancient history will still be a puzzle. But using the wrong filter certainly leads to a copious number of; inconsistencies, anomalies, contradictions, unknowns, mysteries and a need to fill in missing information with speculations and assertions which are not data or evidence.

Personally, I have tested the Genesis account and found that what I see and what I expect to find in the historical and archaeological record better fit that filter.

You have tested the Genesis account? How? :roll:
 

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EnolaGaia

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The MIA blog page is at least partially assembled rather than original. For example, the introductory description of the Nandi Bear is copied from Wikipedia, word-for-word.

There is one bit concerning the Chalicotherium angle that's new to me:

A syndicated news article appearing Mansfield News of January 6, 1924 reported that a very large fresh, fragment of unfossilized claw of chalicotherium had been discovered at Bunyoro, Uganda ( Central Africa) and that the thought to be extinct chalicotherium might be very much still alive.

In fact, Zoologists were making a connection between the stories the Nandi peoples had been telling of a fearsome, man killing, brain eating deadly night creature they called “Gereit” might exist and was in fact, chalicotherium. The drawing above right, is from that 1924 article and is a depiction of chalicotherium.

Here is the image from the blog page attributed to the 1924 article. It's low-res and fuzzy, but that's the way it appeared on the blog page.

nandi-bear-old2.jpg

 

EnolaGaia

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NOTE: Descriptions of, and labels for, the Nandi Bear cryptid are quite numerous. It is not the case that most, much less all, the descriptions fall under the rubric of 'Manbeasts & Mystery Apes'. As a result, I'm moving this thread out of that specific sub-section and into Cryptozoology (general).
 

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The MIA blog page is at least partially assembled rather than original. For example, the introductory description of the Nandi Bear is copied from Wikipedia, word-for-word.

There is one bit concerning the Chalicotherium angle that's new to me:



Here is the image from the blog page attributed to the 1924 article. It's low-res and fuzzy, but that's the way it appeared on the blog page.

The chalicothere angle also appears in On the Track...there I'm pretty sure Heuvelmans attributes the story of a clawed horse like animal to the Zande people. I really wish I believed in such things.
 

amyasleigh

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The chalicothere angle also appears in On the Track...there I'm pretty sure Heuvelmans attributes the story of a clawed horse like animal to the Zande people. I really wish I believed in such things.

The above, bolded by me, is discussed in post #19 of this thread. This matter, as referred to there, seems rather beset by confusion and cross-purposes: uncertainty whether a land, or water, creature is involved.
 

oldrover

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The above, bolded by me, is discussed in post #19 of this thread. This matter, as referred to there, seems rather beset by confusion and cross-purposes: uncertainty whether a land, or water, creature is involved.

Yes! That' the Nandi bear I saw.
 
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