Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Night Siege of the Serpentine Ghoul

One of the first paranormal Missionary tales I had ever heard was given in a Missionary meeting in late 1983. It is a tale that was told to the Missionary by a indigenous church leader shortly after the Missionary had witnessed a series of disturbing supernatural occurrences in a remote village. It is a very old tale of a Shaman who had amazing power. According to the indigenous Pastor this story supposedly took place in the middle of the 19th century.
Kafil was a wise and powerful Shaman in the Tanzanian town of Singida; for years he helped his villagers by healing the sick, mediating in disputes and offering help wherever he could. When Missionaries set up camp in his town he at first viewed them with distrust and as outsiders who were rivals and that wished to take away not only his peoples faith in his power but he felt they wanted his people to abandon their culture as well. He hated these Missionaries and often preformed rituals that would drive them away and cleanse the land from their influence. The Missionaries noticed some strange phenomena such as a massive invasion of insects, doors that would open by their own violation in the middle of the night, and a strange illness that afflicted the Missionary children. But no matter how hard he tried and whatever his ceremonies afflicted the strangers with, they just refused to leave. In fact although they were deeply affected by his attacks it seemed that the longer they resisted and rose above the calamities the more people listened to their message and converted.
Kafil decided that he needed some help. In a nearby village of Mgori there was a powerful wizard named Asani. The stories of his power were legendary in the area, it was said that he had made some dark deal with diabolic spirits of the underworld to gain unimaginable power. It was even whispered that he could kill an enemy just by speaking a single word. Kafil had made a choice long ago to avoid Asani and his malevolent ways for he wanted to help people and not destroy or control others like his dark counterpart. But the Missionaries had to be stopped. Not only were people flocking to the Missionaries to hear the story of their God of forgiveness, they were starting to believe and embrace this new religion and Amri was fearful that his power and livelihood would soon fade. Since he had no other training or skills Kafil feared that he would soon have to live the life of a beggar.
So Kafil made the trek to Mgori one afternoon to talk to Asani and to see what they could do to rid their land of the Westerners. Asani sat outside the doorway of his home drawing symbols in the sand, as Kafil approached Asani did not look up and before Kafil could say a word Asani spoke. “Our enemies do not fear common tricks. They will only leave when the power of our spirits are revealed by death and blood.” A bit shaken Kafil asked what exactly the dark sorcerer had in mind. “How it will be done is in my power, I only need you to bring me hair from one of the foreigners, a newborn calf and a cup of your blood.” The evil shaman stood up and finally looked at Kafil with a piercing gaze, “Until you bring me these I cannot help”. And after saying this he turned and walked into his mudbrick house.
Kafil knew these were to be the ingredients for a dark spell of tremendous power, something that he himself vaguely knew about but would never have involved himself with before this time because he knew that in unleashing such devilish power there is always unforeseen and dire consequences. But he was desperate. So he did as his the sorcerer commanded. He acquired a sucking calf that had been born only days before in a nearby village. He secretly paid a servant girl that the Missionaries sometimes hired for domestic help to attain the required hair sample. When he returned to Mgori he let the sorcerer take the last required element, a cup of his blood that was drained from a deep cut in his arm. That evening Asani had Kafil sit and chant in his mudbrick home as the wizard preformed the ceremony in the field behind the house. A few times he stopped his ritual chanting because of the unnatural sounds that he heard coming from the field. They were not just the sounds of a young calf being slaughtered or of the Shaman crying in ecstatic utterances. These sounds were otherworldly and deeply disturbing. Finally after the ritual was over he heard Asani’s voice speak to him with a strange resonance, “It is done. Return home. From this night forth there will be only one power in the region of Singida”. He did not see where the voice had come from, but he needed no further convincing to vacate the premises and ran home to his village wondering what forces the occult mage had unleashed and whether or not it would finally make these Missionaries leave.
The next morning Kafil arose and went to the market to obtain some herbs and vegetables for food and healing compounds. As he made his way to the opposite end of the town where the market stood he came upon a group of distraught individuals. During the evening an animal had made its way into a home on the outskirts of town and had carried away a baby. The trail of blood showed that whatever it was that did the attack had indeed killed the child, but the body could not be located. On the urging of some in the crowd who knew of his reputation as a healer and comforting counselor he went with him to this house to see if he could help in any way. When he arrived the scene was as it was initially described to him. The baby was just a few months old and was sleeping by an open window and although the entire family slept along with her in the same room, no one had heard a sound. Kafil saw the blood trail and noticed that even though the ground was hard because of the lack of rain for many days there still seemed to be a path of some sort that led from the house and headed toward the southeast. The path was a small trench as if something of great weight had writhed to and fro as it carried the child and it ended as the ground turned to rock.
But as he examined the scene and the direction of the path, Kafil began to feel a sinking dread. The path from the house pointed toward the village of Mgori. Saying nothing of this to anyone, Kafil did as much as he could to comfort the distressed family, all the while wondering to himself if he was somehow responsible for this horrible grief. Forgoing his trip to the market he returned home to meditate and pray to his gods for the safety of not only himself but the entire town. He wanted to go to Asani and confront the man to see if this had anything to do with the ritual that was preformed the previous evening, but he decided instead to leave the powerful sorcerer alone and see if the magic to drive the Missionaries away would eventually work.
The next night terror struck again. Another child was attacked and this time although the child was not rescued in time, the family saw what the attacker was. It was a huge snake at least 10 feet long. It slithered away with incredible speed but not before the rescuers saw that it was not an ordinary snake. It was not ordinary just because of its enormous length; the snake seemed to have hair on its head like a man and it had carried away the child in its arms. Kalif was roused in the middle of the night by the town’s people with this fantastic story who implored him to try to drive this devil snake away. He said he would do what he could and asked to be left alone while he contacted the spirit world so he could do mystical battle this abomination.
As soon as the villagers left he made his way through the stygian darkness of night to the home of Asani.
He did not announce himself but boldly walked into the Shamans home demanding what in the world he had unleashed upon his village. He froze in his tracks at what he beheld in Asani's house. There on the floor of the hut lay the half devoured bodies of both children in the middle of a circle of blood and symbols which Kafil knew had been drawn in order to gain power. Asani sat on the outer edge of the circle and smiled as he looked at the horror and disgust on Kalif’s face. The evil shaman spoke with a strange resonance as he told the frightened man once again, “The power of our spirits will be revealed by death and blood.” And throwing a mixture of some sort upon the dead bodies they began to wither and disappear.
Kafil ran from the wizard’s home in the dark of night in confusion and fear. As he entered his home he collapsed on the floor and cried in despair and guilt. He had swore to protect his village and now his selfish arrogance had helped to unleash some unspeakable horror upon the very innocents he had vowed to serve. He was no match in power against the evil Asani. He knew Asani’s goal was to cause as much chaos and horror that the villagers would in their terror and confusion turn on the strangers and blame the Missionaries for this supernatural abomination that had befallen them. And Kafil knew it would work. They would eventually be free of the Missionaries if Asani’s plan was left to continue on its inevitable course. But at what price? He could not live with himself if the death of one more person, especially a child,was in any way partially his fault.
Not knowing what he could do he turned to an unlikely source, but the only other spiritual warriors that he knew of. Late that night Kafil knocked at the door of the Missionary compound. He described to them of his fears of what they were doing to his village and his livelihood and with shame he told them of his wicked collaboration with Asani. He needed their help to stop this demonic wizard from summoning this beast again so no more innocent lives would be lost.
The Missionaries listened in wonder at the story and although they believed in the supernatural they did not believe in the paranormal aspects of the story. But they assured Kafil that they would do everything in their power to help and destroy whatever animal it was that was besieging the town.
The next day before sunset Kafil and two of the missionaries armed with rifles set themselves upon a small hill above the village of Mgori to be in sight of the house of Asani, for Kafil was sure that the evil Shaman had summoned this unholy creature from within the same circle where he saw the dead children’s bodies dissapear. They arranged to have another Missionary and a few volunteers patrol Singida in case this “Mchawi Nyoka” or “Wizard Snake” appeared from another location.
Late in the evening Kafil heard a strange noise from the distance. It did not come from the village of Mgori, but from the far side of the small hill where they were encamped. The sound was a rhythmic scraping as if something was crawling on the rocks below. Kafil and one of the Missionaries stealthfully made their way to the side of the hill to see if they could observe what was making the sound.
In the darkness of night the light of the waxing moon illuminated a shadowy figure of a large abnormal snake like creature quickly moving to the west-toward the town of Singida. They quickly alerted the other Missionary and all three of them speedily closed in on this demonic creature of death.
A few shots from their rifles made the creature turn and prepare to attack. But in the dull moonlight what they beheld froze them in their tracks. For even though they knew that they were about to face an animal of bizarre magnitude they were not ready for what they encountered.
The enormous snake had a distorted and demonic human face with a full mane of thick black hair as well as having thin arms with skeletal hands hanging on its sides. Kafil recognized the face even though it was distorted by the diabolical transformation that had forged this iniquitous creature. The creature had the face of Asani.
After a few seconds of astonishment Kafil let loose with a barrage of bullets as the Missionaries still stood transfixed at the abhorrently hellish creature that presented itself before them. The bullets seemed to have no effect and with a haunting laughter the demonically transformed wizard approached to assail them. As Kafil continued to fire round after round, the Missionaries knelt in prayer to break the evil power of invulnerability the wizard seemed to possess. As the Mchawi Nyoka slithered closer and closer Kafil joined them in prayer and as they commanded the evil to be broken they all shot in unison at the infernal creature.
It screamed and made a prolonged ear splitting shriek, and finally fell to the ground with an audible thud. Cautiously the three made their way in the dark of night to the wounded creature, weapons still ready if the need arose.
As they came to the fallen shadowy figure they found the dead body of Asani, with three bullet holes in his body. He was a completely human corpse, but with a snake skin pelt draped around his waist.
They burnt the body that night under the light of the waxing moon.
The snake wizard no longer plagued the town of Singida, and Kafil eventually became good friends with the Missionaries. He even converted and became a Pastor, performing the same duties he did as a Shaman while still upholding the cultural identity of his people. By trust and grace he accomplished the goals he had desired all along when he saw the strange foreigners come into his land. He deepened the spiritual roots of his people while helping them to avoid becoming ‘Westernized’ and forsaking their traditions. And by reaching out to those who he feared, together they destroyed a great destructive evil.
From this stories age and thus being unverifiable I would at first glance consider this to be a folk tale. But a tale that has a lesson we can learn from even today.
But in speaking with other Missionaries working in animistic regions there are still stories such as these where self serving and manipulative people are able to transform themselves by diabolical ceremonies and sinister arts. From Africa to the Philippines these stories are whispered as a warning to those who believe.
Even now in this 21st Century there are dark forces at work that have power beyond our comprehension.
Until next time,
Pastor Swope


cryptidsrus said...

Cool story, Swope!!!

Reminded me of a tale from some Horror Anthology TV series. Tales From The Crypt or so on. Would at least make a great movie. Great lesson in the union of religions.

Anne said...

What a story - gave me the chills! I imagine that you are a fantastic candidate for telling scary tales around the campfire!

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks Cryptidsrus,

The indigenous Pastor that told the story was supposedly the great-grandson of the Shaman Kafil.

I like these Missionary tales because they are not only so creepy and supernatural but many of them also have a moral lesson to be learned. It sort of is a branch of story telling that falls between folk tales and parables.

Usually as with this story they are given as an illustrations to a point in their message.

Funny thing, I don't remember and I didn't write down the Missionary's point he was trying to make in his sermon but I sure did scribble down that story! :)

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks for the comment Anne,

I love these stories, and since starting the blog I've received quite a few more from Missionaries and indigenous Pastors from various parts of the world. Some are pretty chilling! Many are very inspiring as well as being spooky.

cryptidsrus said...

By the way, Pastor:

Loren Coleman at Cryptomundo is looking for a cryptid witness that can draw what he/she saw; it is for a friend's book on "non-hairy hominoids"---look on the June 24th post I took the liberty of recommending your excellent drawing of a "Thunderbird" and the blog in general. You don't mind, do you?

So maybe you will be hearing from him?
He's looking also for drawings he can add to his blog. Thought you should know. The description and drawing are good enough to put on a book. :) :) :)

Anonymous said...

Fascinating and well told story. Glad I discovered this blog.

Pastor Swope said...

Thanks Cryptidsrus,

I do have an unusual cryptid other than the Thunderbird that I saw at the Cemetery a few years ago and e-mailed Loren, but I did not send a drawing. It was a strange chicken sized bird that followed my vehicle around for a while. The Pennsylvania game commission had no idea what it was.I think I'll send another letter with an image, thanks!

Mojo Mom said...

Pastor Swope, another great read! Did anyone else notice the Faustian theme? The age old tale of making a pact with the devil.
You always get what you want, but the price is usually unbearable. In the end, it comes down to the final confrontation between good and evil.

The evil shaman did warn that when it was over, there would be but one God in that region. Hmmm.

Mojo Mom said...

Another great story!
Anyone notice the Faustian theme?
The age old tale of making a pact with the devil. You always get what you want, but at what price? Then the final confrontation of good vs. evil. But yours has the twist of the missionaries and the tribal spirits.

My favorite part was when the evil shaman gave the prophecy that when it was over, there would be but one God in that region.

And like you said, it's a great reminder that some battles between good and evil are major, but most of them are not. It's the little choices, the everyday confontations of evil that matter.

greys said...

Excellent story, very well written!

I love these old folk stories.