Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1


4 posts in this topic

Popobawa, also Popo Bawa, is the name of an evil spirit, or shetani, which is believed by residents to have first appeared on the Tanzanian island of Pemba. In 1995, it was the focus of a major outbreak of mass hysteria or panic which spread from Pemba to Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago, and across to Dar es Salaam and other urban centres on the East African coast.

Popobawa is a Swahili name which translates literally as "bat-wing" (from Swahili popo, "bat", and bawa, "wing"). This name is said to have originated as a description of the dark shadow cast by the spirit when it attacks at night: it does not refer to the actual form of the spirit, which is liable to change. Swahili speakers also use a plural form of the name - mapopobawa - to refer to multiple manifestations of the feared spirit. This plural is anglicized as "Popobawas".

Popobawa is a shapeshifter and described as taking different forms, not just that of a bat as its name implies. It can take either human or animal form, and metamorphose from one into the other. Popobawa typically visits homesteads at night, but can also be seen in the daytime. It is sometimes associated with the presence of a sulfurous odor, but this is not always the case. Popobawa attacks men, women and children, and may attack all of the members of a household, before passing on to another house in the neighbourhood. Its nocturnal attacks can comprise simple physical assault and/or poltergeist-like phenomena; but most feared is sexual assault and the sodomising of adult men and women. Victims are often urged to tell others that they have been assaulted, and are threatened with repeat visits by Popobawa if they do not. During Popobawa panics many people try to guard against attack by spending the night awake outside of their houses, often huddled around an open fire with other family members and neighbours. Panics occur most often in Zanzibar, throughout the island of Pemba and in the north and west of Unguja (Zanzibar) island, including Zanzibar town. Episodes have also been reported in Dar es Salaam and other towns on the mainland coast of Tanzania.

Idiots, lol.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is interesting stuff; I would not dismiss it too quickly. Somehow patterns of a story get started. This creature has definite features and identifiable behavior, and numerous reports.

We call this sort of a social phenomenon a meme, and this one has an interesting element in it that is really striking -- that people visited are threatened with repercussions if they do not tell others about their experience. This serves the meme in seeing to it that the stories spread and do not die out.

Immediately of course one thinks that there is a pattern of fraud here -- of professional Popobawa repulsers spreading the tale in order to generate business, and I would be very surprised if some of that sort of thing were not going on.

One wonders about the history of this beast; it has similarities to Satan and to vampires, so maybe there is a Western origin, but bats are often feared on their own because of their nocturnal behavior and general ugliness, so this could be a coincidence.

There is little to cause doubt that the same sorts of experiences that elsewhere generate stories of ghosts are the primary mover here: just a different interpretation because of differences in cultural expectation.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Across Siberia, many tribes say that such mother spirits appear in

animal or therianthropic form to abduct the souls of future shamans

when they are born and bring them to a huge tree in the spirit world

that stands at the foot of a mountain called Jokuo.

Andreas Lommel, Director of the National Museum of Ethnology in Munich, has

observed that the tree described in these accounts has an odd shape

with its top “broken or chopped off,” and that

Every branch and twig of this tree, from the lowest to the topmost,

bears birds’ nests. The shamans of the whole world are brought up on

this one tree . . . The shamans themselves usually say that a raven

appears as teacher, which sits on the branches of this tree and educates

the souls. The shamans whose souls are brought up in the nests on the

upper branches become stronger and more important than those

brought up in the lower nests. The nests are attached in regular rows

and rise step by step with the space of one branch between one row

and the next . . .

Supernatural : Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind p151

Graham Hancock

Plenty more stories of such a nature in Mr HAncocks book ... kinky ones too :lol:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of my faves - it's got it all:


Closet Homosexuality

**** Shaming

Sleep Paralysis

Gotta love all of that.

1 person likes this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.