Horrifying myths and legends from across the continent

From spirits to demons, these stories were told by elders to convey fear into the hearts of children and society at large.

Oi, the spirit of disease (Kenya)

The Suk of Mount Elgon in Western Kenya believed that illness or disease in an individual was caused by the spirit of disease, Oi, and needed to be expelled for the person to recover. A priest was invited to cast out the evil spirit from an already emptied house of the sufferer.

Human-eating Tree (Madagascar)

This legend could be traced back to Polish biologist, Dr. Omelius Fredlowski, who received a very strange letter in the early 1870s. It was from a German explorer named Carl Liche, who claimed to have seen something horrific in Madagascar.

Liche claimed to have been living with and researching a tribe called the Mkodos. Members of the tribe took him to a tree they called the "tepe," where they started a ritual. The tree was oddly shaped, with tentacle-like leaves sprouting from its trunk. Suddenly, a woman was pushed towards it. She climbed to the top of the tree, drank a liquid that was trickling out of its centre, and the tentacles came to life and surrounded her immediately. She was completely ensnared, her body hidden from view by the leaves that gripped her. All Liche could hear was her screams.

Inedible fish (Nigeria)

There is a river in Kogi state in Nigeria which is said to be cursed, and if you catch a fish from there, no matter how much you try to cook it, it will always remain raw. Also, if you ever got injured by the bone of any fish in that river, the injury will never heal.

Spirits of the Kikuyu (Kenya)

The Kikuyu tribe believe that after a person dies, 'Ngoma"becomes a ghost and if the person was murdered, the Ngoma will pursue the one whho murdered him until the murderer comes out hiding and gives himeself up to the police.

Bush babies (Nigeria)

The bush baby is a myth used to scare school students into minding their business and staying indoors at night. The bush babies apparently sound like a normal baby or a toddler crying, sometimes the kid will be calling for help, and the good Samaritan who goes outside to help the little one, disappears, never to be seen again.

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