Chemisit

Unknown animal of East Africa that the British call the nandi Bear

Etymology: Kalenjin (Nilo-Saharan) word meaning "devil"; however, at one level of meaning, it is regarded as an animal, not a spirit.

Variant names: Chemoiset, Chemosit, Chimisit, Gononet.

Physical description: Tawny or reddish color. Sometimes striped. Face like an ape's.

Behavior: Nocturnal. Stands on its hind legs sometimes. Makes a peculiar moaning cry or blood-curdling roar. Said to break into native huts at night, kill the occupants, and eat their brains. Used as a threat by mothers to make their children obey.

Tracks: Round and bearlike. Distribution: Western Kenya. Significant sighting: In the 1960s, engineer Angus McDonald was sleeping in a hut near Kipkabus, Kenya, when he was awakened by a shriek as a large animal jumped in the window and chased him around the hut for about five minutes. It seemed to be about 7 feet tall with an ape's face, and it was able to run on both two feet and all fours, leaving round tracks. The El-geyo tribesmen identified it as a Chemosit.

Sources: Alfred C. Hollis, The Nandi: Their Language and Folk-Lore (Oxford: Clarendon, 1909), p. 41; Geoffrey Williams, "An Unknown Animal on the Uasingishu," Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History

Society, no. 4 (1912): 123-125; I. Q. Orchardson (letter), Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society, no. 28 (1927): 19, 23; Charles R. S. Pitman, A Game Warden among His Charges (London: Nisbet, 1931), p. 291; Odette Tchernine, The Yeti (London: Neville Spearman, 1970), pp. 69-72; Martin Pickford, "Another African Chalicothere," Nature 253 (1975): 85.

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