Popobawa

Flying Humanoid of East Africa.

Etymology: From the Swahili (Bantu) popo ("bat") + bawa ("wing").

Physical description: Hairy dwarf. Single cyclops eye. Small, pointed ears. Bat wings. Talons.

Behavior: Swoops into houses and rapes men. Has an acrid smell.

Distribution: Pemba and Zanzibar Islands, Tanzania.

Significant sightings: After the Popobawa first appeared on Pemba for a few weeks in 1972, men shamefully announced they had been sodomized. The creature returned once in the 1980s, in April 1995, in 2000, and in July 2001 on Zanzibar, where it attacked males sleeping alone. Hospitals treated men for broken ribs, bruises, and other injuries inflicted by the creature. After a month, the attacks stopped. Possible explanations:

(1) Hysteria caused by recurring political tensions on the islands.

(2) A hypnopompic or hypnogogic hallucination—phenomena that occur while going to sleep or waking up and involve a choking or pressing sensation on the chest. Sources: Chris McGreal, "Zanzibar Diary,"

The Guardian, October 2, 1995; Joe Nickell, "The Skeptic-Raping Demon of Zanzibar," Skeptical Briefs, December 1995, on line at

http://www.csicop.org/sb/9512/i-files.html; "Dwarf Batman Terrorises Zanzibar," Fortean Times, no. 86 (May 1996): 11; Davy Russell, "The Popobawa: A Zanzibari Incubus," July 26, 2001, at http://www.xproject.net/archives/ paranormal/popobawa.html.

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