Mngwa The Great Gray Ghost

The Mngwa ("the strange one") is the "great gray ghost" of East Africa. Natives of the former Tanganyika (now Tanzania) insist that the mngwa is not simba (the lion). They have known of the Mngwa for hundreds of years, describing the animal as an extremely aggressive, gigantic, with the size of a donkey and gray stripes like a tabby cat. The creature has small ears, thick tail and nocturnal. Has been heard to purr. Known to have raided villages in order to kill adults and carry off children. Most sightings occurred on the Tanzania coast near Lindi and Mchinga.

English contact with the animal began, in earnest, in the 1900s. In 1922, William Hichens was magistrate of Lindi, Tanzania, when several constables were killed or mangled by a huge cat with gray fur. Another outbreak of maulings took place at Mchinga in the 1930s. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Mngwa was commonly known by the name Nunda, but because of the books of Gardner Soule (The Mystery Monsters and The Maybe Monsters) and Bernard Heuvelmans, Mngwa is the appellation now more frequently employed. An influential, openminded discussion of this cryptid appeared in the then-world-famous British scientific journal Discovery in 1938.

The Mngwa, a striped big cat of East Africa. (William M. Rebsamen)
In Frank W. Lane's 1954 issue of Nature Parade, Lane writes of his interview with Patrick Bowen, a hunter, who tracked a Mngwa. Bowen remarked that the animal's tracks were like those of the leopard but much larger. The fur was brindled but visibly different from a leopard's. Lane, a cryptozoologist before the label even existed, speculated that nineteenth-century reports of attacks by the South African chimiset, usually associated with the Nandi Bear, might more plausibly be linked to the Mngwa. Bernard Heuvelmans theorizes that the Mngwa may be an abnormally colored specimen of some known species or that it may be a larger subspecies of the golden cat (Profelis aurata).

According to Eberhart, several possible explanations about the creature as follows:
  • A surviving species of one of several large African fossil cats from the Pleistocene.
  • An unknown, giant subspecies of the African golden cat (Felis aurata), which has a wide variety of coloration, from golden to dark gray, and is reputed to be highly aggressive when cornered. It occasionally raids villages for poultry.

Cryptozoology A to Z: "The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature by Loren Coleman & Jerome Clark;

Mysterious Creatures: "A Guide to Cryptozoology" by George M. Eberhart;

Pic Source:
Mysterious Creatures: "A Guide to Cryptozoology" by George M. Eberhart page 33

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