The Kenyan Ghost Lion


This ghost story was sent to me by a wonderful gentleman named Derrek.  It is a personal story and I think these ghost stories are often the most resonant and the most terrifying:

What I am telling you may or may not be a story, perhaps it is
just the drunken ramblings of a local from a village near Masai Mara in Kenya
or my own drunken memories.  Nonetheless when I travel for business, in
the product development industry, I often make it a point to stop at local
places I have been told are good to visit for a conversation or two.  I
was directed to a Mara Bush Camp, the kind where tourists go to take pictures
of the wildlife.

As soon as I arrived at the bar I knew exactly who I wanted to sit
by.  Most people that I know look for a party while they are on a business
trip trying to find a lively group for a night on the town.  Throw some
money around and you look like a big spender in a place that doesn’t have a
lot, maybe you get mugged too in the process.  Not me, that is just not
me.  I took a glimpse of the setting, too many tourists but one local
sitting on a stool by himself staring deeply into his drink.  A drink that
looked like it had barely been touched.

He looked like
he was dressed as a tour guide or at least someone that could spend a few
moments speaking English with me. (I am the horrible business type that doesn’t
even try the local language, although it is part out of respect as I do not
want to butcher their language.)

So I chose a stool right beside him and asked him how his day
was.  Something light to try and start a conversation.  His reply was,  “ask me tomorrow after the night.”

We sat there in silence for a while, what was I supposed to follow
that up with.  So, business man…I bluntly ask him what he meant and this
is what he told me.

A few months past there was a rehabilitated lion released back
into the reserve.  He then continued to explain that often what happens
with events like this is that boundaries for prides shift to account for a new
male lion in the area, it gets pushed around a bit itself until it settles and
finds its pride.  What the male lion does when it finds its new pride and
essentially defeats the dominant male lion of the pride is kills all of the
cubs from the previous leader.  I nodded a little but wildlife being what
it is I was not so surprised.

He paused, scrunching his face up in perplexity, and then said
that was not what had happened.  Apparently the particular lion they
released was unusually aggressive about territory.  It took a straight
path to the first pride and fought and drove off the pride’s leader and then
killed the cubs hastily.  The former leader was then essentially outcast
and injured, forced to find his own food and way without the help of the
lionesses of his tribe having just seen his offspring slaughtered.

For the next few
weeks the former leader continually encroached closer and closer to inhabited
areas.  Never so close as to be perceived as a threat.  Until one day
when another rehabilitated lioness was about to be released he charged at the
personnel without abandon.  The stranger himself had to act quickly and
regretfully shot and killed the former leader.

The next night a goat was killed and left mangled by a nearby
village with no trace of any predator around.

And again another night a dog, that was a pet of one of the
reserve workers was killed and practically mutilated without tracks or any sign
of predator.

Such senseless
killing doesn’t happen by what I was told by the stranger.  Killing by a
predator sure but it will eat the animal or drag it off to hide
somewhere.  Were it a jaguar it would even potentially carry the dead
animal up a tree for safe keeping while it ate.

He continued to tell me how him and a fellow coworker just the
night before were told to keep watch.  The coworker in particular was a
long time friend of his.  They had seen wondrous things in the reserve
from the growing populations of once dwindling species to the smiles on some of
the faces of the children of the tourists as they watch a giraffe eat in the
wild or awkwardly gait away to the next stand of trees.  I could see in
his eyes how much of his life was shared with his friend.  It was almost
the look one has when they speak about a family member proudly.

He took a deep breath and stated very bluntly the former leader of
the pride killed his friend his brother.

We both sat in
silence, his drink still barely touched, me on my second.  I shook my head
and began bellowing with laughter and slapping the counter with an open
hand.  This reserve worker had just told me one of the longer stories I
had heard on a trip to try and scare me.

That is what I thought until he grabbed me by my tie with our
faces mere inches away from each other’s.  Mine with tears from laughing
and his filled with tears of sorrow.

He quickly placed something on the counter while holding me in
place by my tie, myself slightly wishing I had tied it a little looser that

I heard muffled sounds coming from the counter as the man jerked
my tie toward a small digital camera screen sitting on the counter.  I
could see what was likely the stranger’s friend walking ahead of the camera
with the stranger’s voice in the camera.  They looked happy.  If I
could understand what they were saying I am sure they would have been joking

Then his friend fell to the ground thrashing or being thrashed
around but by what nothing, I couldn’t see anything.  His head jerked
violently to the side and he stopped screaming.  I looked closer at the
screen and could see as he was drug slightly and slowly beginning to be ripped
open by what I would think only claws could do as the camera slowly crept
backwards.  I couldn’t take anymore and had to turn my head around.

I quickly
stumbled off my stool toward my rental and then to my hotel room.  I
didn’t sleep that night.  I slept restlessly for the next few until I left
Kenya, lost out on one or two business pursuits.  Who knows maybe
more.  I just wanted out of there.  Before seeing that video my world
was smaller.  Only humans had souls and only humans could have
ghosts.  That stranger though with that video, I doubt a reserve could
pull off such effects and to what end?

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