Episode 259 – The One Where We Learn About Tanzania’s League of Steves!

In This Week’s Show, episode 259, the feds arrest bat boy for trafficking pumpkins to Gourds Do Porn.

In This Week’s Show, episode 259, the feds arrest bat boy for trafficking pumpkins to Gourds Do Porn.

Now, grab a beer and help us test the god hypothesis — because, while Koji hasn’t struck us down yet, it does make great food!

Shea’s Life Lesson

This week I learned that the human anus can stretch up to seven inches before tearing, also a raccoon can squeeze into holes as small as four inches. Meaning that you can take almost two raccoons up your ass. Just believe in yourself!

Jenn’s Actual Lesson

Enter Stuff Here

But before we get to all that, let’s have a beer!

This Week’s Beer

Elysian Dragonstooth Stout from Elysian Brewing Co.

Donated By: Jaded Zappa

This Week’s Show

Round Table

Good news, Canadians managed to pull their heads out of their collective asses and avoid an Orange Is The New Brexit moment by narrowly reallecting a leader capable of complete sentences… in two languages even!

Beer delivery from listener Travis

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The most metal of fruits is a tie between the bloodermelon and the blumpkin… wait I think that’s something else. The bloodkin! For those outside of the know these names refer to watermelons and pumpkins that have turned. Not in a rotten sort of way either, but in the undead now vampire ways!

The origins of vampiric pumpkins and watermelons date back to legends and myths passed down among the Gypsies of southeastern Europe and were documented by Tatomir Vukanovic in the 1930s about his travels in Serbia. He wrote several years later in the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society:

“The belief in vampires of plant origin occurs among Gs. [Gypsies] who belong to the Mosl. faith in KM [Kosovo-Metohija]. According to them there are only two plants which are regarded as likely to turn into vampires: pumpkins of every kind and water-melons. And the change takes place when they are ‘fighting one another.'”

Yes you heard right, fighting each other… one can only ponder on what that would look like. There are also more theories from Vukanovic.

“In Podrima and Prizrenski Podgor they consider this transformation occurs if these vegetables have been kept for more than ten days: then the gathered pumpkins stir all by themselves and make a sound like ‘brrrl, brrrl, brrrl!’ and begin to shake themselves. It is also believed that sometimes a trace of blood can be seen on the pumpkin, and the Gs. then say it has become a vampire. These pumpkins and melons go round the houses, stables, and rooms at night, all by themselves, and do harm to people. But it is thought that they cannot do great damage to folk, so people are not very afraid of this kind of vampire.

Among the Mosl. Gs. in the village of Pirani it is believed that if pumpkins are kept after Christmas they turn into vampires, while the Lešani Gs. think that this phenomenon occurs if a pumpkin used as a syphon, when ripe and dry, stays unopened for three years.”

Vukanovic doesn’t go into may details on how the veg attack but I’m thinking pumpkin head but with watermelons too. If you do find yourself surrounded by carnivorous melons and gourds don’t fret, Vukanovic goes into great detail on how to exercise your problems.

” The Gs. in KM. destroy pumpkins and melons which have become vampires … by plunging them into a pot of boiling water, which is then poured away, the vegetables being afterwards scrubbed by a broom and then thrown away, and the broom burned.”

This has been a public service announcement from W4W studios.

Show Story

The terrifying tale of the Popobawa…

Or Popo Bawa.

Or Mr. Popo if it’s your first time at the Lookout.

(Dragon Ball humor)

Anyway, to carry on Jenn’s Jenntober tradition as best I can, I present to you the scariest cryptid Zanzibar has to offer, the Popobawa.

So, first off, the name I’m probably not at all saying correctly comes from a few Swahili words and translates literally as “bat-wing” from popo, meaning bat, and bawa, meaning wing. So congrats, now you know the Swahili pronunciation of Batman’s jet. You’re welcome.

The name comes from the dark, bat-like shadow the beast is said to cast. Because it is the night.

You can pluralize it as “Mapopobawa” in Swahili or in English, simply, “Popobawas.”

Not to be confused with Moon-Bat-People [insert Moon joke] it’s a one-eyed Earth Bat shetani – or evil spirit. You can check the show notes for his gross, over-eagar, rapey, bat-face in the show notes.

Not that it will do you any good of course because the Popbawa is also a shapeshifter!

It is, apparently, not able to change its mass. So the Popobawa usually appears to be a very unhealthy, grey-colored, hunched over, humanoid. But when night falls out come the long pointed ears, fanges, and single, giant, Futurama-esque, cyclopes eye.

Also its penis. Not pictured.
You’re welcome internet.

The Popowaba strikes fear into the hearts of many Zanzibarians as it comes with no rhyme or reason — except to prove its existence of course — it is especially violent, and has no backstory to speak of. Basically, he’s just a demonic asshole with a Napoleon complex and superpowers. Which sucks.

For example, he’s not just a shapeshifter, his large eye can paralyze anyone who gazes at him. Like the diet coke version of Medusa. He can also possess humans and use them as mouthpieces to spread rumors and generally be a dick… often with his dick. See, the eye-laser is so he can paralyse and rape you. And your family. Because he’s also a fucking anal-rapist. Like, specifically anal.

See, the Popobawa was created in 1965. Back then, it was mostly just being an evil spirit — the “shetani” part. Until, in 1972, there was an uptick in reports of rape in Tanzania which led to mass hysteria. Like proper hysteria too. Entire families fled their homes and would sleep in large circles around a bonfire, backs to the flame, sleeping in guard-style shifts, eyes keenly peeled for any bat… signal. Bat signal.

Anyway, the hysteria eventually passed, but resurfaced again in 1995, 2000, and as recently as 2007.

The problem is, it seems, that the Popowaba hates its existence being denied. To the point that it usually wraps up its back alley business by telling people that unless they share the story of its visit, the Popobawa will return and give them… what for… again! So while the locals would never seek to encur its wrath, forign press reported the rape-waves has having non-bat-people related sources. Which, you know, enraged cyclops-batboy and caused the… rapes… that were being reported… “time” AmIRight?

Increased sightings… and… umm… feelings, of the Popowaba also correlate to Political cycles in Tanzania. Because the Popobawa especially likes sodomizing controversial politicians.

I swear I’m not making this up.

Someone clearly did. But not me.

One reason frequently given for the beasts political zeel is that it’s the ghost of assassinated President Abeid Karume. That or it was summoned by the Chama Cha Mpinduzi political party. I mean, either or right?

After the 1995 demon anal tour, the Popowaba finally got international attention. Some of which came from the Center for Inquery’s Joe Nickell. Be published a short article title “The Skeptic-raping Demon of Zanzibar.” In which he laid out the case for this being a series of cases of sleep paralysis, or waking dream states. In either state a person has a vivid, and often terrifying, dream while suffering from immobility or a lack of physical control. In either case hallucinations are common. Many cases of witches, incubi, succubi, Hags, or alien abduction are explained the same way. Some, like Katrina Daly Thompson, were critical of Nickell, claiming that he was, per her book “Pobobawa: Tanzanian Talk, Global Misreadings” put it “associating Zanzibaris with fear and Westerners with skepticism.” Nickell agreed that “Westerners should be wary of imposing simplistic patterns on another culture, but they also should not shy away from making scientific observations where appropriate.”

I read the article, I didn’t find it to be particularly biased. It was dismissive of the Popowaba, but that’s hardly new for Skeptical Inquirer. And given their treatment of other geographically diverse cryptids, I’m less inclined to think it’s specifically some kind of western-agrandising scheme.

In the end, crazy Tanzanian folk-lore is crazy — but that’s hardly unique to Tanzanians eh?

  • https://skepticalinquirer.org/newsletter/skeptic-raping_demon_of_zanzibar/
  • https://centerforinquiry.org/blog/zanzibars_popobawa_demon_still_attacking_skeptics/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popobawa

Next Week’s Beer

Official IPA from Bell’s Brewing
Donated By: Steve E

Faith in Humanity Restored

New (old) home on the Range

  • https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/badlands-national-park-expands-bison-grazing-area/article_f0bc9513-80ab-5fa1-ad50-921ea4b82ae2.html
  • https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/14/us/bison-south-dakota-national-park-trnd/index.html
  • Bison being returned to a part of Badlands after nearly 150 years
  • Badlands National Park is expanding its bison range by 22,000 acres
  • Badlands National Park partnered with:
    • National Park Foundation
    • World Wildlife Fund
    • Defenders of Wildlife
    • Nature Conservancy
    • Badlands National Park Conservancy
    • Badlands Natural History Association
  • donors raised $740,000
  • 43 miles of new fence has been installed, along with cattle guards
  • bison grazing area in the park to 80,193 acres
  • “Visitors will also have more opportunities for viewing, photographing, and learning about bison in their native habitat on the badlands’ iconic and stunning landscape,”

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