I wouldn't if I were you
I know what she can do
She's deadly man
And she could really rip your world apart
Mind over matter
#10 The Lions of Njombe
It happened in 1932, in Tanzania near the town of Njombe. A large pride of lions went into a particularly brutal killing spree. The lions kept attacking and, eventually, took over 1,500 human lives (some say over 2000); the worst lion attack in History, and one of the worst cases of animal attacks ever recorded. Eventually, George Rushby, a famed hunter, decided to put an end to the attacks. He killed 15 lions, and the rest of the pride eventually abandoned the area, finally ending the nightmare.
#9 Two Toed Tom
This huge male American alligator was said to roam the swamps in the border of Alabama and Florida during the 20s. He had lost all but two of the toes in his left “hand”, and left very recognizable tracks on the mud, so he was nicknamed “Two Toed Tom” by the local people. He measured 15 feet long, and made himself infamous by devouring scores of cows, mules and, of course, humans, particularly women (snatched as they washed clothes in the water). Bullets were said to have little effect on him and all attempts on his life failed. One farmer had been chasing Tom for twenty years, unsuccessfully, so he decided to throw fifteen dynamite-filled buckets into the pond were Tom was supposed to live, and finally get rid of the problem once and for all. The explosion killed everything in the pond, but not Tom. The most amazing part of the story is that, although he was most famous during the 20s, Tom was seemingly still alive during the 80s, when a huge gator lacking two of his toes was reported in the same swamps where he had roamed his entire life.
Two Toed Tom was never captured.
The largest, most powerful land predator in Japan is the Brown Bear, and, perhaps the most brutal bear attack in history took place in the village of Sankebetsu, Hokkaido, in 1915. The area was inhabited by brown bears, including a gigantic male known as Kesagake. Kesagake used to visit Sankebetsu to feed on harvested corn; having became a nuisance, he was shot by two villagers and fled to the mountains, injured. The villagers believed that, after being shot, the bear would learn to fear humans and stay away from the crops. They were wrong.
On December 9 of 1915, Kesagake showed up again. He entered the house of the Ota family, where the farmer’s wife was alone with a baby she was caring for. The bear attacked the baby, killing him, then went for the woman. She tried to defend herself by throwing firewood at the beast, but was eventually dragged to the forest by the bear. When people arrived to the, now empty, house, they found the floor and walls covered on blood. Thirty men went to the forest, determined to kill the bear and recover the unfortunate woman’s remains. They found Kesagake and shot him again, but failed to kill him. The animal fled and they found the woman’s partially eaten body buried under the snow, where the bear had stored it for later consumption.
The bear later returned to the Ota family’s farm, and armed guards were sent after him. But this left another village house unprotected, and Kesagake took advantage of this, attacking the Miyoke family’s home and mauling everyone inside. In only two days, Kesagake had killed six people. The villagers were terrified and most of the guards abandoned their posts out of fear.
A famed bear hunter was informed of the incidents, and he identified the bear as being Kesagake and informed that the bear had actually killed before the Sankebetsu attacks. At first he refused to participate in the hunt but eventually he joined the group and on December 14, he was the one to finally kill Kesagake. The bear was almost 10 feet tall and weighed over 800 lbs. Human remains were found in his stomach.
The region was soon abandoned by villagers and became a ghost town. Even today, the Sankebetsu incident remains the worst animal attack in the history of Japan.
#7 The New Jersey Shark
These shark attacks took place in 1916. This is one of the very few cases of real “man eating sharks” known, with most shark attacks being isolated incidents. It all happened along the coast of New Jersey; the first victim was a young man named Charles Vansant. The shark was extremely tenacious and seemingly followed a lifeguard to the shore, disappearing shortly after. The shark’s teeth had severed Vansant’s femoral arteries and one of his legs had been stripped off its flesh; he bled to death before he could be taken to a hospital. Five days later, another man, Charles Bruder, was attacked by the same shark while swimming away from the shore. The next attacks took place not in the sea, but in a creek near the town of Matawan. Again, people reported seeing a shark in the creek, but they were ignored until, on July 12, an eleven year old boy was attacked while swimming and dragged underwater. A man named Stanley Fisher dove into the water to find the boy’s remains, but he too was attacked by the shark and died of his wounds.
On July 14, a young female Great White Shark was captured in the Raritan Bay near the Matawan Creek. It is said that human remains were found in her stomach. Once confirmed that the Jersey attacks had been the work of a shark, there was media frenzy and a shark panic unrivaled in American history. The incidents inspired Peter Benchley’s most famous novel, Jaws, which would later be adapted into a movie by Steven Spielberg.
#6 The Sloth of Mysore
These animals maul many humans in India every year (one per week according to some), they rarely eat their victims. However, there was a Sloth Bear that became infamous for being a man-killer.
Most experts today believe that the bear was probably injured by humans, and became abnormally aggressive as a result. The bear attacked three dozen people in the Indian state of Mysore. In typical Sloth Bear fashion, it would rip the victim’s face off with its claws and teeth, and those who survived were often left completely disfigured. 12 of the victims died, and three of them were devoured, something extremely unusual. The bear was eventually killed by Kenneth Anderson, a famed big game hunter, although the beast was very evasive and three hunts had to be arranged before the animal was finally brought down.
#5 The Werewolf of Gevauden
This beast terrorized the French province of Gevauden from 1764 to 1767. Although often claimed to have been an unusually large wolf, the truth is the Beast was never really identified. It was said to be larger than a wolf, with a reddish coloration and an unbearable smell, as well as teeth bigger than those of a normal wolf. The creature killed its first victim (a young girl) in June of 1764. This was the first of a series of very unusual attacks, where the beast would target humans, specifically, ignoring cattle and domestic animals. 210 humans were attacked; 113 victims died, and 98 were devoured. The attacks were so frequent and brutal that many believed the creature to be a demonic being sent by God as punishment; others thought it was a loup-garou, a werewolf.
Although the mainstream view is that the “Beast” was probably just a large wolf (or a couple of wolves, since some reports mention two beasts instead of one), the fact remains that the description of the creature doesn’t seem to fit a normal European wolf, which was abundant and well known to people at the time. Some experts believe that the Beast may have been a hyena, possibly escaped from a menagerie. Just like the beast of Gevauden, hyenas are noted for their formidable teeth and strong odor, and they are also bigger and more powerful than average wolves.
The beast managed to evade hunters and even the army, exhibiting the man eater’s legendary cunning, but it was eventually killed in 1767 by local hunter Jean Chastel.
#4 The Tsavo Lions (Ghost and the Darkness)
In 1898, the British started the construction of a railway bridge over the Tsavo river in Kenya. Over the next nine months, the unfortunate railway workers became the target of two man-eating lions. These lions were huge, measuring over ten feet long. At first, the two lions snatched the men from their tents, dragging them to the bush and devouring them at night. But soon they became so fearless, that they wouldn’t even drag their victims away and would start feeding on their flesh just a few yards from the tents. Their size, ferocity and cunning were so extraordinary that many natives thought that they were not actually lions, but rather demons, or perhaps the reincarnation of ancient local kings trying to repel the British invaders. The two man-eaters were nicknamed The Ghost and The Darkness, and workers were so afraid of them that they fled by the hundreds out of Tsavo. The railway construction was halted; no one wanted to be the next victim of the “devil lions”.
Eventually, the Chief Engineer in charge of the railway project, John Henry Patterson, decided that the only solution was to kill the man eaters. He was very close to being killed by the lions but, eventually, he managed to shoot the first one in December of 1989, and two weeks later, he managed to shot the second one. By this time, the lions had killed 140 people. Patterson also found the man-eaters’ lair; a cave near the Tsavo river bank, which contained the remains of many human victims, as well as pieces of clothes and ornaments. This cave still exists today and, although many bones have been exhumed, it is said that many still remain inside.
#3 The Panar Leopard
The leopard is perhaps our oldest predator; leopard bite marks have been found in the fossil bones of our hominid relatives, suggesting that the spotted cat was already dining on our ancestors over three million years ago. The deadliest man-eating leopard of all times was the Panar leopard. This male leopard lived in the Kumaon area of India during the early 20th century, where he killed over 400 people.
It seems that the leopard had been injured by a hunter, and rendered unable to hunt wild animals, so it turned to man-eating to survive. He was finally killed by famous hunter and conservationist, Jim Corbett, in 1910.
Smaller, more agile and, some say, more cunning than lions or tigers, leopards were considered to be among the deadliest animals in the world by big game hunters.
#2 The Champawat Tigress
During the late 19th century, a Nepalese region close to the Himalayas was terrorized by the most notorious and prolific man-eater of all times. Men, women and children were ambushed in the jungle by the dozens. The responsible was a Bengal tigress who had been shot by a hunter. She had escaped, but the bullet had broken two of her fangs. In constant pain, and rendered unable to hunt her usual prey, the tigress had became adam khor, a man eater.
Soon, the victim count of the tigress reached 200. Hunters were sent to kill the beast, but she was too cunning. Eventually, the Nepalese government decided that the problema was big enough to send the National Army after the killer cat, but they failed to capture the tigress. She was, however, forced to abandon her territory and she crossed the border to India, to the Champawat region. It is said that with every human she killed, she became bolder and more fearless, and eventually, she started attacking in broad daylight and prowling around villages. Men wouldn’t even dare leave their huts to work, for they could hear the roaring of the killer tigress in the forest, waiting for them. But most man eaters share the same fate, and eventually, one man decided to put the reign of the tigress to an end. This man was Jim Corbett, who would become one of the first great advocates of tiger conservation.
Corbett would later tell of how he only found the tigress by following the macabre trail of blood and limbs from her latest victim; a teenaged girl. Corbett shot the tigress in 1911. The local people were so relieved and grateful that they actually made Corbett a sadhu, a holy man. By that time, the tigress had killed 436 humans, and these were only the recorded victims, with probably many more who were never reported. She is still the most prolific individual man eater in History. Not only that; she killed more people than even the worst human serial killers (leaving genocide aside). Only one serial killer is said to rival the Champawat tigress; an infamous Hungarian countess named Erzebet Bathory… who was, funnily enough, known as the “Tigress of Csejte”.
All the man-eaters in this list are gone; their killing sprees are just frightening memories by now. All of them… except for one. In the African, conflict-ridden country of Burundi lives the greatest man-eater of our times, a male Nile crocodile measuring six meters long and weighing around one ton. He is the largest Nile crocodile alive, as well as the largest individual predator in the entire African continent, and according to the natives and to French naturalist Patrice Faye, he has killed over 300 people by now. Although still alive and active, the crocodile, nicknamed “Gustave” by Faye, has already become a legend.
Natives say he kills for fun, not just for food; that he kills several people in every attack, and then disappears for months, or even years, only to reappear later in another, different location to kill again. No one can predict when or where he will appear next. Gustave’s body armor carries countless scars made by knives, spears and even firearms. A dark spot on the top of his head is the only remaining trace of a bullet wound that was supposed to put and end to his reign. But all hunters (and even, once, a group of armed soldiers) have failed to kill him.
Said to be over 60 years old, Gustave is probably too experienced and smart to be fooled, so it seems likely that he will continue with his depredations and perhaps, soon, claim the title of the most prolific man eater for himself.
Things have changed a lot since the times of the Champawat tigress; Patrice Faye no longer wants to kill Gustave. He wants to protect him from human retaliation; by capturing Gustave alive and keeping him in a safe enclosure, Faye hopes to save human lives as well as the man eater himself, and perhaps use him as breeding stock to help the conservation of the Nile crocodile as well. The enclosure has already been built in the Ruzizi National Park of Burundi, waiting for the capture of the greatest man eater of our times.
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