DO vampires exist?
According to legend, they are evil mythological beings which feed on blood and can morph into a bat or wolf. Most people associate vampires with movies or Count Dracula, the legendary, blood-sucking subject of Bram Stoker’s epic novel, Dracula, which was published in 1897.
Tell that to villagers from Makwe area, Ward 8 about 40km west of Gwanda Town in Matabeleland South who have lost more than 57 goats in one month to what they believe is a nocturnal creature that sucks the blood out of their livestock and leaves two puncture/teeth marks on their necks.
Some villagers believe the teeth marks and the fact that the creature leaves no tracks, are sure signs that a vampire is on the loose in the village.
Isolated incidents were first recorded in 2018 but a pattern developed over the months, culminating in increased killings that have spread fear in the community.
The palpable terror in the village has been magnified by superstition as some villagers believe they are dealing with goblins or some supernatural force from the underworld.
Others think a strange cat-like being is responsible after it reportedly attacked a woman and her children at their home one night.
A villager who said he was a wildlife expert told Chronicle there was no known animal species in the area that could inflict the deep tooth marks found on dead livestock.
Frightened community members no longer venture outdoors after dark.
The area’s traditional leader, Chief Mathema has since asked Gwanda Rural District Council Officials to engage the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) officials to help track down the killer beast.
A villager who chose to identify himself only as Moyo said he was convinced a vampire was preying on livestock.
“Believe what you want. Tell me they don’t exist but you will be speaking from an uninformed point of view. You have not woken up to find six dead goats drained of blood in your kraal. Nothing else eaten and not even a sound of alarm through the night. This is a vampire. I know of other villagers who think the same. Authorities need to protect us,” said Moyo.
Mr Edwell Dube said he lost four goats last month. He said he found two of the goats outside the kraal while the other two were inside.
Each goat, he said, had been pierced on the neck. Mr Dube said the kind of killings were only seen in vampire movies.
“It’s like we are now living a horror movie because of what we are experiencing in our village. Almost every morning we find goats dead. A month ago, I found four of my goats dead and their blood had been sucked out. They had pierced markings on their neck where this creature sucked the blood out of them. These are the kind of killings that we see in vampire movies. We are now afraid to move around because we don’t know what kind of creature we are faced with,” he said.
Yesterday the villagers woke up to find nine goats dead. The mysterious killings have left the villagers wondering when the blood thirsty predator will strike next or whether it will move further to attack humans.
A villager told the news crew a bizarre creature recently sneaked into her house in the middle of the night.
Ms Lenia Ndlovu said she found the animal which is the size of a cat in her children’s blankets. She bravely fought it and stabbed it with a spear in the stomach.
She said she had since abandoned her home and was staying at her aunt’s homestead following the encounter.
Describing the creature Ms Ndlovu said it looked like a cat with a very long furry tail. She said the cat had a capped forehead with a black, brown and white skin tone.
“As the creature bled, I alerted neighbours who threw stones and logs at it in a bid to kill it but it managed to escape and fled into the night,” said Ms Ndlovu.
She said she suspected that the creature which was killing their livestock was the one which invaded her home. Ms Ndlovu said however what puzzled her is that she was not able to spot any teeth on the creature.
Ms Seluleko Ncube said on Thursday morning she found five of her goats lying dead scattered on the ground.
“I woke up at around 6AM and found five of my goats lying dead on the ground. The flesh was intact but four of them had puncture marks on their necks whose width is the size of an adult’s finger while the fifth had similar marks on the stomach. It showed that whatever attacked my goats, sucked blood out of them through the marks because they had blood stains around the neck area going down to the chest.
“I didn’t find any blood stains on the ground. There were also some scratch marks on the bodies of the goats which I suspect were caused by this vicious creature as it was attacking the goats. I’m now wondering that if this creature was able to attack my goats which were a few metres away from my homestead what about me and my children. This creature has to be hunted down soon otherwise there will be more bloodshed,” she said.
Mrs Thobekile Siziba (45) said she lost four goats to the eerie predator last week.
A village head from the area, Mr Goden Ncube (77) said he had never come across a predator that kills in such a manner or creature which fits the description that people were giving. He said villagers suspected a goblin was on the loose and hunting for blood.
“This problem started two years back but it was just isolated cases and each time a goat was killed dogs would follow and devour it and we assumed that it was the dogs which were killing the goats. Now the situation has worsened and we see that we have a serious problem on our hands,” he said.
Mr Ncube said the community has previously had problems of predators such as hyenas and other wild animals but they had never recorded such encounters. He said even dogs were afraid of the creature.