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If You Want to Find Monsters, the Congo Could be the Best Place: A Hotbed of Unknown Animals

Richard Freeman, formerly a head-keeper at England’s Twycross Zoo, says: “An English ex-pat that gathered information on a supposed horned giant animal said to lurk in Lake Bangweulu [which is situated in the upper Congo River basin in Zambia], J.E. Hughes was born in Derbyshire in 1876 and attended Cambridge. The British South Africa Company offered him a job as assistant native commissioner in the newly formed civil service of north-east Rhodesia. After seven years of service Hughes resigned and became a hunter/trader. He lived for the next eighteen years on the Mbawala islands on Lake Bangweulu. He recorded his life in a book, Eighteen years on Lake Bangweulu, in which he writes of the monster.” Having digested Freeman’s words, let’s now turn our attention to Hughes himself and his extraordinary story of a rampaging monster. “For many years now there has been a persistent rumor that a huge prehistoric animal was to be found in the waters of our Lake Bangweulu. Certainly the natives talk about such a beast and ‘Chipekwe’ or ‘Chimpekwe,’ is the name by which they call it. I find it is a fact that Herr Hagenbeck sent up an expedition in search of this animal, but none of them ever reached the Luapula, owing to fever, etc; they had come at the wrong time of year for newcomers.”

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