Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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SASABONSAM

(Sa-so-BUN-sum)
Variations: Kongamato
The Ashanti people of Africa have in their lore a vampiric creature called sasabonsam. This bearded man-faced creature that stands about five feet tall has a mouth full of fanged teeth, a row of scaly ridges over its bloodshot eyes, and a small horn that protrudes from the top of its head. Its very long arms are like gigantic bat wings that have a twenty-foot wingspan, its torso is skeletally thin, its legs are permanently bent, and there are three toes on each of its feet. The sasabon-sam's body is covered with black and white spots, adding to its camouflage as it sits in the cotton tree, dangling its stringy legs below. When a person walks underneath and brushes against the legs, it snatches up the person, pulling him into the tree and biting off his head, then drinking up the blood. The belief that the sasabonsam lives in cotton trees is prevailing, as can be proven by the great height that these trees grow to—everyone is afraid to cut them down.
Sasabonsam can cause sickness in a person just by looking at him and are oftentimes used as a servant by an OBAYIFO.
There is an article that was written in 1939 forThe West African Review that reported that a sasabonsam had been successfully hunted down and killed.
Source: Jahoda, Psychology of Superstition, 12; Rattray, Ashanti Proverbs, 48; Shuker, Beasts That Hide from Man, 103­5; Williams, Psychic Phenomena of Jamaica, 1 6 ­18
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