For my first year at college I’ve been doing painstaking but fascinating research for my course on cultural legends. The course studies the mythologies of many different countries and ancient civilizations scattered around the globe, all of which I found really cool and amusing. It was in March of 2015 that I began working on the African topic. I had to study the many nations in that continent to find out about all the individual religions and tribes that lived there. Upon reaching Tanzania, I couldn’t seem to find any book in the college library that had information about tribes or tales from that nation. Since libraries were getting old I headed straight to the obvious solution of the internet, it's just I always preferred using books as I found them more reliable.
On the web there were a handful of sites that told me all I needed to know about the legends of Tanzania. I dotted down some useful notes about the tribes that used to live there and still do now. Then I wrote the synopses of some amazing myths. These myths had been passed down from generation to generation since ancient and maybe even prehistoric times. Then I found a very old site from 1998 that mentioned some intriguing people called the Beija tribe, these were the only facts it told me about them:
The Beija tribe were inhabitants of south-east Tanzania that had been around for an unknown amount of time, although it was estimated they were very old. They all died out in the 1970s, but were most well documented in the early 1960s. The Beija people lived in a relatively wide area away from other natives and civilization. They were very religious and often disapproved of anthropologists wishing to study them, let alone tourists meet them. Of their 100 members, none could speak English, but a lucky anthropologist was able to translate their language and was allowed to be told about them in 1961. Apart from their own village, the area where the Beija lived had previously never been explored by outsiders as they would always warn them to leave by running at them with sharp spears and yelling unknown words in their home tongue.
The anthropologist asked them why their land was so sacred, and they told him they did not know as they hadn’t explored their own land either, only made borders of it. This was because of stories from much earlier generations who must have ventured into the land, which was called the “forbidden triangle”. These stories told of mysterious horrors that existed in there. Horrors that were said to be part of the evil side of their mythology. Their elders would not give anymore clues as to what these horrors were; only it was worth avoiding them. So to be more precise, the land was not sacred but just feared.
So that was all the knowledge that site could offer me about that tribe and its land-version of the Bermuda Triangle. I searched for the Beija as I wanted to know more but no other sites had any info on them. Later I asked my teacher if he knew anything about them. This would seem strange because if the internet didn’t have any more to tell me surely my teacher wouldn’t. However he had been studying this subject for years and knew about even the most obscure cultures, so it was worth a shot.
I was in luck. He had a book in his home attic he had brought in 1988 from a bookstore in a small town near Lake Michigan. The teacher remembered reading about that tribe in that book and it defiantly sounded like more than the website, but he put it in the attic locked in a chest for a reason he couldn’t remember. He was so focused, however, on his other work he didn’t bother to try and remember why. He kindly let me borrow it when he brought it in the next day. It had been coated with dust and the pages were quite crumpled. I took it to my dorm and moved through it slowly to avoid damage, until I found the page about the mysterious natives.
It explained to me all the same info the site told me just in its own words, but it also included something much more interesting and knowledge-feeding. A story written by a member of a group of fearless men who trekked into the forbidden triangle. My eyes and mind were cemented to the page as I began reading it.
This account was written by Aldanear Abewen, who along with his two friends crossed into the forbidden triangle in 1963.
I lived in the capitol city of Dodoma all my life, with my two good flat friends Galam Tebi and Rilo Oma. We had previously never heard of this Beija tribe or triangle, until a local newspaper told a story of a yet-to-be identified man who said he’d cross into the Beija’s off limits area who vanished. A year later the story was still stuck in our heads, until we all decided to do a risky mission. We would try and cross into the forbidden triangle of the Beija and find out what happened to this man. It would seem stupid, maybe even suicidal to do such a thing, but we couldn’t resist. We had necessary equipment to do it though. We don’t know what the missing man brought with him, but we would bring electric prods to defend against dangerous animals that may be encountered in the area. We borrowed them from a zoo near us (Rilo worked there). The man who vanished managed to get past the guards, so surely we could with these prods. Perhaps the Beija would think we were lightning gods or something like that if we waved them about.
We knew these people, being a tribe who lived without advancing, believed in gods, demons and many creatures of pure fantasy, none of which we believed in. Rilo suspected these so-called horrors that frightened the Beija and influenced their myths could be undiscovered cryptid animals only native to the triangle. Being chiefly sceptics, these cryptids we did not expect to be like bigfoot or a living dinosaur, but maybe albino lions, oversized baboons and pherhaps animals mutated by some unknown natural substance.
On the 17th of May we set off on our jeep. The ride was immensely long, but still worth it. This man must have also gotten here with some form of transportation as even the nearest towns were miles from the Beija. Rilo and I felt most curious for what we would see, and so was Galam, but he also shivered thinking about the lost man. He never really wanted to go on this trip, but not wanting to disappoint his friends still came along. We reached the isolated village that evening. We stopped our jeep and kept it hidden behind some rocks next to a baobab tree. We spotted in the distance another worn out jeep ravaged by storms which must have been the man’s. Foot would be our transport for the rest of the journey. We could see the village in the near background with its huts, although no sight of the natives. Some guards however appeared patrolling the entrance to the triangle. Rilo used his binoculars and Galam snapped a photo. The entrance to the land was a large smooth capped rock wall. It sort of looked like a smaller but much longer gray version of Ayers Rock in Australia. Some small trees were seen atop the wall, and that’s all that was visible. We would have to clamber over that wall to get inside, and we assumed this rock formed part of the triangle shape.
We ducked under the tall grass to avoid the rather naïve guards, and we successfully got through! We were sure anyone else who tried to get in did what we did, but climbing the wall was what made the guards see them. We had our prods, but we wanted to make this trip as careful as possible. Luck was with us however, as there was a large gap in the wall that had been hidden by some boulders which had fallen off. We scrambled through the hole out of sight. We were now in, and all fell silent. When we were outside the triangle we could hear the wind blowing in the distance and bird calls, but now we were in there was nothing to be heard for some unknown reason. This area was part of the wall; it had a long rocky ground that lead through a valley surrounded by more short trees. Galam took another picture here and we trekked on.
The valley had little signs of life other than a huge black tarantula that emerged from its burrow which Galam walked by. And if that wasn’t surprising enough when we finished walking through the valley we came to a clearing that was the first sight totally worth photographing. The clearing had shrubs, yet more small trees, little rocks and a wide muddy pit. This pit had the skull and leg bones of a bull elephant that had either sunken under then bobbed back up or starved when stuck. One of its tusks was missing and its face was frozen in a scream as the ooze tried to pull it back to a dark hell. A lone vulture was pecking at some flesh on the skull, suggesting it didn’t die too long ago. We observed the nightmarish yet amazing sight for a few moments before moving on.
On the horizon beyond the wall the sun was beginning to set, so we quickened our pace and got our flashlights ready. Moving past the clearing we passed by more thorny shrubs until we came to some steps carved in a large boulder blocking our way. These steps must have been man-made, and our answer was confirmed when we reached another clearing beyond the great rock. This clearing was covered in stone structures that were only a meter tall and all crumbling to pieces. These ruins must have been built by the elders of the Beija, who seemed to know how to carve stone material unlike their descendants who only had their straw huts. We didn’t know if stone was sacred to the Beija and only their elders could use it, we only assumed the odd difference in material usage. We photographed the ruins and examined them. We estimated they were once taller, and found some piles of ashes of pieces that had shattered.
Rilo found some small pictograms of men hunting lions and some people with strangely shaped heads who were probably gods. That was all, and we went where the triangle would lead us next. I saw Galam grip his prod tight, expecting the worse with every step we took further. “Remember myths aren’t real,” I assured him. He felt better when I said that. Leaving the ruins, we came to a steep part of earth that lead down to another valley wedged between some jagged rocks. Some small birds were flying around above us. The birds tweeted in a strange and eerie way, as if they were singing some demonic chant. Reaching the bottom of the slope, we were startled by a troop of small monkeys leap out, but they too were startled, as we saw one of them had landed on a spiky rock which pieced right through the poor primate’s mouth and out its head. The other monkeys fled onto the other side and darted out of sight. We didn’t look at the dead animal as it was too horrific for us, we would have vomited if we saw that any longer. We rushed away from the slope and into another area. Galam, who was shivering even more said he wanted to leave, but Rilo demanded we’d continue going. We had to find out what happened to this man. Still, I thought about how that monkey could have fallen on that rock, as monkeys are supposed to have excellent agility. Was it was ill or old? The answers to the mysteries of this place were anyone’s guesses.
This new area was much wider and resembled a small plain. The walls of the triangle were still in the distance, with some trees growing here. We then stopped and hid behind a thick baobab tree when we spotted a pride of lions wandering in the dry grass. These lions were not albinos, but had bright red stripes going down them. “What kind of lions are those?” Galam wondered in awe.
“Why not keep walking we have our weapons!” Rilo whispered to me.
“Ssh… look…” I said back. I pointed at a small herd of zebras that were approaching the pride from the east. Our camera ready, we wished to see what these undiscovered red-striped lions would do in a hunt. But the lions actually turned and ran when the zebras got closer. We snapped a photo of them, and were stunned to see several zebras catch up on one lion and bite and kick it until it fell without defending itself. The herd then surrounded the wounded “predator” and started to savagely disembowel it with their teeth for eating.
“Mother of Christ,” gasped Rilo.
“C-carnivorous zebras?” I asked Rilo if he knew anything about these lions and zebras, but he said no. If this place had some substance making these animals weird, it was beyond him, as in his studies of animals there was nothing that could turn a zebra into a meat eater, or give a lion red stripes.
We watched the vicious horses devour the corpse until they appeared stuffed. They left the body for the scavengers to finish. We waited until they were out of sight before crossing the plain. We suspected these animals could have killed the man, although his body was still nowhere to be found. We looked around the plain but then raced to the end of it upon seeing the zebras return to the area. At the end of the plain was a river flowing from a hole. The river was several meters wide and flowed silently, with only a small trickling sound coming from it. Our prods ready in case of more dangers, knowing this was most defiantly not an ordinary part of the African savannah. We walked by the river in the thick mud. Around it were more boulders and shorter rocky walls covered in vines. We then noticed a path of shoe footprints in the mud, the man had been here, and his footprints had survived.
“So he was still alive…” I said. We followed the prints as they took us past the river. This river walk went on for about half an hour, the sun had gone down and it was now pitch black. The air turned much colder so we put on our jackets to keep warm. Our flashlights offered a limited amount of light to shine on the area, and I had to watch where I was going with my light while my friends shone their lights around elsewhere.
“JESUS!” yelled Rilo; his light was pointed directly at a terrifying face on a pole lodged in the mud. I turned on my prod until I realized it was only a mask. The mask had a neutral expression and wide eyes. It was made of brown wood with golden bird feathers. It looked surprisingly new if it was made by the elders who came here long ago. Galam swore the mask’s eyes followed him when he moved. But not having time to observe the suspicious mask further, we kept on walking. Soon the river and prints came to an end, or at least, to our own sight. A scrub forest was before us which the river and prints disappeared into under some tangled vines. The trees of the forest were tall and the sounds of animals similar to those bizarre birds earlier were emitted from it. The forest felt warmer than outside, but its immensely thick interior could hide anything.
Galam sounded somewhat panicky, but I tried to calm him. “I ain’t going in there!” he said over and over again.
“Well, would you rather stay here alone? We’re going in!” Rilo demanded. I put my hand on his shoulder and we entered the scrub. Insects chirped to greet us; we couldn’t see any even when our lights beamed where their sounds came from. I looked up and saw a small black bird with red eyes looking down at me which disappeared as soon as my light flickered. There was no sight of the river or the prints, but we still headed north, as the path we were on was only clear that way, so obviously the man took it. Galam yelled in shock again when a branch invisible in the blackness bumped into his face, causing lots of birds in the treetops to flutter out into the sky. It took about ten minutes for me to make Galam feel comfortable again, as he was now scared like a little child. We continued our journey after that, but the scrub took about an hour of treading over sharp fallen branches and keeping our eyes out for any dangerous life. We saw some plants that we knew were toxic because of their dazzling colors, a foul-smelling rotting corpse of a dead gazelle lying on the leafy floor and finally a way out of the forest.
We had reached another valley. This one was similar to the first one we came too, only much more narrow. Rilo spotted what looked like a cave entrance at the end of the valley and being the most determined of us he raced ahead. Galam and I followed, watching out for anything below us. All we saw were some small rodents being chased by a huge green scorpion. Rilo then waited at the cave for us to join him. The cave entrance had needle-like stalactites above it and stalagmites below it like teeth. Stepping in between the rocks our lights showed us the inside of this cave which was inky black even in broad daylight.
“Get your prods ready,” I told the others. This place really looked like the final destination for the missing man. The cave was infested with wild rock formations alongside the usual stalactites and stalagmites. There was flowstone, columns, deep drops, and much more. We suspected this man may have died falling somewhere here, so we watched our step carefully, trying to not faint under the reeking stench of bat droppings. Going through the cave we held onto the rocks around us, seeing nothing really anomalous so far. After about fifteen minutes of going under and over formations we concluded we could not find his body, as the drops were too risky to attempt going into and we didn’t have the right equipment for it anyway.
The last place we came too was a tall wall with a large gap in it; we came here to take one more photo before leaving this wretched triangle. “Look!” Galam pointed. Lying on the ground in front of the wall was a Polaroid camera.
“That must be the lost man’s one!” I said. I picked it up, and before I could see what he had snapped while visiting the triangle we all froze.
“Help… me… please… help… me… I… cannot… be… tortured… forever!” a moaning male voice echoed throughout the cavern. The voice was no trick on the mind, we knew it was real, it was loud enough and alerting enough to be in reality. Our lights all shot towards the gap in the wall where the voice came from. There was nothing there to see, only hear. Galam and Rilo were both shaking like they had fallen in icy water, their jaws so wide open they looked like they would break. Being the bravest at the moment, I checked the camera before I would begin my severe shivering. It was empty, until I noticed the solitary printed photo lying on the floor below me. Picking it up, I saw it was cringed and blurry, but what was in the image was enough to burn into one’s mind permanently because of how disturbing it was. A skinny, malicious faced humanoid creature hanging down in the gap. It was a real demon.
This was the last sight that poor man saw before he vanished into an unknown place to be tortured for eternity. The voice spoke once more “Don’t… leave… me!” Galam and Rilo screeched so loud it could have caused a cave in. Their hammering hearts raced them out, dropping their prods down holes and their own camera. I followed after them, our stampede out could of killed us just as easily had we stayed in that area as our lights shook around in our panic, but we were lucky and got out unharmed. Our lightning-fast reactions saved us from whatever horrors lay deep within this triangle that the elders of the Beija were right about.
We swore never to enter that triangle again; we should never have even once…
Aldanear and his friends later reported their story to the authorities. This was followed by them suffering from violent bursts of anger and numerous depression-like symptoms before committing suicide later that year.
The story I just read left me utterly dumbstruck. I was surprised such a chilling tale that was claimed to be true by these men was in existence but extremely obscure. Not to mention the photographic evidence. I checked the acknowledgements of the book, but found out it was published by a Tanzanian company with the message “to be read by the paranormal & security authorities of Tanzania only,” it seemed it was illegal for me to reading this unauthorized copy, or where my teacher got it from. The rest of the book was full of African legends which I assumed were there so the only people who were meant to read it would try to understand it more. I now knew why my teacher put this book in his attic locked in the chest, and why one should never venture into the forbidden triangle…
Written by Death4