For some strange reason, news reports of vampire panics have been coming out of the east African nation of Malwai for several months. It began in September 2017 when the Malawi Police Service received multiple terrifying reports of “shapeshifting blood suckers” who could take human form. According to the reports, angry mobs formed outside of law enforcement officials’ homes when they were accused of not taking serious enough action.
A month later, the United Nations Department on Safety and Security recommended the removal of its personnel from several districts in Malawi due to these angry mobs. The U.S. embassy in Malawi also withdrew its Peace Corps volunteers due to “ongoing acts of vigilante justice stemming from rumors of persons attempting to siphon blood from local residents for ritualistic use.” It turns out Malawians really don’t like vampires sneaking around taking everyone’s blood at night.
Now, the vampire panic in eastern Africa has taken a turn for the worse – and the deadly. According to Nigerian news outlet Pulse.ng, a pastor in neighboring Zimbabwe has reportedly killed one of his church members after believing she was a vampire. What’s behind all of this vampire hysteria?
The report claims that pastor Masimba Chirayi of the Johane Masowe Chishanu religious sect in Zimbabwe was performing a routine baptism on a female member of his congregation identified as Wendy Thinnamay Masuka when he suddenly felt threatened by her alleged “violent reaction while being baptized.”According to the Zimbabwe Mail, Chirayi later said at a Magistrate’s court in Zimbabwe that “in my eyes she was like a vampire possessed by demons, she was violent and I thought she was going to kill people so I kept her submerged in water until I overpowered her.” He was then granted $50 bail.
Is this merely a case of shared psychosis, collective obsessional behavior, mass hysteria, or whatever else you want to call it? Or is something far stranger going on here? With such limited news reports to go on, it’s hard to say for sure.