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The Leopard Men
A Study in Cultic Masculine Agency: A Side Bar to Honor Among Men

It is a great irony that many of the earliest proto-human remains have only come down through the ages into our curious hands due to the fact that these small ground apes were preyed upon by leopards. A leopard exemplifies the monster of legend:

-A night stalker

-A lair feaster, which drags the victim back to its savage den


-Arboreal [able to climb and run atop roofs, like a vampire, werewolf, or superhero]

-Clawed [vampires, werewolves, Freddie Kruger, Wolverine]

-A fanged neck-biter

One can see both why the leopard informed our deepest fears [leopards were present in all prehistoric human habitats, including the arctic regions] and also why the Jaguar Warriors of the Aztecs [the jaguar being a superior type of leopard, with historical examples up to 400 pounds and one incident documented in which a jaguar dragged a horse over a fence] were the preeminent fighting men of their race. Just as a neo-barbarian, masculinity cult such as The Wolves of Vinland naturally adopt totemic imagery in their battle against domestication of our kind, African tribesmen did the same.

The Leopard Men, a cult popularized in the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, Tarzan and the Leopard Men, did—and possibly do—exist. Indigenous to Sierra Leone and Nigeria, the Leopard Men selected victims for execution and assign an executioner to the task. This man, the Bati Yeli, wears a leopard skin and steel claws, sometimes making do with knives and slays the victim, mauling them and carrying off the body as a leopard would, where it is processed to brew a magic elixir known as Bofima, which will impart superhuman powers to the cult members who imbibe.

One aspect of this cult is defiance of the police state, in the form of English Colonial Rule. In 1946 alone, 48 victims were taken by Leopard Men as part of a terror campaign. Just as many a monster of myth was slain by a hero, so went the mystique of the Leopard Men, who were thought to be invincible—even killing police—when police inspector Terry Wilson broke the cult’s hold on the popular imagination in 1947 and 48, seeing 39 of the Leopard Men hanged at Abak Prison in February 1948 as a direct result of his relentless quest, a quest as old as our kind.

By the Wine Dark Sea

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