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The Ghost and the Darkness
A few days after ... came to work on the Tsavo bridge, two of the Indian workers went missing in the night. It was a hot morning in March 1898 when they found their tents empty, their items were strewn about and there was no sign of the men.
The other workers told him it was the work of two lion brothers, the stalk the night they said... did not believe them, and pegged it down to foul play. The two workers had made a tidy sum working on the bridge.
A few weeks later his conviction was shattered when another man went missing Ungan Singh. This time witnesses saw the lions. One put its head into the tent and grabbed the hapless man before dragging him into the night. His fellow-workmen lat still and listened to the screams that were swallowed by the night.
The two lions, the Ghost and the Darkness had begun their reign of terror.
Space of 8 miles to hunt. This is how big the camp was for the workers.
The tiger had been terrorizing the small community between Champawet and ... for well over four years. Having been chased away from the small town of Nepal, the tiger's reign of terror showed no signs of slowing down, and so the hunter Jim Corbette would be called in to solve the problem.
Jim Corbett would become one of the most famous man-eater hunters in history, but in 1907 he was young, inexperienced, and he was up against one of the most vicious man-eaters in history - still boasting one of the highest kills counts to this day.
When they summoned him, Jim Corbett immediately asked for the price on the tiger's head to be removed. Unlike many of his fellow hunters, he did not see the tiger as a crazed monster, but rather as an animal, desperate to survive. She needed to be stopped, but he'd be damned he did so for the sake of money.
The Bengal tiger. Beautiful, powerful, deadly and now on the brink of extinction.
The tigress carrying off her victim to be devoured.
He found the pugmarks (tracks) of the tiger and quickly ascertained they were dealing with an older female, past her prime. All remains they found of the girl were a few scraps of bone which they took back to the village to be cremated.
A new death would lead him to the neighboring village of Champawet, where horrified eyewitnesses told of how the shaitan (devil) had carried a woman by the small of her back into the trees. She'd still been alive, screaming and begging for help, but their own fears had prevented them from following the beast.
Corbitt would also meet a poor woman on the far outskirts of town who'd been struck dumb when the tiger had attacked and killed her sister. The mute woman had chased after the tiger, begging the animal to take her instead, but the tiger had paid her no heed and had disappeared into the bushes. By the time she got back to the village, she could barely string two words together, and for twelve months she did not speak a word.
He was speaking to the head of the village when a young man came running up to him, breathless and scared witless. The Devil had struck again.
Grabbing his hunting rifle, Corbett set off into the jungle to find the tiger and end her reign of terror.
He tracked her through the thick bush to a rocky area nestled in a gorge. The thick sweltering heat made it difficult to breathe in the thick foliage, but Corbett couldn't afford to let his guard down for a moment. The tiger shifted and moved just beyond his vision, staying just out of sight, stalking him. He could feel the rise of terror and excitement rising within him.
But she would escape him. As the sun dipped, Corbett knew that in the dark he stood no chance against her. So he started back to start work on his new plant. If he pushed her in her territory, he would not be on equal footing, he would have to force her into an area where he could get a clear shot.
Early the next day, he stationed the villagers on the crest of a hill opposite another, at the bottom of which was a wide ravine. On his signal he told them to make as much noise as possible to flush her out and force her into the open. They were too early.
A staggering 150 yards away from his hoped position, Corbett ran as hard as he could over the uneven terrain, above him on the other side the cacophony of guns, pots, pans, and screams swelling over the hill. He hit the ground moments later, settling in the tall grass, praying he hadn't missed her.
Then she appeared.
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