Know Your Monsters: The Isitwalangcengce

Posted: February 23, 2015 in Fiction, Horror, Know Your Monsters, Life
Tags: ,

In this hyper-political age we’ve seen what seems to be an almost unending debate among the political class of this land over the highly charged topic of immigration reform. Countless hours are spent arguing whether this person or that person should be allowed citizenship for this country, whether still others should even be allowed into the country at all, and of course whether or not we’re giving some “a free pass” to citizenship. But what we have not seen, my friends, is the much more important question addressed. Should these people be able to bring their monsters with them?

Because, let’s face it, until this is addressed they will continue to come, and eventually you will be faced with a kill or be killed situation with a creature that doesn’t follow the rules as you know them. Since we can’t count on legislation, we’ll have to turn to education. To that end, this series will give you the basics on the monsters that you only think you know but in fact play by other cultural rules.

Today’s monster is the The Isitwalangcengce.

Okay, now that you all have done the “gazuntight” joke and gotten that out of the way…

The Isitwalangcengce is a Zulu spirit that calls Southern Africa its home. It walks this world in the form of a large hyena with a big, broad, basket shaped head. The shape of its head and how it uses that head has earned the spirit the much easier to pronounce moniker of The Basket Bearer.

These spirit-creatures tended to patiently wait in the shadows and the bushes near homes, waiting for women and children to return home from the local markets with meat. When its unsuspecting victims would pass close enough to its hiding place, it would launch its attack. Typically this attack consisted of stealing the meat from the adult woman and flipping any small child up into its basket shaped head before fleeing into the jungle. The Isitwalangcengce, you see, has a taste for human brains.After consuming the stolen meat it would throw its victims into rocks, breaking their skulls open. It would then feast on the human brain, lapping it up off of the rocks with its large tongue, leaving the rest of the body for the jungle scavengers.


The Isitwalangcengce’s appearance and hunting habits give it a better than average ability to become a perfect invasive paranormal species in a land full of people who are unaware of just exactly what they’re dealing with. It’s a giant dog, and it hangs out where people live. Simply put, you would likely drive right past the Isitwalangcengce on your way to or from your home without ever giving it more than a second’s glance. It would be just one more stray that someone carelessly let out of their yard or dumped because it grew too big and/or too expensive for them to take care of properly. They could easily hide in plain sight, and you would be none the wiser as they set about finding their victims in a neighborhood near you.

So how do you ward one of them off? What charms, incantations, powders or symbols are used to create barriers to protect your home, your neighborhood or your loved ones from them? According to the Zulu lore, there are none. The problem you face with dealing with a spirit like the Isitwalangcengce is that it’s become more animal than spirit; more material than ethereal. As such, it is not as bothered by the things that commonly drive out other spirits. However, it’s just supernatural enough that most forms of physical attack will not kill it.

So how exactly would one protect one’s self from these creatures? Just be smarter than the average five-year-old.

No, seriously, that’s it. I kid you not. On the K9 comparison scale, these things really do make Wile E. Coyote look like a super genius. One of the classic Zulu tales about the Isitwalangcengce is about how one was easily fooled by a plan that the kids at my local pre-school could have come up with.

Congo River

As the story goes, the Isitwalangcengce was hungry enough to be a little bolder than usual. It used its sharp senses to find a home where the occupant was sleeping before slipping quietly inside. It found the man asleep in his room and quickly flipped him up into his basket shaped head before running quickly out of the house.

The man started to awaken and asked where the spirit was taking him. The Isitwalangcengce replied that he was taking the man to the place of the rocks by the river so that he could smash the man’s head upon them so that he could then lap up his brains.

Because they were traveling through thick jungle, the man reasoned that he could fill the basket shaped head with sticks, twigs and leaves pulled from bushes and trees as they passed under and by them. The man believed that if he could fill the head with enough brush, the increased weight would cover his escape. As they continued along the path, the man packed what he pulled from the bushes and the trees underneath him so that he could sit up higher. Once he was sure that the weight of the brush was great enough to hide his departure, he reached up into a tree and pulled himself up and away from the spirit.

The Isitwalangcengce continued on his way without noticing that his intended meal was no longer with him. Once he reached the river, he jerked his head towards the rocks and was angered to find nothing but jungle debris falling out. Enraged and determined to reclaim its escaped meal, the Isitwalangcengce charged back up the path towards the village. Once at the edge of the tiny village, he spied a small girl playing. He charged the girl, flipped her up into his head, and quickly disappeared back into the jungle.

But, fortunately for the girl, the man had made it back to the village before the Isitwalangcengce had returned. He called for the village to gather around him, telling all who gathered around him of the tale of being taken by the spirit and of how he escaped it. The girl, like every other person in the village, paid close attention to the man’s warning of the spirit’s presence around their village. As a result, the girl rather quickly escaped and returned home, leaving the Isitwalangcengce to once again find nothing but sticks, twigs, and leaves coming out of its basket shaped head. After a few more unsuccessful attempts at securing a meal, the Isitwalangcengce finally gave up on hunting for prey in that village and moved on to seek better fortunes elsewhere.


So there you go. The Isitwalangcengce is a big, viscous, strong, fast, and dumb as a brick spirit that looks like a big dog with a goofy shaped head, and it has a taste for human brains. There are no charms or spells that will ward it off, but the secret to keeping your brains in your head is just staying calm and actually using the brains in your head. Now go off and teach your children well so that they too will be forewarned and forearmed.

And, lastly, despite the popularity of the tale, there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that an Isitwalangcengce has in fact already been found dead, starved to death, on U.S soil, its famine ravaged body removed from the Congressional floor of the U.S. Capitol Building. It was only really, really weak when found, and thus easily handled at that point.

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