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Mercury and Weekly Courier Thursday September 14, 1893

 

This article is titled: MAN-EATING TIGERS. A TERRIBLE STORY

 

A correspondent of the Allahabad Pioneers, writing on man-eating tigers mentions the career of a young tigress who, in the space of nine months, killed some dozens of human beings, depopulated several villages, and stopped work over a greater part of a forest division in spite of the most strenuous efforts made to destroy her efforts increased by the incentive of 500 rupees reward offered for her head. She began her career in July by killing two women near a forest village, and by the end of the following December had killed at least thirty persons, becoming bolder and more cunning with each fresh murder. Her beat lay in the foothills of the Himalayas, and she roamed over an area twenty-five miles long by three or four broad. The country was such that she could neither be tracked for any distance or driven by elephants or beater. She would not kill a tied buffalo, nor would she go back to a corpse if once disturbed. She became at last so bold that she would often in open daylight carry off men and woman when cutting the crops in the terraced fields, stalking the unfortunates from above and suddenly springing on them. The terror of her ferocity spread through the country.

 

The villagers left their homes for safer regions, and no wonder, for the writer found on one occasion a village seemingly deserted, but in reality in a state of siege, the inhabitants being afraid to draw water from a stream a hundred yards away from their houses. Work was beginning in the forests, and in a short time, the tigress learned to stalk the sound of the axe and made many victims before the forest was proved to be even more dangerous than the open fields had been. The method of attack adopted was so sudden that a chance to escape is impossible, the blow dealt so deadly as to render a cry for help impossible. The victim was dead and carried off before his companions knew what had occurred.

 

The most strenuous efforts were made for her destruction poison, spring-guns, and deadfalls were ineffectually resorted to, any number of buffaloes were tied up at night, and many a time the fresh trail of a kill was taken up in the hopes of obtaining a shot at the tigress, but with no further result than the recovery of the remains of a mangled or half-eaten corpse. During January and February this tigress had killed fifteen to twenty more persons, and at last, a file of soldiers were requested to see what force could do to remove this horrible creature, cunning having been found of no avail. On being killed she was found to be a young animal, in perfect condition; the pad of her left forefoot had at one time been deeply cut from side to side but had thoroughly healed, leaving, however, a deep scar, which proved her resence wherever she roamed.

 

The writer mentions one instance in which two cowherds, living in a small grass hut in a somewhat wild forest, were cooking their food in the evening when a tiger suddenly sprang on one and carried him off.  His companion intimidated the animal with shouts and threats, and succeeded in making him leave his victim. Carrying his wounded companion into the hut, the man closed the entrance and waited for daylight. But this he never saw, for, after a time the tiger, emboldened by the increasing darkness, returned, and forcing his way into the hut, carried off the uninjured man, who was doubtless doing all he could to prevent the tiger's approach.  The other who was first seized died the next day of his wounds and of terror; the next day, after relating the story to those who had found him. "Of the man-eaters I have known, none have been old and decrepit animals, driven to feed on human beings because they could not obtain food. They lived in a country full of game, and where cattle were plentiful; but they had lost their fear of man, and, trusting to their superior strength and cunning, had no difficulty in satisfying their hunger.

 

At the same time, they seemed to recognize that an armed man was dangerous and that they must be doubly on their guard to avoid falling into a trap. It is this apparent knowledge of man and his habits, amounting in some instances almost to reason, that renders a man-eating tiger so terrible."

 

 

 

 

 

Numurkah Leader Friday, June 27, 1902

 

 

This next article is titled:  THE MAN-EATING TIGER. A TERRIBLE STORY. (2)

 

Mr. Charles B. Lewis writes in "The Boston Globe": The town of Saugor, India, lies in the basin formed by the Bundelcund range of mountains to the east, and the Vindhya range to the west, and is shut into the north and south by spurs from these ranges.

 

The basin is one of the most fertile spots in India, while the foothills and mountains are as wild and rugged as any part of the Himalayas. There have been authentic instances where a man-eating tiger has driven the farmers and villagers out of an area of ten miles square, but in this valley, a striped beast made a record that astonished all of central India.

 

One morning in the year 1867, news came to Jubbulpoor, which is a large city 60 miles south of Saugor that the civil commissioner of the latter town had been carried off by a tiger, but no tiger had been seen within 15 miles of Saugor for years, but as the commissioner was riding in the suburbs about sundown he was pulled from his saddle and carried off by the beast, lying in wait in a bit of jungle beside the highway. A servant witnessed the tragedy and he reported the tiger as full grown, but not above the average.

 

He gave the alarm, and a hundred people turned out, but the tiger carried his prey across fields and highways a distance of four miles, and then entered a heavy jungle. This was the coming of what they called the shadow of death. There were no troops and but three English families at Saugor.


Officials went up to Jubbulpoor to investigate, and six riflemen from the 10th national infantry followed them. Before anyone had reached Saugor, the tiger had killed a mail rider 30 miles to the north. Two nights later he carried off a villager 15 miles to the south.

 

Within a week there was a cry of alarm all up and down the valley and 50 men were put into the field as hunters. A reward of £100 was offered for the destruction of the man-eater, and villagers and farmers were assured that his career would be brief.

 

On the evening of the sixth day after the tragedy at Saugor the tiger returned to the outskirts of the town, leaped over a camp-fire beyond which sat an English civilian named Baker, and the man was seized and carried off with 20 people within a stone's throw. Baker was a sportsman and had come up from Jubbulpoor to join the hunt.

 

There were four men within 20 feet of him as he was seized. The tiger gripped him at the shoulder, tossed him across his back, and went away with him into the darkness with a snarl. When daylight came, it was proved that he carried the man over eight miles before being lost in a ravine.  At one point the beast, burdened as he was with the weight of 160 pounds, leaped a ditch 18 feet in width.

 

This made the fourth victim in six days, and during that time the big cat had traversed a distance of 150 miles.  Had a plague suddenly fallen upon the people they, could not have been more alarmed In one day and a half the inhabitants of Saugor deserted their homes, and in a day or two more high ways and fields were abandoned by the farmers for several miles around.

 

The hunters got out and beat the country, but while they were at work the tiger traveled 45 miles up the valley and killed a farmer and his wife and two children in their hut, and carried the body of the farmer to the foothills.

 

Word had scarcely reached the hunters when the beast shifted his quarters by 20 miles and carried off a woman, who was getting water at a spring. A hundred soldiers were now ordered up from Jubbulpoor, and sportsmen flocked to the valley until nearly 200 men had taken up the chase. There was an Interval of two days between the tiger's sixth and seventh victim. He traveled 18 miles in the time, and, entering a village at sundown, he seized the head man and sped away.

On this occasion, he was struck with clubs and cooking utensils in the hands of the villagers, but he would not let go his hold. Only 24 hours later the beast ambushed and killed an English sportsman on a highway. After the eighth victim had been recorded the reward was raised to £300, and the number of hunters was increased to 300, but it was too late to check the stampede. It is a matter of record that 27 villages and 320 farms were abandoned in 10 days. The tiger traveled such distances that no one in the valley felt safe, and he was so daring that the superstition of the natives was aroused.

 

The ninth victim was another mail rider, the tenth a farmer, and the eleventh a French tourist, who sat on the verandah of a public bungalow when seized. Between these last three victims, the tiger traveled over a hundred miles. It was four days between the eleventh and twelfth victims, and there was hope that the man-eater had left the valley for good. It was afterward known, however, that he had been laid up with a thorn in his foot.

 

The twelfth victim was one of the soldiers detailed on the hunt, and for the seven days succeeding the tiger claimed a victim every day, making 19 in all. From first to last the beast was sighted perhaps 100 times, and fired upon by 100 different men, but none of their bullets struck him. He was
pursued by sportsmen and footmen over 400 miles, but could never be driven to bay. He had stampeded a district 40 miles long by 28 broad, and killed 19 people when his death came about in a very curious manner.

 

A patrol of three hunters was stationed under a tree at a certain point to watch for him. A hyena came about and annoyed them, and as a last resort, he was fired upon to drive him away. In the darkness, he was not a fair target, and the bullet missed, but it crashed full into the brain of the Shadow of Death, who was creeping up in the rear of the hyena. This was not known until daylight came; but, accident though it was, it rid the valley of an awful terror, brought the people back to their homes and the day is still celebrated from end to end of the valley.

 

 

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