PART II: KESAGAKE
Now, Old Two Toes was a frightening bear, there can be no doubt. But just one year before he devoured Frank Welch, 61, and subsequently lost his life in the high forests of Wyoming, an even more fearsome beast was chomping humans on the other side of the world. His name was Kesagake.
Back in 1915, you see, before every inch of Japan was covered in electric lobsters and time-traveling phone booths and bearproof karaoke pods, they still had things like snow and villages and bears. And in one such snowy village, some very bad shit went down. Kesagake, the bear, awoke early from his hibernation. Fuck! He was sooo hungry! He went to the cottage of the Otu family, looking for delicious corn. Instead, he found a delicious lady and a baby, so he ate them.
The villagers formed an armed guard to find Kesagake and exact revenge. Kesagake fled into the woods, leading all the guardsmen on a mad chase down what they thought was his bear trail. But then Kesagake was all, "PSYCH, BITCHEZ!" and doubled back to the Miyoke house, where everyone else was hiding. THEN HE ATE THEM.
Yayo, Miyoke YasutarÅ's wife, was preparing a late repast while carrying her fourth son, Umekichi, on her back. She heard a rumbling noise outside, but before she could investigate the bear broke through a window and entered the house. The cook pot on the hearth was overturned, dousing the flames, and in the ensuing panic the oil lamp was put out as well, plunging the house into darkness. Yayo tried to flee the house, but her second son, YÅ«jirÅ, clung to her legs, tripping her as she ran. The bear attacked her and bit the child Umekichi, whom she was carrying.
Odo had remained at the house as the only bodyguard. When he ran for the door, the bear released the mother and child to pursue him. Yayo then escaped with her children. Odo attempted to hide behind furniture, but was clawed in the back. The bear then mauled KinzÅ, the third son of the Miyoke family, and Haruyoshi, the fourth son of the Saito family, killing them, and bit Iwao, third son of SaitÅ family. Next to be targeted was Take, SaitÅ IshigorÅ's pregnant wife. As the animal advanced she pled for her life and that of her unborn child, but it was in vain. She too was attacked, killed, and partially eaten.
WHAAAAAT THAAAAA FAAAAACK!?
The rest of the story involves an unfortunate fetus, a drunken sniper, and the phrase "Due to its newly-found taste for human flesh, Kesagake now seemed to lack prudence." You should read it. All in all, seven people were killed. When Kesagake was finally defeated by Yamamoto Heikichi, the drunken sniper, he was discovered to stand 8.85 ft tall and weigh 836 lbs (which is not even that big, you guys!). And finally:
ÅŒkawa Haruyoshi, who was seven years old and the son of the Sankebetsu village mayor at the time of the incident, grew up to become an excellent bear hunter. He became a hunter because he swore an oath to kill ten bears for every victim of the attack [7 x 10 = 70 —Eds.]. By the time he reached the age of 62, he had killed 102 bears.
An unusually aggressive Indian sloth bear responsible for the deaths of at least 12 people, and the mauling of two dozen others. It was killed by Kenneth Anderson, who in described it in his memoirs Man-Eaters and Jungle Killers:
" [Sloth] Bears, as a rule, are excitable but generally harmless creatures. This particular bear carried the mark of Cain, in that he had become the wanton and deliberate murderer of several men, whom he had done death in most terrible fashion, without provocation."
In typical sloth bear fashion, the animal attacked its victims faces with its claws and teeth. Those who survived its attacks usually lost one or both eyes, some their noses while others had their cheeks bitten through. Those who died often had their faces completely torn from their heads.
(Coming tomorrow: Part III: Hugh Glass, Reluctant Pirate!)
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