Africa's Dark Sects


Nigel Blackwell

Age/Publication Date:

Written in 1916 & 17 by the English author Nigel Blackwell, Africa’s Dark Sects was eventually published in January 1922. It details Blackwell’s investigations into several alleged African Death Cults. One of the largest chapters of the book details what he learned of the Cult of the Bloody Tongue during his 1915/16 visit to British East Africa (renamed Kenya in 1920).

Physical Description:

The book is a hardcover modern edition, measuring 5" x 8" x 1". It is in good condition, with minimal wear on the spine. On the frontispiece it bears the stamp of the Harvard University Library.

Text Summary:

Blackwell’s investigation uncovered dark allegation and suspicions among many outlaying villages in the Nairobi region: tales of abductions during the night, and of the beheadings or ritual mutilations of any who dared cross the feared cult’s path. In all cases the skin of the victim’s forehead would be inscribed with the Cult’s rune. An illustration of the Cult’s rune is almost identical to the one carved into Jackson’s forehead by his murderers. Although he doesn’t witness any violence, or victims firsthand, Blackwell writes that he was taken to the scene of a recent murder – that of a local religious leader who dared stand up to the Bloody Tongue Cult. The body of the victim had already been cremated, but Blackwell wrote that the scene of the attack itself still bear the stains of the poor priest’s murder. The murder took place right in the centre of the village – a sign of the Cult’s power, and of the villagers’ fear.

There is a large amount of information about the Kenyan cult in the chapter, although a great deal of it is conjecture, born out of the superstitious fears of the tribal villagers. While discussing the dark rumours about the Cult, Blackwell makes no mention of the “great winged” creatures quoted in Jackson’s Nairobi notes, but he does often refer to the Bloody Tongue Cult’s god as the God of the Black Winds. He also states that the British Authorities, preoccupied with their own conflicts against the German forces of Paul Erich von Lettow-Vorbeck from neighbouring German East Africa have no interest in dealing with what they call “tribal infighting.”

The final section of the chapter refers to a trip made by Blackwell in February of 1916. Blackwell, accompanied by several native guides from the Kikuyu tribe, journeyed deep into the Rift valley, north of Nairobi. And into the foothills of the mountains that overlooked the valley. His tribal guides bravely promised to take him to a ritual site of the Cult of the Bloody Tongue.

Cthulhu Mythos Content:

Fortune was with the author, for a rite took place on the very night that he visited the site:

“As the priestess whirled around the fire-lit circle, chanting dim words from an ancient spell, the cult executioners busied themselves with their screaming sacrifices. As the blood flowed, a chill wind sprang up, and I felt a flash of fear: the wind had become visible, a black vapour against the gibbous, leering Moon, and slowly my terror grew as I comprehended the monstrous thing taking form. The corrosive stench of it hinted at vileness beyond evil. When I saw the great red appendage which alone constituted the face of the thing, my courage died, and I fled unseeing into the night.”

These are the last words of the Bloody Tongue chapter. Notably the Cult of the Bloody Tongue appears to be the last such cult investigated by Nigel Blackwell.


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