The Bat Demon is famously known as the Popobawa. This bat-like cryptid was the center of a mass hysteria in 1995 that occurred from Pemba to Ungura, the main island of Zanzibar archipelago, across to Dar es Salaam and other urban centres on the East African coast. Despite its name, the Popobawa can metamorphose into different forms, including humans and other animals. Although they are nocturnal, a Popobawa can be seen in the daylight. The Popobawa is described to be associated with sulfurous odor, although that may not always be the case.
The Popobawa attacks families’ homes in the night. In addition to their indiscriminate desire to cause physical harm to all members of the family, the Popobawa can sexually assault adult men and women. In order to stop repeated attacks in the night, the victims must tell others of their assault.
In the height of the Popobawa panic in 1995, families would stay awake and huddle outside around an open fire with other families in the neighborhood to protect themselves.