The Kikiyaon is a cryptid reported in the Gambia, Africa. It is said to resemble a man-sized owl. Described as having feathers and wings (some say a 20-foot/ 6.5 metres wingspan) with a large spur or spike on its shoulders, and clawed feet. Sometimes it is referred to as the soul cannibal or soul-eater. The creature smells like a rotting snake and has strange: cries either a deep-throated grunting or a scream like a man being strangled. It is a forest-dweller where it awaits its prey: man. It is deadly, being able to outrun a man, and swoops down to grab a person.
The description may also refer to the Sasabonsam, a sort of vampire similarly described in the local myths. Bernard Heuvelmans (1986) discussed a case of an Ashanti carving seen by J.B. Danquah. It depicted the Sasabonsam as human-faced with horns. It had two short arms and bat-like wings. A young man apparently told Danquah that a Sasabonsam had been killed by Agya Wuo, a local man in 1928. He described the creature as about 5 feet tall (1.8metres) with a 20-foot (6.5metres) wingspan, and said that it was spotted black and white. The body was taken to the home of the District Commissioner, L.W. Wood on February 22 1928 where it was photographed. However, when contacted Wood was not sure about taking a photograph and said he had been there in 1918, not 1928. Heuvelmans states that the Sasabonsam is probably a kongamato, a large bat reported in the area.
As these creatures are also said to appear in dreams and hallucinations and be conjured up by witches, it is difficult to know if there is any truth in the stories. Those who see it and live are supposed to die a lingering death from a strange illness; that’s if they don’t die of shock first. The creatures seem to be both real and ghost-like to the local people. The 'real' version could be a giant bat or bird as speculated by Heuvelmans, which may be rare or unknown. Pels fishing owl (Scotopelia peli) comes out at night to fish in slow-moving rivers, swooping down from the trees, and it is brown-spotted. Its cry has been described as sounding like "a lost soul falling down a bottomless pit.” This may account for some of the sounds heard that are said to be the Kikiyaon.