Thanks so much for having us! Today, we’re here to talk about our latest paranormal mystery/romance, Kanaan & Tilney: The Case of the Man Eater. In Lowell Kanaan & John Tilney’s world, there are five different ‘factions’ of people with paranormal abilities, praeternaturals. Book one in the series, The Case of the Arms Dealers, focused on the Necromorphs. This one, book two, focuses on the Beasts, who are shifters of various kinds. Most Beasts live in packs, as it’s the foundational unit of their society.
For a little fun, we’ve made up a short list of various Beasts who’ve appeared throughout history… and some who aren’t Beasts, even if it seems they should be. In the comments, let us know about your favorite cryptids or cryptid show–and enter the giveaway!
Cryptids, Infamous Animals, and Beasts
Praeternaturals have been around as long as mundanes have, or longer if some legends are to be believed. Like mundanes, they have had their share of historical figures. There are scientists, artists, politicians, and more well-known only within the praeternatural community. Some, however, have left a mark so profound that even those unaware of the existence of praeternaturals have heard of them. And then there are the ones even Beasts can’t explain…
1. The Yeti
Not far from Tengboche–on the road to Everest base camp in Nepal–live the Chwa herd of yak-shifters. The Chwa are sherpas who emigrated from Tibet some centuries ago and set down deep roots. Wild yak are rare, but even those who know of the Chwa herd today consider them sacred beings that must be left to their own devices. Tourists, meanwhile, simply think they’re someone’s yaks if they see a Chwa shifter. Chwa children make a game of seeing who can get in the most pictures with Ingies–‘English’ or European tourists–by performing silly tricks for their cameras.
The being known as the Yeti, Mi-go, or even “abominable snowman” is rumored to have originated as a Chwa shifter named Ugyen. The secrecy and sacrality surrounding the herd mean getting a straight story is difficult, but the generally accepted version is that Ugyen spent years in meditation in a cave–while half-shifted. His goal was to reconcile his human and animal natures, bringing these two sides of himself face-to-face and letting them accept one another.
In theory, it worked. Ugyen became the guardian of his people, his half-shifted state eternal, his spirituality a beacon, and his protective instincts fierce.
The only problem is that Ugyen lived some three hundred years ago. The modern yeti sightings–touted by locals and visitors to the Himalayas alike–aren’t necessarily explained by this old story. Unless, as some locals say, by reconciling his two halves, Ugyen reached enlightenment, and remains in this worldly realm to help his people attain that ultimate goal too. It does fit with the local Tantric Buddhism, in which practitioners take a Bodhisattva Vow to remain within the cycle of death and rebirth even after attaining enlightenment, so that they might help all other living beings attain freedom from suffering.
People still tell tales and claim to see the yeti all over Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. A small fortune is made every year on yeti-themed t-shirts and tchotchkes in regular tourist haunts. But no one has ever found ‘evidence’ of his existence.
2. Tsavo lions
When the topic of Beasts that have gone feral comes up, the Tsavo lions are usually the first examples mentioned. In Kenya in 1898, two lion Beasts were excommunicated from their pack for reasons that have since been lost to history (largely because no pack will claim them as their own), but have been widely speculated about. As there were no laws forbidding it at the time, the two men stayed together to form their own pack. It is unknown what they took as their pack name, but it’s said that they decided to take the name ‘Tsavo’ not because it was where they lived but because it means “slaughter” in the language of a local tribe. This too, though, is wild conjecture and has no basis in fact.
What is known for certain is that, shortly after forming their pack, both Beasts went feral. They began attacking the campsite of mundane workers who were assisting in the construction of a railway bridge, dragging the men from their tents and slaughtering them. Over a period of nine months, the feral Beasts terrorized the workers, evading traps and fences of thorns to slip into the campsite and kill the workers.
Before the Beast’s former pack could intervene, Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson, the mundane overseeing the construction of the bridge, took matters into his own hands. He hunted down what he thought were just lions and, after several failed attempts, killed them both.
The exact number of people killed by the Beasts is unknown. Recent, mundane studies suggest 28-31 victims, but witnesses reported as many as 135. Most praeternaturals believe it’s more likely the number falls somewhere in the middle, attributing it to the increased aggression generally found in feral Beasts.
Today, you can see the Tsavo lions on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.
Though the being popularly known as the Mothman has appeared throughout the ages to warn of disaster and death, no Beast pack has ever claimed to know who or what it is. Around its latest and most publicized appearance, a pack (flock) of Hawk Beasts local to Point Pleasant, West Virginia–the Gavan–kept watch for the Mothman. No one saw him.
Take that as you like.
Sweetheart is often used as a cautionary tale of the dangers of living a packless life. In 1974, Jack Lee-Condowie, a crocodile Beast, decided to leave his pack and live alone in the wild, citing a desire to return to nature. His pack argued that he should stay, but Jack’s mind was made up. He left his pack and settled in a portion of the Finniss River, making his home there as a crocodile.
Not long after, Jack began attacking boats that came into his territory, going so far as tipping people into the water on a few occasions. It earned him a reputation amongst the mundanes, and the name “Sweetheart”. It was a name that stuck even amongst the praeternaturals.
Sweetheart continued his attacks until 1979 when the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory intervened. They decided their best option was to relocate Sweetheart, whom they thought was just a large, dominant crocodile, to a local crocodile reservation. They trapped and anesthetized him, but, unfortunately, he became tangled in a log as they tried to pull him to shore and drowned.
There is debate amongst praeternaturals as to why Sweetheart exhibited so much aggression. Some argue it’s clear he went feral. Others, Beasts especially, believe it obvious that he just wanted to be left alone, saying the fact that no mundane was ever hurt is proof he still had control of himself. Either way, both sides agree that it is proof that packs are necessary for the safety and well-being of every Beast.
Today, you can see the Sweetheart on display at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin, NT, Australia.
5. Beast of Gévaudan
In 1761, Charlotte Marie Genet-Lune Rousse, a wolf Beast, was called to trial for the crime of adultery. Her trial was brief with her lover speaking against her in exchange for his own immunity and ended in her being excommunicated from her pack. As the small, country village she called her home was comprised entirely of her pack, Charlotte was left with no option but to move and take her chances elsewhere. She settled near Lagogne, a city in the former province of Gévaudan.
At the time, packs didn’t closely monitor their former members, so history lost track of Charlotte until about three years later in 1764. At that time, wolf attacks began being reported by mundanes throughout Gévaudan. The victim count climbed rapidly and repeated attempts were made to capture or kill the wolf with no success. Even the King Louis XV became involved, sending two professional wolf-hunters and their eight specially trained bloodhounds. They, like the others before them, failed to capture the wolf and were replaced by the king’s Lieutenant of the Hunt.
It is around this time in 1765 that the Lune Rousse pack decided to intervene. Their own attempts at stopping Charlotte were met with failure as well and, in some cases, even resulted in the deaths of their own. It wasn’t until nearly two years later in 1767 that a member of Lune Rousse was able to kill Charlotte. Etienne Bertrand Daumont-Lune Rousse became a hero to praeternaturals that day. Mundanes give credit for the killing of the Beast of Gévaudan to Jean Chastel, but it was only a coincidence that he killed a wolf around the time of Charlotte’s death.
By the end of her life, Charlotte was responsible for an estimated over 200 attacks with at least 190 of them resulting in deaths. She became infamous with mundanes and praeternaturals alike, inspiring cautionary stories and tales of horror.
Kanaan & Tilney: The Case of the Man Eater
By Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne
Publisher: Loose Id
Pairing: Bisexual M/Demisexual Biromantic M
Series: Kanaan & Tilney Investigations (http://
kanaanandtilneyinvestigations. com/) #2
Blurb: Wolf-Beast and ex-cop Lowell Kanaan recently brought his boyfriend, Elementalist and mystery author John Tilney, into the PI business with him. They’ve been solving cases for Boston’s varied praeternatural communities ever since. So when a young Terran feels that the brutal murder of his Beast boyfriend isn’t being treated seriously enough by the police, he brings the case to Kanaan & Tilney for a second opinion.
Similarly defiled corpses pop up around Boston as they race to find the killer. All the victims are packless Beasts, like Lowell, and the vicious nature of the killings stir up old prejudices in the praeternatural community, Beast and otherwise. Throw a personal vendetta and some ugly family history for Lowell in the mix, and the trails are as muddy as ever.
This case will test Kanaan & Tilney’s strength, both as a PI team and a couple. It’ll take all they have to keep each other alive—and stop a serial killer.
Authors: Jenna Rose is an avid reader and writer, particularly when it comes to science-fiction and fantasy. Currently, she works as a receptionist, but her real love is writing. In her free time, she likes to read comic books, play video games, and waste time on the internet. She currently lives in Massachusetts with her dog, Harley.
Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of superpowered romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly, because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in Ohio. In her spare time she enjoys comic books, B-movies, loud music, Epiphones, and Bushmills.