Nairobi Notes of Jackson Elias

Jackson Elias' note from his research in Kenya

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The Nairobi Notes of Jackson Elias

Sheets of plain paper, each covered on one side only with Elias’ neat printing, and paperclipped together into sets by Jonah Kensington. They are reasonably well-organized, and seem in many ways complete, yet are remarkable for the absence of conclusions, connections, and clearly defined themes. The hand is strong and bold.

Set one of the Nairobi notes sets forth the offices, officials, and tribes which Elias visited, searching for material concerning cults and cult rituals. Nothing conclusive was learned, though Elias discounts the official version of the Carlyle massacre.

Set two describes his trip to the mas- sacre site. He notes particularly that the earth there is completely barren, and that all the tribes of the region avoid the place, saying it is cursed by the God of the Black Winds, whose home is the mountain top.

Set three is an interview with a Johnstone Kenyatta, who says that the Carlyle murders may have been performed by the cult of the Bloody Tongue. He says that the cult reputedly is based in the mountains, and that its high priestess is a part of the Mountain of the Black Winds. Elias is politely skeptical, but Kenyatta insists upon the point. In quotes, Elias records that regional tribes fear and hate the Bloody Tongue, that tribal magic is of no protection against the cult, and that the cult’s god is not of Africa.

Set four follows up on the Kenyatta interview. Elias confirms from several good sources that the Bloody Tongue exists, though he finds no first-hand evidence of it. Tales include children stolen for sacrifice. Creatures with great wings are said to come down from the Mountain of the Black Winds to carry off people. The cult worships a god unknown to folk- lorists, one fitting no traditional African pattern. Elias in particular cites ‘Sam Mariga, rr-sta.’

Set five is a single sheet reminding Elias that the Cairo-based portion of the Carlyle itinerary must be examined carefully. He believes that the reason which prompted Carlyle’s Kenyan sidetrip is on the Nile.

Set six is a long interview with Lt. Mark Selkirk, leader of the men who actually found the remains of the Carlyle Expedition, and a Kenya hand since the Great War and the fight against the resourceful von Lettow. Importantly, Selkirk says that the bodies were remarkably undecayed for the length of time which they lay in the open— “almost as if decay itself wouldn’t come near the place.” Secondly, the men had been torn apart, as if by animals, though what sorts of animals would pull apart bodies so systematically he could not guess. “Unimaginable. Inexplicable.” Sel- kirk agrees that the Nandis may have had something to do with the episode, but suspects that the charges against the ringleaders were trumped-up. “It wouldn’t be the first time,” he says cynically. Finally, Selkirk confirms that no caucasians were found among the dead—only corpses of the Kenyan bearers were scattered across the barren plain.

Set seven is another single sheet. Elias ran into Nails Nelson at the Victoria Bar in Nairobi. Nelson had been a mercenary for the Italians on the Somali-Abyssinian border, and had escaped into Kenya after dou- ble-crossing his employers. Nelson claimed to have seen Jack Brady alive (March of 1923) in Hong Kong, less than two years before Elias was in Kenya and long after the Kenyan court declared that Brady and the rest of the expedition were dead. Brady was friendly, though guarded and taciturn. Nelson didn’t press the conversation. From this report Elias deduced that other members of the expedition might still live.

Set eight discusses a possible structure for the Carlyle book, but is mostly featureless, with entries like “tell what happened” and “explain why.”

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Nairobi Notes of Jackson Elias

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