The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)





Director:  Stephen Hopkins

Starring:    Michael Douglas (Charles Remington), Val Kilmer (Col. John Henry Patterson), Tom Wilkinson (Robert Beaumont), John Kani (Samuel), Bernard Hill (Dr. David Hawthorne), Brian McCardie (Angus Starling), Emily Mortimer (Helena Patterson), Om Puri (Abdullah), Henry Cele (Mahina)





 two man-eating lions delay the building of the railroad in 1899 Tsavo, Kenya

Definitely a good movie.  It kept our family on the edge of our seats.  In a way, it was much like a horror movie, but better because it was based on true events. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


Historical Background:


1895   --east Africa claimed for the British crown; it lasted nearly a century.

1896  -- the isolation of east Africa ended when the Ugandan Railroad Act started the building of a railroad from Mombasa to Nairobi and on to Lake Victoria.  It was a nearly impossible task; they imported 32,000 coolies from India; bridges built, swamps drained, mountains moved, while the air was thick with insects, and with temperatures over 110 degrees.

Parliament thought it a folly. 

Two large lions killed about 120 railway workers while they tried to build a railway bridge over the Tsavo River, Kenya. 

1899 (May 30)  --  the "Lunatic Line" arrived in Nairobi.

An 8 hour trip to Nairobi from Mombasa gave the visitor great vistas of untamed Africa.  Mr. Ali Khan would meet the train with rickshaws for hire.  The Norfolk Hotel was the usual destination. 

Today  -- the Nairobi-Mombasa Railroad crosses the vast plains of the Tsavo. 

The twin National Parks of Tsavo west and east contain 10 million acres of pure wilderness. 



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