Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tales from the Motherland-African Gremlins a.k.a”Tokoloshes”

Anyone from Africa, particularly Southern Africa will be familiar with the tokoloshe and even the non-believers will have their beds elevated on bricks just to be sure that the dwarf like tokoloshe can’t reach them while they sleep.

Once the ‘tokoloshe’ is explained to non-Africans they soon recognize this creature. He is the European version of a goblin, gremlin, leprechaun, water sprite, faerie or demon. Whenever something goes awry it is the tokoloshe who is to blame. The tokoloshe is a short, hairy, dwarf-like creature controlled by witches, from Bantu folklore. It is a mischievous and evil spirit that can become invisible by swallowing a special pebble.

Spiteful people who want to cause trouble for others call upon Tokoloshes. At it’s least harmful a tokoloshe can be used to scare children, but its power extends to causing illness and even death upon the victim.

The way to get rid of a tokoloshe is to call in the n’anga or witch doctor who has the power to banish him from the area. Witch doctors make a magical substance from the body of a dead tokolosh, which makes the tokoloshe visible and paralyzes him, allowing the witch doctor to kill him. This special medicine is sold throughout Africa as protection against tokoloshes and it leaves a cold mark on the skin where it is rubbed in.

Although the tokoloshe  is seen as an imaginary creature created by village elders to scare children or as just a part of the rich vivid African folklore, every year cases of the doings of the tokoloshi and crimes in the name of tokoloshe are reported, many with deadly outcomes.

According to Theodore Petrus, anthropology researcher and lecturer at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, traditional magic and superstition have always formed an integral part of South Africa’s indigenous folktales, in which the tokoloshe is a common and significant character. Belief in witchcraft, perpetuated through myths and stories passed on from one generation to the next is widespread among most African communities. Those in rural areas “with less access to technology and a modernized lifestyle” focused more on supernatural explanations for illnesses and misfortunes.

Even today many rural and urban people still believe in the power of these mischievous and sometimes evil spirits. An example of this can be seen in a report in a Zimbabwean monthly newspaper, ‘Vic-Falls News’, which reported that counselors at an AIDS workshop have agreed that evil spirits called “tokoloshes” probably spread the HIV virus by sexually abusing women during the night. Believers raise their beds on bricks to prevent tokoloshes, tiny spirits less than three feet tall with only one buttock and an extraordinarily long penis slung over the shoulder, from climbing up and getting under the sheets beside them.

As with European witchcraft and evil spirits, motion pictures have been made about tokoloshes, ‘Tokoloshe, the Evil Spirit’ was made in 1971, and more recently, ‘A Reasonable Man’, a film about a man who was tried for killing a child in the belief that the child was a tokoloshe.
So when in doubt get those bricks out and raise the bed cause you never know if a tokoloshe might decide to pay you a visit!

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Eph 6:12

Love,Peace and Bloody-coated hugs


  1. Well, I learned something! That was such a cool post. This goes to show that every culture has a creepy little creature to blame. :) I was very much reminded of European folklore while reading this. I'm also reminded of the Incubus and Succubus.

    So, how many bricks do I need to be safe? ;)

  2. haha im glad you did and thanks :). This is going to sound a lil dumb but before i didnt know that incubus was also like a mythical demon i always just knew it as a rock band that i really liked that has the same name and i was always amazed at how unique their name was really thought it was original but with that being said it also made me question the type of music im in to once i found out once Incubus really means lol

    Back to the Tokoloshe's i think maybe 5 bricks on each side of the bed will do, i mean ur aim is to elevate your bed as high as you can, i dont think anyone wants to be raped by a gremlin imagine explaining that to the police...EPIC!

  3. Oh, yeah if you google images of the "incubus" you'll mostly see pictures of the band. So you'll have to search for "incubus myth" or "incubus legend" to see the little monsters. There are some pretty gross representations of them online. Of course, all the succubus pictures look attractive. Go figure...

    Yeah, I know that during the middle ages, Incubuses were used as a handy excuse for unplanned pregnancies. I suppose Tokoloshes were as well. Haha! Five bricks, hey? That's so exact! Um...yeah, I can't imagine what the response from the police would be on that one. I suppose they would assume it was just a really unattractive man who committed the crime?

  4. Great post! I love learning about folklore from other cultures.

  5. First you school us on Gilles du Rais, and now these bad boys. Pixie's Horror Galore is a treasure trove of arcane knowledge. I'm going to have to track down some of those tokoloshe movies.

    Also, cool that you're into Incubus. I saw them in a tiny little venue in Bozeman, Montana just after S.C.I.E.N.C.E. came out. That was an awesome concert.

  6. OH my god need to find some bricks now!
    How cool never heard of this before , would make a great story,so many possabilities !

  7. Aw, they are so cute. Where can I buy one? :)

  8. That's kinda freaky! I'm surprised their hasn't been a movie dedicated to them.

  9. @Justine hahaha i think they wud jst give u a one way ticket to an insane asylum :P

    @Jessica THANKS so much i will def try to put more things to do with folklore and other cultures in the future cas it also really interests me :)

  10. @Marvin Awww thank you so much those were sum really sweet words :) and hell yeah i friggin LURV Incubus and you are such a lucky bugger to have gotten to c them live im a little jealous :P

    @Lisa hahaha yes RUN!RUN! get as many bricks as you can!!! hihihi

    @Dr Blood LMAO only u wud want one as a pet, well may i suggest consulting your local witchdoctor?

    @Real Queen of Horror there actually are 2 movies out about them but it was first time hearing about them and it was only during my research on these gremlins that i found out abt them. Im definitely still trying to track down these movies so i can watch them becasue they sound really interesting :)

  11. This is some fascinating material right here....
    I'm going to do more research right now.


  12. Awesome! I love reading about fascinating and mostly unheard of stuff like that and sharing with everyone on here.
    Happy researching! :D

  13. Pixie I just found your blog and I adore it! Keep up the great horror blogging. You have a follower for life my dear!

  14. HEY!!!!Awww THANKS super happy u like it thanks for following and and even bigger thanks for being a follower for life thats super freaking awesome!! That definitely gives me the drive to keep on blogging =)