Tokoloshe ManIn Zulu mythology, Tikoloshe’, Tokoloshe or Hili (from the Xhosa word uthikoloshe) is a dwarf-like water sprite, said to be fond of women and sour milk. He has only one arm and one leg, the face of an old man on a boy’s body, and —by some accounts— a disproportionately large penis.He is considered a mischievous and evil spirit. He can become invisible by swallowing a pebble, and comes out of the water to have sex with women, or to fight men.If he loses the fight, he will teach the man magic and the art of healing.

The Tokoloshe, according to the Zulu shaman Credo Mutwa, is widely known as a bear-like humanoid being, and is nothing like the above description, which is of unknown origins. “Now, then, the last creature, sir, a creature which is so well known in South Africa, and elsewhere in Africa, that if you mention its name, people smile. It is called a Tokoloshe. Every African knows what a Tokoloshe is. Some call it Tikoloshe. It looks like a very nasty looking teddy-bear in appearance, in that it’s head is like that of a teddy-bear, but it has got a thick, sharp, bony ridge on top of its head. The ridge goes from above its forehead to the back of its head, and with this ridge it can knock down an ox by butting it with its head. This creature causes the Black people in certain places to raise their beds on bricks, one brick laid on top of the other one, about 3 feet above the ground. And you find this all over South Africa.” Other Zulu sources also describe Tikoloshe as a bear-like being, similar to the Bigfoot creatures of America and Asia in general appearance.

However, the Tokoloshe is stated to be “a cross between a zombie, poltergeist, and a gremlin” that “lives in South Africa.” It goes on to say Tokoloshes are “created from dead bodies by shamans…if the shaman has been offending by someone.” According to the book, the creatures are “only the size of small children… [but] can create terrible destruction,” and “only the person who is cursed will be able to see the tokoloshe.” In addition, the book says the tokoloshe may also choose to wander, causing mischief, particularly to schoolchildren. Other details include its gremlin-like appearance; a skull hole created “by a red hot metal rod…heat plays a vital role in Zulu magic;” and gouged out eyes.