In African mythology, the Tokoloshe, also known as the Tikoloshe or Hili, is a small, mischievous and evil water sprite commonly called upon to torment others.
The Tokoloshe is dwarf-like, shriveled and hairy figure. It may also resemble a zombie, poltergeist, or gremlin with gouged-out eyes.
Tokoloshes are said to be created by South African shamans to be set upon someone as punishment/revenge for a slight perceived by the shaman. The power which the Tokoloshe then uses to torment its victims is obtained from a hot poker thrust into its head by the shaman during its creation. The Tokoloshe, once called, can be used simply to scare children, but can also cause illness or even death to those it is tasked with tormenting.
Tokoloshes are believed to bite off sleeping peoples' toes; one can protect themselves against the Tokoloshe at night by placing a brick underneath each leg of the victim's bed. This will protect them and the bed, but the Tokoloshe may still cause trouble to those around the victim.
- The Tokoloshe can be banished by a n'anga or shaman.
- In the Zulu culture much superstition still exists about the Tokoloshe's existence.