A “tokoloshe,” an elf-like demon, sat on the shoulder of Elifasi Msomi, a Zulu, and ordered him to kill. Responding to its command, Msomi took an axe and hacked 15 people to death in the valleys of Natal, South Africa.

At his trial, where he blamed the demon for the murders, it was said that Msomi posed as a doctor and charmed his victims into going off with him to some remote place before he killed them. Two psychologists told the court that Msomi was much above the average level of intelligence and derived sexual pleasure from inflicting pain on others.

He was hanged in Pretoria Central Prison on Friday, February 10th, 1956, before an audience which included several Zulu chiefs, who were anxious to inform their superstitious people that the “tokoloshe” hadn’t saved the prisoner from a just death. Even so, one chief feared that many Zulus would think that Msomi might himself turn into a “tokoloshe” and return to Natal.