Saturday, January 23, 2010

My brush with African Black Magic

The wonderful thing about this event, was that we only realized that it was supernatural in nature after it was over. At the time, all I felt was awe and excitement, as I usually do when something unexplained happens to me. After re-running the chain of events in my head, fear hit me like a ton of "what-ifs"......

It was Barberton, 1999.
I had been retrenched from my well-paying job in Pretoria and had to relocate, against my will as always, to my parents' house on a farm where my dad worked at a meat processing plant there.

Barberton is a very old town in the province of Mpumalanga ("place where the sun rises"), the old Eastern Transvaal of old South Africa, situated in the north-east of the country and known for its incredible beauty. Mountains and forests stretch as far as the eye can see, and the area is known for forestry, mostly. The atmosphere reminds me a lot of what I imagine Santa Fe must be like, without the desert ---- motorcycle rallies are held throughout a myriad of small old miner towns that all have their own appeal of old world charm. A very laid back, faerie kinda place.

Now I'm not big on research when it comes to things and places I know, so what I am about to tell you about the entity in question, is just what I heard from the local Black people throughout the years, and if you Google it, you might find something slightly different. I prefer to know what I hear from the peoples whose culture this thing belongs to. That's enough for me.

On the farm were resident workers who lived up the ridge from where my parents' house was. Among them a matriarch called "Betty"......her "White" name. A forward, loud old Black woman who adored me and the kids and constantly stopped by to help us in the garden and such, but she was sometimes a bit of a nuisance and over-zealous and when my mom politely told her off, you could see her demeanor turn dark. Betty was known as a practitioner of "muti"....the dark version of New Orleans "hoodoo" and then some ;-)

One night, my mom, dad, children, and a few friends were hanging out in the living room. It was about 8pm and as always, we were jamming on the guitar and they were drinking and chatting. Somewhere during the conversation, we heard an unbelievable noise in the ceiling. We all kept quiet and listened. It sounded like something big dragging itself along the length of the house. We were used to having cats and snakes in the ceiling so we weren't too alarmed. We figured it was a big cat and we continued our conversation.
The sound became much louder, as if to drown out our voices. It dragged so heavily in the roof now that we looked at each other in amazement, guessing amongst ourselves what thing THAT BIG could have gotten into the ceiling in the first place.

Then it started dragging chains. At one point we actually thought whatever it was dragging would come cutting through the ceiling boards and fall on us. It now moved overhead, stunning us with its apparent size and weight. It was as if there was a horse up there, dragging a multitude of iron chains and spikes behind it. But no distinct footsteps, just the leviathan dragging sound, deafening us!!!

My dad went to call King. King was a teenage boy from the settlement nearby and we always had him round to take bees nests out of the ceilings. He seemed to be immune to bee stings.....and to fear, at that! King crawled up into the ceiling for us and we could hear him walk from the entrance to where we were in the living room. All was silent. King's footsteps covered the whole length of the house and back and his muffled voice announced that there was absolutely nothing in the roof....not even cats. He was alarmed when we told him what the disturbance was, but I will not disclose it at this point.

He left and the party continued. Chatting, laughing, sounds of the kitchen kettle.......and BANG!!!!!! It started again. Right above our heads, the clanging of the chains, almost slamming into the ceiling boards, as if the thing had grown angry. Like a fucking HORSE!!! I was just waiting for the ceiling to cave in on us. We decided to ignore it and my dad asked me to sing.

Now here is the weird part:
You know how they say that music soothes the beast? I expect that's true, cause as soon as I'd start singing, the sound would die down and eventually cease. The moment the song is finished, the banging and dragging would become exceedingly violent, and we'd hear giant nails scratching at the roof, as if it was clawing its way through!!!

I'd start a new song and it would die down again......quietly listening to my voice. Dead silence. Not a twitch while I sang. Even without the guitar I would sing and nothing was there. As soon as I'd stop the ruckus would continue. This went on until 10pm or so and it became an amusing experience for all of us. A kind of game.
"Lets see if he likes country music or hard rock ballads....this is a Poison ballad..." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Eventually it stopped and did not come back. It remained quiet and to this day we have not heard that again. Anywhere.
King told us he thinks its a Tokolosh......a demonic "baboon man" that is usually sent to kill victims of a Sangoma or black magic witch.

Morne, one of the guys there and an old school friend of mine, affirmed this.
His father was a kind of exorcist, specifically dealing with Muti and African Black Magic. They once chased down a Tokolosh in a family's home and the father of the house cornered it in the shower, where it reached out and grabbed him, scorching its hand print into the man's arm....where it sits black in burned flesh to this day.

Who knows what would have happened if we did not fight this thing with MY POWER?

The Power of Melody!!! :-))


  1. Ok. Was that creepy or what? And um, you are used to having snakes in your ceilings? :O I don't know what's bumming me out more, the thought of snakes in the ceiling or that...that....THING *runs away screaming*

    Did it ever come back? I'm not surprised it shut up when you started to sing; you have a lot of power in your voice. And King didn't find anything up there? Did you guys ever go up to investigate in the daylight? Do you think that woman put a curse on you guys b/c of what your mom said to her?

  2. I heard of a tokoloshe before, in a crime novel I read set in Bristol in SW England.

    Wouldn't want to meet one though!

  3. Oh Jojo, nevermind the snakes, we wore Wellies everyday like shoes, because snakes are everywhere. I killed a cobra behind Ivan's bedroom door with a machete. Two things you always have on you --- Wellies and a machete :-)

    And yes, we suspected it was Betty who was pissed at us. But we dunno for sure. There was nothing there the next day either. King came back to kill a snake in there and was as amazed as we were that there was nothing there.

    When I was little, our live-in maids would put their bed posts on bricks to keep the Tokolosh from climbing on their beds (although I always figured they can climb the bricks too)
    It was also said to be a witches personal incubus and familiar.

  4. Witches get personal incubi?Can I get one in Michael R. or Zak B. form please?

    That's fucked up Axe!But music is majick.

  5. Yeah, all you do is sell your soul to Satan and acquire a free demonic fuck-buddy! LOL!!

  6. lucky i weren't singing - i'd have given it a headache and either it would have left howling at the sound of my tone deaf voice or come done and throttled me

    I DO NOT LIKE THOSE CRAWLY HISSY THINGS..... eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

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