Elifasi Msomi (1 Viewer)


Elifasi Msomi

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A.K.A.: "The Axe Killer" - "Tokoloshe Killer"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: A “tokoloshe,” an elf-like demon, sat on the shoulder of Elifasi Msomi, a Zulu, and ordered him to kill
Number of victims: 15
Date of murders: 1953 -1955
Date of birth: ???
Victims profile: Men, women and children
Method of murder: Beating with an axe
Location: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Status: Executed by hanging in Pretoria Central Prison on February 10, 1956

Known as South Africa's "Axe Killer", Elifasi Msomi, was hanged in Pretoria in January 1956 after being convicted of hacking to death 15 people. Msomi blamed his victims' deaths on the "tokoloshe" which, he said, would appear on his shoulder and order him to kill.

He killed mostly in the Unkomaas and Umzimkuku valleys in Natal. Posing as a doctor, Elifasi charmed his victims into willingly going off with him. At his trial, two leading psychologists told the court that Msomi was of way above average intelligence and derived sexual pleasure from inflicting pain on others.

Location(s): Unkomaas and Umzimkuku valleys in Natal

Note: Msomi blamed his victims deaths on the "tokoloshe" which, he said, would appear on his shoulder and order him to kill. He hacked his victims to death.

Elifasi Msomi a.k.a. The Axe Killer is a South African serial killer who was convicted in 1955 of 15 murders and sentenced to death by hanging. His victims all came from the Umkomaas and Umzimkulu valleys of KwaZulu-Natal.

A Zulu man, Msomi was an unsuccessful young witch doctor or sangoma. Seeking professional assistance, he consulted with another sangoma. Msomi claims that during this exchange he was co-opted by an evil sprite, the Tokoloshe. In August 1953, under the instruction of the Tokoloshe, Msomi began an 18 month killing crusade in the southern KwaZulu-Natal valleys of South Africa.

Msomi initially raped and murdered a young woman in the presence of his mistress, whose blood he kept in a bottle. Unimpressed with his 'new' powers, his mistress alerted the police who arrested Msomi. He escaped shortly afterwards, giving credit for his escape to the all powerful Tokoloshe.

Msomi returned to his murderous ways, accounting for the lives of 5 children before being re-arrested. He duly escaped again.

Msomi was arrested a month later for petty theft. The stolen items turned out to belong to his victims and he was soon fingered as the murderous culprit.

Msomi readily assisted the police in finding some of his victims remains, including a missing skull. Whether he gained further satisfaction from revisiting his crime scenes or felt diminished responsibility in light of the Tokoloshe's influence is unclear. During his trial, Msomi claimed that he was merely a conduit for the evil Tokoloshe. Two psychologists disagreed, stating that Msomi was in fact of much higher than average intelligence and further that he derived sexual pleasure from inflicting pain.

Msomi was sentenced to death by hanging at Pretoria Central Prison.

Msomi's reference to the Tokoloshe and his numerous escapes had however caused a high level of consternation amongst the superstitious Zulu population. Upon request, the judge permitted a deputation of nine Zulu Chiefs and Elders to attend the hanging in order to confirm that the Tokoloshe did in fact not save Msomi from his death. Even so, one chief felt that Msomi may return after death as the Tokoloshe himself.

Tilcoloshe's Friend

Monday, Feb. 20, 1956

Native bicycles in the back country of South Africa are often built with a little extra seat in the back in case Tikoloshe wants a ride, for in South Africa, what Tikoloshe wants, Tikoloshe gets. A tiny, hairy, deformed little spirit, half human, half animal, Tikoloshe conceives his mischief in the reeds by riverbanks. To look at him means instant death, yet no man can refuse his bidding. Murder, thievery and rape are all equally condoned by the Zulu natives if their perpetrator can prove to his neighbors that Tikoloshe forced him to the act. Even the white man's courts on occasion have found Tikoloshe's influence an extenuating factor in major crimes. Last week the South African government found itself facing an even trickier question: Could Tikoloshe snatch from his executioners a man condemned to death for 15 murders?

The man in question was a burly Zulu named Elifasi Msomi. A young witch doctor who was not doing very well at his trade, he went to another witch doctor for advice, and there, he said, he found Tikoloshe masquerading as the man's son. "You will go with this son of mine," said the elder doctor, "and get me the blood of 15 people to help my chemist shop. First I want the blood of a girl."

Gruesome Twosome

For the next 18 months, Tikoloshe and Msomi tramped the paths of Natal's back country, slept and ate together. At last, in Zibeville Kraal, they found a girl whose blood was to Tikoloshe's liking. Msomi killed her, put some of her blood in a bottle.

Msomi was captured and put in jail, but soon afterward, thanks to Tikoloshe, he escaped, and the blood-hunters moved on. During the months that followed, 14 more natives fell victim to their knives, clubs and axes until one day Tikoloshe announced: "You have rendered good service; now we will wash in the river and part." Arrested for petty theft, Msomi was spotted as the man wanted for 15 of South Africa's most gruesome murders. He readily admitted the crimes and even helped the police to find the skull of one of his victims.

Just a Friend

That night in jail, he slept soundly for the first time in months, stirring only to make room on his bed of rags for some unseen being. "It's a friend," he explained to his jailers, "just a friend." Msomi's jailers could not see the friend who shared his bed and his guilt, and neither could the court which tried him.

But local Zulu chieftains were not so purblind. Fearing Tikoloshe might still be on hand, they asked permission to stand by and watch when Msomi was hanged. Permission was granted.

Last week, in a Pretoria prison, the gallows trap was sprung and Elifasi Msomi went to his maker. "I am satisfied," nodded Chief Manzo Iwandla, one of nine Zulus watching. "Tikoloshe did not save him."

Elifasi Msomi – South Africa

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.

SEX: M RACE: B TYPE: T MOTIVE: Sad./PC-nonspecific

MO: Hacked victims to death, allegedly on orders of tokoloshe spirit that possessed him.

DISPOSITION: Hanged, Jan. 1956.

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