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A Peculiar Poltergeist Pair

Updated on November 9, 2013

Not all poltergeist cases are as spectacular as the Stockport Poltergeist, as complex as the Antigonish poltergeist or as generally odd as some of the Fire Poltergeist stories described elsewhere. Here are two which have no satisfactory ending and seem to have vanished into limbo. Both involve voices and have a sexual element. One involves physical attacks, the other merely a voice speaking obscenities. Both were originally reported in Fortean Times 38 and do not seem to have attracted much attention online Both leave the sort of feeling one experiences when the last page of the detective novel one is reading has been torn out.

Tokoloshe trouble

South Africa 9th Sept 1981, the Cape Argus reported that a woman in Grabouw believed she was being harassed by a Tokoloshe spirit that spoke to her in a high pitched voice and took a number of forms. The woman, Maggie Hendricks was 38 at the time and it was believed that the spirit was sent by someone who had wanted Mrs Hendricks. In the previous year she had heard the sound of an animal running around on her roof followed by clanking of chains. One day a voice yelled out “I love you and I want you” and she began to find “frog slime” and earthworms in her food and had an “itchy Irritation” in her throat. In July, presumably July 1981, she began vomiting strange things such as needles, balls of human hair, earthworms and finally on September 3rd 1981, a frog, the size of a man's hand and three tadpoles. A police sergeant said he had seen her vomit knife blades with no sign of bleeding. The persecution then began to involve her clothes and shoes being ripped up and she had to give up her job in case she was attacked at work. She tried hanging wooden crosses from her neck and all her belongings. A picture of her in FT 38 shows an attractive looking woman holding a cross over a shoe that had been mysteriously ripped apart. Her companion, a well built and handsome man was a furniture salesman and part time evangelist.

It seems probable however that this was not a Tokoloshe but something else

The Tokoloshe [1] is in Zulu mythology, a mischievous and evil dwarf like water sprite that can become invisible by swallowing a pebble and can be sent by malevolent people to cause trouble for others. It can cause illness and death but can be banished by a witch doctor.

Another notion is that the Tokoloshe resembles a zombie, poltergeist, or gremlin, created by shamans who have been offended by someone, or by a wizard to harm their enemies. The Tokoloshe may also wander around, causing mischief wherever it goes, particularly to schoolchildren. Other details include its gremlin-like appearance and gouged out eyes. It is also said to have been known to rape women and bite off sleeping people's toes, though it can be kept away by putting a brick under each leg of the bed.

“Tokoloshe is a fabulous, short and hairy-looking elf said to be mischievous and fond of women and sour milk. Sighting of this creature (by prepubescent girls- AK) is accompanied by fainting spells, deterioration from previous level of (scholastic) performance, fearfulness, and other psychosomatic type symptoms”[2]. It is apparently also believed [3] that a Tokoloshe can send its penis through the ground in order to rape sleeping women by emerging in their bedrooms. The North American trickster Winnebago has a similarly mobile penis which is amphibious.

Apart from the possibility someone sent a spirit, and the noises on the roof this does not have the typical features of the Tokoloshe, However food contamination, bodiless voices and anomalous vomiting of the kind mentioned is known in poltergeist cases and has, in the west been associated with demonic possession. The fact that Mrs Hendricks associated with a part time evangelist and appears to have been deeply religious may have shaped the details of her experience. There was no mention of rape or attempted rape by the spirit, though this may have been self censored by Mrs Hendricks with the attacks being a form of punishment intended to relieve feelings of guilt. Her religious feelings may also explain why she did not go to a Witch doctor.

A google search in 2012 revealed only one mention of this case and no further information

A talking toilet

A dentist in Neutrabling Germany had a problem in 1982. The spittoon told a patient to shut her mouth. A few days later it told a patient “Open your mouth wider stupid” and a woman patient using the dentist's toilet was shocked when a voice from below boomed “Move your behind, I can't see a thing”. For English speaking readers the fact the dentist was a Dr Karl Backseitz may seem relevant here.

The deep male voice called itself “Chopper” - Mid twentieth century british slang for a penis – and while abusing and insulting to the dentist and his patients was very sweet to the Dentist's 17 year old secretary Claudia Judenmann (translates as Jewish man) . For example the electric socket would say “Julia I love you”. Chopper manifested mostly on the phone: it would break into the Dentist's calls uttering obscenities but on a Monday would ring Claudia and ask if she had enjoyed her weekend often showing a knowledge of where she had gone and what she said.

In February 1982 the dentist called in the police. A film of the investigation shown on West German TV on 23rd February included Chopper burbling to Claudia and from a plughole and over the phone. Post Office Engineers found nothing wrong. They disconnected the phone and it rang. It was Chopper wanting to speak to the dentist.

When Professor Hans Bender of Freiburg University arrived to investigate Chopper showed fear that Bender wanted to kill it, but Claudia calmed it down. When he left Chopper yelled “Come back Bender. Release me. Help me”. By an amazing leap of intuition Bender said “That sounds like the voice of a being in distress”.

Three teams of investigators: parapsychologists, police and engineers, had gone over the place finding no signs of trickery. The public prosecutor eventually declared the case was a prolonged practical joke and accused the dentist, who had, in desperation, had called in the authorities, and Claudia of “Feigning a crime” but made no arrests. The dentist, his wife and the secretary were later fined [4] and it was claimed that post office technicians found the voice was faked and delivered through pipes linked to the plumbing system This cutting does not mention the phone related anomalies or who projected the voice. Also [6] during the eight-hour hearing, only recommendations for psychiatric examination were considered. The judge turned down every other argument as "nonsense".

Fortean times cites Le Soir (BE) 17th February Guardian 18th and 25th February and 5th and 9th March S. Telegraph 21st February Western Mail Shropshire Star 25th February, D. Express 4th and 5th March Sun March 9th 1982

As with many such cases the resolution is not satisfactory. Some questions raised here are:

  • What name DID the voice give itself? Chopper is an English word.

  • If it did call itself Chopper why use an English word. Did it use a German word?

  • Where is the evidence of the pipes through which the voice manifested?

  • If they existed who cast the voices?

  • What about the phone related anomalies?

  • Why would a 60 year old dentist, his wife and secretary stage such a hoax?

  • Why would they then call in the police?

  • Why were there no other indications of poltergeist activity?

  • Why did the secretary admit to having had sex with the ghost (if she did) [5]

The Wrap

Two cases from different parts of the world. Both involving mystery voices, both with a sexual element involving unrequited lust if not love. One from Africa allegedly involving a spirit with attributes well known in the culture, though there are enough unique features to suggest misinformation and resembling demonic possession, and the other from West Germany where the victim in desperation called in the police and was eventually fined for staging a hoax. In both incidents there seems to have been no real closure to the case.

If one had to create a hypothesis the least unlikely one is that the paranormal features were an externalisation of some form of internal conflict involving sexual frustration. The possibility a Tokoloshe like spirit was created and sent cannot be ruled out in the African case and the possibility Claudia Judenmann, in the German case unconsciously created or was seduced by an incubus that turned into a tulpa thus being able to manifest in this world cannot be ruled out but requires more assumptions so is probably less likely.

Overall each case must be placed in the basket of anomalous anomalies till comparison with other cases sheds light on it. After thirty years new evidence is unlikely to come to light.


[1] Wikipedia on Tokoloshe

[2] A critical evaluation of the phenomenon of Tokoloshe "sightings" among prepubescent girls in Kwazulu-Natal Academic Paper assumed the Tokoloshe does not exist

[3] A Yahoo groups thread on this Tokoloshe case

[4] Image of a cutting on the conviction of the dentist, his wife and the secretary

[5] The url to which this referred ( is not longer on line

[6] Assumes Chppper was a spirit and makes a couple of good points

(HP continually report this link as broken but I have always been able to access it)


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