Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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(Im-PON-do-lou) plural: iimpumdulu
Variations: Ishologu
From the Cape region of South Africa comes the impundulu (see AFRICAN VAMPIRE WITCH and VAMPIRIC WITCH). A vampiric creature only about three inches tall in its true form, it usually stays in its shape-shifted form—that of a bird with a red bill, legs, and tail. In addition to its shape-shifting ability, it can also spread "the wasting disease" (tuberculosis), cause infertility in cattle and men, and cause near instant death in a person through a sudden pain in his chest. In its natural form, the impundulu can fly through a small flying machine that is powered by human blood.
At night it attacks both cattle and humans,drinking their blood and consuming their flesh. Alone impundulu can kill an entire herd of cattle in a single evening, as its hunger is that insatiable. Additionally, it enjoys the pain and torment it causes.
An impundulu makes an excellent familiar for a witch, as it is loyal by nature, cannot be destroyed, and can be passed down from mother to daughter, even if the child is not a witch herself. However, if a nonwitch comes to own one of these prized familiars, it must be used or it will turn and kill its master. When bound as a familiar, it will only show itself to its master in its bird form. The impundulu must be fed every night or at least allowed to hunt for itself, or it will turn on the witch and kill her. Obligated to protect the witch as well as her family line, the impundulu can only be passed on to the next master at the time of the witch's death. If not done so, then the impundulu is freed from its obligations and is now referred to as an ishologu and will do at it pleases.
Source: Hodgson, God of the Xhosa, 32, 47­48; Laubscher, Pagan Soul, 128, 131, 151, 153; Marwick, Witchcraft and Sorcery, 371, 427

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