This book explores local cultural discourses and practices relating to manifestations and experiences of the demonic, the spectral and the uncanny, probing into their effects on people’s domestic and intimate spheres of life. The chapters examine the uncanny in a cross-cultural manner, involving empirically rich case studies from sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Europe. They use an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to show how people are affected by their intimate interactions with spiritual beings. While several chapters focus on the tensions between public and private spheres that emerge in the context of spiritual encounters, others explore what kind of relationships between humans and demonic entities are imagined to exist and in what ways these imaginations can be interpreted as a commentary on people’s concerns and social realities. Offering a critical look at a form of spiritual experience that often lacks academic examination, this book will be of great use to scholars of Religious Studies who are interested in the occult and paranormal, as well as academics working in Anthropology, Sociology, African Studies, Latin American Studies, Gender Studies and Transcultural Psychology.

chapter |21 pages


Hedging in Demons and the Uncanny

chapter 2|27 pages

The Familiar Spirit in Tales of Violent Labor Relationships

From Early Modern France to Agro-Industrial Argentina

chapter 4|26 pages

Science, Fantasy, and Desecration

Gorilla Demons in Colonial Gabon

chapter 5|23 pages

From Witchcraft to Satanism

Changing Imaginations and New Experiences in the South African Lowveld

chapter 7|28 pages

Marriage and the Ambiguities of ‘Seeds’

An Exploration of Intentions and Transparency in Relations in Botswana

chapter 8|14 pages

Zombies in the House

Thinking through the Spaces of Undead Transatlantic History

chapter 9|19 pages

Hedging in the Demonic

Living with the Dead in the United States

chapter 10|15 pages


Uncanny Modernities, Early and Late