In the US, the world of evil spirits and magic spells becomes a national obsession just once a year—during Halloween. Creepy decorations and scary costumes might bring a momentary shudder, but the dark side of the supernatural realm quickly fades into the background as the focus shifts to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Everyday belief in the presence and power of evil forces mainly seems the stuff of superstitions and horror movies.
But in Sub-Saharan Africa, spiritual forces are palpable year round. Items like charms and amulets are ever-present evidence that beliefs in the spirit world are real and affect every aspect of life. In African traditional religion the natural world is filled with spiritual forces. There’s a fine line between the physical and spiritual world—so fine, in fact, that it often seems to dissolve.