In Akan folklore, the Abonsam is a malevolent supernatural being, a household spirit most often found in West Africa and Ghana.

It’s believed, that the Abonsam will take residence in a home to cause problems and misfortune on the tenants for as long as they remain oblivious to its presence. Since it’s difficult to know for certain where an Abonsam has taken residency, in many villages once every year neighbors will hold a special ceremony to rid themselves, of these spirits.

Although preventing measures may have been taken to prevent the entrance of an Abonsam, when accidents, disease, and tragedy afflict an area, shamans are called. Once the local shaman suspects that an Abonsam is to blame, the spirit is driven into the sea in a ritual that begins with four weeks of total silence. Then, all furniture is removed from the homes involved. Once emptied, homes’ interiors are beaten with sticks, and loud noises are created by shouting and gunfire. The Abosam is expelled by the noise and it runs to the sea searching for peace and quiet.

The origins of the Abonsam are lost in time. However, in the Ashanti region there is a fundamental belief, that we are all born with two souls (or a soul and a spirit, to be more specific). When a body dies, the spirit vanishes but not the soul. The soul, however, takes a new eternal life among the ancestral souls, It is believed that the Abonsam is one spirit that didn't vanish after the death of its body. Most people think that the Abonsam was punished to remain with the living due to his evil actions in life, and that his soul was destroyed, so that it would never reach the ancestral source.


-Sykes, E., Kendall, A. 2001. Who's who in non-classical mythology. Routledge.

-Gildea Jr, R. Y. (1963). Religion in the Ashanti Province of Ghana. Social Science, 209-212.

#TSpirit #RWestAfrica #MAfrican #HHumansettlements #AMinormagic

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