An Obambou is a supernatural being belonging to tribes of Central Africa.[1] It is depicted as evil, possessing the power to do evil and to do good if it chooses,[2] having the ability to possess and cause sickness, or to want a home built for them. In some African tribes, an Obambou is referred to as a devil,[3] or as the spirit of someone who was not buried correctly.


The Commi tribe believed that when someone is severely ill, an Obambou is a likely culprit which can be determined by a doctor or "Ogounga".[4] The Obambou will reside in the bowels of humans until family, friends and neighbors surround the possessed person and make noise however they can.[5] The people will sing, dance, yell, and bang things together. They do whatever makes noise to drive out the Obambou.[6][7]

The M'pongwe tribe believed that a person can be born with the spirit known as an Obambou and be born insane.[8] Most tribes that believe in the Obambou have a common belief that an Obambou can drive someone insane through possession.

Different lore

There are no idols or special symbols for the "devil" or powerful spirit version of the Obambou.[2]

Another version is that the Obambou resides in the bush and in some cases was not buried properly, but eventually it gets tired of wandering and appears to a close relative, requesting that they build a house for them near their own. That night the village women are gathered to dance and sing, and next day the people visit the grave of the deceased and make an idol for them. They then erect a little hut near the house of the person the Obambou visited; then place the bier on which the deceased was carried to his grave inside the hut, as well as some of the dust from the grave. A white cloth is then draped over the door.[2][9][10]


  1. ^ Spence, Lewis (1920). An Encyclopaedia of Occultism. Courier Corporation. p. 299. ISBN 978-0486426136. Retrieved 2017-12-18.
  2. ^ a b c Du Chaillu, M. (1861). "Observations on the People of Western Equatorial Africa". Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London. 1: 305–315. doi:10.2307/3014202. ISSN 1368-0366. JSTOR 3014202.
  3. ^ Ruoff, Henry W. (c. 1906). The century book of facts. Springfield, Mass. hdl:2027/hvd.hn5q8x.
  4. ^ Du Chaillu, Paul B. (1871). Explorations and adventures in equatorial Africa; with accounts of the manners and customs of the people... (Revised and enlarged ed.). New York. hdl:2027/hvd.hwxiyg.
  5. ^ "The Project Gutenberg eBook of Stories of the Gorilla Country, by Paul Du Chaillu". Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  6. ^ "The Gentleman's magazine". HathiTrust. January–June 1867. hdl:2027/uc1.c032012901. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  7. ^ Chaillu, Paul B. Du (1861). Equatorial Africa.
  8. ^ "Travels in West Africa". Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  9. ^ Bane, Theresa (2016). Encyclopedia of Spirits and Ghosts in World Mythology. McFarland. p. 97. ISBN 978-1476663555. Retrieved 2017-12-18.
  10. ^ "The Project Gutenberg eBook of Curiosities of Superstition, by W. H. Davenport Adams". Retrieved 2020-10-29.