The project examines in a comparative perspective what might be called ‘figures of the undead’, i.e. human beings that were once alive, then died and now take part and are experienced in some way in the world of the living. Folklore, literature and religious ontologies and practices in many parts of the world know of experiences like these, they tell stories about them and find more or less ritualized ways to deal with them. I am particularly interested in West African traditions of living with the dead as they travelled and changed in meaningful ways in the aftermath of the transatlantic slave trade. This concerns figures like the ancestor spirit, the ogbanje/abiku (spirit child) or the zombie, all of which are important not only in West Africa but in the African Diaspora and beyond. My specific perspective of research into these narratives and practices allows to widen and enrich our understanding of analogous phenomena in ‘Western Esotericism’ like Necromancy, Spiritism and others. One important aim of the project is to “provincialize” (Chakrabarty) European cultural theories belonging to the so called ‘Spectral Turn’ by widening its horizon beyond the ghost and poltergeist and by taking seriously the real-life experience of people as opposed to reducing the spectre to a mere metaphor.