The Ancestor Spirits are the ethereal residue of dead Pygmies who return to visit the living to give assistance (benign spirits) or seek retribution (hostile spirits).
Ancestor spirits are usually male, but some 10% of them are female. Hostile spirits are normally encountered only at the place of their death on certain nights of the year when they come out to plague the living (who stay close to the village fire and rely on Witchdoctors and benign spirits to protect them). Away from their place of death hostile spirits can be encountered after summoning by a Witchdoctor. Benign spirits often visit on a whim or to give some assistance to their descendants, and are never too far from their old villages.
Benign spirits cannot be seen in daylight. In darkness they appear as a translucent image looking as they did at the prime of their life (this may be their mental prime, so they can appear as wise old men or women). Hostile spirits appear as glowing pygmy shapes; they have always died a violent death, sometimes at the ghostly hands of other hostile spirits, and always appear as they did at the moment of their death (usually with faces twisted in agony). Witchdoctors of Brobat may only summon or control hostile spirits, while Witchdoctors of Beesbok may only summon or control benign spirits.
- 1: White Dwarf No 100, September 1984.