This special issue reports the findings of the Mind and Spirit project. We ask whether different understandings of ‘mind’, broadly construed, might shape the ways that people attend to and interpret thoughts and other mental events – and whether their judgements affect their experience of (what they take to be) gods and spirits. We argue in this collection that there are indeed cultural differences in local theories of minds, in the way social worlds draws the line between interior and exterior, and that these differences do affect the way people sense invisible others. This introduction lays out the ideas that inspired the project and the methods that we used. This is the first report on our work. Essays by Felicity Aulino, Joshua Brahinsky, Johnn Dulin, Vivian Dzokoto, Emily Ng, Rachael Smith, Kara Wesiman (and T.m. Luhrman).