Rose Hall, Great House, Jamaica
I’ve mentioned here before that I’m a great big ole chicken, so when I heard that we’d be visiting Rose Hall Great House in Jamaica, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I’m not real big on ghosts or haunted houses, so on my previous four visits to the island I’d managed to successfully avoid the place. There was simply no escaping it this time though. Not wanting to be the sissy of the group, I kept my mouth closed and my fingers crossed.
Placed high on a hill overlooking the Caribbean, the grounds of Rose Hall are stunning. The house is also beautiful but its presence marks a dark time in Jamaican history when slaves were treated as less than human and cruel plantation owners ruled with an iron fist, or more specifically bear traps. Keep that little piece of information in mind, because you know there are no bears in Jamaica, right?
Rose Hall was initially built by John Palmer and named for his wife Rosa, in the 1700s. When the couple passed away, it was handed down through the family. It eventually landed in the hands of John Rose Palmer and this is where the story gets creepy.
Annie is in the red dress. Fitting. Also, those eyes follow you everywhere you go in the room. Seriously. Creepy.
Annie had a rough go in life. Her parents moved to Haiti when she was a young girl and then died when she was only 10, orphaning her in a strange land. She was adopted by her Haitian nanny who also happened to be a Voodoo Priestess. Yup. That’s where I started to get all tingly. Annie was educated in all things voodoo and when she was still young (18) her Nanny died. She set her sights on Jamaica and went searching for a rich husband. This is when Annie became Mrs. Palmer.
After only being married a short time, Annie grew tired of her husband and killed him with arsenic. With her first husband gone, Annie ruled the plantation her way. Cruelly. She would catch slaves trying to escape with bear traps and throw them in the dungeon below the house to die. Children were required to carry water to the main house in a heavy wooden bucket and if they spilled one drop they would be beaten. Then, of course, there was the voodoo. Annie loved her voodoo. It was not long before she earned the title of the White Witch of Rose Hall. Interestingly, witch also rhymes with b....... never mind, I’m sure you were already thinking that.
Annie went on to kill two more husbands before she was killed herself by one of her slave lovers, Takoo. Of course, Annie is a tenacious creature and still haunts Rose Hall today. I am currently freaking myself out thinking about stories we heard on our tour. Seriously, I have looked over my shoulder no less than thirty times since the last paragraph. Spooky does not begin to describe this place. Thankfully our tour took us there during the day and not at night, because if it had been at night, there’s a good chance I would have hid in the tour bus. Not. Even. Kidding.
There is a cross on three sides of this casket, one side does not have it so that Annie can roam free. Don't think I wasn't thinking of adding a cross. Sheesh.
If you go to Jamaica, and you’re not a big old scaredy cat, then I highly recommend this. The estate is hauntingly beautiful. If you don’t believe the hype, then go and check out this incredibly restored property from the 1700s. You won’t regret it. Finally, if you’re freaking out a little right now at the thought of visiting this haunted place, take comfort; I made it out of there.
It is said that when people get home and develop their pictures they can see images of Annie in them. Look close, do you see her in the picture I took.....boo! Scared ya, didn't I?