Investigating Ghosts and Hauntings in Jamaica

Fascinated with the islands history and general beliefs in ghosts and hauntings I decided to pursue four investigations in Jamaica this year. One was the infamous Rose Hall, which as it turns out is more urban legend, than haunting. You can read more on Rose Hall here.

I journeyed around the island and was escorted by a great guide who took me to three locations other than Rose Hall. One was in a very remote central location, deep in the mountains and another was one area I was looking forward to moreso than Rose Hall - Port Royal, the Pirate City. And yet another was a location deep inside a forested area where a Pirate is supposedly haunting a particular location.

All three of these investigations proved interesting and developed results. I will be posting more about these in the coming months.

But first, I want to speak to the general belief of ghosts and hauntings in Jamaica. It seems, that everyone on the island has had an encounter, or a good ghost story to tell. Many avoid certain locations on the island and are quick to make an excuse to leave if I bring up the topic of a Duppy late at night.

Jamaican's believe in what is known as a Duppy. Duppy is a Jamaican Patois word of West African origin meaning ghost or spirit. Duppies are generally regarded as malevolent spirits.They are said to come out and haunt people at night mostly, and people from the islands claim to have seen them. The 'Rolling Calf','Three footed horse' or 'Old Higue' are examples of the more malicious spirits.

In many of the islands of the Lesser Antilles, duppies are known as Jumbies.

Duppy folklore originates from West Africa. A duppy can be either the manifestation (in human or animal form) of the soul of a dead person, or a malevolent supernatural being. In Obeah, a person is believed to possess two souls - a good soul and an earthly soul. In death, the good soul goes to heaven to be judged by God, while the earthly spirit remains for three days in the coffin with the body, where it may escape if proper precautions are not taken, and appear as a duppy.

My guide told me tales of duppies and said that it is not uncommon to come across them and he promised me to take me to a very haunted location. He kept his promise.

Every once and awhile the local media will pick up on a duppy story and last year the news was engrossed by a boy in Kingston, Jamaica, who was said to be constantly attacked by a duppy. The news camera caught the action for the evening news:

And with a worldwide interest in ghosts and hauntings, Jamaica may open the island up to Duppy Tourism-

Duppy storytelling through the oral tradition was rife throughout the land, before the proliferation of electronic media technologies in Jamaica. It was part of the nightly entertainment in the absence of radio, television, telephone and the Internet. In parts of rural Jamaica, the elderly are still telling these stories to a reluctant young generation, but it is a fast-dying tradition.

However, there might soon be a revival, a resurrection if you will, of duppy storytelling. It is part of the idea of duppy tourism, now being tossed around by Countrystyle Community Tourism Network in Mandeville. Ghost-hunters are to be lured to Jamaica.

Diana McIntyre-Pike, community tourism consultant and trainer, said, "Our Countrystyle Community Tourism Village programme blends well with this niche market as every community has potential with the many old churches, houses and exciting duppy stories. For example, there is an abandoned St Barnabas Anglican church (known as Way Pen Duppy Church) near to Mile Gully en route to Balaclava, in a village called Green Hill, which is supposed to be so haunted that it scared away the congregation who have some amazing stories to relate of their experiences!

"Communicate this to the many passionate ghost-hunters and see how intrigued they will be to visit Jamaica, to experience and talk to the community ... which will result in income generation for accommodation, food and tours businesses. In Jamaica, we can pursue this lucrative market by researching the haunted places and areas with the assistance of the communities and develop an exciting marketing programme highlighting a 'duppy trail' throughout the country, which will take visitors to many diverse villages."

I hope to share my stories and investigations here for Jamaicans and those visiting the island. It has many secrets and many stories to be told - not all of them Urban Legends.


Unknown December 18, 2016 at 12:04 AM  

why do the call them duppy and not some other names??
Is it based on our Jamaican culture ???

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About This Blog

Out of the Dark: The Ghost Hunting Chronicles is a blog providing detailed investigations of the Out of the Dark team, paranormal news and editorial.

It will also feature the past investigations of paranormal investigator and author John Savoie.