White Witch of Rose Hall~A Strange and Eerie Legend In Montego Bay, Jamaica

Oct 31, 2006 (Updated Oct 10, 2007)

The Bottom Line The tours are fascinating, and the legend of the White Witch is supposed to be true, so watch out!

When I think of Halloween, which for some strange reason in one of my favorite holidays, I think of haunted mansions and things that go bump in the night…Other than a strange occurrence years ago in a hotel room in Portofino Italy, I’ve not had too much experience with ghostly matters, Thankfully!

But I have been to a very very spooky and chilling residence, home to the legendary White Witch of Rose Hall.

Back story

For years my family and I used to go to Jamaica for a quick weekend getaways, it was close, traveling was much easier then to go on a whim and we just loved the laid back atmosphere…. Montego Bay was our destination since there are so many interesting things to do and the cost was very reasonable, then...One year we and another family decided to rent a large villa in the hills overlooking the beautiful ocean below. These private homes which you could rent weekly were luxurious and came with a full time housekeeper and butler, well actually he was a gardener by day, kept the pool in pristine condition and was a butler by night…at 5:00 P.M, he would put on a suit and tie to serve drinks and hors d'oeuvres… There was also a cook on the premises so the big decision we had to make during that day was what we wanted to have for dinner that night…She then would go to the market and buy everything fresh for that meal…yes, it was luxury personified…If we wanted to dine out we just let them know…Boy, it’s good to be king and or queen!

This grand old house was located in the Rose Hall area of Montego bay and there were many things to do just a short distance away…there was the rafting at Duns River falls in nearby Ocho Rios, there was horse back riding, the flea markets, where you could buy anything and everything, including a few illegal substances if you were so inclined …and, of course, there was the beautiful sun kissed beach and ocean just down below…. but our favorite place we visited was a strange mansion just up the hill a bit where the White Witch of Rose Hall roamed the house and grounds…This was as spooky a place as I had ever been and I was fascinated with the story and history of this very bizarre and wicked woman.

In the 1700’s a young woman, named Anne came to Montego bay from France to marry John Palmer, the wealthy owner of a huge successful sugar plantation. Everything was strange and new to her but she soon became acquainted with her new found home. There were slaves galore and though this could have been a wonderful life for her it is said she was bored and missed the bright lights of Paris and wasn’t too thrilled with this laid back Island living. Soon she became quite nasty and very mean spirited to her slaves and all who worked on the plantation.

She would have some of her slaves whipped for just about no reason, often in public to show the others just what they had in store if they disobeyed her orders in any way…She had a dungeon built and would put them in there and tortured as punishment for the slightest infraction of her orders, some she would even have executed…What her husband had to say about all this is unknown. Every morning she would stand out on her balcony to give her orders for the day to assembles slaves below …Yes she was a tyrant in every sense of the word.

Out of boredom she started taking slaves to bed with her, when she tired of them she would kill them, then have them buried in unmarked graves on the grounds…It is not known if her husband found out or what, but it is also said she murdered him in bed one night, then had him buried as well… Why wasn’t this death investigated? Nobody knows… but the island then was pretty much lawless…In any event his death just went unnoticed and she became the mistress of everything…. Yes, there certainly were many unmarked graves on those grounds, are those some of the spirits that are said to roam the estate now?

It wasn’t too long before she wanted to study Voodoo...Now this practice had long been established on the Island so it wasn’t difficult at all for her to find out the ways and wherefores of this very strange phenomenon...She was a fast learner and soon knew the magic she sought after, using it in vile and despicable manners…She would have babies sacrificed to strengthen her powers then have them buried also in unmarked graves. Her slaves taught her all they knew hoping they would be favored by her and not sacrificed, as had so many others. She married two more times and it is said she got rid of those husbands in the same manner as the first, acquiring their fortunes as well.

Soon she became known as the “White Witch#148, with a reputation as being ruthless and evil to everyone in the area. Even the pirates who frequented the area stayed away from her.

Things went along that way for a while, until one day, she happened to see a young slave she coveted and had him brought to her bedroom that night...For some reason she murdered him that evening instead of a few nights later as she normally did, also buried in an unmarked grave...But this time she made a mistake. This young man had been in love with a young girl who happened to be the daughter of the overseer of the estate. They were to be married and the girl was heartbroken…the overseer also was a high priest of Voodoo, something he didn’t want Annie to know. ..He was furious at this action on Annie’s part and decided to do away with her using his magic against hers. He prepared a special grave for her with specific markings and designed it so that she would be unable to rise from the dead. He then went into the house and engaged in a battle to the death of both of them fighting both physically and with all the magic he could muster from his years of practicing this very strange voodoo religion.. They then buried her in the grave he had prepared for her and that was supposed to be that!

But was it? Now it is said the rituals and spells that were to be preformed over her grave weren’t done in the correct manner and she did rise, now roaming the great halls once again. There are so many sightings noted it is hard to discount them...Even some tourists who go there say they’ve captured ghostly images in mirrors and other places with their cameras while taking the tours of the house.. There have been paranormals who have been there recording strange and frightening sightings as well...I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures in my camera of those ghostly images but did get really spooked at one point when I heard a noise while I was changing my film and fell behind our tour group, (I was in her bedroom and wanted to get a few shots of the bed and other furnishings before I left), I turned quickly but nobody was there, at least nobody on this earthly plane. And her grave, well, that is indeed an eerie sight, a big curved stone with a cross engraved on the front...It certainly doesn’t look as foreboding as it could have but I wouldn’t want to be there alone, at night!

Yes, The Great House of Rose Hall is certainly a strange and frightening place. Located on a lovely hill, overlooking the beauty that is Montego Bay, Jamaica, but inside there wasn’t much beauty of the soul in the resident white witch. So watch out! This is not a place to linger after the sun sets.

Happy Halloween

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