The legend of the White Witch of Rose Hall

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Rose Hall, near Montego Bay  

Rose Hall - St. James (20 minutes drive east of Montego Bay)
Tel: ( 1 876 ) 953-2323

The Legend of Annie Palmer

Annie Mae Patterson was born to an English mother and Irish father who moved to Haiti when they she was just 10 years old. Whilst in Haiti, Annie became interested in Voodoo and learned about it from her Haitian nanny. Her parents died of yellow fever whilst in Haiti and she was raised to adulthood by her nanny, becoming an expert at Voodoo as she grew. At the age of 18 her nanny died and she moved to Jamaica in search of a rich husband as a means to acquiring her fortune. She was said to be very beautiful and very petite (around 4 ' 11 " tall). She met and married John Palmer, the owner of the Rose Hall estate which included the great house and a 7,000 acre sugar plantation with 2,000 slaves.

Only a matter of months in to their wedding Annie began to grow tired of her husband and started taking slave lovers to bed. One day John caught her with a lover and beat her with a crop. Annie took great exception to this and murdered him by poising his coffee, she then inherited Rose Hall for herself.

Annie inherited Rose Hall herself and began her reign of terror on the estate. She would regularly shout orders to her slaves from her balcony and would often torture or kill any slaves who displeased her and sometimes just to make an example of them. Annie took a string of slaves as lovers, however, none of these lasted for long as she murdered them as soon as she grew tired of them. She married twice more but both of these husbands died, presumed murdered by Annie who went on to inherit their wealth. The husbands were buried by slaves whom she had killed before they returned to the estate. Her cruel behaviour coupled with rumours of her Voodoo rituals earned her the name "The White Witch of Rose Hall".

Annie's fatal mistake was to put a curse on the granddaughter of Takoo, the local obeah man. Annie was trying to win the love of an English book keeper named Robert Rutherford. However, Rutherford was in love with the Obeah man's granddaughter, Millicent. Annie cursed Millicient with an "Old Hige" - a visit from a ghost whose presence causes the victim to slowly wither and die. Outraged by his granddaughters death, Takoo, accompanied by an army of angry slaves strangled and killed Annie.

She was immediately buried in a very deep hole on Rose Hall estate. The slaves on the estate also burned her possessions for fear that they were tainted by her spirit. A voodoo ritual was carried out when she was buried but it is said that this was not carried out correctly and her spirit still haunts Rose Hall to this day.

It is said that the subsequent owners of the Rose Hall estate suffered early and tragic deaths, leading to the estate being unoccupied for over 130 years. Locals have reported seeing a shadowy figure in a green velvet habit riding a black horse across the estate. There are also tales of screams and hurried footprints being heard in the empty great house.

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