Haunted Rose Hall

by Walter Bissell

Rose Hall Great House, Jamaica
Haunted Rose Hall Plantation in JamaicaIn the late1700’s, this great house was built for John Palmer, the wealthy owner of a very successful sugar plantation. Rose Hall was built on a high ridge overlooking the surrounding 6,600 acres, worked by more than 2,000 slaves. On March 28, 1820, John summoned Annie Paterson to Montego Bay to become his wife. Annie, standing 4’ 11’’ tall and only 17 years of age at the time, made a beautiful bride. She is thought to be the widow of the builder’s grandnephew who had died quite suddenly and mysteriously.

Some say, “Annie grew up in Paris, France and loved the glamour of French living” Others say, “Annie was born in 1802, in England to an English mother and Irish father. At the age of 10, her family moved to Haiti. After her parents died of yellow fever Annie was adopted by a Haitian voodoo priestess.”

Voodoo Takes Hold
Whether she acquired the knowledge of the rituals and practices of “Voodoo” from the slaves after she came to the Island or from her adopted family, she became familiar with and quite skilled in it. Although it seemed a bit strange at first, she was a fast learner and soon knew the power of this magic.

Annie could have had a wonderful life at Rose Hall, but “she missed the bright lights of Paris or just became bored with the laid back Island living” so she began luring innumerable men to her bed with the power of Voodoo. Whether white or black, slaves or visitors she enticed them. When she grew tired of them, she killed them by poisoning, stabbing, strangling and pouring boiling oil into their ears; then she buried them in unmarked graves. These murders may have been committed to strengthen her powers. When John Palmer found out she was having affairs with young slaves, he is said to have beaten her with a riding whip. John Palmer died that night, and before long, rumors were flying that his young wife had poisoned his wine.

A Nasty Annie Takes Over
Haunted Rose Hall Before Being RebuiltAfter John’s death, Annie Palmer “began a reign of terror at Rose Hall.” She became quite nasty, more lascivious, more diabolical and very mean spirited to her slaves and all who worked on the plantation. She began Lording over them in vile and despicable ways. Annie started her day by stepping onto a small balcony at the rear of the plantation overlooking the yard where she had the slaves assembled. Here she issued the orders of the day. “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 torture them as punishment for the slightest infraction of her orders; some she would even have executed.” It wasn’t long before Annie Palmer earned the title, “White Witch of Rose Hall.” She gained quite a reputation of being ruthless and evil to everyone in the area. Even the pirates that frequented the area stayed away from her. Annie Palmer was widely feared as a black magician.

She married again, boasting, “If I survive I'll marry five.” When she was bored with him, it is said, “She got rid of this husband in the same manner as the rest, acquiring his fortunes as well.” Annie continued to dabble in voodoo, torture her slaves, and murder her lovers.

Some say, she made a final mistake at the age of 29, in 1831. “She murdered a young man who 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!” Annie’s power prevailed in spite of this attempt and her ghost is said to roam the house and grounds of Rose Hall still today.

Others say, Annie Palmer was eventually murdered herself by one of her slave lovers that same year. Fanciful legends of underground tunnels, blood stains and hauntings continue…

Tours of the Rose Hall great house, Jamaica, can be scheduled on-line. It is the centerpiece of a golf development, now.

Ghost Pictures Taken at Rose Hall:
Rose Hall Ghost Picture

For More Information, Visit the:
Rose Hall Official Site

Another Story About Rose Hall from Vickie Scholten:
"My husband and I just got back from Ocho Rios, Jamaica. On our way to the Airport to Montego Bay I was taking photos from the bus window. It was a mostly sunny day with some clouds and a bit cloudier to the airport. I took several shots of the landscape along the way including a nice little church building that overlooked the sea, all of these photos were fine, nothing out to the ordinary. As we were getting closer to Montego Bay, not too far from the Rose Hall Great House, I saw some children standing on the side of the road by a park it looked like, maybe it was their school yard, not sure, but they waved and I decided to quickly snap a shot, that is the photo marked Rose Hall witch. As we traveled further I was going to take a photo of the Great house in the distance but I could not get it. When we were about 5 miles or so from the Airport I saw some nice homes that I took photos of, both were filled with orbs, but the one attached has the appearance of the Orb coming through or into the bus and one possibly leaving on the other side with a bunch all around. It is weird to me because when I took these photos it was a clear day. You can even tell on the first photo in the upper right hand corner the blue sky. This photo really freaked me out! I see two faces in the image over the photo of the children. The first face I noticed was from the top of the aspiration where it looked like teeth, a mouth opened with many white teeth showing along with what appeared to be dried wet blood coming from the corner and bulging eye to the left. My daughter right away noticed the other face in the photo, right above the child in green, I see a complete face. Before I had these photos developed, I had read the book "The White Witch of Rose Hall" and it was ironic to me that I seamed to be seeing a dead person's face with the tongue and eyes bulging at the top, making me think of Annie's strangulation and then like a white softer looking face below. Others have looked and seen the same things, not sure what you will see or think of these.

Rose Hall Orb?The second photo is strange too. It looks to have hundreds of orbs with one big one passing into our bus right in front of me and one leaving. The photo should have been of a home setting that overlooked Montego Bay, a nice little property, you can see some of the house in the background. The orb passing sort of freaked me too because it looked cylinder shaped with the square bottom, like Annie Palmer's grave tomb, I think the shape made me think that. Not sure what it is really.

I had not purchased any books about Rose Hall at the time of these photos. There were several shots taken the same day within an hour that are just fine. The camera used was a 35 mm Olympus TRIP AF 60, nothing fancy. When I took our vacation film to Walmart I never even thought about seeing anything like this. I do know we were traveling close to if not through what would have been her land on the way to the Airport. I had wanted to visit Rose Hall, but since I had such a close encounter, not knowing of course, I think it was good not to go there. My family history is also of Irish and English decent and we have some rumors or in some cases fact of previous ancestors having special powers, perhaps Wiccan. A friend mentioned to me that she, the witch would not like me being there, something about the Witch and Wiccans not seeing eye to eye, but this is all talk, not sure of any of it. I do know I was drawn to read her story and buy the book and I read it in about a day. But like I said we did not visit the home of Annie Palmer, these were taken on the property along the highway."