As an author of all things paranormal or supernatural, my enthusiasm for unexplained mysteries has spanned more than three decades and included visits to some of America’s most haunted places. But when I found out that Jamaica was one of the ports of call on the cruise that I took last summer, I knew that I had to see the famously haunted Rose Hall in Montego Bay. As a clairvoyant/medium, my excitement raged as I anxiously waited to get inside this historic mansion. Tales of a white witch who practiced voodoo and tortured slaves on this sugar plantation filled my internet search. I scoured through page after page as I researched Rose Hall before my arrival, but as I continued to study numerous articles, I was somewhat disappointed to discover that the legend of the white witch was most likely fictional. And yet numerous reports of the mansion’s haunting still continued to mount as I searched. I wondered whose spirit was lingering there. If Annie Palmer was not guilty of the horrific acts associated with her name at Rose Hall, then who could be haunting the mansion and why?
Upon arriving, I was stunned by the Georgian style mansion’s grandeur as it was more splendid than its online pictures. The house was built in the 1770’s by Fulke Rose and later became the property of John Palmer in the 1800’s, but suffered serious damage from a fire during the late 19th century. The mansion was restored twice during the mid to late 20th century and finally purchased by the former Miss USA World, Michele Rollins and her husband, John Rollins.
As we were led up the path to the mansion, I focused on the energy of the place while recalling what I had read before my arrival. Legend has it that the ghost of Annie Palmer haunts the grounds and mansion. According to the story, Annie was born in Haiti and spent much of her life there but when both of her parents died of yellow fever, she was adopted by the family’s nanny who introduced her to witchcraft and taught the young girl Voodoo.
Years later Annie Palmer, now seventeen years old, moved to Jamaica and married John Palmer, owner of Rose Hall Plantation. As the new mistress of Rose Hall, the legend has it that Annie soon tired of her husband and began taking slave lovers. When she was discovered in the bed with one of her lovers, John beat her but days later met his death when he was strangled to death at the hands of his wife. The story continues with Annie marrying twice more and murdering those husbands as well by stabbing the second husband to death and poisoning the third. But in 1821, Annie met her final demise when her slave lover, Takoo climbed the basement stairs during the middle of the night and entered the main house. He then crept up the main staircase and into Annie’s bedroom where he assaulted the sleeping white witch and strangled her to death. The next morning the slaves burned her clothes and personal belongings and then buried her body a short distance from the mansion.
Researchers have found that the legend was most likely born from a Jamaican novel, The White Witch of Rose Hall, written by Herbert G. De Lisser in 1929. Findings have now concluded that Annie Palmer was a fictional character and not to be confused with the plantation’s former mistress, Rosa Palmer who reportedly had four husbands during her lifetime but was always known as a faithful and devoted wife. I will admit that I was somewhat disappointed to discover that the legend was purely fictional, but if Rose Hall’s past still lingered beneath its walls in the form of ghostly apparitions, I was about to find out as soon as my feet crossed the threshold.
I took a deep breath and stepped inside the front room of Rose Hall. My eyes immediately lifted to the ceiling and corners of the room as I admired the interior’s high ceilings and dark, rich wood along the walls. Our tour guide introduced us to the mansion by giving us a few details of the home’s history before leading us into the dining hall, but I was somewhat discouraged because I did not feel a spiritual presence upon entering the house. Until…
As the guide moved our group into the dining room, I noticed a female apparition wearing a long, light blue dress with a tiny flower pattern. I guessed that she was probably in her early thirties and had lived during the early 19th century. She had dark hair that was pulled into a tight bun. She seemed to be oblivious to us as she walked around the dining room before disappearing at the corner of the table. It was if she stepped into a doorway to the other side!
I gave instructions to my son and daughter, who were traveling with me, specifics of what to notice (bodily sensations) as we toured the house. I told them to let me know if they felt anything unusual. Since neither of them has ever been on a paranormal investigation with me nor do they know much about being an empath, I was curious to see if either of them had the “gift”. As I expected, my son was first to inform me of the crushing sensation that he felt on his chest as we began entering the second floor where the “reported” murders had occurred. But as we walked from room to room, I again sensed that the energy just wasn’t matching the story that I was hearing as the tour guide led us into each of the rooms where Annie Palmer supposedly murdered her husbands. If there were ghosts on the 2nd floor, I assumed that they were hiding, but as I entered the red bedroom that supposedly belonged to Annie, I felt a strong presence that had been there for almost two hundred years.
I stood still near the foot of the bed and gazed all around the room. As a pair of ghostly eyes studied me, I began snapping pictures of Annie’s bed and the candelabras that seemed to light up each time I took a picture. Although the candelabras were not lit, a flame appeared in the photographs. I lingered in Annie’s room for a few minutes, satisfied that I had discovered where the ghost of Rose Hall likely resided until we passed into another room. My body jerked as I turned to see a man sitting at a small desk inside the next room. He was writing something on a tablet and as my mouth hung open in stunned silence, my eyes fell to the floor where I noticed one of his feet turned on its side. His shoes were cream colored loafers with a black buckle.
I then became distracted by my son taking pictures of Annie’s favorite mirror. He continued to snap pictures hoping to catch Annie’s reflection, but his efforts seemed pointless until we later reviewed his pictures and were amazed by a reflection that showed up in the mirror. Could this be the corpse of one of Annie’s husbands?
Perhaps one of the most convincing paranormal encounters that I experienced while touring Rose Hall was the energy that still lingered in the downstairs basement, now a gift shop and snack bar. Orbs and light portals seemed to burst forth in every picture, and I suspect that these spirits are not just confined to the basement but may roam about the mansion.
If you decide to visit Montego Bay, Jamaica and love a good ghost story, put this place on the MUST SEE list. The spirits are here. Although I did not sense anything malevolent from the entities, I was aware of at least two intelligent hauntings in the mansion, and I believe that the basement has a portal where souls are entering and exiting the house. If I could spend the night at Rose Hall with a team of paranormal investigators, I believe that the spirits would eagerly tell me their side of the story. And what a story it would be! I’m going back…someday.