Jamaica is a place that makes us think of beautiful beaches, colorful landscapes, cheerful people and a relaxed atmosphere. But there is more to this island than its natural beauty: its streets, jungles and villages are full of history, traditions and legends… like the famous legend of The White Witch of Rose Hall.
It all started in 1820, when John Palmer, heir to the property of Rose Hall after the death of his uncle, met Annie Mae Patterson. They soon married and became a respected couple and model citizens. Although thought to be a happy couple by all accounts, and contemporary evidence suggesting no foul play regarding John’s death in 1827, years later a rumor began to spread, claiming Annie had stabbed him to death.
John Palmer was succeeded by two other husbands who also suffered sudden deaths; one poisoned, the other strangled. It is said that some slaves, under Annie‘s orders, removed the corpses through secret underground passages and buried them in the beach. The widow claimed all three had succumbed to yellow fever.
Within Rose Hall, Annie Palmer had absolute power, and rumor has it that she used it arbitrarily and cruelly. It is believed that in the dungeon, located in the basement of the mansion, she tortured undisciplined slaves and abused the others. In spite of all that, few people tried to escape, fearing the great traps hidden along the perimeter of the plantation.
Annie instilled fear in the slaves, and they feared more than just physical harm. Everyone knew she had gone to Haiti to learn the secrets of voodoo, and had returned a powerful sorceress. She used her magic against anyone who got in her way.
Years later, when the British Parliament abolished slavery, the landlords of Jamaica were slow to enact the new law, and generated great tension with the population, which erupted into violent revolts throughout the island in 1830. The revolt also reached Rose Hall: a party of insurgents entered the mansion and burst into Annie Palmer‘s room. They killed the White Witch, disfigured her corpse and threw her out the window. A neighbor buried the remains in a tomb with no name, erecting three crosses above it to contain the power of the sorceress, but leaving one side of the tomb open so her spirit could wander the Earth.
Nowadays, Rose Hall Mansion is open to visitors in Jamaica. It is an authentic historical gem and one of the few residences of plantation owners that are still well preserved. Rumors have it that during the restoration of the mansion, workers found bloodstains on the walls of the room where Annie Palmer supposedly stabbed her first husband.