Rose Hall Great House: A Journey Through Time1 Comment
For ages the legend of Annie Palmer has been used to scare Jamaican children into eating their vegetables, yet despite her sinister legacy, thousands of visitors each year visit her former home: the infamous Rose Hall Great House.
The White Witch
She might have been a tiny woman, but Annie Paterson drove fear into the hearts of everyone she encountered. She was an orphaned English girl raised in Haiti, and according to legend, her Haitian nanny schooled her in the dark arts and voodoo and many say that Annie exploited this knowledge throughout her lifetime.
Annie married John Rose Palmer, who owned the 650-acre plantation at Rose Hall, in 1820. After John died of unexplained causes a few years after his marriage, the estate fell under Annie's control. Death followed Annie like a plague, and whether intentionally or accidentally, all of Annie's husbands and lovers died under strange circumstances.
Local myth says Annie died by the hands of her slave lover, Takoo, after a love triangle developed between Annie, her last husband, also called John, and another slave called Millie. Many believe that Annie murdered Millie, and Takoo, a voodoo practitioner, sought revenge for the death of his granddaughter.
Rose Hall through the ages
Hon. John Palmer, Custos of St. James, built the infamous house in 1770 and it's an iconic example of Georgian architecture on the island. Like the other great houses of this era, Rose Hall sits on top of a hill where it overshadows the entire property, so its owners could keep an eye on everything. John Rose Palmer inherited both this estate and the neighboring Palmyra plantation after his great uncle's death, but eventually fell into financial ruin and died after marrying Annie.
After Annie's death, the house was abandoned when the family who took over the estate believed it was haunted. In the 1960s, Michelle Rollins, former Miss USA, and her husband John bought and restored Rose Hall to its former beauty, with help from neighbors, the legendary Johnny Cash and his wife June, who owned a nearby vacation home.
The estate is on the top list of places to visit in Jamaica, and many flock to Rose Hall to enjoy the beautiful gardens, and perhaps soak up a few high-class outdoor concerts. It's a popular stopping place for golfers who have enjoyed the course at the nearby 5-star hotel. There are many who visit the hall with hopes of catching a glimpse of Annie's ghost.
The Rose Hall Historic Tour
While the tour round Rose Hall is relatively short, you'll find it an interesting experience and you'll get to see numerous spots around the estate, including the rooms where Annie was said to have murdered her three husbands and countless lovers. Experienced guides will show you round secret passageways in the house and Annie's final, alleged, resting place. Prepare for your hairs to stand on end when you pass a painting of a mysterious family that is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a small child. As you look up at the painting, you'll find her eyes follow you with every single move.
After a tour of the house, you'll head towards the dungeon for a few glasses of the famous Witch's Brew, a concoction of rum, pineapple juice and many secret ingredients.
Rose Hall Today
Whether you're superstitious or not, there is one fact that is proven: Rose Hall is breathtakingly beautiful. You'll be treated to stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, acres of lush gardens, magnificent architecture and the house's rich legacy. Rose Hall has so much to offer each type of traveler.
Find a cozy spot close to the lily pond, where you can sit down and relax with a cup of Witch's Brew and thumb through a copy of "The White Witch of Rose Hall." Perhaps you might even catch a glimpse of Annie's ghost on the prowl.
An episode from the SYFY channel's Ghost Hunters also featured Rose Hall.
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