In the 1700s, Annie Palmer moved to Jamaica to marry a sugarcane plantation owner. Many stories have developed, and as any good ghost story, the truth has become skewed. Much of the tale originates from a novel, The White Witch of Rose Hall, by Herbert G. de Lisse. Today the tour still makes a fascinating and unique experience, which has been featured on many "ghost hunting" television shows.
The spooky exterior of Rose Hall, which is said to be frequented by the White Witch — Photo courtesy of Rose Hall
As the legend goes, Annie was a cruel woman who practiced witchcraft and voodoo. She took many of her slaves as lovers, and would have them murdered when she became bored with them. Each time she married, her husband would suffer a mysterious death. Annie herself was murdered in her bed by one of the slaves, and it is said that she now haunts the mansion.
Climbing the front steps of the exceptionally quiet mansion in the Jamaican countryside at night is just plain eerie. The night tour begins in the dungeon, where visitors can purchase an adult beverage from Annie’s Pub, like the “Witches' Brew.” Afterwards, you can explore the historical artifacts – a fascinating and upsetting peek into the plantation’s past and the days of the slave trade.
Next, the guide tells the tale of Annie as visitors pass through rooms, gazing at the home's colonial-era furnishings. Each time the guide pauses, a costumed performer jumps out at visitors – making the visit ideal for families with kids (although it can be a little too scary for the younger ones). Just be aware that photography is not allowed. When passing Annie's mirror, look closely: some say they have seen the "White Witch," looking back.
Yes, it’s a bit cheesy, but a Rose Hall ghost tour is good fun and a unique evening attraction. The tour finishes in the yard, where Annie’s grave rests under the moonlight. This part can be extra creepy if you're visiting during a full moon, or - if you can time it right - during a thunderstorm. If the night experience sounds too scary for little ones, there is also a day tour of the mansion for the same rate ($20 for adults; $10 for children). The views from the verandah alone are stunning. A gift shop is also available.