Most haunted houses come with a legend, and Rose Hall Estate near Montego Bay is no exception. This place is said to be haunted by the White Witch – AKA Annie Palmer – who lived in the house in the 1800s.
Legend has it that Annie was born in 1802 in England, and moved to Haiti with her parents when she was 10. Her parents died from yellow fever soon after they arrived, and Annie was brought up by her nanny, a voodoo priestess, who trained her in the black arts. She moved to Jamaica when she was 18 to find a wealthy husband, and used her dark magic to entrap Rose Hall Estate owner John Palmer into marriage, making her the heir to a big plantation. Shortly after they got hitched, Annie poisoned John to get her hands on the estate. She went on to marry again and murder her second husband, plus a slave lover, just for fun.
So, what’s the truth? Well, there was a real Annie Palmer and a John Rose Palmer who married in 1820 and lived at Rose Hall Estate. John Palmer did die shortly after they were married, although there’s no evidence to suggest any foul play, and Annie was left in debt after his death. Annie Palmer left Rose Hall in 1830 and was never heard of again. The legend originated in H.G. de Lisser's 1928 novel ‘The White Witch of Rose Hall’. But there have been several reports of ghostly sightings at the estate...
Whether the story of Annie Palmer is true or not, if you love a good ghost story, you should visit the Rose Hall Estate in Jamaica. Take a tour during the day and you’ll see the Georgian mansion in all its glory, plus you’ll tour the grounds, and learn the story of Jamaica’s most famous house. Inside, the rooms are still preserved with fading Georgian décor, ghostly drapes and eerie creaking floorboards to match. And, deep in the grounds you’ll find a tomb built by slaves to stop Annie’s spirit from rising.
The best time to visit Rose Hall Estate is at night when, over Halloween, special spooky night tours are on the agenda. On this candlelit tour, your guide will take you around the house, which is illuminated in an eerie green, while characters from the past are waiting in the wings ready to scare you. After exploring the bedrooms, the living quarters and the dungeon, and coming into contact with a couple of Annie’s old husbands, you’ll venture into the grounds to seek out her grave – it’s not for the faint-hearted. Thankfully, you can head to the bar to relax with a horror-themed cocktail afterwards.
After getting scared on the ghost tour, you can carry on the Halloween fun at Pier One restaurant in Montego Bay, which is a 15-minute drive from Rose Hall Estate. This harbourside restaurant-come-nightclub usually puts on special Halloween parties with spooky additions to the menu and the décor, a live band and the chance to dress up. Past themes have included pumpkins, witches and Harry Potter.
Feeling inspired? Find out more top things to do in Montego Bay
The adults-focussed Riu Reggae comes with a beachfront location and boats swim-up bars.
A beachfront setting, a big swimming pool and plenty of food choices – the Riu Montego Bay proves its worth as a Jamaican retreat.
The TUI SENSATORI Resort Negril puts white sands and the Caribbean Sea in the palm of your hand.
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