Surrounded by stunning gardens and overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Rose Hall is one of the finest mansions in Montego Bay in Jamaica. Because of its association with the most vicious female plantation owner who was known as the White Witch, Ross Hall is very popular among tourists.
Her name was Annie Palmer, a young girl from Haiti who, after the sudden death of her parents, was adopted by her nanny from whom she learned a lot about the dark arts. After the death of her caretaker, Annie decided to move to Jamaica where she met the owner of the estate John Palmer and became his wife when she was only 17 years old.
The construction of the house was finished in 1790 and 2,000 slaves worked on the plantation. It is said that from the moment Annie entered the house, she became very strange and started to act very badly. There are many local stories about Annie Palmer.One of them is that she was unfaithful and seduced some of the plantation workers to be her lovers.
The Rose Hall. Author: Sarah_Ackerman. CC BY 2.0
Scared that her husband would find out, Annie killed many of them and buried their bodies under the house. The plantation workers were very frightened of her because they believed she would use voodoo on them to bind them to her will. John eventually found out about her affairs when he found her in bed with another man.
The dining room. Author: Sarah_Ackerman. CC BY 2.0
Upon discovering her, he beat her badly. After a few days, once she had recovered, Annie poisoned him and inherited the mansion and his fortune for herself. It is said that she re-married twice but killed both of her husbands and was never formally accused of it. Annie is also reputed to have tried to curse the granddaughter of a powerful Obeah man known as Takoo because Annie had fallen madly in love with her husband, a bookkeeper from England.
The bedroom of Annie Palmer. Author: Sarah_Ackerman. CC BY 2.0
When Takoo find out what her intentions were, he gathered many of Annie’s own slaves and went to her mansion to kill her. They buried her body in a very deep hole under the house. When she was killed, the slaves burned her clothes and performed a voodoo ritual because they feared that her spirit would return.
The mansion before reconstruction. Author: Jasonbook99. CC BY-SA 3.0
In spite of the ritual, people still believe that her ghost haunts the halls of the house. One of the curses supposedly placed by Annie was for inhabitants of her house to suffer an early and painful death. In the years after Annie was killed, the stories tell that a number of Rose Hall’s owners fell victim to the curse until the myth surrounding the estate meant that no one wanted to come near anymore. It was abandoned for 130 years before becoming a museum.
There is a story that the ghost of Annie Palmer is still haunting the hall. Author: Sarah_Ackerman. CC BY 2.0
The restoration process began in the 1920s and it was finished in the 1960s. The man who brought the house back to its former beauty was John Rollins who was a governor for Delaware State. Many visitors who enter the mansion claim that they have seen Annie’s ghost or heard voices or footsteps. Others say that they could hear a baby crying and awful screams coming from the basement.
One of the bedrooms in the house. Author: Sarah_Ackerman. CC BY 2.0
Few original pieces are kept in the house and one of them is a mirror in which Annie’s reflection can supposedly be seen. The museum closed almost a decade ago and the property was bought by Ritz-Carlton resorts who built a hotel and few private apartments. The most visited spot of the estate is the tomb near the house which, the legend says, was built over of the place where Annie was buried.