The Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay

We made a point of visiting Rose Hall, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Jamaica. Armed with the latest in high-tech instant cameras, our intrepid Duppy (Ghost) Busting Selectors took on the Rose Hall challenge and signed up for a tour.

What's all the ghost stuff about? Here's a description of Rose Hall, taken from JAMAICA & THE CAYMAN ISLANDS, an excellent guide book written by James Henderson.....

"....Rose Hall great house, the most famous in Jamaica. It is a Georgian Mansion with a stone base and a plastered upper storey, high on the hillside, with a fantastic panorama over the coast. Built in the 1770s, Rose Hall was restored in the 1960s to its former splendour, with mahogany floors, interior windows and doorways, panelling and wooden ceilings. It is decorated with silk wallpaper printed with palms and birds, ornamented with chandeliers and furnished with mostly European antiques. There's a bar downstairs and a restaurant.

Rose Hall is most famous for the story of its mistress Annie Palmer, who came here in 1820, and the fanciful legends of underground tunnels, bloodstains and hauntings. A renowned beauty, Annie Palmer was widely feared as a black magician, and she is also supposed to have dispatched three husbands (by poison, by stabbing and then pouring boiling oil into his ears, and by strangling) and innumerable lovers, including slaves, whom she simply killed when she was bored of them. She was 4ft 11ins high and was murdered in her bed. There is little evidence to support the legend, an amusing version of which was written up by H. G. de Lisser in his "White Witch of Rose Hall", though maybe you'll be convinced by the ghostly faces that appear in photographs taken by tourists...."

It was a dark and stormy night.... well actually it was daytime, but it was dark(er) and stormy which really helped set the mood. The tour began in the basement where we waited in the gift shop for a tour guide. In one corner was located a glass case, displaying letters and photographs sent in by previous visitors. The letters typically read ".... when our pictures came back from the developer, we were astonished to see a face...." or "....notice the headboard and the ornamental brass appearing where there isn't any..." or ".....we hadn't even told our friends about the ghost of Rose Hall when they immediately pointed out a face...."

We were pretty skeptical, I have to say. One letter referenced a "bat-like figure" in an attached picture of a chandelier. I thought it was just the dark wood ceiling visible between the crystals. The photo with the "ornamental brass" was interesting, but not very spooky. One photo, however, showed a vague facial figure in front of the headboard in Annie Palmer's room. We were sure that it was one of those one-in-a-million photographs that could never happen again.

A tour guide showed up within a few minutes and we were on our way. As the story goes, the house was purchased by a couple from Maryland who put a few million (U.S.) dollars into its restoration. The effort was worth it as Rose Hall is as remarkable as brochures describe it. When we came to the master bedroom with "the headboard", we took turns capturing the moment on Kodak Gold. I positioned myself directly in front of the bed and, peering through the viewfinder, prepared to take that dramatic one-in-a-million photo.

"Rhaatid! A duppy!" I exclaimed. There on the headboard, in exactly the same position as the whitish figure in the photo downstairs, I saw an amorphous blur. "This can't be right" I commented excitedly to myself. "I thought they (ghosts) can only be seen in photographs!" Still, there it was, completely shapeless, but definitely present. I moved to my right to get a better angle and much to my amazement, the anomaly moved with me. "Is it trying to face the lens?!?" I thought, shaking the camera in excitement. Then it hit me... no, not the ghost....but a revelation as jarring as a cerebral cold shower. "It's the reflection of my shirt and shorts in the varnish. Boy, what [expletive]!"

Yep, that it was. Dressed in a white shirt and shorts, I reflected the gray light from the window quite well. Nonetheless, I was there and other people wanted to take a picture too, so I clicked away with hopes that the magic photographic chemicals would redeem my efforts. Our tour guide lead us through the entire house, telling stories that had relevance to each room. Firing off a volley of shots from two cameras, we felt that we had given any resident duppies sufficient chance to strike a pose for us.

So, what did we see when the film came back? We were surprised. Look carefully....

"The headboard"

Magnified view

Ok, Ok. So we're having fun with this. Joking aside, this digitally cleaned-up and magnified image was taken from the headboard shot. You have to admit it's eerie.

This mirror looked like any other old mirror when we were there. It seems that the film version has presented a complex tropical scene with palm trees, bushes, and even a person on the left....

A mirror in another room

Magnified view

What do you think? Let me know by emailing to our show address Junior doesn't want to know anything about images like this on the net (he won't even have his picture up, imagine posting DUPPIES!). We're even thinking of sending a copy to Rose Hall. Should we?

We heard a story about some guy that wanted to see for himself if there was a ghost (duppy) so he got permission to stay overnight in the house. Hours after retiring, he had trouble sleeping.


Anyway, he went to the kitchen to make some tea. As he was sipping it, he heard a scream coming from another part of the house. He put the cup down and ran to investigate.

(I would have just RUN!)

He found nothing, but when he returned, his tea cup was missing.

I believe you can sign up to stay at Rose Hall overnight as part of a tour. Let me know how it goes. I won't be there!

Be sure to visit the Official Rose Hall Web Site

More pictures on the way.....likkle more.

~ Jack

Here's another interesting bit of information on Rose Hall excerpted from the book, Tour Jamaica, by Margaret Morris


This magnificent great house cost 30,000 pounds sterling to build in 1770 - an enormous sum in those days - and was considered the finest in the island. It was damaged during the 1831 slave rebellion and uninhabited thereafter, perhaps because the ghost of the White Witch of Rosehall was rumoured to be in residence. Stripped of its doors and mahogany staircase it fell into ruin. During the 1960s it was purchased by American millionaire John Rollins and restored at vast expense to its present elegance. Restoration of the great house was part of a development scheme that included the construction of the Holiday Inn and Rosehall hotels. Conducted tours are available.

The story of the White Witch of Rosehall, Jamaica's most popular legend, was perpetuated by H.G. de Lisser's novel. Annie Palmer is reported to have been beautiful, lascivious and diabolical. She dabbled in voodoo, tortured her slaves, murdered her husbands and lured into her bed any man, black or white who took her fancy, boasting: If I survive I'll marry five. Annie, it is said, was eventually strangled, by a slave, during an uprising. There is no historical evidence to substantiate this tale. The facts are that the Hon. John Palmer, Custos of St James acquired Rosehall through marriage and built the great house. He was indeed the fourth husband of Rosehall's mistress, Mrs Rosa Palmer, but a memorial to her in St James Parish Church attests to her virtue and the fact that she died peacefully at age 72, predeceasing her husband. A subsequent Ann Palmer, wife of James Palmer, grandnephew of the Custos and heir to Rosehall, was also, research proves, a model wife. But the legend of the White Witch persists, losing nothing in the passage of time and encouraging attempts by various spiritualists to raise Annie's ghost. One attempt in 1978 took place before a large crowd which returned home very disappointed. Clairvoyant Bambos claimed to have conjured up a stout cafe-au-lait lady who led him to her grave behind the house where he discovered an incense burner and voodoo doll inside a termite nest.

Listener Gallery of Rose Hall Photos

Some photos and stories that you've sent in to us! Keep them coming!

I am writing regarding the picture of the white reflection in the headboard you have posted on your website. At first I could not see the face and it looked like just a reflection or flash. Then I saw a face, or two. If you look closly there appears to be a face looking to the left. A man, with mouth partially open and a somewhat large nose. Looking at this differently it could also be a man looking to the right, which is what your cleaned up image captures.
The main thing I wanted to point out is that I also saw the face of a woman in your photo. Just to the lower right of the "face" look for an image of a woman, possibly sitting up in bed with either her breasts exposed or knees up toward her chest.

I didn't buy in to this at first but if you look closely the two images become readily apparent. I just spent a week at the Hilton in Rose Hall but did not go to the Great House. Please let me know if you see the image I am referring to.



whilst myself and my husband were at the great house we had been told alot of stories about the white witch , we were taking mostly pictures in annies room where the supposed murders took place but only noticed the images when we got back home to scotland, this first picture has a face on the headboard if you look to the left you can clearly see the face also to the right of the headboard there appears to be another face of the young boy.
this second picture you have to zoom into the mirror and slightly to the bottom left of the mirror you can see a man with dreadlocks and a long beard also he has some sort of coat on ? hope you can see it to .third picture is of a young boys face if you zoom in look to the right mirror after the bed post mirror and look closely at the headboard you can see the face . maybe you all will be able to see some i have missed. going back to jamaica in jan cant wait , i will definetly be going back to rose hall .

thanks amanda evans


I went to visit Rose Hall and loved it! Loved Jamaica too and all the friendly people, wish I could swap my life in the UK and live the rest of my life in Jamaica.

Here are a few pics.

Paula Roughton

I attended a nighttime party at Rose Hall, Jamaica last week and took the enclosed picture. Check the cabinet on the left side of the picture. It appears to be an image of a woman in the cabinet. Feel free to use this picture as you please.


Hi, I'm e-mailing you concerning one of the pictures you have on your site. While I was doing some research for my English project and paper, my Mother and I happen to come across something that wasn't found by the people who submitted the photo, and that there is another face in the picture, right next to the one that they had pointed out, it looks as if it is (if not on) in front of the closet, on the wood, we just thought you might like to know.

Robyn Foster


In pic #1, I am touching the crypt and the entire rest of the tour group has gone up the hill to the bus. The woman that took this picture was a 300lb black woman with a straw hat on. As you can see, to the right this aparition is NOT a black woman. In pic #2, look to the right of the frame and notice into the armoire the cameo apparition in the brightwork..... The armoire is wooden with no mirrors and behind that room is a long hallway. In pic #3, here is another image on the headboard in Anne's room. Lemme know what you think.....Christina

My Husband and myself were at Rose Hall on May 5th and took this picture. We were the only ones in the room and when I took the picture I made sure there was no images in the mirror. I did not have any weird feelings and I don't even believe in ghosts, but when we got our film back I thought I saw a face in the mirror. My Sister was here and she said she did not see anything that looked like a face, so she said she would prove there was nothing in the mirror and took it home to blow up. (My Sister is a photo journalist)
It was not long before she called me to tell me she had the creeps. There are many faces in this mirror but none can compare to Annie herself in the left hand corner of the mirror. Wow this is really creepy. Let me know what you think?

Sandra Morgan


Attached are several pictures, the one called "man" is a full scanned image, the one called "close up" is a close up of the area where you should see a mans face. The one called "lighting" I did edit this one and took out all of the gamma and contrast which this clearly shows that there is something abnormal in the room.

Let us know what you think.

Amy & Brent


I recently visited Rose Hall and took pictures (Feb. 2002). We were astonished to see that in the three pictures I took of a very unusual mirror in Annie Palmers sitting room, they showed different things. The first picture shows something black in the corner - we haven't been able to figure out what it is. Also, there is no door reflected in the mirror as is reflected in the other two pictures. I stood in the same spot to take these. The 2nd and 3rd picture clearly show a women's head, shoulders and dress bodice. My husband was staring at this picture (a true skeptic) and noticed the faces of three others in these pictures. The second picture is not as clear as the third picture. I zoomed in on this pictures and was able to see eyes and a mouth on the woman. You can even see the top of her dress bodice. Tell me, do you see it as well? What do you think the black object in picture #1 is?

Wilmington, DE

When visiting The Rose Hall Great House on my honeymoon/vacation, I was snapping pictures like crazy and cracking jokes the whole time we were there. I kept taunting Annie to come out and get her photo taken and that I'd make her a star and all kinds of things like that!! I was especially rowdy when we were upstairs. I'm not sure why. I think mainly because I had this bad vibe clinging to me that I just couldn't seem to shake. After hearing the stories of how Annie would often stand at the balcony to watch those she tormented suffer and about the young maid who mysteriously died while cleaning the balcony (suspicions stating that she was thrown off by Annie) , I knew I had to take a picture of it, so I readied my camera and took aim.
It wasn't until after I got home and had my many rolls of film developed that I realized that not only did I not have a picture of the balcony, but in its place I had a very strange, eerie-looking picture of what appears to be a woman with dark hair pulled up on top of her head and fastened with what appears to be a string of pearls. After I finish writing this letter to you I will be sending along a copy of this mysterious vacation photo and you can see for yourselves what I and many others have seen now to further prove the authenticity of your own ghostly images. I hope you like it.

My Sincerest Regards,

Jennifer Johnson a.k.a. Karaoke Queen

This story is really amazing. We received a series of emails with the subject line: "Sorensen Honeymoon encounter with Rose Hall (+ pics)". The first was written to the gift shop at Rose Hall, but it was also cc'd to us...

I have several photos to submit and send to you, and I would love if you placed them in your gift shop. The mirror ones didn't show up until I used a 35mm underwater camera. All other images showed up on my digital camera. Several days later, each night on our cruise my wife and had very brutal strange murderous/rape/shooting dreams. Also I took several images of the coffin and my wife holding a rock, and they were gone from my digital camera completely. Also some seemed to have been replaced by totally different time/place images towards the end of my flash media memory card. From a computer standpoint, this is not humanly or technically possible. You cannot rearrange the order of photos on a memory card. Almost every image taken of either her or I at the house was completely vanished from my memory card, and replaced with other images of a jamaican circus I took hours later on the same memory card. Very good stuff. We loved the tour.

Mike Sorensen
Houston TX

Interesting! We emailed Mike to say that we'd like to see the pictures so that we could put them on this page. We also wanted a detailed description of what he thinks he sees in each photo. He emailed back that they were posted on his website....

Here's my entire story with our pics and descriptions of everything. If you still need clarification, let me know. One more thing, I seem to have had a bit of a stroke of sorts, I cannot feel my right side of my entire body, my leg and right arm are numb and I have no feeling in my thumb. My doctor is puzzled and I am going to get an MRI done.

Click on that link above to take you to my site where I have uploaded the entire story and with the ghost pictures.

-Mike Sorensen

...but when we went to look, we got an error message. We wrote again to report the error. He responded:

I have deleted those pics due to a pinched nerve and the entire loss of use/feeling of my right arm and right hand.

Those were pics of the infamous mirror - 1 of which had no mirror in it at all, just the frame, and another is of myself with a woman standing behind me looking out the window. Another shot is of the front of the house, when looking at shadows of plantlife you can see the sun is behind me, however you can see the figure of a woman in red at the foot of the stairs looking downwards to the top of the stairs.

Very odd stuff. I have had nothing but health problems since we been back and I had to delete those pics. There were 27 shots missing from my memory card also. Hope this helps.

How strange is that? Want to see the pics?

I came across your page on Rose Hall and found it interesting. I have a picture from when some friends of mine visited Rose Hall many years ago. This one picture in particular freaked me out. You can clearly see an image of a face in the mirror.