What Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular would be complete without some kind of reference to Annie Palmer? For those who have been around this blog in years past, the legend of "The White Witch of Rose Hall" is common knowledge, but to those who are making their first foray into uncharted Jamaican Halloween waters it's probably a tale you have never heard...
As I wrote in October of 2010...
"Annie Mae Patterson was born to
an English mother and Irish father in Haiti in 1802. Annie's parents
both died mysteriously when she was 10 and from that point on was raised
by her Haitian nanny who supposedly trained her in voodoo. She came to
Jamaica in 1820 in search of a wealthy husband and came across John
Palmer who fit the bill nicely. They were soon married and Annie Palmer
quickly became the mistress of the Rose Hall Plantation right outside
of Montego Bay.
Annie grew bored with her husband and began seeking out lovers. She
would select slaves, who she was attracted to and would invite them to
come to her chambers at night where she would have their way with them
and would have them killed or kill them herself when suspicion or
boredom reared its ugly head.
years later Annie poisoned her husband John Palmer so that she would
become the soul owner and benefactor of the plantation. Supposedly,
over the course of the years Annie married and killed two other
husbands, acquiring their wealth and continued her illicit affairs with
slave men whenever she desired. Oddly, Annie Palmer sealed off the
three bedrooms in which her three husbands had died and word began to
spread around the plantation that the Great House was haunted.
cruelty was legendary... the story says that she would have slaves
flogged and beaten for her own amusement and even took them back to the
mansion for continued torture when night fell. In 1831, Annie hired a
man from England to become her bookkeeper - she was immediately taken by
the new man but he had eyes for one of Annie's housekeeper Millicent.
The bookkeeper decided to play both sides of the fence, so to speak, and
it infuriated Annie. The White Witch cast a spell on Millicent and
within 9 days she was dead. Millicent's grandfather, Takoo, who was a
powerful voodoo priest and one of Annie's occasional lovers, was
incensed by his granddaughter's death and proceeded to storm into her
bedroom and strangled her to death.
as you can imagine... the legend of her spirit still haunting the Great
House at Rose Hall continues to this day. Countless sightings of
ghostly apparitions and odd occurrences throughout the years have
fueled the legendary status of Annie Palmer and firmly planted The White
Witch Of Rose Hall in the ghostly folklore of Jamaica."
Aside from being Jamaica's most famous ghost story it has also been the subject of a handful of records over the years... ranging from Danny Hill's "Annie Palmer" from the early 1960s (featured in the 2010 Spooktacular), to the early reggae tune by the Lee's All Stars from 1970 entitled "Annie Pama" (featured in 2012), to the early dancehall tune "Annie Palmer" by the legendary Lone Ranger on his classic Barnabas in Collins Wood LP (featured in 2006) and even by the most unlikely source of all Johnny Cash, who wrote and released the song "The Ballad Of Annie Palmer" in 1973 and who was covered by Jamaican artist George McLean (and also featured in the 2012 mix) - I feel like I'm missing another one there but I think you probably get the point. Today's track may not go with the obvious title but regardless, it is still touching on the White Witch.
The twenty second track, and second to last I might add, in the 2014 mix is by an artist who went by the name Sharpknife and it's called "Diana The Farmer," and it's taken from a 7" on the Joe Gibbs Ultra Sound label. Sharpknife, or Mr. Knife if you prefer, tells the tale of a beautiful woman named Diana Black who claims that she is an innocent farmer but when nighttime comes she takes on the persona of Annie Palmer, complete with claims that she killed two of her husbands.
Spooktacular Track Twenty-Two - Sharpknife - Diana The Farmer