Thursday, October 30, 2014

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2014 - Track Twenty-Two - Diana The Farmer

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.

Allegedly, 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.

Six 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.

Her 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.

Well, 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


Nate Ness Monster said...

Thanks for what you do here on this blog, John! You inspired my latest episode of GO FEET! Radio and I do hope you don't mind me using your tunes, artwork and mentioning your blog!!

John AKA Reggaexx said...

You're welcome! I'm honored to serve as an inspiration and appreciate the mention! It's nice to know that my efforts are being well received - and it's even more amazing that they're being recognized by someone nearly a world away in New Zealand!

The Typing Monkey said...

The Typing Monkey loves the Halloween Spooktacular. Great stuff again this year, and love the folklore about Annie Palmer. Thanks for all the fun tunes.