In winter 2017/2018, Aegean Odyssey will be embarking on her very first Cuba, Caribbean and Mexico cruise season and we’re incredibly excited to be visiting this part of the world. One of the featured ports is Montego Bay, which sits on the north coast of Jamaica and offers a mixture of history, stunning beaches, diving opportunities and golf courses. There really is so much to do here, but one of our included tours takes in the history and legend of the Rose Hall Plantation and as it’s one of Jamaica’s most visited houses, we thought it would be nice to share some of that history with you in our blog.

Rose Hall

Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica, is the country’s most famous house, sitting high on a hillside and offering stunning panoramic views over the tropical blue waters of the Caribbean. It was originally built in the 1770’s and restored in the 1960’s to its former glory. In 1977, a tour and museum that showcase Rose Hall’s slave history were created and it has undoubtedly become one of Jamaica’s biggest attractions.

Originally, the Rose-Hall estate had around 650 acres which were divided among sugar cane, grass, and pasture for over 270 head of cattle. At one time, 250 enslaved Africans were also housed on Palmyra estate, which furnished approx. 1,250 acres.

The house itself is a wonderful piece of Jamaican history and the guided tour is certainly worth taking part in. The grounds of the house are beautiful and filled with various types of flowers, plants and trees – there’s even a rather impressive water feature that sits to the front of the property. Although there is beauty for as far as the eye can see, Rose Hall has also has a dark tale attached to it, that which speaks of a White Witch named Annie Palmer.

The gardens at Rose Hall

According to legend, the spirit of Annie Palmer (also known as the White Witch) haunts the grounds. The story says that she was born in Haiti to an English mother and Irish father and spent most of her life there until her parents died of yellow fever. Annie was then adopted by a nanny who taught her witchcraft and voodoo. As an adult, she moved to Jamaica which is where she met and subsequently married John Palmer, owner at the time of the Rose Hall Plantation. Annie murdered Palmer along with two subsequent husbands and numerous male plantation slaves, later being murdered herself by a slave named “Takoo”.

In 2007, an investigation into the legend of Annie Palmer concluded with the statement that the story was fictionalised and had been modelled on the title character in a famous Jamaican novel which was published in 1929 and aptly titled The White Witch of Rose Hall.

Annie Palmer’s bedroom inside Rose Hall

Although the legend was dispelled to some extent, it hasn’t stopped ghost hunting teams holding investigations at Rose Hall in the hope of finding out for themselves whether Annie Palmer was real and if she indeed does wander the grounds in the spirit world.

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Rose Hall is a fascinating place and it’s just one of the included tour options for Jamaica that features on Aegean Odyssey’s dedicated Cuba and Jamaica sailings in 2018. Why not come with us and maybe you can decide for yourself whether the White Witch is myth or truth.