Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica, first came to my attention when I was going through my ghost-hunting television show phase several years ago. Both Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters International reported on the thought-to-be-haunted house. When I was selecting shore excursions while sailing on the Carnival Breeze, I decided to pay a visit to the plantation myself.
Of course, I didn’t have electronic equipment to try to contact the dead. What I did have was a great tour guide who minced no words when she spoke of Annie Palmer, the “white witch” reported to be the main spirit tormenting the living.
The sand-colored, Jamaican, Georgian-style mansion was built by Annie’s husband, John Palmer, in the 1770s at a cost of 30,000 British pounds. It’s an impressive sight with its symmetrically arched doors and tall windows located high on a hillside overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Rose Hall was purchased in 1977 by Michele and John Rollins. The couple restored and refurbished the historic house and opened it as a museum featuring excellent guided tours to showcase Rose Hall's history and the beautiful, antique-filled house.
From an ornate parlor and dining room to gracious bedrooms, the tour examines not only the life of Annie Palmer, but also that of wealthy plantation owners during the 18th century. Throughout the tour, information about Annie and the legends of how she murdered her three husbands and relished in watching her slaves brutally punished are woven with facts about the house and its furnishings.
The tour ends in the lower floor, now a restaurant and bar, where guests are offered a drink — with or without run — before being let to Annie’s grave site, which ends the tour.
Whether you believe the legends of Annie Palmer or that her spirit sometimes makes itself known, a visit to Rose Hall is a must-see for anyone wondering about life on the island 300 years ago. To me, time travel is always fun and educational.