Taking a bamboo raft down the Martha Brae near Falmouth is a popular holiday activity, with some 80 licensed rafting guides. The rafts were originally used to transport sugar from the estates in Trelawny down the river to Falmouth for shipping to Europe, and actor Errol Flynn is credited with the idea of making them a tourist attraction.
Jamaica – Fact Check

The "White Witch" Johnny Cash sang about

Photo by Uliana Bazar

Jamaica – Fact Check The "White Witch" Johnny Cash sang about

The area around Montego Bay on Jamaica was once rich with sugar houses, the estates of the plantation owners who controlled the island. Rose Hall, now a museum, is one of the finest.

Kiki Deere
Kiki Deere Travel Writer

The building has balconies and stone steps leading to an elegant portico. The view from it is lovely: azure Caribbean waters and forested green hills. Inside, carved mahogany staircases lead to an array of rooms furnished in rich Georgian style.

The mansion is said to be haunted by the White Witch, the spirit of Annie Palmer, an English-born girl who married the plantation owner. Legend has it she was taught witchcraft and voodoo when a child by her Haitian nanny. She murdered her husband, along with a number of plantation slaves, and another slave later murdered her.

This tale was put to music by country singer Johnny Cash, and the guide sings it to us as we tour the house. Cash was a part-time Jamaica resident for four decades, one of a number of musicians from all over the world attracted by the island’s rich musical culture.

I climb a creaky main staircase to a spacious hallway that opens on to six large bedrooms. Annie’s airy bedroom is decorated in red and pink motifs that might be indicative of her fiery temper. “People say she liked to dress up as a man in the evenings, and ride around the estate on horseback, whipping slaves to her heart’s content,” says the guide.

Intricate bed hangings grace a beautiful four-poster bed, and a Georgian basin stands in one corner. The dressing table has a fine English mahogany stool and I can picture a petite young woman with an explosive temper scanning her reflection in a small mirror, as a maid gingerly brushes her hair.

Outside, slaves would be hard at work in the cane fields under the scorching Jamaica sun.

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