A duppy is a variety of malevolant spirit that may appear in either human or animal form. The term "duppy" is from African origin and, while it appears to have several related meanings, it's commonly applied to an order of supernatural being whose activities appear identical to those of the "Djinn" or poltergeist which are throw items.
Reverend Abraham J. Emerick, who undertook misionary work on the Jamaica from 1895 to 1905 explained to Jesuit ethnologist Joseph Wiliams that stone-throwing was one of the duppys favourite pastimes. Emerick described one case he had personally investigated at the Alva Mission in the Dry Harbour Mountains. Mysterious stone-throwing had occured for a week prior to his arrival, baffling the Mission school's teacher and other locals: "What mystified the people most and made them believe and say, that the stones were thrown not by human hands but by spirits... it broke the teachers's clock, glasses, etc., on a sideboard."
In June 1931, the Daily Gleaner featured an article with headline "Stone Throwing Ghost of Mount Horeb", detailing weird events at the house of 14 year old Muriel McDonald, who appeared to be the focus of a variety of strange phenomena. Stones were hurled by unseen hands, while household objects rose and moved of their own accord. Witnesses also claimed they have been pummelled by invisible fists.
In 1964, residents of Buff bay crowded into the yard of a small house in St George to wonder at stones, some weighing up to 2.3 kg, falling inside a house, smashing furniture and equipment. A 15 year old girl, seemed to be the centre of the duppy's attention, as the stones never fell when she was away.
In February 1987, large crowds travelled to the Aboukir district to witness similar stonings at an apartment building.
In 2008 there were reports of duppy haunting a community at Tivoli in West Kingston, Jamaica, and even a claim that it was photographed in the form of a black cloud. The video clip begins showing a handful of dancers on the top of a high-rise building in the community during one of their entertainment events. At about 12 seconds into the clip, a black mass is suddenly floating through a window in a section of the building.
|A duppy leaving a Kingston building in the form of a black cloud|
According to some local residents, the 'black mass' represents the spirit of one of three men residing at Tivoli Gardens who were shot and killed after they allegedly fired at a joint police/military team that raided the area on 13 January 2008. The dead men were identified as Fitzroy Daley (23), Conrad Francis (18), Oneil Palmer (22) and Ronaldo Mitchell (20) all of Tivoli Gardens addresses, were reportedly killed while in a house in a section of the community called Yankee Corner.
Following the deaths, there were reports of strange noises coming from sections of the area where no one lived, and an apparition shaped like a man, though his face was never seen as his back was always turned to observers.
On 20 April 2013, when household objects suddenly burst into flames and stones rained from the ceiling of her residence in Rose Hall, St Elizabeth, Jamaica, Desna Hanson (85) had no doubt as to the identity of her mysterious persecutor. She knew that she and her family were being targeted by a "Duppy".
Desna live with her husband, two daughters and 12 year old granddaughter. She said for 70 years she live in that house without experiencing anything strange until recently. Now, it seems inexplicable fires broke out throughout the house, sometimes several times a day. As well as clothing and bedding, a dressing table, refrigerator, bed, sofa and chairs were destroyed. Objects were thrown around or smashed. Stones seemed to materialise out of thin air and fall from near the ceiling.
The Hansons became convinced that the "duppy" or "duppies" was acting on behalf of other mortals who meant them harm. One local man they accused of throwing stones was taken into custody, but the attacks still continued. Sadly, on 16 July, Desna, the matriarch of the family, died. Desna's son, Cebert, told reporters that her death was the direct result of injuries she sustained while trying to dodge one of the duppy's flying stones. A small scrape had become gangrenous, leading to her losing a leg, and eventually her life.
Fortean Times Magazine vol.308 December 2013: "Ghostwatch" written by Alan Murdie;
Fortean Times Magazine vol.308 December 2013: "Desna and the Duppy" written by Paul Cropper;
Fortean Times Magazine vol. 308 December 2013 page 14