This article originally ran in the Dec. 17, 2015 issue of Smashpipe
Have the producers of the White Witch of Rose Hall movie met their Final Destination?
By Tony Sokol
Earlier this year, Global Renaissance Entertainment Group, the producers of Final Destination, announced that they would be making a movie trilogy out of the story of Eva Annie Palmer, the legendary White Witch Of Rose Hall. Annie Palmer – The White Witch Of Rose Hall movie was slated to be written and executive-produced by Jeffrey Reddick. The first movie in the trilogy has a $20 million-$30 million budget.
After a couple of initial announcements about a $90 million budget, the company who made $650 million on Final Destination horror franchise, made no further noise.
Arthur Wylie of Global Renaissance Entertainment Group and Michael Rollins, Director of Rose Hall Developments, Ltd., was last heard saying the company would partner with the island of Jamaica to produce the films.
I’m not suggesting that there was some voodoo done on the producers of the never-forthcoming Annie Palmer – The White Witch of Rose Hall trilogy, but Jamaica’s tourism was counting on it to turn the island into a movie industry hot spot. They’d already invested heavily in green screens.
Legends say the spirit of Annie Palmer haunts the grounds of Rose Hall Plantation near Montego Bay. Annie Mae Patterson was born in England. Her mother was English. Her father was Irish. The Patterson family moved to Haiti when Annie was 10 years old. Annie’s parents died of yellow fever.
When her parents died, Annie was adopted and raised by a nanny who taught her witchcraft and voodoo. The nanny died when Annie was 18 and she moved to Jamaica to find a rich husband, according to legends. The young and reportedly beautiful but petite, she was just under five feet tall, married John Palmer, owner of Rose Hall Plantation. The Rose Hall estate sat atop a 7,000 acre sugar plantation cultivated by 2,000 slaves.
Legends say Annie started sleeping with the slaves just months after the wedding. Her husband caught her in bed with one of the slaves and beat her with a crop. Annie allegedly poisoned her husband’s coffee, inherited Rose Hall and began a reign of terror. The young widow tortured or killed slaves who got on her bad side. Annie reputedly took a string of slaves as lovers. She killed the slaves after she got tired of them.
Annie Palmer married two more times after Palmer’s death. Both husbands died. It is assumed Annie killed them for their inheritance. The slaves who buried her husbands were also killed. The cruelty and the voodoo rumors earned her the name “The White Witch of Rose Hall.”
The seductive sorceress set her sights on an English book keeper named Robert Rutherford, but he was already in the thrall of a woman named Millicent, the granddaughter of Takoo, the local obeah man. Annie summoned a visit from “Old Hige, a ghost whose presence causes the victim to slowly wither and die. She gave the ghost Millicent’s address.
When he learned about his granddaughters death, Takoo and an army of slaves strangled and killed Annie and buried her on the Rose Hall estate. The slaves also burned Annie’s possessions in case they carried the stain of her spirit. The slaves performed a voodoo ritual at the burial, but legends say the ritual wasn’t done right and that Annie haunts Rose Hall to this day.
The legends say the subsequent owners of the Rose Hall estate suffered early and tragic deaths. The estate was abandoned and left unoccupied for more than 130 years. According to the people who live there, you can sometimes see a shadowy figure in a green velvet habit riding a black horse on the ground. People have reported hearing screams and footsteps in the house.
The White Witch of Rose Hall legend was investigated Benjamin Radford in 2007. Radford concluded that the story not true. He said it was based on “The White Witch of Rosehall,” a Jamaican novel by Herbert G. de Lisser, published in 1929.
According to the Rough Guide To Jamaica by Polly Thomas, the name of Annie Palmer may have become confused with Rosa Palmer, the original mistress of Rose Hall. Rosa Palmer had four husbands but had a virtuous reputation.
The story has gone into musical history. Johnny Cash wrote “The Ballad of Annie Palmer” about the legend. The proto-metal band Coven, fronted by the seductively satanic seventeen-year-old singer Jinx Dawson, told the story in their song “White Witch of Rose Hall,” off their 1969 debut album release Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls. The album also included the first recorded Satanic Mass.
In the meantime, a movie crew disappeared in Jamaica and no one knows where the production money went. Locals believe the crew got what they were coming to them. Characters in a movie called Final Destination shouldn’t need more movies to reach their final destination.