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Althea M March

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Towards the 144,000
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Timely Essential Guide for "Improving Every Year!"..  
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A folklore story from the Caribbean about the things unseen or 'go bump in the night'! Have fun reading for the thrill of it.

The Caribbean island of Jamaica is a land that is filled with folklore and superstition, and no less, with numerous ghost stories and other mythical figures, like those other cultures found around the world. A ghost in Jamaican Creole or "patios" is often referred to as a “duppy”, and “duppy” stories are frequently told at twilight and through the rest of the night to keep the kids up from sleeping who have not been behaving too well and also just for fun.

Now about seventy percent of the island did not have any electricity until well into the 1980’s. So the place just abounded with ghosts, which made any sane person so scared just to go outside, even to the outhouse. It just was not worth the time spent doing anything then, but just to sit down fixed in a position of panic, unless an emergency was warranted . Well, the most famous of the “duppies” was the “rolling calf”, who was a constant troublemaker in the lives of the country folk in the rural mountainous areas of Jamaica.

My great grandmother, whom I will call Granny Jane, often told us many stories about my great grandfather, whom I will call Grandpa Brown. He, during his walks home at night, encountered many such “rolling calf” characters. He is usually in the form of a half human and a half animal form, thus the name given it, the infamous “rolling calf”. One evening, as Grandpa Brown was coming home, supposedly from a long, hard day at work in the field, he sensed he saw someone or something lying down across the width of the road. His next course of action under the pressure of fear was to call out to the supposedly man he which he knew he alleged he saw, and then he checked to if his eyes were not fooling him by rubbing and blinking in amazement at this curious sight that lay before him. Immediately, the creature started snorting furiously like a wild animal that escaped his domain, appearing as if in a fit of rage and he started furiously toward poor, little Grandpa Brown.

Unknowingly, Grandpa was left speechless and motionless as to what was his next course of action to take, whether fight or flight. So with top speed Grandpa Brown started running for dear life to the safest place he could find out of the creature’s reach. He heard the hooves pounding the ground and the strange, snorting sound coming from the snout of the “rolling calf”. Frantically, all that was left for Grandpa Brown to do was to call upon God and the angels for help and fast. Sweat rolled anxiously down his face and he deeply feared for his life. Would he be able to live to see the next moment or go home to see his family “in one piece”.

Then again, in a moment’s notice, when he glanced behind him, the “rolling calf” “duppy” suddenly disappeared out of his normal eyesight entirely. He feared it could have been some kind of optical illusion, or was it just real?

So the question still remains to this very day, was Grandpa Brown simply “faking” this experience as just a hallucination, or was this just something tangible or real that had come out that night to haunt him and play tricks with his emotions? To this very day, we are uncertain as to the true answer that has no scientific basis of fact. Anyone could just dismiss this story as just purely an illusion. These were people that were mostly uneducated country folk who were heavily steeped in believing any kinds of ghost stories as their reality and not too particularly concerned about a sensible explanation but yet somehow they relied upon what their eyes showed them to be their truth for their existence and an explanation of life from a mythical “spirit world” that exacted retribution upon those who were not in harmony with the laws of nature.

Granny Jane told many such stories about Grandpa Brown with some of amount of glee and justification, because Grandpa Brown should have been home from work hours ago. So the question asked is what could he have been doing outside in the dark, all by himself, at that time of night when his family needed him to be at home for dinner or whatever they were planning to be doing for the particular evening? This answer to this question is irrelevant, but these stories give a sense of “spookiness” and awe of an invisible world we know little about. And to this very I have yet to have experienced seeing the ugliness of a “rolling calf”. Of course, why would I want to see one anyway? Not in a million years!

       Web Site: Althea March

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Reviewed by Felix Perry 1/30/2008
I dearly love ghost stories and I also believe that the majority of ghost stories may not be real they often have some parts of them that were real or at least felt like reality to the story teller at the time.

good write
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 1/30/2008
This answer to this question is irrelevant, but these stories give a sense of “spookiness” and awe of an invisible world we know little about.

True. Thank you for sharing this tale, Althea. Love and best wishes,


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