duppy In Jamaican lore, the shadow of a dead person. Duppies are feared as vampiric, malevolent spirits, whose breath causes illness and touch—called “duppy-boxing”— causes seizures. Duppies are also known as jumbies. They appear in the folklore of Caribbean islands.

Duppies can easily be conjured by throwing rum coins onto a grave. Once released from the grave, they attack the living and also cause Poltergeist disturbances.

In the late 19th century, a Jesuit missionary named Reverend Abraham Emerick recorded his encounters with duppies. In 1895, he arrived in Jamaica to begin a 10-yearperiod of ministering in Alva in the Dry Harbor Mountains. He was en route to the mission when a band of frightened natives warned him away, saying that an evil duppy was haunting the mission’s school. The duppy was throwing stones about, smashing windows, and damaging objects. The terrified teacher had been driven out of the school.

Emerick continued on. When he arrived in Alva, he found the school empty and vandalized. As he stood inside, pebbles began to rain down around him. The pebbles grew in size and became stones. He fled and took refuge in a nearby house. The stones followed him, smashing through windows and pelting the occupants. The assault stopped mysteriously and suddenly.

Emerick recorded another duppy encounter when he ministered to a dying woman. A phantom arm reached from behind him and smacked the woman harshly on the face. Emerick whirled around but no one was present. He searched the house. When he returned to the woman, she was dead.


  • Rattle, Alison, and Allison Vale. Hell House & Other True Hauntings from Around the World. New York: Barnes and Noble, 2005.

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007