5 Things Jamaicans Are Afraid Of

Most Jamaicans like to act like they’re king of the world, but behind all that bravado, you will find some simple and weird things that they’re afraid of. From people who burn personal items in fear someone might use it to “work necromancy” and stop their progress, to when a ‘moos moos’ (mouse) runs across the floor. These are just a few of the things that can cause a big man to scream like a girl.

  1. Duppy / Rolling calf – Some countries call them ghosts but whatever name you choose, many Jamaicans strongly believe that the spirits of the dead can come back to haunt them. They might not openly say they’re afraid of duppy, but underneath their pristine garments could be the red underwear and measuring tape to ward off evil spirits.
  2. Obeah/Curse  –  Even worse than duppy, Jamaicans are afraid of obeah, or voodoo. People are deathly afraid of enemies putting spells or curses on them. No-one, absolutely no-one, will mess with a fat woman wearing a blue tunic with several number two pencils stuck in her hair.
  3. Mad people  –  They exist all over the world but few things are as scary as a Jamaican mad man. First of all, they carry all their worldly possession on their backs, and you never know what foul item might be lurking in there that at the very least could give you ‘cocobe’ (skin lesions).
  4. Anything that walks on its belly – Lizard, cockroach, snakes, anything creep crawly. Women scream, men scream louder.
  5. Budget Day – You don’t know what is going up but you know something is. Whether it’s GCT, barrel clearance or passport fee, budget day is like judgement day for your bank account.

About the Author
Denise Clarke is a freelance journalist based in Kingston, Jamaica. She has written for print and online newspapers in Jamaica, Barbados, and the British Virgin Islands..