A duppy – in Jamaican culture – is a restless good and bad ghost or spirit. The bad duppies are said to be set onto persons through obeah practices while the good duppies are those of friends and family who “dream” you to give advice. They are said to take many forms such as animals, shadows or that of the dead person.
While some believe that duppy stories are just “fairy tales”, many Jamaicans, especially in the country parts of the island, will agree to the possibility of their existence. Legend has it that some animals, especially dogs can sense duppies and usually howls at night when they do.
The Jamaican folklore also gives precautionary steps to avoid or ward off duppies. Some say a bush buried upside down in a grave will stop the duppy from rising up, nailing a horseshoe on your day or calling the name “Jesus Christ in a bid to rebuke it.
Here are a few myths about Duppies that are still told to the present generation:
1. Though not sure if this truly works, Jamaicans believe “if yuh wash yuh face with rice water in the night, yah guh see duppy”.
2. When you come home from a nine night/wake take your shoes off at the front door and place them facing out, then walk through the front door backwards so duppy nuh follow you!!
3. When leaving a nine night, if yuh talk seh ya leave den di duppy ago falla yuh gah yuh yaad
4. If yuh kiss dead people, yuh lip aguh drop off.
5. If you point on a grave your fingers will rotten off, unless you bite all ten and put them behind you to dry
6. If you’re gonna throw something outside at night say “excuse me people” before you do or duppy ago box you if it ketch dem
7. If you eat and leave some a u food, you fi put a pepper in it else duppy ago eat out some
8. If you run round yuh house a night time, duppy ago box you dung
9. Don’t answer to ur name on the 1st call…. A duppy a call yuh
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