Friday, January 21, 2005



This is a word that enthralls and yet fills one with fear,especially when you are a small child.For example,my 7 year old neighbour usually sleeps at my house but the last few nights she did not show claiming because of jumbies she was scared to come by herself.Many superstitious beliefs have been passed down through the years from one generation to another and at the centre of these is the jumbie which has shaped the attitudes and lives of many.The Jumbie and Jumbie stories are common features of Caribbean life. However,the telling of Jumbie stories is fast becoming another lost art as too many other things are vying for attention.For my non Caribbean readers a jumbie is the spirit of a dead person who can be either evil or good.

Jumbies have a host of colourful names like jack o lantern which is supposed to be this ball of fire that one sees moving in the night.Then there is the soucouyant or heg whose mission is to suck the blood of its victims.As legend goes the soucayant takes off its skin to perform this act and a sure fire way of catching one is to put pepper or salt on the removed skin.

In areas where there is an absence of street lighting and little vehicular traffic it is said that jumbies abound,and it would take more than an average brave person to get home after midnight without company. The older folks use this to explain why the younger folk don't encounter as many jumbies as they did in times gone by.I knew there had to be a reason.Older folks also claim that in their many encounters with jumbies, there are certain things that jumbies don't do.

For example,Jumbies don't go over cliffs.So if you are being chased by a Jumbie then you should run over a cliff. Never mind that running over the cliff can result in your death.Jumbies do not cross a river.But no victims of a Jumbie chase ever stopped on the other side to verify this claim.One should not throw water out of a window lest he or she wets a jumbie.It is said that a wet Jumbie is a very angry jumbie.A child should not cry at night or it may lose its voice to a Jumbie.And of course there are the stories of being ridden by a Jumbie.When this is happening one becomes helpless unable to even move or call out for help.

There are still a lot of people who believe in jumbies and will swear that they realy do exist.Some claim to have seen them and insist on backing into their doorways so that umbies would not follow them inside.On the flip side,many accidents have been blamed on the poor Jumbies.For instance Jumbies have pushed many a drunk over cliffs.No doubt at all that the alcoholic state contributes in any way.

J'cans do some scary folk tales, Kami. Some adults terrify small children by dramatizin' de stories so much, that de youngsters grow up just as superstitious as de most mystified old people--perpetuatin' culture, dem say.
heard the term heg but not soucouyant until I read Brown Girl in the ring by Nalo Hopkinson. You should check that out. Its like a sci-fi fantasy written with west indian supernatural creatures. so soucouyants and jack o lanterns all over the book.

Isnt one of the ways to stop these jumbies to throw rice or salt on the ground because they have to stop to count the grains before they get to attack you
It's all apart of the culture Kami. We all have our "jumbies" where ever you go. In Jamaica there is the Duppy and Rollin Calf/Coffin our tales of extraordinary feats of the obeah man or woman.

Mind one of them hold on to yuh. :)
Hi Kami, Hope you r feeling better today. Cultures are a hell of thing aren't they. We in jamaica have our duppy and rolling calf/coffin and obeah man/woman who are supposed to be able to do some serious extraordinary things. Works wonders in getting some folks to do things though.
Same stuff just different names.
Jdid,never heard about the rice or salt thing
The rice and salt must be a Bajan thing. I remember my aunt puttin salt at all the doors and windows to scare the "Duppie" as we call dem in Barbados. If you lived in a seaside village it was sand they would use.
Interesting post. I saw something evil one night still, I was around at Dr. D's house and we watched 'The Exorcist'. I had to walk home at something past midnite nad trust me I saw something evil in the bushes of an open lot that nite. It might have been a soucayant, but I din' stop to ask it! :)
I ran 'like a bat out of hell'!

Mad Bull
de chile fraid jumbie...and u tink it gone come by u??

AHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA had the exorcist on your mind:)
Boloram,she happen to love this jumbie.
I am a student at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford where I am taking a class in Caribbean Literature. I am doing a presentation on supernatural figures in the literature of the region in which jumbies will play a role. I am curious if any of you have ever heard of a figure called "Mantop" and if you could tell me anything about him if you have. I will also be covering "La Diablesse" and the "Lougarou". Any help you might have in any of these areas would be great.
Yeah when i was small abut 5 or 6 i use to see shadows of people or whatever they were in my room dancing and keeping me from going to sleep only when i use to call the lords name would they leave or when the sun rose so up to this day i hear people callin my name but thier is no one answering when i respond so what the hell is going on
Hi I'm from St. Vincent and I haven't there for 7 years. I agree with you that the tradition of telling jumbies stories is a dying art. I remembered some of my fondest memories is growing up and listening to one of our uncles telling stories of jumbies, Jack o lantern, old heg Anansi and la Jablesse. I forgot most of my La Jablesse stories and I would like to pass on those stories to my daughters. So if anyone remember any stories about la Jablesse or any other I've mention can you cantact through e-mail at Thanks
I am a french journalist and i would like to settle a story about SVG's traditional culture.
Could you tell me more about the jumbies : is there families or communities still practicing Obeah's rites ?
If so, could you help me to contact them ?
I am planing to come to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines pretty soon to make my story up...
Thank you for your help !
Hi everybody,

I'm Dutch and I'm also writing a story about experiences with Jumbies in Sint Vincent and Grenadines. Could you please send my information about this to

Thanks in Advance!
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