Jumbie spirits

Souls of the departed

thumb: mockojumbiewilliardjohn

Ella laloba

They often lurk in the shadows far from the tropical light. Rooted in African history, jumbies are the elusive sprits that can sometimes wreak havoc.

It's the jumbies is a common belief here, as our jeeps suddenly stop or we find our homes suddenly infested with insects.

Some islanders confuse the jumbies with mocko jumbies. The first are the evil or impish spirits, while mocko jumbies are masked stilt dancers who mock the spirits and celebrate joi de vivre during carnivals and special events.

Here in the Caribbean there is a rich tapestry of dark folklore and belief in the supernatural.

In Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic disturbed souls of the dead are referred to as shadows.

The Jamaican sprit of the dead is known as duppy, based on the African belief that we have two souls. After we die it is thought that one soul goes to heaven to be judged, and the other lingers on earth for a while or sometimes forever. These duppy spirits are forces of both good and evil, and can be captured and used by people to help or harm living things.

Some religions celebrate All Souls Day on November 1, where special prayers are said for the departed.

Ella Laloba makes peace offerings to the jumbies.

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