Scary J'can figures in Halloween experience
Tales of duppies and fictitious beings with wicked intentions still remain part of Jamaica's culture, despite the changes throughout generations. Believe them or not, stories of Anansi, Rolling Calf (also referred to as roaring or roaming calf) and River Mumma have been used to spike fear even in the fearless man.
But a story is only as good as the storyteller. Using new immersive theatrical representation, PuzzleIT Escape Room is planning to use Jamaican duppy stories as part of their Halloween-themed weekend of events.
Halloween is on October 31.
While Halloween is usually the time of year that followers tend to dress up in costumes that may or may not be particularly scary, or participate in trick or treating affairs (for the younger fanatics), PuzzleIT has plans to integrate cultural education with creepy entertainment.
Local operations director at PuzzleIT, Christina Garel, said "traditional folklore in Jamaica may be on the decline in some cases and this is a great opportunity to get in touch with our heritage, while being thoroughly entertained."
The games at PuzzleIT require players (aged 14-65 years) to work together in puzzle-solving exercises, They try to find hidden clues and escape the room within a specified time. Presently, there are three interactive games, The Rum Hangover, Framed and Ward 21, each based on a specific theme. However, this is not a feature of the Halloween period.
For the first time, the company will be transformed into a haunted house and the scare factor for PuzzleIT's is a combination of a guided tour of the house built on the premises, while experiencing different scary themes based on folklore, the main stories being that of Rolling Calf and Annie Palmer, White Witch of Rose Hall. PuzzleIT has promised that there will be lots of scares and excitement spun from the versions of the two selected tales. How they plan to do it has not been publicly announced, apparently to stick to the halloween element of surprise.
When Miss Lou wrote "Wen him tun round fe goh call, him see di sinting two yeye dem a roll like tunda-ball. Him guh fe halla but same time him feel a funny pain an' wen him look eena him han, de rope tun eena chain" in her poem Rolling Calf, she captured the essence of the character - a cow with flaming eyes and a clanging chain.
"I think that the idea of Halloween parties and trick or treating have become increasingly popular over the years and PuzzleIT aims to further advance this way of having fun. It will not only allow for the excitement of Halloween, which grows every year in Jamaica, but to also include aspects of our own culture," Garel said.