Real Duppy Stories : 'Four yeye' Adinah sees her father's ghost

July 12, 2017

Adinah James of Barton, St Elizabeth, was born with her legs crossed, a big 10, as they would say.

Her mother named her Adinah, as fiery, feisty, independent and 'boasy' she would be. She was right.

Adinah was born not only cross-legged, she came into this world with a piece of caul over her eyes. The caul, or cowl, is a piece of fatty tissue that can cover a newborn baby's head or face. It is harmless, and such births are very rare.

In olden-day Jamaica it was believed that people born with caul over their eyes had the 'gift' of seeing duppies. And according to Adinah, it turned out that she has 'four yeyes'.

The now sassy 60-year-old still lives in Barton, in the very yard in which she was born.

She is one elderly heap of comedy and drama, an animated storyteller who uses her roughish voice, ageing face, bulging eyes, slender arms and very lean frame with perfect timing to tell her stories, including enthralling duppy stories, like the one when she saw her dead father's duppy for the first time.

The fish vendor, Uncle Brown, rode into her yard, blowing his whistle. When Adinah heard the whistle, she alerted her mother to the vendor's presence. Uncle Brown was a friend of her father.

Then Adinah saw a figure running through the yard towards the bike. When she looked hard, she saw that the figure was her dead father.

In a low, slow tone, crouching over, Adinah said, "Mi say, 'Geesas Christ, look pon Puppa'." She crept up to her mother and whispered, "Mumma, mi see Puppa, enuh."

Her mumma asked, "Wha yuh say mi pickinny, whey yuh see im."

Adinah replied, "See im a go meet Uncle Brown, chu him hear de whistle, him know say di fish man come."

When they looked again, only Uncle Brown was at the spot.

But Adinah's father seemed to have been an active duppy. When his first son was being buried, a man who was standing beside Adinah said to her, "Lawd Geesas."

"A wha now?" Adinah asked.

"Come mek mi mash yuh toe," the man replied, and stepped on to Adinah's big toe.

"Look deh," the man said, pointing into the direction of the grave. And there was Adinah's father's duppy dancing around the grave.

While telling what she saw, Adinah broke out into a little dance with her yard broom in her hand. She showed how her father was dancing as she said, "Go see Puppa, joy inna im dung a de grave, yuh only see im a dance like soh. Him son come, him fuss son come home, fi help him wid him madda."

She was a little girl still in school, but she said she wasn't afraid. "Fraid a wha!?" she scowled. She was told her father was protecting her, like on the night when she went to a party in Ridge Pen, a community not very near Barton.

When she reached the venue, a man in the yard asked her about who had followed her.

"A mi one walk come yah," Adinah replied.

"A yuh one come yah?" the man asked doubtfully. "Den di man out a di pipe deh, lean up, a who him be?"

Adinah did not see the duppy this time, but the man told her that the figure at the pipe was her father who was waiting to follow her back to Barton.

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