Duppy is a Jamaican Patois word of West African origin meaning ghost or spirit. Much of Caribbean folklore revolves around duppies, generally regarded as malevolent spirits.
Well, one of them is allegedly haunting an 11-year-old boy, causing commotion in Martin Street, Spanish Town. You can jump to 0:40 and then 1:55 for some duppy action. At first glance, the boy really seems to be pulled by an external force. A classic “Poltergeist” case involving a child, thrown objects and distraught families.
Though the two action scenes above may look interesting, these ones below, in a follow-up by the same news channel, of the same boy now confronted by a local bishop, Rohan Edwards, will probably not be that much. The not-so-interesting new duppy action scenes start at around 1:35.
It’s clear the boy is throwing himself, and in retrospect, one can note that although he does a much better job at it in the first scenes, one can also interpret them without resorting to any external force. Much less any supernatural force.
When it looks as if he is being pulled from his chair, note that he moves before the chair, indicating that he is source of motion. Michael Faraday used the same tell-tale sign to prove people moved spiritualistic tables, and not the other way around, back in 1853. The effect is also helped by the fact the “duppy action” only lasts for a few seconds, as the boy is almost immediately grabbed by his mother, into which he finds support, in more than one sense. Something that can’t be ignored.
“The immediate consequence of the boy’s behaviour is the comfort of his mom”, told us Psychologist Ana Arantes, suggesting an hypothesis to better understand the events. “The ‘paranormal phenomenon’ can be maintained by very strong social reinforcements – social attention, comfort and protection from the mother and probably other members of the family – and in this context, it’s quite possible it has been modelled and learned within that community.”
On one level this is simply a boy making some interesting moves, but this is certainly not everything that’s going on here, just as almost all Poltergeist cases are not simple hoaxes – nor simple Poltergeists. From the original story of the Fox sisters and the Cottingley fairies, to modern Poltergeist cases such as Enfield, each and every one of theses cases has a very long story and background.
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