There are many caves in the Treasure Beach area; some quite small but others more substantial. And quite few adventures were enjoyed in these caves!
It would be great to hear some of these stories from those who have been in the caves and are willing to share their personal experiences, or even some of the myths and legends that have come down through the years.
How about it?
Rat bats a plenty in the caves! When goats got cuts they would hide in them and you would have to go with a lantern to find them.
Any at the water, as on the Negril Cliffs?
there are many caves up on the bluff in great bay, also one that you can actually swim into, "coxswains hole" i think its called, not realy neccesary but a boat can take you around there. old timers used to be able to catch small fish by hand, inside the cave. it is quite large with a sand bottom.
I was once told of a man that was in a cave laying down and a duppy tell him fi move ova so caan kotch to!
I know the first time we were in Great Bay (Dec. 06) we hiked the bluff and there was a big cave opening. We were too afraid to go in alone. We vistited again in April 08 and the cave opening had collapsed in. I heard that the caves used to go all the way inland under the mountains but they have since fell in. I don't think I will go into the caves EVER, I am too afraid of getting trapped. I still love reading all the stories about the memories.
Ugly site under that cave?
I heard that "duppy in the cave" story as well!
Then there are the "unmentionable" happenings that some young couples used to get up to in those caves, if the stories are to be believed!
There is said to be a huge cave somewhere in the Billy's Bay/ Black Spring area which used to be a major source for 'rat bat' droppings. The droppings used to be one of the main forms of fertilizer in the old days so it was a rather lucrative business for those involved in the trade!
Quite a dirty business it must have been, but some people made a living from it.
I don't know the exact location of this cave or if anyone in the area knows exactly where it is today. If the bats are still living in it there must be a huge inventory of droppings, just waiting for a return to that form of 'natural' fertilizer!
There were reports of Taino drawings on the walls of some caves in Pedro Bluff. Cannot confirm this but if anyone knows anything it would be good to learn more.
Did you ever hear anything about those Taino drawings?
Hi TS, Curious and all, I suspected there would be drawings in the caves. If so they should be recorded as soon as possible and registered with the Jamaica National Trust. The Historical Society and the Caving Club should have great interest.
Some drawings are said to depict protective spirits that have to be faced when entering the cave in Taino times. Only initiates and invited guests could enter this 'sacred underground womb', the drawings basically said: "Keep Out". This is one interpretation.
I have experienced the legend that duppy de 'bout in dem de cave all over Ja. I always wondered if this is a continuation of the ancient story/legend/warning.
At some point the paraphanalia for the cohoba ceremony would be in the cave for use at special occasions. Rumour says that long poles were used to push these objects out of the reach of some that eventually came around to destroy them or confiscate them as specimens of idolatry and/or curiosities for European cabinets. Others were returned to the sea or rivers. Many recognise the polished 'thunderstone' or 'thunderball'. These are Taino axe forms, some of lovely stone of large size and with mirror polish. They are sometimes found after a heavy rain reveals them, thus the thunder connection. Look good more is to be seen! They belong to us. They have meaning and asked to be 'read'. The Collector says that when unnu ready he will show some things.
Some of these 'spirits' are carved/polished/chipped in stone and are under our feet at a multitude of places, some have recognised their presence. There are collections of these ancestral messages in Ja collections.
Some extremely rare wooden objects that were part of the ceremony may be seen at The Jamaica National Gallery. If they are currently not viewable, a kind word in the main office should open the doors to the duho, scoop, 'totem pole' and pelican cohoba holder.
Cohoba: Anadenanthera Peregrina. If the carvings and stones are around, the trees are to be found unless there was a massive prohibition and destruction in the Spanish period. Check the Vatican Library for the facts.
I understand that many years ago someone tried to remove the drawings by blasting the wall...of course the whole thing shattered and the drawings no longer exist. I guess they thought it was like the Elgin Marbles and wanted to take a slab of wall home.
...since you pull my tongue about our ancient people.
To me duppies are in our heads. The images in the caves depict inner journey's assisted by elements of our psyches, the spirits.
Access, integration and control of these elements is a goal for each of us.
So it is above, so it is below. So is the Hurikan in our head, so it is in the sea and wind.
It arrives and challenges, changes, cleanses. So can a mental/emotional crisis affect our lives.
There can never be a return to that relative Eden, the Cubans called this place Yamaye, the land where the Godess dwells or where nature is at it's greatest abundance. Thanks Tony Aarons. Our old people have much to teach us about development and the open secrets of Mother Earth.
As I get my head 'together', my land reflects the unfolding. Thats been my experience.
Still, this is a wonderful and mysterious creation, who am I to say duppy nuh real.
While we're at it: http://www.centrelink.org/TainoCavePhotos.html
Thanks for sharing that Turey. VERY interesting. I am too afraid to go into the caves to see them for myself.
Thanks for the photos, Turey! These are great!
It pains me to think that we had some of these and selfish people might have destroyed them for their own ends.
The Jamaican authorities should re-examine these caves and if there are drawings or artifacts still present in any of them, steps should be taken to safeguard them.
I suspect some of the caves in Treasure Beach have not been properly explored in generations. There are probably Taino sites in the area that have not been identified and which might ultimately be destroyed in the interest of "development".
I have heard similar stories not only in TB Ms Todd.
I have also heard of the disappearance of Zemis etc that should be with us. Yes, we are watching!
Road building, housing and other projects have destroyed or overlaid much. What is left is for us to protect and learn from. I encourage all who find such things to keep them among us and make them available for study.
I discourage the introduction of any laws that prohibit the private collection of Taino artifacts from non protected sites. There are some that seem to want control over these things. Again, they belong to all of us and we should be encouraged collect them as long as there is no destruction involved, keep them safe and learn from them. They were created to teach.
Drawings were meant to remain in place.
T.S, I'm sure the Archaeology Dept at UWI would be interested in working with the community to identify sites. Schoolers could participate and would certainly gain insight into one aspect of our culture and the science of discovering history through careful research and groundwork.
The Jamaica Caves Organisation http://www.jamaicancaves.org/news.htm they are the people to do any safe and proper exploration.
Jeannie is right, going deep underground is not a joke business! I love sunlight too.