ZOOLOOK | Dread & Alive: Duppy Conqueror™
Drew McIntosh™ is the superhero with an African face
My father says that when we are born, we come into the world possessing two souls… a good soul and an earthly spirit or shadow. When we die, the good soul leaves the body and ascends into heaven to be judged by the Supreme Being. The earthly spirit, however, remains with the body for several days (nine-night). It is here that the earthly spirit is most vulnerable. If the body is not properly honored and buried, the earthly spirit can escape.
Under the right circumstances, its shadow might take form as a duppy or ghost. Once this happens, the duppy will wander the earth. And that’s not good. Some duppies are confused, but most duppies are malicious spirits. Unseen by the normal person, they rest during the day and come out at night to haunt the living. And if the Obeahman, Shadowcatcher, a sorcerer of black magic, get hold of a duppy, he can use his malignant magic to make the duppy cause great harm or even death.
That’s what my father told me. Strange bedtime tales for a seven-year-old, right?
How does he know all this? My father, Philip McIntosh, is a local legend in the rural areas of the Caribbean island of Jamaica. A cultural anthropologist by day, when darkness falls, he is often called upon to perform the duties of a Myal practitioner or Myalman, to heal people and cast out bad spirits. The locals refer to him as “fo-yeyed” (four-eyed). No, he doesn’t wear glasses. My father is gifted with second sight. You see, when he came into the world, he was born with a caul over his face… a rare event.
A child born with a veil is believed by many people to have the special power to see into the spirit world. Such a child not only possesses the ability to see spirits but can also converse with them. I know because I, too, was born gifted. And, yes, I do see spirits. They don’t frighten me though. Maybe it’s because I know what they are, and that I’m protected from them. You could say I’m just like my father, a Duppy Conqueror.
What I’m about to tell you, might sound a little crazy, but it’s true…