You see, Jamaicans can be very suspicious people when it comes to the dead or ghosts (or the duppy as we call it). From what I understand, you should never pick up money, or more specifically, coins, off the road or on the ground if you were not the one that dropped it in the first place. This is bad luck and can be very dangerous. Of course, there is no scientific proof to that claim or any claims concerning picking money up off the street. As far as I am concerned, it is merely a story we told as children.

As kids, we used to say that it is the obeah man that dropped the money in order to 'catch' somebody. If that were not the case then it would be that the money belongs to a duppy and it will haunt us if we trouble it. I will explain this a little more later on.

I was sweeping the front yard yesterday morning and I saw ten dollars on the ground. I did what most Jamaicans would do and left it alone. Then I began thinking why I had decided to let the money stay and I found it rather interesting.
_ If you go into any Jamaican home or yard, there is a great chance of you finding coins/silver money in places that never seem to garner any attention. For example, in the chairs (normal for any home anywhere really), under furniture, in garden beds, in driveways, in flowerpots (pity it does not grow), or with the tools in the tool drawer. While getting ready to move out of her home, a friend of mine did a complete collection of the coins that had accumulated in her home. She found almost $300 in coins!

 There are no charmed reasons for the coins being in these places. The main reason why they end up piling up around our homes in that fashion is because we have a tendency to ignore the impact another little dollar can have on our spending. That is until the bill at the grocers' is short by a few dollars, or when the fare is a mere two dollars short. Sometimes being a couple of dollars short is short enough to prevent you from doing what needs to be done.

_ On to the Obeah Man

The obeah man is no mythical being. Some people consider him a medium for connecting with the dead or with spiritual beings. They go to him to 'heal' them of their illnesses or for him to put a spell of sorts on someone to make them sick or die. Obeah men and women in Jamaica are famous for their oils and powders. They can come up with an oil for anything you need. There is an oil (potion) to make somebody love you for the rest of his or her life. If someone uses this then we say the victim has been 'tied'.

Personally, I do not believe in their oils and powders. I believe they are merely spawns of demonic forces.

_ Back to the coin thing.

Anyway, it is believed that when an obeah man/woman has been asked to set a spell on somebody, they might put a spell on the coin and drop it somewhere where the victim will pick it up. If the wrong person picks up the coin then the curse will be on them. I do not know anybody who has had this happen to them.

As children, we believed that the coins lying on the street were placed there by a duppy so they can follow someone and haunt them. A ghost leaves the coin on the road and follows whoever picks it up. That ghost can do anything it wants to the person and can haunt them for as long as they decide to.

Now even though I do not believe that ghosts and obeah men leave cons around for unsuspecting people, I still decided not to pick up the coin I had seen when I was sweeping the yard.


Maybe in the back of my mind I still have memories of all the gruesome stories that we told each other as kids of what will happen if you do pick up the coin. It is interesting that the same theory that is place for a coin on the road does not apply to paper money or money of a high value.

7/17/2012 06:19:26

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