The Bahamas Negro, and his assumed wily ways became endless fodder for journalists, and writers in the 19th century. A story in the papers of Manchester, England in 1889, about Inagua, tells of a goal (a jail) which is supposedly haunted with ghosts because it was built on ground subject to some voodoo or Obeah curse. It goes on to tell about the daily occurrence of people on the island falling out over various matters who then appear in front of the local magistrate.


THE NEGRO IN THE BAHAMAS. —– Larceny is rare in the islands. The inhabitants are seldom thieves, and the goals are usually empty.

There is rather a good story, by the way, which is told of the Inagua goal, which common reports claim, is haunted. The ground upon which the building stands used to be subject of voodoos, or Obeah, or witchcraft in some other African form, so that no one liked to stray there after sunset.

After the prison was erected it stood for some time empty, till at last the authorities secured a culprit in the person of the sailor who had committed some criminal offence.

We may imagine that the rejoicing of the State’s officers at thus proving their right to have a goal must have been great when the culprit was safely incarcerated; but feelings, if they indulge them, did not last long.

Shortly after midnight there was a terrible outcry heard in the building, and those who at length summoned courage to investigate found the sailor almost dead with terror.

The old spell was evidently still operative; he had seen the ghosts. At his urgent entreaty the officers, being sensible man and persuaded of the justice of his reasoning, set the unfortunate man at liberty.

In their dealings with each other the people are so sharp that business transactions are frequently followed by an envoy in a police court.

In fact, the magistrate’s office is a favourite resort for the black folks of both sexes, their charges often being the most trivial character, and seldom permanently interrupting the good feeling which usually exists between the litigants.

One magistrate complained to me that he hated to fine the delinquents who were brought daily before him, because they generally ended by borrowing of him the money with which to pay their fines.”

(The Manchester Weekly, Saturday, December 7, 1889)

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