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Annaberg Slave Plantation Shout


A few years ago my oldest brother N very generously bought me a trip to come and visit him in the Virgin Islands. Our baby brother C lived there too, and although our middle brother A was stuck mainland, we three were soon back to our familiar rowdy brawling and smack-talk.

My "baby brother" C iss a hefty 6'4" and thinks it is real funny to pick me up like a sack of potatoes in public. N is only 6'2" but he is a crossfit fiend with a belt in jiu jitsu who can tie me in a knot. So I am the smallest now, but I was a mean older sister growing up. We have always been jackasses like this, and (at least as adults) never actually hurt each other just hollering and harassing around. This horseplay detail comes into play later, perhaps our casual attitudes provoked the following grief:

I had never been to the Virgins Islands, but N had lived there 12 years. So I had my own tour guide. Everything was amazing. Being the history buff and anti-establishment little know-it-all that I am, I ate up the stories of slaves from US island of St. Thomas swimming oceans miles away to French or British-held islands and freedom, or pirates menacing genocidal empires and corporations like the British East India Company. Or how the original synagogue in St. Thomas has floors of sand to mask the sound of worshippers who had fled the Inquisitions from the local Spanish authorities. Details and stories like these are the best parts of traveling if you ask me. Because they were locals, and worked in the tourism industry I got the whole historical scoop, including the lasting horrors of slavery that I am sure the cruise lines do not exactly advertise.

Therefore, my brothers made sure that we got to visit the Island of St. John's and the Annaberg Sugarcane Plantation. This former slave plantation is now a national park and a memorial. Many of the coral brick sugar mills and slavemaster buildings remain, but the original, measly wattle-and-daub slave quarters washed out many hurricanes ago in the last century. It is a big site, built on a hill, in what is now a lush tropical forest that looks out over a blue carribean bay. The weather was perfect on the day we were there. Annaberg is also the site of the first slave uprising in the Western Hemisphere, against the Dutchymasters.

As we made our way up the hill toward where the biggest ruins are gathered, we were screwing around as usual. I took a running leap at my little brother and clung piggyback, forcing him to carry me uphill. Taking pictures with lizards on kerosene trees, smoking cigarettes to be tough, touristy stuff like photographing the ocean view. The park was busy with little kids and families so we weren't cursing around or anything, just loudly enjoying the day. It did not really hit home to me the magnitude of suffering endured on that very ground until we reached the sugar mills. At that point we all sobered right up.

There the floors had channels made by thousands of feet, feet of the people yoked to the wheel which moved the industrial cane presses. The walls, too, seemed absorbed with their misery. It certainly felt like a graveyard, or the place of some violent catastrophe such a fatal landslide or accident scene. We wandered away from each other, looking around and taking pictures. They had both been there, but I wanted to see every inch of history.

I tried to imagine living and working day after day the Equatorial heat and peeling sun with little fresh water and hardly any food, as an expendable captive animal, enslaved for another's profit. My luxurious western standard of living, privileges and freedoms seemed decadent and preposterous, and I thought about how slavery still exists now to make that possible. At Annaberg the Dutch massacred all 80, 000 people on the Island as punishment and example, not just those rebellious individuals who had risen up and taken over the islands slaves, resources and profits in the uprising.

It is guilty to explain but it feels weird to be that sad, standing in what is otherwise a peaceful tropical paradise. I remarked on all this misery to C as we stood looking up the hill from a coral stone floor attached to one of the mill silos. This series of structures being those set highest on the hill, he and I were standing roughly on the middle level, backs to the ocean. He gave me a hug and we just stood side by side, thinking, trying to imagine life as an African slave here. It was heavy to stand where people died so wretchedly. I can not really imagine how awful it was.

Just then, for a brief moment in my mind, I heard and felt a massive, shouting, tumult of despair. Like a huge noisy sports crowd shouting out at once in defeat when the wrong team scores the win. But this loud wordless mass of grief were also full of fear and hate and bitter rage-from a giant crowd of voices at once, and the sounds of field work. I was taken totally by surprise and it felt as though my soul was as shocked as my conscious mind.

The window of sound sort of opened in my mind, and I could hear and feel the shouting chaos as if in memory, then closed in a moment. I had no accompanying visions or words of thought. It was like having the window open while driving down the freeway and passing fast by a very loud construction site or walking past an entrance to a big stadium from the quieter area beneath the stands. Plain and loud and real, the noise was there and then gone or muted, suddenly.

At that point I went ahead and cried on my brother's shoulder. When I asked them both later, neither one had heard a crowd or people shouting. I do not know if I "heard" the sounds of everyday life, of the uprising, or the resulting slaughter. While I freely admit to being suggestible and growing emotional while I was there, it does not explain being hit so clearly and loudly by the soundscape from a sugarcane harvest or homicidal colonial massacre. I have both Dutch and Afro-Caribe (through Colombia) ancestors, but our genealogy on that side is incomplete because of slavery and colonialism. Could one of my contemporary ancestors have been at Annaberg when it was a slave plantation? I have no idea, maybe one of you readers has ideas.

The biggest questions raised, for me, is not why or what I heard, but how? Even if my mind was making it up- how did I project that level of volume and emotion into my own mind? It happened in just a moment, but the crowd of voices was big and loud enough to actually "feel" their noise level and feelings. How could I suddenly flash a sound that big in my own head? Do clairaudient experiences usually involve sounds in one's mind, or do clairaudients hear the sound outside their mind? Is it ever so loud as to be felt, either way?

I have participated in grieving, somber events in public crowds outdoors that numbered in the hundreds of thousands, like Race for the Cure or protest marches against the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. I have also been to the giant Rose Parade, outdoor rallies, and professional sporting events in big sold-out arenas where people were just as loud, but not with outrage or grief. So those are my points of reference in describing the actual wave of sound that came over me. None of those memories or real-life experiences ever contained at any time the intense level of rage and pure despair I felt at Annaberg.

In trying to corroborate my own experience I came across the YGS site. I have seen no entries about St. John or Annaberg. Please let me know, wise readers, what happened to me.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, BettinaMarie, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will participate in the discussion and I need help with what I have experienced.

BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
5 years ago (2019-07-07)
Please forgive my slow reply. I would go back, even though it is scary. Next time I will bring at least tobacco and spirits for the souls of the departed. I hope you get to visit the Caribbean again. I found my old phone with the pics from that trip.

From what it sounds you and I were standing very near the same place at Annaberg, I was maybe in the space above where you were at. We were on an open coral stone floor attached left of a space with one wall on the side facing the hill, and a round hole or window at the peak of that wall. I also visited in 2017.

The sugar mill on anoher (cinnamon?) plantation there also had horrible feelings. We accidentally got some very odd photos at that place. Those were the only sugar mills I visited.

Best of Luck in Your Travels
Bettina Marie
AllisonJo (1 posts)
5 years ago (2019-03-05)
Dear BettinaMarie,

I had a very similar experience in May 2017 on the same island. On that same spot. Back to the ocean. Mill at about 10 o'clock as well as in a tiny cell used to jail those that dared to take a taste.

I have been searching the web for anyone else that had an experience at Annaberg. It's been a nagging thought for almost 2 years! I'm currently planning a trip back to the Carribean and I find myself wanting to go back to the ruins equally as much as I am afraid to go back.

I know nothing of clairaudience, but this seems extremely empathic. Your description of the Rage and pure despair was spot on.

I'm not sure that your ancestry is relevant, although we cannot discount it completely, as I, too have felt overwhelmed with frustration, agony, injustice and despair while standing in that same spot. Stuck and teary eyed while on one of the most glorious vacations of my life. I am of neither Dutch nor African descent. I'm an American of mostly Finnish and Croatian ancestry.

I would welcome an exchange regarding your experience.
BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-24)
By people I mean people like me. I am too emotional about slavery to view anything like that objectively. Just to be clear. I think I see orbs and all kinds of stuff in pictures that is 1) not really there or 2) there but dirt or bugs. I think lots of people photograph orbs, just not me.
BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-24)
DeeMarie-we got some pictures that seemed to maybe have orbs from other mills on St. John's. I will never go inside a sugar mill again, not because of what happened at the Annaberg site, but because of a "face" we 3 imagine in a picture from later that day. Not to tease. It isn't a good enough picture to share or make claims. People see what they want, or is suggested, like orbs sometimes-anyhow. I am never going inside a sugar mill, ever again. I wish those souls peace from their sorrow.
My own beliefs make me wonder if the the orbs in your photos was your mama and ancestors, if her passing came close before thet trip? Had any of you visited there with her before?
Thank you for leaving this comment and sharing with me. I hope you loved the Caribbean as much as I did.
BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-24)
DeeMarie-we got some pictures that seemed to maybe have orbs from other mills on St. John's. I will never go inside a sugar mill again, not because of what happened at the Annaberg site, but because of a "face" we 3 imagine in a picture from later that day. Not to tease. It isn't a good enough picture to share or make claims. People like me see what they want, or is suggested, like orbs sometimes-no matter what is actually pictured. I am never going inside a sugar mill, ever again. I wish those souls peace from their sorrow. Do you have any taken in or under any of the the mills? My perspective is so jarred by this experience that I do not trust my eyes in this case.
My own beliefs make me wonder if the the orbs in your photos was your mama and ancestors, if her passing came close before the trip? Had any of you visited there with her before? Does your family have history on St. John? Maybe she was watching over.
Thank you for leaving this comment and sharing with me. I hope you loved the Caribbean as much as I did. I only got to see St. John's that one day. Such nice people and beautiful nature. I'd go back anytime.
BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
5 years ago (2019-02-24)
Please forgive my slow reply. The comment you sent was really such a thoughtful, friendly thing to write. Yours is a much more useful interpretation of that awful experience than my own personal, graphic, guilty, drastic sort. Thank you for your reasoning. It helps me consider a more universal framework.
Thank you for taking the time, when I read over what you wrote it heartens me.
The readers of YGS have always been a comfort to me, even years before I ever had an account.
DeeMarie (1 posts)
5 years ago (2019-01-11)
I have a few pictures of the Annaberg plantation at nite, and there are orbs galore. The entire place is swimming with them. I was looking over pictures I took 12 years ago after my mom passed away, my son was to go on vacation with her and her husband, birthday present for each grandchild was to go somewhere special. She died before the trip took place, and I took her place instead. I just noticed all the orbs in the pictures, and it brought me here thinking how haunted the place must be!
ajonverge (6 stories) (84 posts)
6 years ago (2018-10-05)

I hope you are alright now. The kind of things that our mind can create are overwhelming, however, I am no expert to refute the fact that you did not actually feel what you heard. And the emotional response it triggered out of you suggests that at that very moment you were one and completely united with the suffering that thousands of unfortunate people must have had to bear on their own land. That is definitely something I can appreciate. The fact that you felt their pain could well be an entry point of the portal to untold suffering of those people. I am sure that if those poor souls do roam in eternity they would love to share their pain with a few humans who feel for them. May be that's why you experienced what you did.
Also, the writing was marvellous. Hats off. I felt like I was right there to be a part of the experience.
I do hope the poor souls get freed in the afterlife from the numerous perils they experienced while alive.
Peace and love.

BettinaMarie (14 stories) (80 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-13)
Humble thanks for your kind response, and for reading. It is very odd to tell this strange emotional experience to other people. If my brothers had not been there I think I would have been very frightened. When I told them what happened, they said that many people will not go near a sugar mill. Neither will my brothers dog, ever. Of course they told me this AFTER taking me to sugar mills all day. Living in the islands had made them both accustomed to spirits being acknowledged as everyday neighbors, I suppose.
lady-glow (16 stories) (3158 posts)
6 years ago (2018-04-12)
BM - I have no idea what that was, but - you sure are an accomplished writer! 😘

Brothers... They can be so annoying and, at the same time, a blessing.

Thanks for sharing.

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