Cudjoe’s Rum Soaked Celebrations

Every year, on January 6th, the Accompong Town Maroons of St Elizabeth, Jamaica celebrate the birthday of Captain Cudjoe and their victory over the British. As part of the celebrations, ancestral spirits are appeased with offerings of rum and food, and humans willingly allow themselves to be possessed by these spirits. Although outsiders are generally not permitted to witness these rituals, this article offers an inside look at the festivities.

Honoring Captain Cudjoe

Captain Cudjoe (who was named either Kojo or Kwadwo) was a Jamaican Maroon leader who is best known for his role in leading the Maroons to victory over the British in the First Maroon War. The Maroons were runaway slaves who had formed independent communities in the mountains of Jamaica. They were skilled warriors and fierce fighters, and they were able to repel the British forces who tried to recapture them.

In 1739, the British offered a treaty to the Maroons, promising them their freedom and land in exchange for their help in capturing runaway slaves. Cudjoe was one of the leaders who signed the treaty on behalf of the Maroons, and he played a key role in ensuring that the Maroons were able to hold on to their freedom and their land.

Cudjoe’s victory over the British was an important moment in Jamaican history, and it is celebrated every year on January 6th by the Accompong Town Maroons of St Elizabeth. The Maroons continue to hold their land and maintain their independence to this day, thanks in large part to the leadership of Captain Cudjoe.

A Young Child is Possessed

A few years back while the feeding of the ancestral spirits was going on in the Peace Cave, some outsiders gathered just beyond the entrance to enjoy unsalted food amid spirited drumming, dancing and singing under the Kinda Tree.

Suddenly, an alarm was raised which results in people running over to a spot above the Kinda Tree where a little girl had collapsed and was lying motionless.

As the crowd gathered, she laid motionless. Anxious shouts and exclamations were made, as she was said to be in a myal, a trance-like state in which the subjects are unresponsive to stimuli around them and are not aware of their actions. The drum and rum were summoned. People shouted, asking onlookers to clear the spot.

Women knelt beside her, fanning and shaking her, but she would not budge. Confusion reigned as everyone, including police officers, were shouting instructions. There was the flashing of rum. the child stirred, and listless and dazed. A woman, appearing to be her mother, took her up and whisked her away with the police as some onlookers trailed them. On the woman’s shoulder, the child raised her head, and opened her eyes. They were glazed.

And, as if nothing had just happened, it was immediately back to the singing and drumming. Soon, the procession from the Peace Cave was back. But just when people were joining it to the parade ground, it made a U-turn back towards the Kinda Tree. Then, unannounced, the sounds of gunfire rang out.

It was actually a gun salute from the JCF.

Spirits in Rhythm

As the procession at Accompong Town prepared to make its way to the parade ground, the energy among the participants heightened…

Drumming, singing and dancing under the Kinda Tree.
(c) Paul Williams

A male Maroon dancer and drummer began to move vigorously, with the dancer basically performing acrobatics, furthermore dancing on his head, while being in a trance-like state. The drummer lost control of his drum as his body convulsed, but eventually regained possession of it and played with another drummer. The dancer calmed down, but the drummer was appeared dazed.

As the procession was about to move again, a Revivalist man fell into a gully and had to be rescued. Another woman who became possessed had to be brought back to reality. Eventually, the procession continued, with the participants singing “clear road, oh” as they made their way toward lunch.

Drunk Ghost Hunting, Headless Bobbleheads, An Entity That Rocks, And Strange Encounters In California

Over the summer, at a Brooklyn Paranormal Society Meetup, I was speaking to a gentleman of the Christian persuasion who told me that being drunk was decidedly against the rules of good spiritual conduct, as was related to him in the Holy Book. Drunk ghost hunting is after-all the activity that BKPS began as.

I had to reveal to him, in full disclosure, that what happens at a typical BKPS drunken ghost hunt, does in fact involve drinking, but rarely have any of the participants exhibited tell tale signs of drunkenness, per se.

Beer is served, wine poured, and liquor mixed and consumed (I am often seen with a gin concoction in my hand). But actual drunken behavior, as one would associate with the term? Not a common sight. Truth be told, alcohol is merely the currency by which the true commodity is exchanged, that being, conversation. Preferably, good conversation.

That is the one abiding rule by which all participants are in agreement. Discussion and the lively exchange of ideas, concepts and stories. The more exotic and fantastic the story, the better. Really, we are seeking information upon that nebulous realm — the paranormal.

Alcohol can facilitate the conversation, and even the mere hint of liquor, can engender an atmosphere conducive to the loosening of the tongue. Fact is, some of the participants don’t even drink alcohol, choosing rather, a mocktail, soda or “Rob Roy.” There is of course, no accounting for taste. To each their own.

At that Meetup, while knocking back a UFO IPA at the bar, I made the acquaintance of a gentleman named Mick. Mick, it turned out, wasn’t there for our paranormal gathering (drunk ghost hunt). He had no idea, in fact, what the Brooklyn Paranormal Society was. He was just another patron enjoying a tall glass of malted barley and hops. However, Mick did have a paranormal story he needed getting off his chest.

drunk ghost hunting with UFO beer

“If you want to see some shit go down,” Mick told me, “you want to stay at this place in Los Feliz. I can get you the address.”

“You mean in California?” I asked.

“That’s right. I was laying on my couch in the middle of the day. I got this place because it was so close to the studio we were recording in. It was awesome, I was having a blast. There’s like a space between the back of the couch and the book shelf and then there’s a wall. The TV’s over that way and the Wurlitzer and I was just chill in there watching some TV and a bunch of fucking books and some mugs, some Beatles bobble heads, all this shit just went flying off the shelf across the room.”

“Get the hell out of here,” I said. I took a deep gulp from my beer then asked, “Was it an earthquake maybe?”

“No fucking way,” Mick replied. “I’ve been in an earthquake. I was in the North Ridge quake. I definitely know the difference between an earthquake, a tremor. I know the difference between asleep and awake states. The shit flew off the shelf and shit broke.”

“I started cleaning up stuff,” Mick continued, “I gathered up all the pieces of broken coffee cups and the bobble heads but I just couldn’t find John Lennon’s head.”

“Oh shit,” I said, “They decapitated John Lennon?”

“I fucking looked everywhere. I couldn’t find it. I just assumed they didn’t have his head, maybe. I called up the owners of the house and I was like ‘Hey, do you have like, entities living in your house? Because a bunch of your shit just flew off the shelf.’”

“Did they think you were crazy?” I asked.

“They said, ‘Oh yeah, totally. Sometimes it plays the Wurlitzer. We think the ghost is pretty cool, doesn’t seem to be up to anything bad.’ So I asked the owner what kind of liquor the ghosts might drink? I ended up buying a bottle of Jameson and telling the entity ‘No bad vibes. I’m gonna be staying here for a little while.’”

“That was mighty obliging of you,” I offered.

“Nothing else happened there except one of my shirts disappeared. That was really weird because I don’t have many shirts. Good shirts are hard to find. I just didn’t understand how that happened, but what I will say is that shit flew off the shelf right by my head.”

“California is a creepy place,” I said, “All the weird shit happens in and around LA.”

“Sometimes it’s good weird stuff,” Mick answered.


“But sometimes,” he added, “the other kind of weird as well.”

“You weren’t stoned, when any of this weirdness happened?” I inquired.

“I know I look like a hippie,” he said, “and I listen to jam bam music, but I really don’t smoke pot that much. I don’t want to engage with the spirit realm, but I guess I really didn’t have a choice this year. I’ve had two encounters this year. The second one occurred back in February, also in California.”

“It was a really nice place,” Mick continued. “Friends of mine were in India for two weeks and they have a big house – salt water pool, pizza ovens and two chicks to take care of their dog and cook breakfast every morning. They invited me to stay there while they were gone so I was chilling and zoning out, no radio, no TV, just smoking a cigarette, and this fucking thing comes into my brain- it was like I could see it in a dream but I was totally awake.

drunk ghost hunting
Mutated Guild Navigator from Dune highlighted in our drunk ghost hunting article.

“This thing was like a huge circle, it was a big old round thing. It had a face, which I couldn’t even begin to describe, but it had enough similarities to a face to know that it was. It had a weird little body that kind of hung off on this angle.”

Mick waved his hand over to his left side, indicating where the creature’s body hung.

“It had no topographical features. It struck me as ancient in nature but it was so bazaar it was like something from a DMT trip.”

“Did you say DMT?” I asked. “Terence McKenna talks about that.”

“Yeah, I’ve been to some far out zones,” Mick said. “Let me tell you, it is something worth doing. DMT is awesome. It is very deep and very intense. There’s no way to describe it, but that level of weird? This thing, with the face, was at that level of weird. This thing was real creepy and it lasted for about a minute. It just rocked its head back and forth softly, slowly rotating. Did that for about a minute and a half then it was gone.

“The next thing that happened occurred the next night. This is the cool one. I was down stairs by the pizza oven and I was smoking a cigarette when this thing, this is hard to explain, I didn’t see it but I could feel something coming towards me at an angle, like 11:30 and 2. Does that make sense to you?

“Well, this thing got to me, then I had the best day of the year. It was like I was on fire, I was killing it. I would like, walk down the street and meet a bunch of girls, it wasn’t even fair. The only way I could put it into words is that the Holy Spirit was in me.”

“You mean like spiritually energized?” I chimed.

“Something had happened to me, that day was so powerful. I just wanted to share it with people, people who are interested, like you. And I don’t blame you because I’m interested too, I want to know what that was.”

“Your description of the entity,” I offered, “ reminds me of the Mutated Guild Navigator from the movie Dune. Are you familiar with that?”

“Spice dude,” Mick answered.

“Yeah, they don’t have arms or legs and they just float in this vat,” I said.

“I could see some familiarities,” Mick added. “It was totally bazaar and what was really creepy is that it got in here, inside my mind.”

This Drunk Ghost Hunting Story was written by Andrew Arnett. Other great reads include pieces on Aleister Crowley, the 21 Types of UFOs, and a primer on the Chupacabra.

Pros And Cons Of Drunken Ghost Hunting

‘Pros And Cons Of Drunken Ghost Hunting’ is an article by Andrew Arnett, with updates in 2023 by Anthony Long.

“It was two years ago, right around this time, close to Halloween, when Sonja and I found ourselves walking down Atlantic Avenue and, a mimeographed advertisement hanging on a street lamp caught our attention. It was a flyer for a drunken ghost hunting event with the Brooklyn Paranormal Society. Both drinking and ghost hunting are remarkable pastimes, each in their own right, but the combination seemed irresistible.”

Andrew Arnett, co-founder of the Brooklyn Paranormal Society

Anthony Long, Chief Ectoplasm Officer (CEO) of the Brooklyn Paranormal Society, offered a remarkable proposition – he would, through the means of alcoholic inebriation, open himself up to demonic possession, all for the sake of paranormal science. It seemed like a brave, if foolhardy undertaking, but there is in fact method behind this madness.

The Brooklyn Paranormal Society
The Brooklyn Paranormal Society in anaglyph 3D.

Looking at the word “alcohol,” we find that the term originated in the Middle East (interestingly enough, a place that prohibits the use of alcohol) and comes from the Arabic “al-kuhl,” or “al-kuhul,” which originally meant a fine black powder.

This powder was used as mascara and was obtained by sublimation, which refers to a process of heating a solid to a vapor and then condensing it down again to a very fine powder. The Arabic term “ghūl,” and the English “ghoul,” referring to a flesh consuming evil spirit, are also derived from the original “al-kuhl.”

By the 16th century, the English co-opted the term, compressing it into one word – alcohol – referring to anything formed through sublimation, and in terms of a liquid – distillation and fermentation. “Spirits” then, were created through distillation and fermentation. By modern times, the term was parred down to refer only to distilled spirits, or liquor.

Pros And Cons Of Drunken Ghost Hunting

Health writer and enthusiast Jason Christoff has an interesting take on alcohol and its effects on the human body. He states:

“In alchemy, alcohol is used to extract the soul essence of an entity. Hence, its use in extracting essences for essential oils, and the sterilization of medical instruments. By consuming alcohol into the body, it in effect extracts the very essence of the soul, allowing the body to be more susceptible to neighboring entities most of which are of low frequencies. That is why people who consume excessive amounts of alcohol often black out, not remembering what happened.”

Alcohol, in effect, kicks the spirit out of its physical vehicle, making it vulnerable to be taken for a joy ride by other, malevolent spirits. This may be effective but, as a method for hunting ghosts, has its obvious drawbacks. The idea of using oneself as bait for evil spirits is not a very good one. It’s dangerous. Things can get messy and who knows what disembodied parasitic entity you’ll drag back to the house.

“Alchohol is a con on the ‘Pros And Cons Of Drunken Ghost Hunting’ list” says founder, Anthony Long.

Pros And Cons Of Drunken Ghost Hunting
(Image via Robert Steven Connett)

“We’ve had some negative results from alcohol,” Long stated. “Things have, on occasion, gotten out of hand. We’ve been kicked out of a few bars. We have basically moved on from using alcohol as a method for ghost hunting but, we still like to have a few drinks beforehand.”

Fortunately, in our modern day and age, there are a plethora of means by which one can get out there and track down the elusive spirit. Hunting ghosts, ultimately, is really just like hunting anything else – it is a matter of time, place and energy. Time and place are self explanatory – you find a paranormal hot spot and you go there after midnight.

Energy refers to a number of things. It can refer to the “Chi,” or magnetism, of the ghost hunter, medium, psychic, shaman or brujo wishing to make contact with the spirit world.

Energy also refers to the spirit itself. Ghosts are nothing if not energy itself, having shuffled of the mortal coil, and exiting this three dimensional, physical universe, all together.

Finally, on Pros And Cons Of Drunken Ghost Hunting there is the energy which surrounds us, such as electricity and radio waves, which spirits can manipulate. Energy is a type of interface, if you will, with the other side. With today’s advanced technology, we have at our disposal, many new devices which can measure these disparate energies and, help us “talk to the dead.”

One such device is Franks “ghost box,” also known as the “telephone to the dead.” The device is used extensively in Brooklyn Paranormal Society Ghost Hunts, it scans AM or FM radio frequencies, allowing you to hear a brief glimpse of the output as they are being scanned. Through this EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), you can ask the spirit questions and they can “answer” back.

Could such a device actually put us in contact with the other side? Perhaps. In subsequent installments, we shall take a closer look at these devices, and test, to the best of our abilities, their relative efficacy.

Written by Andrew Arnett