Close Encounters at the Johnny Cash House
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Close Encounters
At the Johnny Cash House in Jamaica

By Greg Latimer, Mysterious Destinations Research Director
with Laurie and Tim, Mysterious Destinations Correspondents

(Note: MysteriousDestinationsMagazine.com captured some compelling video at this location, which is featured later in the article.)

Music icons Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash are known throughout the world. Lesser known is the fact that they owned a home in Jamaica and spent considerable time there, especially in their later years. Even lesser known is that the home is open to the public through special arrangement, and that the location has a history of paranormal activity.

All of these factors made the Johnny Cash house a “must see” on the 2012 Mysterious Destinations Western Caribbean Expedition, a cruise ship-based excursion with guests that included mysterious destinations on Cozumel and Jamaica. (If you would like to be notified of our next cruise ship-based expedition, please click here to go to our Contact Us page and send us an e-mail.)

Ghost Adventures at the Johnny Cash House

The Johnny Cash house first came to our attention when the crew from Ghost Adventures visited Jamaica (Season 5, Episode 9, original air date 12/9/2011). Based on the dialogue during the show it appeared that the team’s original intention was to visit the Rose Hall Great House, home of the “White Witch” Annie Palmer and considered one of the most haunted places in the world. (Rose Hall Great House will be the subject of an upcoming article on MysteriousDestinationsMagazine.com.)

However, when the Ghost Adventures team learned that Johnny Cash’s house was right in the neighborhood, they diverted to that location to conduct the first known paranormal investigation there. They experienced fluctuations on their Mel Meter (a device that measures a combination of electromagnetic field [EMF] and temperature variations, and sometimes other factors depending on the model), heard unexplained noises in the house, and captured a very compelling electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) that sounds strikingly like the voice of Johnny Cash saying “I do…”. This EVP was tested by a sound engineer on specialized equipment, and was found to be a very close match to Cash’s voice. For a link to the segment of the Ghost Adventures analysis of this EVP, click here.

Mysterious Destinations Western Caribbean Expedition

The Mysterious Destinations Western Caribbean Expedition was to find even more evidence to support the possibility of paranormal activity at the Johnny Cash house.

The Mysterious Destinations team arrived at the Johnny Cash house under a blue Jamaican sky. The home, known as Cinnamon Hill, is a former plantation house built in the 1700’s by Samuel Barrett and later finished by his son Edward. It’s a two-story stone walled structure nestled into a coastal hillside overlooking Montego Bay, surrounded by well-kept gardens and including a spacious patio protected by an overhang of the roof, allowing visitors to enjoy both the scenery and the ocean view.

Things at Cinnamon Hill weren’t always so idyllic. The Barretts ran a large sugar plantation there beginning in the mid 1700’s. Hundreds of slaves toiled in the cane fields, and the basement floor of Cinnamon Hill was a dungeon where errant slaves were punished. Steel bear traps some 3-feet long were hidden on the edges of the plantation, intended to grievously wound any slave attempting to escape into the jungle and to keep other slaves on the property fearful of making their own attempt.

Needless to say, Cinnamon Hill was the site of considerable human anguish long before the arrival of Johnny Cash, who had personally observed paranormal activity while at the house.

Sightings by Johnny Cash

In his book “Cash, The Autobiography”, Cash recalls seeing apparitions of a woman and a young boy throughout the house on numerous occasions.

On one occasion, Johnny remembered when he and some guests observed the apparitional figure of a woman in the dining room. Cash described her as being in her early thirties and wearing a full-length white dress. She came through the dining room door heading to the kitchen and proceeded across the room toward the double doors on the opposite wall, which were closed and locked. Cash and his guests watched in amazement as the apparition went through the locked doors without opening them. After she passed through the doors, the group heard a “ rat-tat-tat, rat-tat” from the other side.

Cash never felt any threat from these apparitional residents. “We’ve never had any trouble with these souls,” he wrote. “They mean us no harm, I believe, and we’re certainly not scared of them; they just don’t produce that kind of emotion.”

Seeking the Paranormal at Cinnamon Hill

It was in the same hallway that Cash described the apparition’s path from the kitchen to the dining room where the Mysterious Destinations team caught their first EMF anomalies using both a Mel Meter and a standard EMF detector. The entire hallway showed compelling EMF readings, some stronger near the floor under which the dungeon used to be. We checked with our guides Maxine and Daltis regarding an electrical source in the floor for the EMF readings and Daltis said there were none. “It’s only the dungeon down there,” she said, with a hint of amazement as she watched the EMF detectors continue to flash.

The team then conducted a flashlight and EVP session, setting the equipment on a chair that registered an EMF return. The chair and many of the furniture pieces in the hallway had pillows handcrafted by June Carter Cash, which may be one of the reasons the response we had to our flashlight session came from an anomaly that identified itself as June Carter Cash. To see a video of the flashlight session, click here.

(Note: Flashlight sessions, a common tool for paranormal investigators, are often considered controversial. This issue of MysteriousDestinationsMagazine.com includes an article discussing these sessions in the first of our “Tools of the Trade” series. To check that article, click here.)

We then surveyed the rest of the house, without any discernable responses in the other rooms. Returning to the hallway, which was still registering EMF anomalies, we initiated a copper dousing rod session. (Copper dousing rods are believed by some paranormal experts to be responsive to the electromagnetic fields attributed to paranormal activity. Ghost hunters try to achieve “yes” or “no” responses to questions by asking entities to move the rods. Copper dousing rods will be the subject of an upcoming “Tools of the Trade” article on MysteriousDestinationsMagazine.com.)

Dousing Rod Session has Interesting Results

It wasn’t long before the dousing rods began responding to questions, with the entity identifying itself as Samuel Barrett, who built the plantation in the mid 1700’s.

However, this dousing rod session included some surprises. Quite often, after crossing over each other in a “yes” response, the rods would swing backwards and rest on the breasts of Mysterious Destinations team member Laurie. These repeated actions definitely drew the sometimes humorous attention of other team members (including Laurie’s husband) and led to an investigation by MysteriousDestinationsMagazine.com that resulted in this month’s article “Is There Libido After Death?” To check that article, click here; and to check that video, click here.

Even our departure from Cinnamon Hill included a bit of mystery. Just before leaving we took the time to enjoy the beautiful gardens surrounding the building. One of our guides, Daltis, suddenly gasped loudly and reached for the back of her neck. “What was that?” she exclaimed. “Something just flew by and brushed my neck!” She originally thought it was a bird or bat, but the with entire group standing right behind her, no one had seen any flying creatures near her. We left feeling that Daltis’ brush with the unknown was just another occurrence to add to the list of mysteries surrounding the Cinnamon Hill Great House once so loved by Johnny and June Cash.

To find out how you can visit Cinnamon Hill and more about the house and surrounding area, check the article “How You Can Visit the Johnny Cash House” in this edition of MysteriousDestinationsMagazine.com, or click here.