According to legend, one can tell if a ‘duppy’ is around if certain signs are observed, such as:
- If a dog whines or howls at night.
- A spider web across the face, especially at night.
- If a stick break at night (you must say good family it is me-that will ward the duppy off and it will not harm you)
- smell food at night and there is no food in that vicinity(you must say Jack mon ginger mi nuh choosy-this will also ward off the duppy and it will not harm you)
It is also supposed that certain precautions must be taken to ward off or to avoid trouble with a ‘duppy’. When throwing out water at night care must be taken to warn the ‘duppies’ before throwing the water. Stones must not be thrown at noon or nights and one should never sit at the threshold of a door as a ‘duppy’ will walk over and injure you. Methods of getting rid of ‘duppies’ range from cursing or calling “Jesus Christ” to nailing a horseshoe to the house.
Jamaican folklore contains a significant amount of ‘duppy’ stories in various forms. Jamaican sayings and proverbs also contain references to ‘duppies’; “Bull buck and duppy conqueror” and “Duppy know who fi frighten an who fi tell good night” are two such examples.
Below is an example of a Duppy Story from Jamaican folklore:
Once a man was walking in the street on a night. He met a duppy. His teet' was like fire; so de man went to ask for a light, did not know it was duppy. So de duppy gash his teet' at him an' he run. So de duppy went on met him again. De man did not know it was him, went up wid a complain':--"See, sir, I meet a man jus' now, ask 'im for a light an' he gash his teet' at me!" De duppy grin his teet' again an' ask, "Teet' like dese?" an' de man run again.