Ever since I was a little girl growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, my mother always spoke almost in fright about Rio Cobre and the bridge that runs across it called Flat Bridge. Located in Bog Walk, St. Catherine, it is said that the bridge was built by slaves, and according to Wikipedia, “When the bridge was being constructed, the sixteen plantations in the Bog Walk area were obliged to send one enslaved African in every fifty to work on the River Road, sometimes called Sixteen Mile Walk. Gravel, marl, lime, sand and stone had to be dug. Slaves often lost their lives as they performed dangerous tasks in the Gorge. Contracts for timber and for masons to work on the bridge were authorized at vestry meetings.” This bridge has claimed many lives, much to the mystery of the Jamaican people and there are also tales of spirit (duppy) sightings as many people have said that the spirits of the dead slaves usually gather at the bridge, and there are times when they seek the blood of passersby.
But the truth, as the saying goes, is stranger than fiction.
Nobody knows the truth here, but it is apparent to say the least, that there is a phenomena happening at Flat Bridge and this has been for many years. Recently 5 people lost their lives at Flat Bridge while on their way to church. (See Below)
And in Jamaica, if one does not pray or is not “Godly” at all, when crossing Flat Bridge, almost everybody says a prayer, and the belief in God suddenly conjured. When ever I go to Jamaica and have to cross this bridge, there is a certain energy as I approach the bridge itself. Number 1, the whole area feels as if it wants to envelope everything that surrounds it. The greenery and darkness, no matter the suns heat or light, that makes up the atmosphere of that area of Flat Bridge, speaks volumes of a very heavy power/force there. Perhaps because I am a spiritualist/traditionalist, I am able to feel or detect those forces unseen to the physical eyes. I’ve often wondered if it was because of Flat Bridge’s reputation why I felt all that I just described, or was I really in tuned with what was there?
While many people, spiritualists, revivalists, people who claim to be ‘seers’ and others, have said that Flat Bridge is haunted and the tragedies that occurs there are ode to the slaves who lost their lives there, and as this may be so (it is possible to some degree), I, Obara Meji, have a different explanation for this, for which I’m almost very sure that I am correct.
Let me explain things metaphysical to you, here’s hoping that you are able to understand it as I will try to lay it out as simply as I can for you:
Every part of nature, the river, the ocean, the forest, the trees, caves, mountains, hills, valleys, lightning, thunder, breeze, etc. have a particular energetic force, meaning a non-physical being/energies/Angels/Orishas, beings who have not ever had a physical body or lived a physical life within this realm, yet still exist as forces controlling parts of nature in order to create balance throughout out chaotic world. Some forces can be seen as destructive and others can be seen as soothing, but when it comes down to everything, they all coordinate and harmonize, which is what makes up and allows us to live in our natural world.
In Africa, we call these powerful enigmatic energies Orishas. Orisha (spelled Orisa) is a Yoruba word and it actually can be thought of or compared to Angels in it’s meaning, Angels or angelic beings. The Africans, however, being wise beyond belief, have not held Orishas in the sky alone, but have strategically identified them throughout nature, even naming them in order to “humanise” them for our better understanding as humans. Some being masculine deities, and others being feminine deities. The word deity is used here because for centuries Africans have been appeasing these energies belonging to nature so that from once they are propitiated, then they will not rise against humans existing here on earth. Look at this article clip.
Note that within the article, it was the government who looked about appeasing the deities. In Africa, (mi nuh know bout South Africa cah dem different), Government and Heads of State are aware of spirituality and of tradition, and do their own part in support of the propitiation of all forces that needs to be appeased throughout nature.
Now in terms of Flat Bridge, I believe that there is a Water Spirit or Water Deities belonging to that body of water, the Rio Cobre, that is responsible for taking the lives of so many. Now, “taking the lives” of many sounds so bad and tragic and of course it is to the human way of thinking and understanding, owing much to our emotions and our ties to the earth where we live. But this is not so in nature, or to the understanding of these forces who are responsible for these atrocities. They are seeing the deaths as an exchange, part of their spiritual duty of the River, which is a source itself, that not only stops at Flat Bridge but runs through Jamaica, doing it’s part as a part of nature. It needs propitiation or appeasement, sacrifice, if you will.
Perhaps the slaves who built Flat Bridge realized this after losing some of their counterparts and began, back then, to feed or appease the deity(ies) they knew were there. But after the bridge was completed, this did not continue. Perhaps, this began before then, when the natives who lived on that land before Europeans took slaves there, perhaps these natives used to do Rites and Rituals at that spot or to that particular river, but all of this stopped because of the invasion of the enslavers.
Here, in Africa, there are particular rivers that does the same thing. When this happens, the King of the town rounds up all of his priests to go to the river with an oracle and ask what does the river need so that it will not take the residents of the town. Because the river, if not attended to spiritually, it then takes its own sacrifice, where in which when asked by the competent priests or priestesses as to what it would want and for how many times for the year (usually it is one time for the year), it would take a Cow, or a goat, or a ram (sheep), all of these being four-legged animals, which would therefore take the place of human beings.
(Sidenote: Let me share this with you. Bodies of water do not accept blood in it. This could be tragic if sacrifice is done and blood is poured into the water as was so with the Revival woman and her sacrifice of a goat at Roaring River, to this day she is still feeling the wrath of what she did. I will do a post on this one day).
There are times also when the river doesn’t take any kind of animal. It may just want simple things, like drumming, singing, or high energy ritualistic performances by dancers and spiritualists in the celebration of it as the river that runs through the town.
Also, what happened recently at the Flat Bridge River, note that these were all Church people (Zion Revival to be exact) that died, one being a Bishop, pastor of his own church, along with two of his children and more. The forces at the river, of course recognizing that these were spiritual people who lived close to the area, perhaps were ones who should have known that the river itself needs appeasement. And I say this because as a spiritualist, if I am crossing a river like Flat Bridge knowing it’s history, I would have before spiritually tended to it on my own or at some point while I am in Jamaica, have gone to a different river and give an appeasement.
This might have been expected of those Zion people, especially the Bishop, who was a known spiritualist. I cannot for sure say that the river specifies who it will or will not take, but I can definitely tell you that when people die in groups, it is sure that they all hold the same spiritual key, and what this means is it was pre-planned for them all to go together in the same way.
The Orisha or Water Deity who I believe is the watcher of the Rio Cobre is a masculine energy, not a feminine one. Although feminine deities may also be among the group. I say this because of what I feel when I am crossing that bridge or in the area itself. It is not cruel and not killing people just for fun, it is making a statement as to be remembered, which Jamaicans have yet to answer.
If that bridge were not across the Rio Cobre river, although I am sure there may be other ways of getting to a destination without crossing it, but it cannot be denied that the bridge itself serves a purpose. Therefore, you are working the bridge itself, which was built on the blood, sweat, and tears, of enslaved people (who are still possibly crying there, but are not the ones to be doing this), also the river that runs beneath it is witness to all that has occurred there, and yet still there is no remembrance – no thanks, nothing, to the deities, spirits, or beings that are always on duty there.
Now as many people have drawn their own conclusions that it is the dead slaves or spirits that are killing people from the bridge, as a Metaphysician, and one who knows about Spirits (the dead), I know that they do not have the ability to do this. Let me explain. Many people have said that while driving on the bridge they would see persons either crossing the bridge at nights or standing in view of headlights of the person driving, that distraction would now lend to the vehicle plunging into the deep cold water. How spirit operates is that if they are there, in other words if they reside at the river side or on the bridge itself, they can and will know when the force of the river itself will strike and so some may make themselves appear to motorists who are coming, either as a warning or even as a jeer as to the intention of the deity who is about to take the life of someone that day. And so, for all who has eyes to see, they may witness an apparition, but spirits, people who has once had a physical body and has died, do not have the power to do these kinds of tragedies on their own, without a stronger force behind them.
These spirits are called earthbound or wayward spirits. From once they can appear as an apparition for persons to see, then they are still bound to the earth and have not gone on to their new life within time and space. They have no support from the hierarchies within the realms of spirits that could fortify them with strength and power to be able to do a quarter of what the natural forces of nature can do. They, however, can be a distraction to persons who may be frightened upon seeing them, that harm will come to that person.
But this is all they will be. A distraction. An apparition. A spirit that allows itself to be seen.
Things like these are done all over world, in every culture, in every country. There are tragedies that occurs that have no explanation behind it, at least to those who do not know or understand. When there is something that cannot be explained we should learn to look at it from the spiritual point of view. Everything has it’s reason for being and the deities at Flat Bridge, Rio Cobre, have been calling out to Jamaica and the Jamaican government for attention for a very long time. Unfortunately this will continue to happen until the correct and continuous (yearly) propitiation is done and accepted. Only then will lives stop being taken, there at the infamous Flat Bridge.
My people if you find yourself about to cross the river, immediately begin to pay homage to it in a prayer to the river, it’s deities, and the non-physical presence there. In doing so, you may be able to escape its wrath.
Ilẹ̀kùn tí ò bá ní alùgbàgbà, kó yára dẹ́kun àpárá dí dá /
A door that has no frame ought to cease all pranks……Yoruba Proverb!
[Operate within your means]
All religions are valid as long as it teaches peace and love…..Obara Meji!
PS: If this river is to be appeased, it has be appeased by a competent spiritualist/priest/priestess (nuh guess an’ spell business as how dem love fi do it inna Jamaica!). An oracle needs to be used, even if the oracle is the human being itself, to ask questions of the Rio Cobre and it’s deity as to what will appease it and for how many times of the year should this be done (most likely it will be once or twice), this must be kept up for as long as the river is there. And what this means is whomever will do this must pass this knowledge along, in other words there must be a Keeper of the Bridge, one who has the knowledge of the sacrifices to be done. He must always have someone he trains to do this job should he pass away. This is very important, or else I assure you that tragedies like this will forever continue at that bridge…….no amount ah “Holy Ghost Fire” Or “Alabasiyah Alabashonda” the universal spiritual tongues, when oonuh ketch spirit and waan chat language, can solve the problem, not eve de good ole white rum, J. Wray an him faithful nephew dem.
Obara Meji is a spiritualist, Ifa-Orisa practitioner, and teacher of metaphysics. Since 2011 she has used her online platform to share her personal experiences to those seeking answers about spirituality. Her teachings will expand into short stories, novels, and public speaking to continue her mission of bringing enlightenment to the world.