Tree 'rises' from the dead - 'Resurrection' sparks excitement, fear in St Elizabeth community

Published: Wednesday | August 12, 2009

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Residents gather around an ackee tree which has captured the interest of citizens in Burnt Ground, St Elizabeth. - Ian Allen/Staff Photographer

An ackee tree which "miraculously rose from the dead" in the middle of the afternoon last Thursday has left scores of residents of Burnt Ground in St Elizabeth thoroughly mystified.

Awestruck community members, who seemed rooted to the spot where the 'resurrection' is alleged to have taken place, said the tree was felled by the wrath of Hurricane Ivan five years ago. The tree, they said, had lain unprovoked at the same spot where it surrendered to the fury of the winds and rains.

When a Gleaner news team visited Burnt Ground 48 hours later, the tree stood erect, with an intricate network of knobbly roots.

The brown earth around the massive root system had clearly been recently disturbed, an indication that the tree had been uprooted.

Unable to contain their excitement, the villagers came out to tell of the incident that has gripped their little community.

The common theme: Behold a mystery or a miracle! Before their very eyes, the tree rose from its horizontal position of half a decade and stood firm, to the utter amazement of many!

"There was nothing, no earthquake, no breeze," it jus stan up!" one elderly woman declared, as mesmerised as others around her.

"Ten of us couldn't lift it," another chimed in. "It get up an' stay the same it was when it was alive."


Charmaine Dockey, who lives a stone's throw away from the now-popular tree, told The Gleaner she actually witnessed, in speechless amazement, when the old tree stood.

"I couldn't believe my eyes when it jus' took its time and just stan' up," she declared. "It got up and set back himself the same way him used to stay," she said.

However, amid the consternation, a young man named Dwayne Wray calmly sought to demystify the situation.

"The roots which held down the tree after it was blown down seem to have broken free, releasing the tree from its grasp."

Wray believes the branches had, over the years, been chopped and used for firewood.

"As a result, the tree became lighter and when the roots broke the upper part returned to standing position," he added.

But many of the residents of the quiet, agricultural district located in Jamaica's Breadbasket Parish were not prepared to listen to such theories.

"It is a time sign of the times," one elderly woman declared. "It is showing us that we must repent."