Duppy folklore originates from West Africa. A duppy can be either the manifestation (in human or animal form) of the soul of a dead person, or a malevolent supernatural being. In Obeah, a person is believed to possess two souls - a good soul and an earthly soul. In death, the good soul goes to heaven to be judged by God, while the earthly spirit remains for three days in the coffin with the body, where it may escape if proper precautions are not taken, and appear as a duppy.
In many of the islands of the Lesser Antilles, duppies are known as jumbies.