Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blackbeard’s Ghost

Edward Teach * better known as Blackbeard is considered the fiercest pirate that ever lived. This is credited more to his appearance than his actions.

A Scary Pirate

Teach was taller than most men of his time. He had long dark hair and a bushy black beard.

He loved to intimidate his enemies when he captured their ships in battle. He would board their ships with “slow-burning’ fuses in his hair and around his shoulders.

The sight of him smoldering, holding several pistols, and knives strapped to his waist was enough for many of his enemies to surrender without a shot being fired.


Some sources state Teach was an educated Englishman, but his background is still hotly debated today. What is known is the fact that Edward Teach was no better or worse than any other pirate.

History reflects his main goal was to gain loot or money not to gain vengeance or bloodshed. This does not mean he was not a violent man he was, but historians note he treated people fairly who cooperated with him.

Teach plied his trade for two years--1717 to 1718 along the route from the West Indies to the waters along the southeastern coastline that later would become a part of the United States.

He commandeered a British ship called Concorde in 1717. Blackbeard rigged her with 40 cannons--the usual 26 were not enough for him. He renamed this ship, “The Queen Anne’s Revenge.”

One well-known adventure Teach was involved in reflects his real character. He blockaded Charleston’s harbor when his men desperately needed medicine.

He kept a councilman and his young son hostage until a fully equipped medicine chest was delivered.

Teach, like many pirates attacked slave ships with human cargo. His trusted second in command, Black Caesar was a former black slave whose ship Blackbeard boarded and then freed all the slaves.

Most pirate ships at the time freed African slaves. Many of these men then became a part of their crews.

Blackbeard, despite being a fierce opponent in battle, was said to be a “lover” at heart. He supposedly took a dozen wives. He treated each dotingly until another caught his eye.

In 1718 he briefly retired from piracy and married his latest “love.” But his friends lured him back to the sea.

Blackbeard’s Death

Blackbeard often sheltered his ship in a cove by Ocracoke Island--a barrier island in the Outer Banks--off the coast of North Carolina. This area is called Teach’s Hole. **

Lured back into piracy Teach attended a party in this cove with several other captains. They made such a loud uproar that nearby Virginia residents complained.

The governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood hired Lieutenant Robert Maynard in command of the sloop Jane to capture Blackbeard. In November of 1718, Maynard caught up with the pirate in Teach’s Hole.

A fierce battle ensued and Maynard decided to trick Teach. He sent most of his men below decks and then enticed the pirate to board his ship.

As Blackbeard and his men boarded the Jane, Maynard’s British crew swarmed out of the ship’s hole. Maynard personally fought Blackbeard who suffered 30 stab wounds and 5 gunshots.

Teach collapsed on the deck and died of blood loss. The Jane crew cut off his head and displayed it on the ship’s bowsprit. *** They then threw his headless body overboard.

Haunted Teach’s Hole

According to legend Blackbeard’s headless body was then seen swimming around the Jane before it disappeared beneath the waves. At the same time, it was noted his separated head shrieked.

It is said Blackbeard’s ghost haunts the area where he died. Witnesses claim to have seen his body swimming in circles in Teach’s Hole. It is also reported that where he is seen swimming a bright light glows beneath the water.

This light is known as Teach’s Light.

Others state they have seen his ghost rise out of the water holding a lantern--he then walks ashore. It is said his boots leave no footprints. It is believed he is looking for his head.

Eerily on stormy nights along this beach witnesses state they have heard a deep voice that crosses the wind. It is heard bellowing, “Where is my head?”

* Edward Teach’s last name is sometimes listed as Thatch or Tash.

** Teach’s Hole is located in Pamlico Sound just off Springer’s Point.

*** A bowsprit is a type of spar--pole--that extends from the front of a sailing vessel. It is here jibs, and forestays are fastened.

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