By Raymond Fernandez
Since men [ and women] took to the Seven Seas, piracy has existed for trade and bartering. However, the visions of swashbuckling men as we see in the big contemporary Hollywood productions are far from the reality they woke up to every day. Most often these buccaneers lasted two or three years, and at the end of it all: death, either by execution or battle. Even the infamous Blackbeard met this fate. But unlike most people, tales of his headless spirit still abound.
Cannons. Sword fighting. Smoke billowing out from his beard, which was decorated with burning fuses and bright ribbons, are the frightening images that come to mind when you mention the name “Blackbeard”. Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard was a notorious English pirate that we have all read about. He took control of what is believed to have been a French slaving ship and renamed it Queen Anne’s Revenge in 1717. This vessel became his flagship, mounted with 40 guns and 300 crew, and used it to sail the Caribbean, building his own fleet of ships. During this two-year period of sailing the Caribbean, Blackbeard became a legend
On November 22, 1718, Lieutenant Robert Maynard met Blackbeard off the coast of Ocracoke Island in what is now known as Teach’s Hole for the pirate’s final battle. It is believed that Blackbeard was shot five times and stabbed twenty times before finally being beheaded and his body thrown overboard. Legend says that he was so evil that his body swam around the boat three times before sinking.
Since his death in 1718, there have been many reports of a headless body swimming around Teach’s Hole and reports of a decapitated Blackbeard walking the beaches of Ocracoke looking for his long, lost head.