Pirate Ghosts

Aye, I'm a pirate-loving freak! This summer has me in a super pirate-themed frenzy. In fact, I once chased a legend of pirate spirits in the woods of a Virginia Shore. 

The legend said a band of pirates buried treasure in the woods near the water and then took to their ship in the 1600s and died when it sank. Their ghosts and a lantern are seen in the woods and the sounds of digging according to local reports.  There is also a report there of a pirate ship at full sail with organs playing as it cruises by and up the shoreline and into the woods! 

Some pirate ghosts are popularly famous like the ones in "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Fog." Both are fantastic sea-based ghostly horror stories. Then, there's "The Goonies" that simply glorified their treasure and their mummified bodies. 

There's another lesser known 1943 film "The Ghost Ship" for chills and delight - 

But, what about pirate ghost legends? 

How about one of the most famous? The Flying Dutchman! Source:  The story goes, a Dutch East India Company ship rounding the treacherous Cape of Good Hope encountered a severe sudden storm. Rather than head for safe harbor, the captain swore he wold maintain his heading until Judgement Day, if necessary. The ship vanished into the storm, never to be seen again...or was it??? 

The Mary Celeste was perhaps one of the best documented real ghost ships, found abandoned in the oddest of ways. Source:  A 282-ton brigantine merchantship built in 1861, the Mary Celeste left New York City on November 5, 1872 on what would be her fateful final voyage.  Exactly one month later, sailors on the Dei Gratia spied the Mary Celeste in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean heading in the direction of the Strait of Gilbraltar. Aside from several torn sails and a missing lifeboat, she was in relatively good condition...what it was without, was a captain and crew. 

How about a scary pirate ghost tale of Blackbeard's head?

Source: In November of 1718, Blackbeard retreated to his favorite hideaway -- called Teach's Hole -- off Ocracoke Island. There, he hosted a wild pirate party with drinking, dancing and large bonfires. The party lasted for days, and several North Carolina citizens sent word to Governor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia. Governor Spotswood immediately ordered two sloops, commanded by Lieutenant Robert Maynard of the Royal Navy, to go to Ocracoke and capture the pirate.

On November 21, 1718, Maynard engaged Blackbeard in a terrible battle. One of Maynard's ships were between Blackbeard and freedom. Blackbeard sailed his ship - the Adventure - in towards shore. It looked like the pirate was going to crash his ship, but at the last second the ship eased through a narrow channel. One of the pursuing Navy ships went aground on a sand bar when they tried to pursue the Adventure. Blackbeard fired his cannons at the remaining ship and many of Maynard's men were killed. The rest he ordered below the deck under cover of the gun smoke, hoping to fool the pirates into thinking they had won. When the pirates boarded the ship, Maynard and his men attacked the pirates.

Outnumbered, the pirates put up a bloody fight. Blackbeard and Maynard came face to face. They both shot at each other. Blackbeard's shot missed Maynard, but Maynard's bullet hit the pirate. Blackbeard swung his cutlass and managed to snap off Maynard's sword blade near the hilt. As Blackbeard prepared to deliver the death-blow, one of Maynard's men cut Blackbeard's throat from behind. Blackbeard's blow missed its mark, barely skinning Maynard's knuckles. Infuriated, Blackbeard fought on as the blood spouted from his neck. Maynard and his men rushed the pirate. It took a total of five gunshots and about twenty cuts before Blackbeard fell down dead.

Maynard seemed to think that the only way to ensure that Blackbeard was dead was to remove his head. They hung the head from the bowsprit and threw the pirate's body overboard. As the body hit the water, the head hanging from the bowsprit shouted: "Come on Edward" and the headless body swam three times around the ship before sinking to the bottom.

From that day to this, Blackbeard's ghost has haunted Teach's Hole, forever searching for his missing head. Sometimes, the headless ghost floats on the surface of the water, or swims around and around and around Teach's Hole, glowing just underneath the water. Sometimes, folks see a strange light coming from the shore on the Pamlico Sound side of Ocracoke Island and know that it is "Teach's light". On night's that the ghost light appears, if the wind is blowing inland, you can still hear Blackbeard's ghost tramping up and down and roaring: 'Where's my head?

Old House Woods

When I was back at my childhood summer home area of the Tidewater Region of Virginia this summer, my friend Julie and I did a little stop by an infamous supposed ghost pirate location, Old House Woods. 

Legend says a crew of pirates came ashore in the 1600s and buried their treasure in these woods. They returned to sea where they perished in a storm. On dark nights mysterious figures have been seen digging in the woods with their lanterns.

That's not all....

There is a Storm Lady of the Woods. It is the wraith of a woman in a long nightgown, her long fair hair fling back from her shoulders, appears whenever dark clouds gather, she is wailing and warning of coming storms.

A man's car broke down on Old House Woods road and he was looking at the engine when he heard someone behind him say "Is this King's Highway, I've lost my ship." He turned to see a skeleton in armor. He promptly ran away from it.

As well, a phantom ship is seen in the water nearby. Fishermen report encountering it, lights blazing, men aboard, but no one seeing the fisherman. A fisherman shouted at the ship to not run into him. His small boat was pitched from the tide of it and he said it was a beautiful ship that made no sound, then he heard harp and organ music as it passed. It went into the shore, through the sand and into the Haunted Woods!

You can find a spine-tingling rendition of this legend in Weird Virginia (the Weird USA book series is my serious fav!!!)

How about just looking like a pirate? 

Pirate wig - I have a wee bit of a pirate fantasy - special points for any man willing to wear this for me with some swashbuckling clothing and tattoos! 

Rum choice of all sea-worthy pirates! Captain Morgan!

MUSIC:  How about the music in the background? This is one of my favorite soundtracks during the day in the summer time.  Nox Arcana's "Phantoms of the Sea." 

Dirty Pirate Popsicles: Kahlua, rum and  Coke
List of some pirate movies to put you in the mood - 
Pirates of the Caribbean (series)
The Pirate Movie
The Pirate
Captain Blood
The Crimson Pirate
The Black Swan
Cutthroat Island
Blackbeard the Pirate
Treasure Island
The Goonies
The Princess Bride
The Sea Hawk

Still in a romantic sea ghost story mood? My favorite of all time, "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."