The Crossroads of the Aether
~Historically Documented by Col. Nigel Pennington~
The Story of Blackbeard is a wretched tale of an English sailor named Edward Teach, who turned pirate at the dawn of the 18th century. Little is known about this towering drivelswigger, but that he was from Bristol, England and went to sea at a young age. Sometime after the start of Queen Anne’s War in the early 1700’s, Blackbeard sailed with a privateer appointed by the Queen named Captain Benjamin Hornigold. Between these two pirates they amassed a small fleet of ships and committed several acts of piracy upon the high seas and the West Indies during a time known as The Golden Age of Piracy.
Blackbeard was a tall figure with a fearsome appearance. His long Black Beard was braided and knotted with black ribbons. He had a habit of inserting flaming cannon matches into it during battle to encircle his face in flame and smoke, adding an element of fear to his scowling face. Blackbeard was also known to burn his rum with gunpowder before drinking it, and often filled his cabin with sulfuric smoke as a challenge to see who could stand it as long as he. Across his chest he carried several loaded pistols that draped from his sword belt, making him a force to be feared by his enemies. His reign of high seas terror lasted over two years before he met his untimely demise.
The end of Blackbeard came in the fall of 1718 as he made port in an inlet of Ocracoke island of North Carolinas Outer Banks in a place he aptly named Teach's Hole. It was here where he and his crew hosted a drunken, pirate party along the beach, where women danced and pirates looted and bonfires lit up the dark inlet. Not one to do anything small, Blackbeard continued this gathering for many days, which only served to alert the Governor and the King’s Navy to his whereabouts. When Governor Alexander Spotswood, of Virginia heard of the ruckus and rabble rousing buccaneers at Ocracoke inlet, he dispatched two Sloops commanded by a pompous and arrogant Navy Lieutenant, Robert Maynard, to put an end to the matter of Blackbeard once and for all.
So the morning of November 22, 1718, Lieutenant Maynard sailed into Ocracoke inlet and blockaded any hope of escape for the savage pirates. Of course a good fight was preferable to running, according to Blackbeard and his crew. Blackbeard maneuvered his sloop, named the Adventure, towards shore where it appeared to Maynard that he would run aground, but Blackbeard being clever, navigated his craft through the shallow channel and made towards a more open sea. In the pursuit, one of the Navy sloops, the HMS Jane, ran aground on a sand bar as they tried to navigate the same channel as Blackbeard, with much less success.
Blackbeard fired a broad side of cannons at Maynard’s ship, the HMS Ranger, as they closed in on the Adventure, leaving many of the sailors dead. Maynard then flew into a rage and panic as he ordered the rest of his crew below the deck to hide form the next volley of cannon fire. The adventure closed in on the Navy vessel and Blackbeard and his pirates stormed over the decks. Maynard’s crew attacked from below where they had hiding many of their surviving numbers from the marauding pirates.
Blackbeard and his men were greatly out-numbered and out of shape from the days of partying at Teach’s hole. This eventuality would prove to be the weakness for which Maynard had searched. Nevertheless, the pirates fought a bloody battle nearly to the last man. It wasn’t long before Blackbeard found Maynard cowering behind his midshipman, fearful that Blackbeard would tear him limb from limb. Blackbeard drew his last loaded pistol and fired at the frightened lieutenant just as Maynard raised his own un-fired pistol. Sadly Blackbeard's shot missed no doubt from weary half-drunken eyes that he used to aim. Maynard's bullet unbelievably found its mark as he waved his gun around wildly towards Blackbeard.
Teach seemed almost not to notice the wound in his belly as he swaggered recklessly towards Maynard swinging his cutlass at his cowering rival. Blackbeard swung his cutlass with the strength of five men and a plow mule and, breaking Maynard's blade off at the the hilt. Maynard turned white as he knew he was about to scream his last woman-like scream, when one of the more able seamen Thomas Demelt, came to his rescue. The sailor cowardly attacked Blackbeard from behind and managed to cut his throat open, causing Blackbeard’s blade to narrowly miss cleaving Maynard’s head in two.
Infuriated, Blackbeard quickly killed his attacker with a swift hack to the sailor’s torso, the man fell to the deck with his last breath. Blood spouting from his neck, Blackbeard returned his attention back to Maynard, intent on finishing the Lieutenant’s Naval career. Inspired by the damage that their mate had inflicted upon the pirate, Maynard’s men began shooting at Blackbeard from every direction. With every step Blackbeard was stabbed, cut and shot until he fell to the deck of Maynard’s ship where he departed for Davy Jones Locker.
Fearing that death alone would not stop Blackbeard, Maynard ordered his men to cut off the pirates blood stained head and hang it from the bowsprit so that all might see how he had bravely defeated the last pirate of the Golden Age. Blackbeard’s headless corpse was thrown overboard to the fish and worms, where to the sailor’s fears it swam three times around Maynard’s sloop before sinking to the depths below.
Ever since that day, when the storms are starting to blow in from the sea and the sky is dark with thunder and lightning, the headless form of Blackbeard can be seen swimming around Teach’s Hole searching for his severed head, surrounded by an eerie glow. His Ghost haunts the shore at night and has been sighted as a ghostly light in the form of the dead pirate, combing the beaches along Pamlico Sound for his treasure or perhaps his head! Many a soul who has been unlucky enough to have been camping, or traveling the island at night claim His disembodied voice has been heard on the wind shouting “Where be my Bloody head?”