Ghost Stories

Blackbeard's Ghost

A North Carolina Ghost Story 

retold by

S. E. Schlosser

The nefarious pirate Blackbeard (who's real name was Edward Teach) was a tall man with a very long black beard that covered most of his face and extended down to his waist. He tied his beard up in pigtails adorned with black ribbons. He wore a bandolier over his shoulders with three braces of pistols and sometimes he would hang two slow-burning cannon fuses from his fur cap that wreathed his head in black smoke. Occasionally, he would set fire to his rum using gunpowder, and he would drink it, flames and all. Many people thought he was the Devil incarnate.

For twenty-seven months, Blackbeard terrorized the sailors of the Atlantic and the Caribbean, ambushing ships and stealing their cargo, killing those who opposed him, often attacking in the dim light of dawn or dusk when his pirate ship was most difficult to see. He would sail under the flag of a country friendly to the nationality of the ship he was attacking, and then hoist his pirate flag at the last moment. When prisoners surrendered willingly, he spared them. When they did not, his magnanimity failed. One man refused to give up a diamond ring he was wearing and the pirate cut the ring off, finger and all. Once Blackbeard blockaded Charleston, South Carolina with his ships, taking many wealthy citizens hostage until the townspeople met his ransom. Later, Blackbeard ran one of his ships - the Queen Anne's Revenge - aground. Some say he did it on purpose because he wanted to break up the pirate fleet and steal the booty for himself.

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?


You can read more North Carolina ghost stories in Spooky South by S.E. Schlosser.



I love that story soo much and I love Taylor Swift

This wasn't scary , it was more of a history lesson. But it was cool to learn that stuff about Blackbeard

The first half was more of a history lesson, but the second half was a fun little tall tale.

i think it thaught to much history but still a litte good

Wow I swear I've heard the name edward teach in one of the books I've read I just can't remember where

tht story was sooo freaky it took five gun shots and twenty cuts to make blackbeard fall dead! thts just sooo nasty

Blackbeard is my favorite pirate along with Jean Laffite and Black Bart Roberts (not identical with the guy of one of the previous pirate stories). I did not know about this legend of his haunting, thanks for sharing it! In fact that haunting can be attributed to glowing sea creatures and the roaring of the wind, but the ghos of Blackbeard is very likely haunting somewhere. Perhaps out on the seas with his beloved ship, like Laffite and his entire fleet.
To go on with the history lesson a bit, Blackbeard's cruelty is questionable and most likely a myth created by contemporary people, propaganda against him and his own actions to create fear around himself. He was not a cruel murderer but a master of psychological warfare. His mere appearence and the legend around him was enough to scare people off. Most likely he never had killed anyone.

A great tall tale is always mixed with history and fact thats why it is so intersting to people because it makes you doubt the truth and fiction. Fabulous Read :) Thank you!

A great tall tale is always mixed with history and fact thats why it is so intersting to people because it makes you doubt the truth and fiction. Fabulous Read :) Thank you!

this is cool I don't mind the history

lol swimming body

i think edward teach is real. iv heard his name before. crreeeppyyyyyy

you heard edward teach a.k.a blackbeard in one piece it is a popular manga.

Edward Teach(Blackbeard) was a real person and a real pirate. Being a North Carolinian, it's part of the North Carolina history course. He was notorious, so that part of the story is absolutely true. I've also been to Teach's Hole, which was his favorite hiding spot, and final battle site. Really a great ghost story. The best are always based on history and elements of truth!

My dad used to tell me stoires about him


had to do a folktale report on it so when i read it, it was a good story lol:so good and scary

he was fierce and not true.

this was reallyyyyyyyyyyy good

Blackbeard is my favorite pirate. Where's Maynard so I can destroy him?

very cool

My birthday is November 21! He died on my birthday :o


this story was so intense i nearly cried and the power of it just touched me


Hi, this is Amelie here from Singapore.
I think this story is good but is kind of historical.

Is there any scary stories!?


i wish everything in history is cool as this, though it dosent mean i want people going around killing each other. by the way this is not scary at all.

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Schlosser, author of the Spooky Series

About the Author: S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series by Globe Pequot Press, as well as the Ghost Stories deck by Random House.  She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of "let's pretend" quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children's Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author. Read more

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