18 May 2010

The Pirate Blackbeard: The Black Sheep of Ocracoke

Every family has that black sheep - you know how it goes... The saying "There's one in every family"! But, the thing is - those folks are often the ones who bring a smile to your face, who - years later - you might remember with a chuckle...

Well, in Ocracoke's case, that black sheep is pretty darn famous! He's the pirate Blackbeard. And, while today we look back with a smile, grab an eye patch, or a pirate flag when thinking of him, that wasn't always the case.

Blackbeard even attempted to "straighten out" along the more normal path - retired, married, and legal. But, alas, that life just wasn't for him. He just couldn't resist the call of piracy, of danger and reaping the rewards of battle.

But how does this relate to Ocracoke you ask? Well, you see - Blackbeard liked to frequent the island, to find shelter in its waters - unfortunately, however, he would also meet his death in those same waters.

Oregonian 1/13/1895
Click article to view larger

Today, a small area off the sound-side of the Island is known as "Teach's Hole". Legend has it, that in that spot that Blackbeard met his fate - in the form of a pistol AND sword.

For the pirate lovers among us, you can catch a glimpse of area where Blackbeard himself may have roamed the land at Springer's Point, a nature preserve on the Pamlico Sound very near where the pirate perished. If you're brave enough to dare to enter, maybe you'll be rewarded with a glimpse of a headless Blackbeard ghost (just kidding..... ok, maybe not... I'll leave that up to you to find out!).

And, if you're not quite that brave but want to include a little piracy in your life, be sure to check out the exhibits and shop at Ocracoke's very own pirate shop: Teach's Hole. I know we'll be sure to visit (again) and watch a young boy's eyes light up (and pockets empty) as he looks through the shop!

For me, I'll be visiting the Pirate Shop again, and maybe this year we'll get to Springer's Point too... but I'll also be keeping my eyes peeled for a little Pirate Treasure - maybe I'll stumble upon that buried treasure where X no longer marks the spot...

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