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Saturday, May 21, 2011

The stranger tale of Blackbeard's skull

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opened yesterday and I am hearing extremely disparate word about it. The descriptors being most bandied about this movie are that it's "bad" and "rotten", and only a few saying they were entertained... but even those are pretty lukewarm about it. I'm waiting to hear from one of the coolest cats I know, who's seen it and he's supposed to have a review soon. So I may or may not catch it this weekend.

But seeing as how Edward Teach aka Blackbeard the Pirate is a prominent character in this latest chapter of the saga of Captain Jack Sparrow, I thought it'd be fun to reflect on a bit of North Carolina lore about the legendary pirate. Namely: the long-enduring story that Blackbeard's skull is today being used as a wine goblet for a secret society's dark rituals! Yes folks, depending on you believe and who you can get in good with, there is a place here in the Tarheel State where you can swig a healthy-sized libation from the noggin of history's most infamous pirate captain!

Most versions have it that a fraternity or somesuch a few miles away at Chapel Hill is in custody of Blackbeard's silver-encrusted skull. Others say that it's being kept around the Outer Banks. Here is one account of drinking from the skull of Blackbeard, originating from no less an authority that Charles Whedbee: the late respected collector of North Carolina stories.

Drinking wine from Blackbeard's skull. Ehhhh... makes me all the more thankful that I'm pretty much a teetotaler :-P


fairclothjohn said...

I remember reading the story of Blackbeard's skull being used as a wine chalice when I was in grade school. I was writing a report on him for a class in 5th grade and found this book in my local library.