7 Places Blackbeard’s Gold Could’ve Been Stashed

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Little is known about the early life of privateer-turned-pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach, whose massive, knotted beard struck fear in the hearts of seamen throughout the Caribbean and Eastern U.S. for a brief spell in the early 18th century. However, his legend has only grown stronger with time, keeping the hunt for his supposed hidden treasure alive. 

Most historians suspect that Teach (like most pirates) didn’t get around to making desert-island deposits of gold and jewels during his reign, but there are still several places where, given what we’ve learned about him in the past three centuries, the treasure could have ended up. 

1. OFF THE COAST OF NORTH CAROLINA, ON THE QUEEN ANNES REVENGE

After the French slave ship La Concorde was stolen by Blackbeard and renamed the Queen Anne’s Revenge in 1717, it served a short but profitable stint as absolute hell-on-a-hull until the pirate ran it aground in North Carolina’s Beaufort Inlet later that same year. Since its discovery in 1996, the QAR has delivered hundreds of thousands of artifacts to probing researchers, including many of the ship’s 40 cannon, assorted weaponry and tools, and even a small amount of gold dust—but no treasure heaps as yet. Divers aren’t done exploring the wreck, though, and only the ship herself knows what they’ll find. 

2. IN A BLAST PATTERN OFF THE COAST OF OCRACOKE ISLAND 

If the treasure was on board the Adventure—the ship that North Carolina governor Charles Eden handed off to Teach (along with a pardon) after he’d ditched the QAR—when Lieutenant Robert Maynard’s posse of four ships finally took the pirate down, then it came very close to meeting a violent end of its own. According to an account kept by Captain Charles Johnson (probably a pseudonym for either Daniel Defoe, of Robinson Crusoe fame, or Nathaniel Mist), before the ship was overrun, Blackbeard stationed his faithful servant down below with orders to set the powder room alight should defeat seem inevitable. 

However, the attack had already damaged the ship’s defenses enough that Teach’s intended blaze of final glory never came to pass. It’s also possible that the plan was foiled thanks to two prisoners who persuaded Blackbeard’s servant not to strike the match. 

3. PLUM POINT 

When Blackbeard was trying to make it as a normal, non-pirate person after his pardon, he set up shop near Governor Eden’s homestead in Bath, North Carolina. His bayside home on Plum (or “Teach’s”) Point has since drawn treasure-hunters and their shovels to the town. Today, only the building’s supposed foundation remains. 

4. TEACHS KETTLE 

According to residents and researchers, a field near Plum Point used to house an oven-like brick structure that Blackbeard may have used to render wood tar for sealing the hulls of his ships. Though the farmer who owned the field supposedly became fed up with all the visitors and demolished the “kettle,” the location has been the site of much hopeful digging throughout the years. 

5. ARCHBELL POINT

It’s long been speculated that Governor Eden (who pardoned Teach after deliberately grounding the QAE, gave the pirate one of his confiscated ships back, and even helped Teach get established in Bath) was on the take when it came to Teach’s profitable piracy. Legend has is that Blackbeard was able to slip easily in and out of Eden’s estate (presumably to deliver the governor’s cut of the loot) by using a special rock path or, in some versions, an underground passage between Bath Creek and Eden’s Archbell Point home.

6. BASICALLY, ANYWHERE IN THE CARIBBEAN 

In his rather short time as the scourge of the local seas in 1717 and 1718, Blackbeard kept very busy out to sea, reportedly ransacking or capturing something like 30 ships in total. He likely worked his way through much of the Caribbean, attacking ships near Antigua, Martinique, the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent, among others. When the QAR and Adventure did put into port, it was likely to gather new supplies and have a few rowdy times before heading back out to sea.

7. IN HELL

A General History of the Pyrates, a 1724 book written by Captain Charles Johnson (the same one mentioned earlier), provides much of the material for the legends of Blackbeard and other famous scallywags, including one of Teach’s most famous utterances. 

The night before Maynard and his soldiers descended upon the Adventure, Blackbeard’s crew asked their captain if his wife would know where the loot was hidden should he fall in battle. Teach replied “that no-body but himself and the Devil, knew where it was, and the longest liver should take all.” 

The next day, November 22, 1718, Blackbeard and many of his 14-man crew breathed their last. However, several surviving crewmembers later recounted "a Story which may appear a little incredible,” Johnson writes. “[Once] upon a Cruize, [the pirates] found out that they had a Man on Board more than their Crew; such a one was seen several Days amongst them, sometimes below, and sometimes upon Deck, yet no Man in the Ship could give an Account who he was, or from whence he came; but that he disappeared a little before they were cast away in their great Ship, but, it seems, they verily believed it was the Devil." 

Just maybe, then, Blackbeard’s gold is still being safely kept down below—somewhere a lot deeper than even the very bottom shelf of Davy Jones’ Locker. 

5 Fast Facts about Madam C.J. Walker

 Madam C.J. Walker items at The Women's Museum in Dallas, Texas
Madam C.J. Walker items at The Women's Museum in Dallas, Texas
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

During a time when Jim Crow laws were actively being passed by state legislatures and segregation was total, one self-made businesswoman managed to stand out and serve as an inspiration for female entrepreneurs and people of color in America. Born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867—the sixth child in her family but the first not born into slavery—the future Madam C.J. Walker developed a line of hair products and cosmetics and became likely the first female millionaire in the country. Here are a few quick facts about her historic success story.

1. Madam C.J. Walker first worked as a laundress.

In 1888, the woman who would become Madam C.J. Walker was Sarah McWilliams, a 20-year-old widow with a toddler. After her husband's death, she moved from Mississippi to St. Louis, Missouri, where her elder brothers were working as barbers. To support herself and her daughter, Lelia, she took a job as a washerwoman. She earned roughly $1.50 a day, but managed to save up in order to provide for her daughter's education.

2. Madam C.J. Walker's hair products were made especially for black women.

At the turn of the century, many African Americans suffered from issues of hair loss and dandruff, possibly due to the harsh irritants in the lye soap used by launderers and some combination of poor hygiene conditions, low-protein diets, and damaging hair treatments. Walker herself had a chronic hair-loss problem. According to the biography On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker by Walker's great-great-granddaughter A'Lelia Bundles, "if Sarah used the widely distributed patent medicines that were heavily laced with alcohol and other harsh chemicals, [she would only make] the malady worse by stripping her hair of its natural oils."

In 1904, Sarah joined African-American businesswoman Annie Turbo Malone's team of agents after using Malone's "Great Wonderful Hair Grower" product to treat her own ailments. She began investing in creating her own product, and in 1906 she married her third husband, a Mr. Charles Joseph Walker. Walker launched her own "Madam Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower" line of ointments and other products and began selling them door-to-door.

3. Madam C.J. Walker created a beauty culture empire.

Once Walker's business was nation-wide and incorporated, she expanded internationally to the Caribbean and Central America in 1913. Within the next few years, she acquired over 25,000 sales agents; she had a beauty school called the Lelia College of Beauty Culture in Pittsburg that trained her "hair culturists." By the time she died on May 25, 1919 at age 51, her business profits had skyrocketed to over $500,000 in sales annually. In fact, products inspired by Walker's can still be purchased today.

4. Madam C.J. Walker's Irvington, New York mansion will soon host more female entrepreneurs.

By the end of her life, Walker had amassed sizable wealth—she's widely considered to be the first self-made female millionaire, though specific numbers are vague. (Her New York Times obituary noted that "Estimates of Mrs. Walker's fortune had run up to $1,000,000 … She spent $10,000 every year for the education of young negro men and women in Southern colleges and sent six youths to Tuskegee Institute every year.") She also had ventures in real estate, and in 1918 her 20,000-square-foot mansion, called Villa Lewaro, was completed in Irvington, New York, about 20 miles north of her famed Walker townhouse in Harlem. In 2018, the estate was purchased by the New Voices Foundation, a group that has invested $100 million into a fund focused on providing support and leadership initiatives to women of color seeking their own entrepreneurial endeavors. Even 100 years after her death, Walker's legacy remains strong.

5. Octavia Spencer is set to play Madam C.J. Walker in an upcoming TV series.

As first reported by Deadline in 2018, Netflix has ordered an eight-episode series about Walker's life and legacy. Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer is set to star in and produce the series, and LeBron James will serve as an executive producer. While there isn't a firm release date set, the series is certain to be an eye-opening one for those unfamiliar with Walker's incredible story. The show will be based on the 2001 biography by Bundles.

Hundreds of 17th-Century Case Notes of Bizarre Medical Remedies Have Been Published Online

Illustrated portrait of Simon Forman.
Illustrated portrait of Simon Forman.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

As medical texts, the writings of Simon Forman and Richard Napier aren't very useful. The so-called "doctors," regarded as celebrities in 16th- and 17th-century England, prescribed such treatments as nursing puppies and wearing dead pigeons as shoes. But as bizarre pieces of history, the 80,000 case notes the two quacks left behind are fascinating. The BBC reports that 500 of them have now been digitized and published online.

Forman and Napier were active in the English medical scene from the 1590s to the 1630s. They treated countless patients with remedies that straddled the line between medicine and mysticism, and their body of work is considered one of the largest known historical medical collections available for study today. After transcribing the hard-to-read notes and translating them into accessible English, a team of researchers at Cambridge University has succeeded in digitizing a fraction of the records.

By visiting the project's website, you can browse Forman and Napier's "cures" for venereal disease ("a plate of lead," "Venice turpentine," and blood-letting), pox (a mixture of roses, violets, boiled crabs, and deer dung), and breastfeeding problems (using suckling puppies to get the milk flowing). Conditions that aren't covered in today's medical classes, such as witchcraft, spiritual possession, and "chastity diseases," are also addressed in the notes.

All 500 digitized case notes are now available to view for free. And in case you thought horrible medical diagnoses were left in the 17th century, here some more terrifying remedies from relatively recent history.

[h/t BBC]

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