Podcast: The Ghosts Of Blackbeard And The Old Burying Ground

This is the transcript and sources for the podcast that just dropped this morning on Paranormal Housewife Podcast. You can listen to it on any streaming service you listen to your podcasts on. Please subscribe to my show to be alerted to when new episodes drop. Please let me know in comments what you thought about today’s episode! 

Hi! Hello! And Welcome back to the Paranormal Housewife Podcast! This is the second episode. I hope y’all have had a good two weeks since the last episode aired. I have been keeping busy with this podcast, my blog Paranormal Housewife dot com, dying my hair green with my friend Carlie, getting a hidden ghost tattoo, volunteering with my husband’s unit’s spouse club, and still exploring San Diego. If you are curious about any of that, please check out my social media, especially my Instagram. I try to keep y’all up to date on what’s going on with our household and our adventures. 

I want to start of by saying thank you so much for listening to the first episode! I appreciate all y’all’s feedback, praise, critiques, and suggestions for future posts and episodes. I am working hard to take your suggestions and advice to improve each episode. I’m also excited to announce that this podcast is already international! Thank you to the folks in Canada, Germany, India, and Angola for downloading the last episode! Also shout out to all my listeners here in the states. Thank you as well for downloading the last episode. All things paranormal has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember and something I truly enjoying sharing with others. Y’all’s response to the first episode lets me know that y’all enjoy it too. 

I apologize if you hear extra noises in the background. If you follow my blog or my social media, you know that we just got a new puppy who we have named Loki. Today is his second full day with us. We are adjusting to having a puppy again. Our other dog, John Paul Jones, is the reason we adopted Loki. Our neighbor was fostering Loki and his siblings. Everyday John Paul would be excited to go out in the back yard to see if the puppies, especially Loki, was out there. Surprisingly, even our cats are adjusting fairly well. They are hissy towards him but they will come near him. Unlike our cats and John Paul, Loki hasn’t learned what quiet on set means yet. I did take him to the dog park to wear him and John Paul out before sitting down to record so hopefully he will sleep through most of the time I am recording this episode. 

Another noise you may hear is crows yelling in the background. I have started working on my army of crows. For the past week I have been feeding crows that live in our neighborhood. They seem to like dry food the best so far. They seem to have realized I am the one putting their food out in the mornings and which window goes to my office. There is about four or five crows and they will sit on the fence under my window to caw at me before flying off. I am absolutely loving it. A neighbor has given me a bird bath for them because the crows were bathing in John Paul’s kiddie pool and John Paul was getting jealous. The bird bath is helping keep the peace between them. I have my office window closed while I record this episode, so hopefully the cawing will be muted but if you can hear it, hopefully it will add creepiness to stories I have to share with y’all.

Speaking of this episode, lets dive into this episode’s topics. Both topics are topics I have wanted to write about for ages but it never felt the right time until I started planning this podcast. The gentleman that is the topic of the first part of today’s episode is someone I grew up learning about but I don’t know if his history is taught as commonly in other states as it is in North Carolina. It wasn’t until I was playing trivia in Illinois that I learned that certain things that were a staple in our history classes weren’t even mentioned in other states. Things like the Lost Colony of Roanoke, North Carolina having atomic bombs dropped on it, or Blackbeard. The latter is today’s first topic. Not only did I grow up learning about Blackbeard in school but I use to live near one of the houses he lived in. 

When I first moved out of my parents house, I moved to Beaufort, North Carolina to attend Carteret Community College. Okay quick side note since not everyone may understand the difference. The town in North Carolina is Beaufort (Bow-fort) and the town in South Carolina is Beaufort (Bew-fort) even though they have the same exact spelling. If you say the wrong pronunciation in the wrong town, you will get a few stares or glares. I learned the hard way… Anywho, I loved living in Beaufort. One of my favorite things to do in Beaufort was the ghost walks. It started and ended just a few blocks from my apartment. It had several stops at various houses, businesses, and one of the local graveyards. Because of the interesting ghost stories and history of some of the folks buried in the cemetery, I have decided to have the cemetery be the second topic of today’s episode. So please keep listening to hear about The Old Burying Ground of Beaufort, North Carolina. 

One of the finally stops of the ghost walk was a large but fairly unassuming two story white house called the Hammock House. The reason it was called Hammock House was because back when it was built, hammock meant hill and the house is on top of the largest hill. This is one of the homes that Blackbeard supposedly stayed in while he was a pirate but I will have to come back to why this house is significant to this episode. Let’s first talk about Blackbeard in case you have no idea who he is.

The early history is mostly unknown. Historians believe his real name was either Edward Teach (this is the name taught to us in school) or Edward Thatch. They also believe that he was the son of a wealthy English family since he knew how to read and write. Most historians point to him being born around 1680. It is believed that he began sailing as a British privateer in the War of Spanish Succession and learned to plunder from plundering Spanish ships in the West Indies for the British government. After the war, Teach would join up with another pirate by the name of Captain Benjamin Hornigold in 1716. With the guidance and help of Captain Hornigold, Teach started to become the feared pirate that he is now known for. It was during this time that he took on the name Blackbeard. 

During this period of history, pirates would often take on a fake name or at least a fake last name to protect their families and their family’s honor. The name Blackbeard came from his dark black, waist length beard that he would wear in two long braids. A sea captain that Blackbeard encountered (and took their ship) was Captain Henry Bostock. Captain Bostock described Blackbeard as a “tall spare man with a very black beard which he wore very long.” Before attacking a ship, he would put long, slow burning cannon fuses and candles in his beard to give him a more frightening and crazed appearance. He was also known to carry multiple swords, knives and pistols on his body when attacking ships. 

Captain Charles Johnson, a historian that often wrote about pirates described Blackbeard in battle as “such a figure that imagination cannot form an idea of a fury from hell to look more frightful.” For as frightful as Blackbeard was, he may not have been as bloodthirsty as he led people to be. There are no actual accounts of Blackbeard actually killing anyone. He used fear to command a battle or avoid one. People who surrender without a fight often were let go immediately. He also freed many slaves when encountered slave ships. Most of the slaves he freed would enter his service because they felt it was safer to be a part of a pirate’s crew at sea than being left on the shores of the American colonies. Everything that Blackbeard did helped lead people to think he was more bloodthirsty than he actually was including the design on his flag. The black flag shows a horned skeleton stabbing a heart with a spear. The skeleton is also glass in his other hand that is suppose to be a toast to the devil. 

In November 1717, Blackbeard attacked a French merchant slave vessel called La Concorde. He forced the captain to surrender the vessel to him. After Blackbeard released the crew on Bequia Island, minus those that wanted to stay with his crew, and he gave them a forty ton Bermuda sloop, in exchange for their ship, La Concorde. Blackbeard then changed the name of the ship to Queen Anne’s Revenge and equipped it with 40 guns. 

In January 1718, Blackbeard made an official base on Ocracoke Island off the coast of what would later be called North Carolina. Shortly after that, Blackbeard bribed Governor Charles Eden for a royal pardon and to gain the title of privateer so that he continue to commit piracy but this time he would have a legal excuse for it. To show that he was serious about living a legal life, Blackbeard married Mary Ormond. Mary was the 16 year old daughter of William Ormond, a plantation owner in Bath. Mary is Blackbeard’s only legal wife but he is rumored to have had 14 wives. Turns out Blackbeard is a bit of a romantic. 

When Blackbeard was in port, he would often meet and fall in love with a local girl. He would ask her to come back to his ship where his second in command, Israel Hands, would preform a short marriage ceremony. Blackbeard would leave the lady with some money when he departed a day or two later. While there are many throughout history that have claimed to be married to Blackbeard, only Mary Ormond can be give the official title of wife of Blackbeard. 

In May 1718, Blackbeard blocked the port of Charleston, South Carolina. During the week of this blockade, he seized several ships as they tried to exit the harbor. He captured the crew of the Crowley as prisoners until he got the ransom he was requesting. What was the reason for this blockade? Blackbeard only wanted a chest of medicines. After Blackbeard received this chest of medicines, he released the crew of the Crowley on the beaches of Charleston completely naked but unharmed. 

One month later, the Queen Anne’s Revenge ran aground on a sandbar off the coast of Topsail Inlet, North Carolina. For those of y’all who aren’t familiar with sandbars, they are smallish strips of land made of sand. They make sailing in and out of coastal areas of North and South Carolina because they constantly change size, shape, and location depending on the tides. Because of shifting sandbars, many boats have been run aground of these coasts.

 Blackbeard ended up having to abandon the Queen Anne’s Revenge due to the damage she took on. The Queen Anne’s Revenge would be lost to history for almost 3 centuries. She was rediscovered in 1996 off the shore of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. They were able to identify the coins on the ship as belonging to the Queen Anne Revenge because the coins had bust of Queen Anne and King George I.

By this time, the reports of Blackbeard’s exploits had made it’s way to the Virginian governor, Governor Alexander Spotswood. Governor Spotswood doubted that Governor Eden would take care of the matter, so Governor Spotswood arranged for a private pirate hunter to deal with the matter. Lieutenant Robert Maynard was the man in charge of bring Blackbeard in. He commanded the HMS Pearl and HMS Lyme. 

Lieutenant Maynard found Blackbeard and his crew off the coast of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. Blackbeard’s crew destroyed one third of Lieutenant Maynard’s force. Lieutenant Maynard counted on the pirates boarding his ships when they thought they were winning so he hid most of his troops below decks to ambush the pirates. During the battle, one of Lieutenant Maynard’s men managed to wound Blackbeard. By the time the battle was done, Blackbeard had been shot five times and stabbed over twenty times by a sword. The fatal blow was not able to be determined. Blackbeard’s head was cut from his body and hung from the ship’s mast. His body was thrown overboard but urban legend says Blackbeard’s body swam around the HMS Pearl three times before sinking into the water. 

Lieutenant Maynard’s log entry about the attack stated “Little wind and fair weather, this day I anchored here from North Carolina in the Adventure Sloop Edward Thatche formly Master (a pyrat) whose head I hung under the bowsprete of the said sloop in order to present it to ye Colony of Virginia and ye goods and effects of the said pyrat I delivered to my commanders dispersal”. 

Can you guess how much Maynard was paid for killing the one of the most famous and feared pirates? A mere one hundred dollars. I would have assumed that Blackbeard’s head would be worth a bit more than that but that’s just my opinion. With as feared and respected as Blackbeard was, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that he was only a pirate for 2 years. As a spirit though, he has been around for a few centuries. 

There is a version of his spirit that pops up in a few different locations but the activity is basically identical. This happens in Teach’s Spot off the coast of Ocracoke Island and Bath Creek Inlet in North Carolina, and Old Fort Nassau in the Bahamas. Folks say they see a ball of light moving under the water on dark nights. It’s often called Teach’s Light because they believe it is the spirit of Blackbeard searching for his head. On stormy nights in these locations, people have claimed to hear Blackbeard bellowing “Where’s my head?”. They have also heard footsteps on the beach near them but no one is there to make the sound. 

Over off the coast of Bath, North Carolina, residents have reported seeing ghostly ships firing at each other. They report seeing massive balls of fire flying in between the ships. The ships fade from view after a few moments. Reports of these battling ships have been heard since the 1800s. Across the beaches of Bath, Ocracoke Island, Albemarle, and Pamlico Sound other reports have come in. The headless ghost of Blackbeard is rumored to wander these shores. Sometimes he is seen whole with fuses and candles burning in his beard as he walks through the dark night. Teach’s Light has also glowing through the dark waters. 

Back over in Beaufort, North Carolina, the hauntings that happen at the Hammock House are completely different from the other reported Blackbeard hauntings. When the Hammock House first opened it was operated as an inn. It was popular with many sailors as Taylors Creek came right up close to the front of the house. Plus with the house sitting up on the hill, it was easy to spot from the sea. 

When Blackbeard was staying here, he had one of his many wives with him. She was an 18 year old French girl. Blackbeard was either tired of her cheating or tired of her complaining all the time So he dragged her down the home’s stairs and out the back door to have her hung in the large oak tree in the back yard. Since then residents of the house claim to hear screaming from the house and the back yard. A misty figure has been seen hanging from the branches of the oak tree on dark nights. There have also been reports of floating lights appearing by the tree. Please don’t go onto this property without permission. This is now a private residence and if it is the same couple that owned it when I lived in Beaufort, they are truly one of the sweetest couples. Please respect their privacy. If you want to see what the house and yard looks like, watch Ghost Lab season one episode eleven. The first half of the episode deals with the Blackbeard hauntings and some other activity that happens at the house. 

Well, that wraps up the Blackbeard portion of this podcast episode. This leads us to our next topic which is the Old Burying Ground in Beaufort, North Carolina. As I mentioned before, this cemetery was very close to my old apartment. Only three or four blocks. I would walk down there often because I found it a truly beautiful and peaceful location. I’ve mentioned in my blog, Paranormal Housewife, that I would go to this cemetery to think or just ground myself if I needed it. The Old Burying Ground is the oldest cemetery in Beaufort. While some of the graves are from those who lost their life in the Tuscarora War in 1711, most of the earliest graves’ information was lost over the years. Back then the headstones were made of wood, bricks, or shells because that’s all the establishing town had on hand. To import stone for the headstones would have taken too much time to it to arrive and be far too expensive for most of the town’s residents to be able to afford. The cemetery was officially deeded to the town in 1731 by Nathaniel Taylor. 

This cemetery has quite a few interesting graves located within its iron fence line. Some of the graves have a romantic story behind them. Like the grave of Nancy Manney French who lived 1821 to 1886. She was a woman who once fell in love with her tutor, Charles French, but her father didn’t approve of their courtship. Charles would eventually leave for Arizona but he and Nancy would continue to write to each other. Unfortunately, the town’s post master was a friend of Nancy’s father and took it upon himself to keep the letters from the lovers. On his death bed though, the post master confessed his secret because he felt guilty of hiding the letters for so long. As an old man, Charles would return to Beaufort to find Nancy because he never forgot about her. Sadly, by the time he returned she was dying from consumption. They were married for only a few weeks until Nancy passed away. Another couple buried in the cemetery that has an interesting story is Sarah Gibbs and Jacob Shepard. Jacob was a seaman in the 1700s. Before leaving out to sea, he married Sarah. Unfortunately, Jacob didn’t return and after being gone for so long, he was pronounced dead. Sarah would go on to marry Nathaniel Gibbs and would eventually have a child with him. In a surprisingly cruel twist of fate, Jacob would return to Beaufort. Dealt with a confusing situation, Jacob, Sarah, and Nathaniel came to the decision that Sarah would continue to stay married to Nathaniel but when the time came for her death, she would be buried with Jacob. There is a romantic ghost story that is tied to the Old Burying Ground but it is unclear if the spirits are Sarah and either Jacob or Nathaniel or Nancy and Charles. A couple is seen at night, when the cemetery is locked up, strolling hand in hand through the headstones. Sometimes they are full apparitions and sometimes they are just balls of lights gliding through the oak and magnolia trees. It is because of these spirits that the tour guides often say that the cemetery has been listed on articles for most romantic spots to visit. 

There is a grave for the crew members of Crissie Wright. On January 11, 1886, the Crissie Wright wrecked near Beaufort while on its way to Savannah from Baltimore. Six of the sailors aboard the ship either froze or drowned after the wreck. Three of the sailors are buried in the Old Burying Grounds in a mass grave. 

An interesting grave to look at would be that of Captain Otway Burns. He was a naval hero during the War of 1812, privateer, and a North Carolina State Legislator. What makes his grave so unique is that part of the monument that is his headstone is a cannon from his ship, Snapdragon. Buried not too far from Captain Burns is the grave of an unknown British Soldier from the 1700s. He is supposedly buried standing upright, facing England, in his full uniform, and saluting the king. A message I found while researching said “Resting ‘neath a foreign ground, Here stands a sailor of Mad George’s crown Name unknown, and all alone, Standing the Rebel’s Ground.” 

Throughout the cemetery there are a few graves for children and young babies but there are two that have always caught my attention. One is the grave for a two year old little girl named Vienna Dill. Vienna died due to yellow fever. She was buried in a glass topped coffin. A while after she was buried, some vandals decided to dig up her coffin. The vandals remarked that when it was unearthed, the body of the young child seem to still be perfect with no signs of decay. Then they open the coffin and the body disintegrated completely before their eyes. 

The other child’s grave I want to talk about is probably the most well known grave in the cemetery. While her name is unknown, she is known to be part of the Sloo (pronounced Slow) family. Her parents and her arrived in Beaufort from England when she was still an infant. Her father was a merchant who went back to England often. His daughter would beg to go with him and finally, one day he consented. As they were leaving, her mother begged him to bring her child back to her in Beaufort. The trip to England went well and Father and Daughter headed back to their home in Beaufort. Unfortunately, during the voyage home, the little girl became sick and passed away at sea. The custom at the time was to have the bodies of the dead thrown overboard but the little girl’s father wanted to keep his promise to her mother and bring the little girl home. So the father purchased a barrel of rum from the captain of the ship and had his daughter’s body sealed within the still full barrel. The father brought his daughter home in the barrel. He didn’t want to subject her mother to the condition of the child’s body after spending so long in the rum so he had his daughter buried in the cemetery in the rum barrel. 

Up until 2016, there was a simple wooden plaque with “Little Girl Buried In A Keg Of Rum” carved into it. In June 2016, the marker was burned by vandals for unknown reasons. The church and historical society are hoping to have it replaced soon. I’m not sure if it has already been replaced. Even without the plaque, finding her grave is easy to do. Her grave is COVERED with toys, children’s jewelry, nicknacks, and other similar items. The reason that people do this is because the little girl is known to be seen and heard in the cemetery. The shuffle of a kid’s footsteps have been heard in the cemetery and on the sidewalk around the outside of the cemetery but no kids can be seen making the noise. A small female child has been seen skipping through the headstones despite the cemetery being locked up for the night. People have reported hearing a young girl giggling or singing to herself but no child can be found. 

If you go check to Beaufort, North Carolina. Please go check out the Old Burying Grounds. They have historic tours that you take either on your own or with a tour guide. Also please check out Beaufort Ghost Walk for their tours. I’m pretty sure this is the same company as when I lived there twenty or so years ago. If they are, its a really great company with really interesting stories. If you check them out, please let them know that the Paranormal Housewife sent you!

I hope y’all have enjoyed this second episode. I will be back in two weeks with another fun episode. If you can’t wait that long for some spooky stories, please check out my blog, Paranormal Housewife dot com. I post there every Tuesday and Thursday with posts about about haunted locations or urban legends. A few months ago, I realized there are MANY states I had been neglecting to mention in my blog to talk about their cryptids, urban legends, or haunted locations. So I have been featuring a different state each week. Last week I wrote about some creepy roads and a haunted theater in Nebraska. In last Tuesday’s post, I also shared an interesting experience one of friend’s had when she came over and tried to use a spirit box app. One of our spirits decided to prank her. I really wish I had recorded it but I am so out practice when it comes to vlogging that I didn’t even think to grab my camera until I realized what they (the spirit) was doing. Anywho, back to the blog, this week I am writing about a celebrity’s haunted home and church with some interesting activity going in Tennessee.

If you would like to read the transcripts of this podcast and check out the sources used for this episode, check out my blog for the post about this episode. If you have any suggestions for future blog posts or podcast topics please let me know. Also if you have any questions about the paranormal world or ghost hunting, I would be more than happy to answer them. You can either contact me through my blog, Paranormal Housewife dot com, email me at kelly at paranormal housewife dot com, or on social media I am paranormal housewife except twitter which is paranormal hw. Also feel free to reach out just to say “hi” if you want. I love hearing from y’all. I know I am new podcast but if you are enjoying this podcast so far, please leave a rating and comment on the streaming app you are using to listen to this episode. It would really help me out. Well, this has been fun. Thanks for listening. Y’all have a good one and stay spooky. Bye y’all! 

Sources used for this episode:

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/blackbeard
  • rag.co.uk/stories/blackbeard-edward-teach-pirate
  • Amherst.edu/users/u/dullian08/node/20554
  • thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/10-facts-about-blackbeard
  • northcarolinaghosts.com/coast/blackbeards-ghost/
  • rochestermedia.com/pirates-and-ghosts-of-the-caribbean
  • americashauntedroadtrip.com/blackbeard
  • beauforthistoricsite.org/old-burying-ground
  • historicbeaufort.com/burygnd1.htm
  • northcarolinaghosts.com/coast/rum-keg-girl
  • theparanormalist.wordpress.com2014/08/07/gorgeous-graveyards-the-old-burying-ground-beaufort-nc/

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