7 Places Blackbeard’s Gold Could’ve Been Stashed

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istock

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. 

These Rugged Steel-Toe Boots Look and Feel Like Summer Sneakers

Indestructible Shoes
Indestructible Shoes

Thanks to new, high-tech materials, our favorite shoes are lighter and more comfortable than ever. Unfortunately, one thing most sneakers are not is durable. They can’t protect your feet from the rain, let alone heavy objects. Luckily, as their name implies, Indestructible Shoes has come up with a line of steel-toe boots that look and feel like regular sneakers.

Made to be incredibly strong but still lightweight, every pair of Indestructible Shoes has steel toes, skid-proof grips, and shock-absorption technology. But they don't look clunky or bulky, which makes them suitable whether you're going to work, the gym, or a family gathering.

The Hummer is Indestructible Shoes’s most well-rounded model. It features European steel toes to protect your feet, while the durable "flymesh" material wicks moisture to keep your feet feeling fresh. The insole features 3D arch support and extra padding in the heel cup. And the outsole features additional padding that distributes weight and helps your body withstand strain.

Indestructible Shoes Hummer.
The Hummer from Indestructible Shoes.
Indestructible Shoes

There’s also the Xciter, Indestructible Shoes’s latest design. The company prioritized comfort for this model, with the same steel toes as the Hummer, but with additional extra-large, no-slip outsoles capable of gripping even smooth, slippery surfaces—like, say, a boat deck. The upper is made of breathable moisture-wicking flymesh to help keep your feet dry in the rain or if you're wearing them on the water.

If you want a more breathable shoe for the peak summer months, there's the Ryder. This shoe is designed to be a stylish solution to the problem of sweaty feet, thanks to a breathable mesh that maximizes airflow and minimizes sweat and odor. Meanwhile, extra padding in the midsole will keep your feet protected.

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This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Racist Origins of 7 Common Phrases

Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup, Unsplash
Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup, Unsplash

Even the most nonsensical idioms in the English language originated somewhere. Some terms, like silver lining and tomfoolery, have innocuous roots, while other sayings date back to the darkest chapters in U.S. history. While these common phrases are rarely used in their original contexts today, knowing their racist origins casts them in a different light.

1. Tipping Point

This common phrase describes the critical point when a change that had been a possibility becomes inevitable. When it was popularized, according to Merriam-Webster, it was applied to one phenomenon in particular: white flight. In the 1950s, as white people abandoned urban areas for the suburbs in huge numbers, journalists began using the phrase tipping point in relation to the percentage of minority neighbors it took to trigger this reaction in white city residents. Tipping point wasn’t coined in the 1950s (it first appeared in print in the 19th century), but it did enter everyday speech during the decade thanks to this topic.

2. Long Time, No See

The saying long time, no see can be traced back to the 19th century. In a Boston Sunday Globe article from 1894, the words are applied to a Native American speaker. The broken English phrase was also used to evoke white people's stereotypical ideas of Native American speech in William F. Drannan’s 1899 book Thirty-One Years on the Plains and in the Mountains, Or, the Last Voice from the Plains An Authentic Record of a Life Time of Hunting, Trapping, Scouting and Indian Fighting in the Far West.

It's unlikely actual Native Americans were saying long time, no see during this era. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this type of isolating construction would have been unusual for the indigenous languages of North America. Rather, it originated as a way for white writers to mock Native American speech, and that of non-native English speakers from other places like China. By the 1920s, it had become an ordinary part of the American vernacular.

3. Mumbo Jumbo

Before it was synonymous with jargon or other confusing language, the phrase mumbo jumbo originated with religious ceremonies in West Africa. In the Mandinka language, the word Maamajomboo described a masked dancer who participated in ceremonies. Former Royal African Company clerk Francis Moore transcribed the name as mumbo jumbo in his 1738 book Travels into the Inland Parts of Africa. In the early 1800s, English speakers started to divorce the phrase from its African origins and apply it to anything that confused them.

4. Sold Down the River

Before the phrase sold down the river meant betrayal, it originated as a literal slave-trading practice. Enslaved people from more northerly regions were sold to cotton plantations in the Deep South via the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. For enslaved people, the threat of being “sold down the river” implied separation from family and a life of hard labor. A journal entry from April 1835 mentions a person who, “having been sold to go down the river, attempted first to cut off both of his legs, failing to do that, cut his throat, did not entirely take his life, went a short distance and drowned himself.”

5. No Can Do

Similar to long time, no see, no can do originated as a jab at non-native English speakers. According to the OED, this example was likely directed at Chinese immigrants in the early 20th century. Today, many people who use the phrase as general slang for "I can’t do that" are unaware of its cruel origins.

6. Indian Giver

Merriam-Webster defines an Indian giver as “a person who gives something to another and then takes it back.” One of the first appearances was in Thomas Hutchinson’s History of the Colony of Massachuset’s Bay in the mid 18th century. In a note, it says “An Indian gift is a proverbial expression, signifying a present for which an equivalent return is expected.” In the 19th century, the stereotype was transferred from the gift to the giver, the idea of an “equivalent return” was abandoned, and it became used as an insult. An 1838 N.-Y. Mirror article mentions the “distinct species of crimes and virtues” of schoolchildren, elaborating, "I have seen the finger pointed at the Indian giver. (One who gives a present and demands it back again.)" Even as this stereotype about indigenous people faded, the phrase Indian giver has persisted into the 21st century. The word Indian in Indian giver also denotes something false, as it does in the antiquated phrase Indian summer.

7. Cakewalk

In the antebellum South, some enslaved African Americans spent Sundays dressing up and performing dances in the spirit of mocking the white upper classes. The enslavers didn’t know they were the butt of the joke, and even encouraged these performances and rewarded the best dancers with cake, hence the name. Possibly because this was viewed as a leisurely weekend activity, the phrase cakewalk became associated with easy tasks. Cakewalks didn’t end with slavery: For decades, they remained (with cake prizes) a part of African American life, but at the same time white actors in blackface incorporated the act into minstrel shows, turning what began as a satire of white elites into a racist caricature of Black people.