Blackbeard was a real person as well as having lots of stories and myths surrounding him. The real name of this notorious pirate was Captain Teach and he featured in a book published in Birmingham in 1742. This was written by Captain Charles Johnson who called it A History of the Lives and Exploits of the most remarkable Pirates, Highwaymen, Murderers, Street Robbers etc. An interesting title, if not too snappy!
In the book Blackbeard is described as a terrifying character with a beard “like a frightful meteor, covered his whole face.” When leaping into action he “stuck lighted matches under his had which appearing on each side of his face, his eyes naturally looking fierce and wild, made him altogether such a figure that imagination cannot form an idea of a Fury from Hell to look more frightful.”
His crew told a story to make your hair stand on end. Once when they were cruising around, “they found out 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. They verily believed it was the Devil.”
There are many more deadly and dastardly people to find out about in Johnson’s book and if you had bought a copy of the local Birmingham newspaper, Aris’ Gazette in 1742, you would have had a copy for free as a supplement to the newspaper. When you come and visit the library why not come and have a look at it?