Residence: Charleston, South Carolina
Date of Performance/Collection: 10 April 2020
Primary Language: English
So, Sullivan’s Island, where I’m from, is supposedly the home of Blackbeard’s treasures. It’s like an actual written document, Blackbeard at one point visited Charleston and held the city hostage for a few days in exchange of medical support on his crew. Charleston also was like a famous port hub for a whole lotta pirates, privateers, and whatnot during the Golden Age of Piracy, all this is factual. But supposedly, Blackbeard, before he died, he buried a good amount of his gold somewhere around the island during his visit to Charleston. The legend is that him seeking medical attention was just a distraction, and he just needed to securely hide his treasures in a remote enough location where no one else could find it. There have been actual treasure hunters who tried to find this, but I don’t think anyone has actually been able to. What’s crazy is that once in a while they fish up old Spanish gold or wreckage or something from that era neat Charleston in the ocean, because there have been a lot of ships that sunk near the city I guess. So these things keep adding validity to the supposed hidden treasure, it’s like teasing everyone for the actual, unbelievable fortune that’s hidden.
My informant is a 21 year old student, currently going to Duke University in North Carolina. She was born and raised in South Carolina, and is well versed with the local history of the city. Charleston is famously known for being a hub of trade during the Age of Discovery, and there have been famous pirates who made appearance at the city regularly, including Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach. My informant has stated that she learned about this legend through her friends when she was 10 years old.
The conversation took place over the phone, 3:30 pm for myself (PST) and 3:30pm for my informant (EST). My informant was alone in her room during the conversation.
The myth behind pirate’s gold is so common and often seen as a complete hoax. Realistically, hiding one’s treasures underground doesn’t sound like the safest or smartest way to keep your valuables for anyone. But the reason why I think this story is so commonly told because of people’s built fantasy around pirates as story archetypes. Pirates have been romanticized through popular culture for decades, and I think by trying to find the hidden treasures people are actively trying to insert themselves into this mythos, becoming part of the fantasy pirates by obtaining what was left behind by them.