According to some, Charleston is one of the most haunted cities in America. Its forts, ships, homes, historic buildings, and graveyards are home to a multitude of famous ghost stories set in the Holy City. Founded in 1670, Charleston’s rich history fuels the folklore of colonial settlers and ravaging pirates haunting the city. The most intriguing tales are those of the piracy that began at the town’s founding in 1670 and continued in its golden age until 1720. Some of history’s most well-known pirates, such as Blackbeard and Anne Bonny, are said to have graced the waters of Charleston and beyond.
Blackbeard was a fearsome English pirate who became infamous for his daring and intrepid acts of commandeering in the Atlantic and Caribbean. In 1718, Blackbeard upheld a blockade of the Charleston Port for six days until his crew’s demand for medicine was satisfied. He and his crew captured all ships attempting to enter and exit the harbor in what would be known as one of the longest pirate blockades in North American history. Shortly after his time spent in Charleston, Blackbeard would later die in battle in November of the same year off the coast of Ocracoke Island in North Carolina. Although Blackbeard’s life ended in 1718, female pirate Anne Bonny’s was just beginning. Anne was born in Ireland and spent the better part of her childhood growing up in Charleston. During the year of Blackbeard’s death, she married a pirate by the name of James Bonny, but her father deeply disapproved of her marriage. Due to her hot temper, it is rumored that she burned her family’s plantation before moving to an island in the Bahamas. Here, she left James to be with a pirate named Calico Jack. The pair spent a few years aboard the William where Anne was rumored to disguise herself as a man while pillaging in order to engage in battle. Ultimately, the crew was captured, and although Calico Jack was hanged for his crimes, Anne’s alleged pregnancy spared her. There are many tales as to where Anne spent the remainder of her life: back in Charleston, in the English countryside, or perhaps somewhere different altogether. However, it is widely believed that her ghost has returned to the Carolina coast to haunt the city of her childhood. Most notably, she is said to linger around the Powder Magazine with a few other ghosts.