History is packed full of accounts of terrifying pirates, but which are the most scary. Take a look at this list of the 5 Most Terrifying Pirates according to the crew of the Marigalante pirate ship!
1 – Blackbeard
Easily the most famous buccaneer on the list and possibly the most terrifying pirate of all time, Blackbeard had a reputation of horrific magnitude in his day. In fact, it wasn’t just the size of his reputation that was scary, but the content too! He was rumoured to be involved in voodoo and the black arts, as well as having a penchant for cruelty. And, boy, did he know how to market his reputation; he would board a ship in a cloud of smoke, created by lit fuses in his beard, with daggers, knives and guns strapped to his chest. There were few that would stand against the legend, and might, of Blackbeard.
2 – Zheng Yi Sao
Far from being a “lady”, the ruthless efficiency, and utter conviction of Zheng Yi Sao made her one of the most feared, and successful and terrifying pirates of her day. Known for her intelligence, cunning, and a general love of punitive decapitation, she enjoy huge power and influence. Not surprising, since she ruled the largest fleet amongst her contemporaries. The Red Flag Fleet was 1500 ships strong and faced down the Chinese, Portuguese, and British navies successfully. She was so good at her job, in fact, that she was able to retire with all her plunder, and a pension, at the age of 35. A terrifying pirate but one of the few to die an old women and protect her wealth.
3 – Black Bart
A regular terror for the officers and captains on board the ships he captured, Black Bart started life as a hand on a slaving vessel and new the plights and suffering of the lower ranks. So when he switched occupations to piracy, he never forgot what it was like to be at the bottom of a ship’s hierarchy. He was known to ask his crew how their superiors were treating them, and famous for slicing and dicing offenders in front of their victims. Not a man to mess with! A terrifying pirate by anyone’s standards.
4 – Ned Lowe
An English criminal who took to sea, Ned Lowe was not the most successful pirate in his day (though he did well enough), but was perhaps the most feared due to his excessive cruelty and love of torture. This did not extend only to his enemies; he was reported to have set fire to an unwanted ship, with the cook on board, for amusement, saying that the cook was a “greasy fellow”. He was, however, most famous for his treatment of enemy captains. He once cut an enemy’s lips off because he threw treasure into the sea. Lowe then proceeded to cook, and make him eat his lips before massacring the entire crew. Cruel, but seemingly effective. A deserving pirate on this list of most terrifying pirates.
5 – Francois L’Olonnais
And last by not least, Francois L’Olonnais was a French pirate who harboured an intense hatred of the Spanish and was thus was feared by all Spanish crews in his day. He was known for using torture and cruelty to get the information he required from enemy crews (in general this information was the routes of the Spanish navy, so that he might avoid them). In fact, it is rumoured that he once ate the beating heart of a Spanish Captain before killing all the crew but one. This poor survival was told to relay the message that never again would any Spaniard have mercy from L’Olonnais. Of course karma caught up with him and he, reputedly, ended his days in the belly of a cannibal. Just another terrifying pirate.
By don’t worry, the pirates aboard the Marigalante pirate ship in Puerto Vallarta are more terrifyingly funny than scary. Your lips and heads are safe on the Marigalante, although a sense of humour is essential.