The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate

Within Every Legend Lies a Grain of Truth

     History remembers the infamous Black Beard as one of the greatest, most successful pirates who ever lived—a paragon of pirates. However, what if history got it wrong? When Black Beard arrived in North Carolina in 1718, he commanded one of the most powerful pirate fleets in history—400 men aboard four ships, including his prized, cannon-studded flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. But in a stunning reversal of fortunes, everything suddenly went wrong. Six months later, when Black Beard was cornered and killed at Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, he was in the company of just 20 men and the only treasure found in his possession was some sugar, cocoa, cotton and a mysterious letter. What happened during Black Beard’s last days that precipitated his demise? Who, truly, was Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, and from whence did he come? What was his true name? And what happened to his treasure?

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Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks

An Illustrated Guide

     “Where are all the shipwrecks?” It is the most frequently asked question by visitors to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Once, the remains of shipwrecks covered nearly every mile of shoreline. Today, most have vanished—either salvaged, burned, buried, stolen or vandalized—but not all. Hundreds of rare and remarkable photographs have also survived. Researcher, writer and filmmaker, Kevin Duffus, has roamed the beaches and searched the faded files of archives to create this photographic companion to historian David Stick’s definitive, Graveyard of the Atlantic.

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The Lost Light

A Civil War Mystery

     The message was like a beacon, flashing an irresistible invitation to solve a 140-year-old Civil War mystery and to find the “holy grail” of American lighthouses. The message—“I have had the apparatus removed to a good storehouse in the county and safely stored”—had been sent to Richmond by 36-year-old Washington, North Carolina, physician David T. Tayloe. It was Easter weekend in 1862 and Tayloe was in possession of 44 pine crates containing bronze frames and crown-glass prisms that once had been the illuminating apparatus from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

     So began an intriguing mystery that endured for more than a century—what became of the missing 6,000-pound, 12-foot-tall Fresnel lens from the original Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, hidden by Dr. Tayloe during the Civil War? By horse-drawn carts, pole-propelled flats, steamboats and the rickety rails of the Confederate railroad, the lens vanished into obscurity, a mystery born of myths, urban legends and a sea of faded and fire-ravaged documents. According to Lighthouse Digest, the whereabouts of the Cape Hatteras lens had long remained “one of the great-unsolved mysteries of American lighthouse history.”

    That is, until one day Kevin Duffus solved the mystery and found the historic lens, now considered an American treasure.

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