Blackbeard, The Pirate Used This Strange Device For One Cringeworthy Purpose

Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, the pirate, is well known for his exploits aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge along the eastern cost of the American colonies. To this day, archaeologists are still unearthing equipment found amid the wreckage of Blackbeard’s ship. One of these more recent finds is enough for any man to exclaim, “Shiver me timbers!”

In a related report by the Inquisitr, one of the more famous portrayals of a pirate was done by Johnny Depp, who is set to hoist the mainstays and set sail for marriage to his girlfriend Amber Heard. The plot of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has also been leaked out, and so far all indications seem to say full sail ahead.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge was ran aground in 1718 and the shipwreck was discovered in 1996 off the coast of North Carolina. Archaeologists have completed about 60 percent of the excavation, and researchers from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources announced what they had discovered about the equipment at the Society for Historical Archaeology’s annual meeting.

Blackbeard, the pirate’s ship was originally named La Concorde de Nantes, a French ship whose crew included three doctors whose job it was to keep the rest of the crew healthy. Even after Blackbeard took over and renamed the ship, the three surgeons remained on the crew.

The tools of these doctors were recently unearthed according to Linda Carnes-McNaughton, a volunteer archaeologist on the project. One of these odd devices was known as pump clysters, which were intended for sending fluid into one’s rectum in order to have it absorbed quickly. Another was a porringer, which would have been used in bloodletting, a practice which was believed to cure certain conditions during the 18th century.

The one device that would have many men today more willing to walk the plank was the urethral syringe, which was used to inject mercury into the penis in order to treat syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease. Unfortunately for those poor pirates with women at every port, mercury poisoning could eventually kill you, never mind the short term repercussions to certain areas.


To give you an idea how bad this treatment could be, here is a medical description for the usage of the urethral syringe.

“Call the patient’s attention to the fact that the opening of the urethra is a vertical slit; that compressing the glans from above downwards makes this opening gajw while the compression from side to side closes it; hence the importance of exercising the compression in the latter way while taking the injection. If the pressure be properly made, not a drop of the solution will be lost, as the piston of the syringe is slowly forced down by the forefinger of the right hand holding the instrument, and the whole contents will be discharged into the canal…. During this time a finger of the disengaged hand should be run along the under surface of the penis from behind forwards, so as to distend the portion of the canal occupied by the injection, and insure the thorough application of the fluid to the whole mucous surface.”

Yar! Walking the plank does indeed sound better to modern audiences, but according to the archaeologists these medical devices were better than nothing.

“We just have to understand that these people were suffering,” Carnes-McNaughton said according to Fox 13. “They were seeking relief for any kind of ailment and, certainly if there was warfare on the water, there were wounds among other ailments that needed treatment. It wasn’t always a formally trained person in desperate times. That’s probably more common than we know.”