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The notorious pirate Blackbeard had a passion for forbidden Dark Magic.

"Where is the witch?"
"She's vanished, sir! An act of dark magic.
John Scarfield and a soldier[src]

Dark Magic, also known as the Black Arts, was the use of supernatural powers or magic for evil and selfish purposes, usually for the intent to cause harm to others.

This sinister sorcery, often associated with Voodoo, was mainly used in the Caribbean and other untamed regions of the world. Blackbeard used the ritualistic practices of the Black Arts to create zombies, voodoo dolls, and darts with a sleep-inducing elixir.


Treasure of Cortés[]

"Within a day of leaving port for Spain, the treasure ship carrying the gold...something went wrong. The ship run aground, every man aboard dead, save one. He survived long enough to hide the gold ashore. Over time, the dark magic of the curse seeped into the place, making it a cursed island. An island of death. Isla de Muerta."
Hector Barbossa to Elizabeth Swann[src] (original screenplay)

In the early 16th century, during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in Mexico, the Aztecs placed 882 identical pieces of Aztec gold to the conquistador Hernán Cortés as "blood money paid to stem the slaughter he wreaked upon them with his armies." But instead of satisfying Cortés, it merely fueled his greed. In response, the heathen gods placed a curse upon the gold: any mortal who removed a piece of the gold from the chest would be punished for eternity. Those who became cursed, like Hector Barbossa's crew, would suffer a living death in which they could not feel or taste anything, and when they stepped into the moonlight, their flesh would vanish from their bones, effectively becoming walking skeletons. Ultimately, the treasure ended up on Isla de Muerta, an island of the dead that could only be found by those who knew where it was.[1] According to legend, after a ship carrying the treasure ran aground on the island, killing all but one of its crew, the lone survivor hid the treasure ashore before dying himself. Ever since then, the dark magic of the treasure cursed the island itself over time.[2]


"Blackbeard. Edward Teach. The pirate all pirates fear. Resurrector of the dead in his spare time."
Jack Sparrow to Angelica about Blackbeard[src]

Blackbeard at work on the dark arts in his cabin.

Sometime after 1718, the infamous pirate Blackbeard studied a variety of beliefs and techniques to his own ends. Blackbeard knew more than just Haitian Voodoo, but mainly practiced Haitian Voodoo.[3] Having a passion for forbidden dark magic,[4] Blackbeard would dabble in the Black Arts within his private chamber in the captain's cabin aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, which appeared more like the den of an evil magician. Potions, poisons, and all paraphernalia of the dark arts were placed in many points in the cabin, which was lit by dripping candles and festooned with mystical artifacts, all designed to fill visitors with fear. But because of his aggression in using this sinister sorcery had resulted in Blackbeard being possessed of a tattered soul.[5]

The supernatural powers that Blackbeard possessed were most notably seen during the quest for the Fountain of Youth. Using Greek fire and practiced rituals, Blackbeard was able to create zombies that would serve as his loyal officers aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge. Another example would be using powerful voodoo dolls that can affect individuals, to a point of either enslaving unwilling victims or causing pain. Voodoo darts dipped with a secret, sleep-inducing elixir were also very effective; for instances, they were used on Jack Sparrow in order to get him aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, and later used on Philip Swift to make him seem dead.[6]

Nature of the Dark Arts[]

Born in the jungles of the Caribbean Isles, Dark Magic had spread all across the untamed regions of the world. Practitioners of this sinister sorcery intended to do harm of others, or make them do their bidding. Cunning men have learned how to harness the power of dark magic, but this magic is a double-edged sword, and could bring the downfall of the very ones who seek to use it. The only known material that could disrupt this magic is metal.[4]

It is possible that engaging in the dark arts extensively for many years would damage to the soul, even to a point of destroying it. For instance, Blackbeard was said to be possessed of a tattered soul, lost to forces of darkness,[5] with Blackbeard himself referred to his soul as if it was practically gone, in saying "what's left of it."[6]

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