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This article is about the individual. You may be looking for the soundtrack theme, "Shansa".
Shansa the witch.jpg


Eye color


Hair color



5' 6½"


55 kg





Weapon(s) owned

Black magic

Behind the scenes
First appearance

Tides of War

Latest appearance

Dead Men Tell No Tales


Golshifteh Farahani


"The price of crossing my door is blood, Captain."
"That explains why you're not so busy."
"Everyone pays, eventually.
―Shansa and Hector Barbossa[src]

Shansa was a sea witch who was active in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy. A woman of unique beauty, Shansa studied the dark arts and practiced black magic, often helping people to find information through spells in exchange for a terrifying payment – blood.


Early life[]

Not much was known about Shansa except the fact that she was a sea witch. Over the years, she became popular and nearly legendary because of the rumors about her powers and abilities which allowed her to help pirates and others to know information about individuals. It is known that Shansa used to say that the price of passing her door was blood and that everyone ended up paying.[2]

War Against Piracy[]

"The Sparrow, like all great captains, is a small part of the sea. When all these parts are together, perhaps the picture of the sea will become clear, and her greatest treasures revealed."
"Are you saying you can use these memories to find?"
"With the power of the Jewel of Atlantis, the East India Trading Company will rip itself apart. Isn't that what you want?
―Shansa and an unknown pirate[src]

Around the time of the War Against Piracy Shansa resided in a cave on an uncharted island. Shortly after the battle of Calypso's maelstrom she stole the memories of the notorious pirate captain Jack Sparrow.

Saved by Barbossa[]

"Shansa, you and I made a bargain long ago. I saved you from the gallows, remember?"
"And I cursed your enemies. But now you come to me in fear, as the dead have taken command of the sea.
Hector Barbossa and Shansa[src]

Sometime before 1751,[3] Shansa was imprisoned by the British and condemned to hang. However, she was saved by the notorious pirate Hector Barbossa, at that time known as the terror of the seas. Even though he couldn't pay her way out of jail, she turned her prison cell in Saint Martin into a sanctorum, where she would devote herself to all kinds of magic. Barbossa would regularly visit her by bribing the guards, and she returned the favor by cursing his enemies.[2]

Quest for the Trident of Poseidon[]

Shansa shows Barbossa the fate of his fleet.

"The dead are conquering the sea, unable to step on dry land. Maybe you should retire to the country side."
"You mean grass? On a farm? Milking a cow, making cheese? While they sink me treasure?"
" Ask yourself this, Captain. Is this treasure worth dying for?"
"I'm a pirate. Always will be! So how do I save what be mine?
Hector Barbossa and Shansa[src]

After the notorious pirate, Jack Sparrow exchanged his famous compass for a bottle of rum, Shansa had managed to obtain it in her cell through unknown means.[2]

As ships of his fleet were destroyed one by one by some mysterious enemy, Capitan Barbossa visited Shansa again, hoping that she could solve the mystery for him. Immediately inside the cell, Shansa discovered that he feared that death would seize the sea, when Barbossa asked that he wanted death with him, she explained that they were searching for "a Sparrow" that wants to get the trident with a girl and a "pearl." She warned him that if he wanted to survive, he must retire to the camp, since the dead can not tread the earth. Barbossa found ridiculous the idea of retiring while they were looking for treasure, declaring that he did not mind dying for a treasure, since he would always be a pirate. Despite Shansa's warnings, she gave up and ended up giving Barbossa the compass, not wanting to explain how she got it.[2]

Coercion by the Navy[]

"The sea has turned to blood. A sailor washed ashore talking about the Trident, he was looking for Jack Sparrow. The same pirate who saved a witch from the Gallows."
"She's no witch"
"But you are, and you're going to help us."
"You're afraid, lieutenant. As ships burn in the night you wish to know if you can save your own. If the Trident is real.
John Scarfield and Shansa[src]

Later, when Lieutenant John Scarfield, moved by wrath towards finding the evildoers who have ruined his public image and fear of naval ships being decimated as of late, went in search of Shansa, who willingly shows Scarfield the route to the Trident of Poseidon, where Henry, Carina, and Jack were headed, in exchange of him sparing her life.[2] Her further fate is unknown.

Personality and traits[]

Shansa was shrouded by mystery, rumored to have amazing supernatural powers and abilities which allowed her to help others find hidden information. She has one, long tattoo in Sanskrit swirling around her body, and wears a large bindi on her forehead, suggesting her to be a Hindu cultist. She was much like Tia Dalma, but much more mysterious and darker. Despite her mysterious nature, she was genuinely worried about Barbossa, when he said he was willing to die for a treasure.

Equipment and skills[]

"The witch can rip people's memory right out of their heads and store it in a bottle, like a wee ship."
Joshamee Gibbs to a pirate[src]

Shansa was rumored to be someone who possessed supernatural powers and abilities, which allowed her to find more and more information about other people, no matter if it was missing ones or the dead ones.

She may have vast connections as she was able to get her hands on Jack Sparrow's compass even though he traded it at a bar on the other side of Saint Martin.

Behind the scenes[]

  • Shansa was played by Golshifteh Farahani in Dead Men Tell No Tales.
  • Shansa is the second witch to appear in the film series, the first was Tia Dalma.
  • In early concept work of Jeremy Love, Shansa had multiple designs. The first of them showed her as a woman with black hair and green skin with the breasts exposed but covered with her lush hair. The second one featured her as a woman with gray skin with earrings and hair covered of bones. The third one, nearly resembling the Enchantress of the film Suicide Squad, featured her with gray skin and with knifes of her hair; and the fourth one featured her with very long black hair while wearing gold and silver ornaments.[4]
  • It's unknown whether it's on purpose or not, but every character who has had contact with Shansa end up dead, it is probably due to as she says "The price of crossing my door is blood" and "Everyone pays, eventually". Hector Barbossa ended up sacrificing himself in order to kill Armando Salazar and Lieutenant John Scarfield ended up being crushed with the Silent Mary by Salazar.
  • In Jeff Nathanson's 2013 early draft of the Dead Men Tell No Tales script the witch's name was Melia. Living in Port Royal, Melia would be captured by Admiral Scarfield of the Royal Navy who would force her to lead him to the Devil's Triangle. Once the British crew was decimated and captured by the ghostly crew of the Silent Mary led by Captain John Brand Melia would make an alliance with Brand, performing a magic ritual that would allow the ghosts to possess the bodies of the living and take the Trident of Poseidon. In the final battle Melia would fight Hector Barbossa before being killed by Henry Maddox.[5]
  • It's possible Shansa was based on the Sea Widow, the main villain of Terry Rossio's original script for Dead Men Tell No Tales. A sea witch of great power, the Sea Widow would attempt to find the magical pearls from the broken Trident of Neptune so she could have her revenge on Jack Sparrow, incorrectly believing that he was responsible for the death of her husband and children.[6]
The Pirates of the Caribbean wiki has a collection of images and media related to Shansa.


Notes and references[]