Teach's Light: A Tale of Blackbeard the Pirate
by Nell Wise Wechter
$9.95 paperback


In the midst of the newly sparked national interest in the infamous Blackbeard, the University of North Carolina Press has reissued a classic children's tale that focuses on the pirate's legend and the source of "Teach's Light." Teach's Light: A Tale of Blackbeard the Pirate($9.95 paperback), by the late Nell Wise Wechter, was out of print for nearly ten years until its recent reissue by UNC Press.

With her novels for young readers, Nell Wise Wechter, author of Taffy of Torpedo Junction, intended to both entertain and enlighten her young audience. In Teach's Light, Wechter added the science fiction device of time travel to produce a spirited retelling of the story of Blackbeard (c.1688-1718), who has been described as tall and strong, with a booming voice and a bushy black beard. The story traces the pirate's life from his boyhood days as a street urchin in Bristol and as a stowaway on a transatlantic ship, through his apprenticeship with the famous pirate Benjamin Hornigold, to the end of his reign of terror, when he was beheaded by a British naval officer in his last battle off the coast of Ocracoke, North Carolina.

The late Nell Wise Wechter was an award-winning North Carolina author and teacher. Her other books include Swamp Girl and Betsy Dowdy's Ride.

An inventive blend of history and science fiction, Teach's Light brings Blackbeard's story vividly to life through the adventures of teenagers Corky Calhoun and Toby Davis as they venture into the swamp to investigate Teach's Light and are thrown back in time to watch the life of Edward Teach unfold.

Excerpt From Chapter One of Teach's Light, by Nell Wise Wechter

"Atmospheric conditions are probably just right this evening for the light to be visible," Mr. Davis replied. "Strange thing, Teach's Light." He shook his head, silently wondering what caused the phenomenon.

"It looks like a round stingray with dancing legs," Corky said, laughing.

"Golly, just think of all the years the light has been seen across the Bay over Little Dismal Swamp," Toby marveled.

"People around these parts have been seeing it for nearly three hundred years," Mr. Davis told them. "Through the centuries, folks have handed down the yarn that the bobbing light is guarding one of Blackbeard's treasures, which the pirate supposedly buried somewhere on the fringes of Little Dismal."

"Yeah, I know," Toby answered. "It's curious why the light always seems to stay in the same general place. Maybe it is guarding some of Blackbeard's booty. Or, perhaps it's trying to show folks where the treasure really is buried."

What is "Teach's Light?"

North Carolinians, especially those who hail from the Outer Banks, do not need conclusive evidence to keep the legend of Blackbeard the Pirate (born Edward Teach) alive. Legend has it that an eerie, bobbing glow over Little Dismal Swamp near the North Carolina coast is "Teach's Light," and it is said to mark Blackbeard's buried treasure. "Teach's Light" has periodically appeared on clear nights for nearly three centuries.

Blackbeard's Shipwreck Discovered

Since the March 1997 announcement of the possible discovery of the shattered hull of Blackbeard's ship off the coast of Beaufort, N.C., the infamous pirate has sparked national attention. In a press conference last December, N.C. Division of Archives and History Director Jeffrey Crow told reporters that Blackbeard's flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge (QAR), is the only known shipwreck in the area that would be the right size and carry so many large cannons. The recovery effort continues, however, off the coast of North Carolina, and researchers are still waiting for conclusive evidence.

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