June 23, 2022

Meet The Member: Real Pirates Salem

by joeyphoenix

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In your words… Tell us about your organization, business, initiative.

Underwater archeological explorer Barry Clifford heard the tale of a legendary pirate ship that had wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod here in Massachusetts when he was just a boy – one that supposedly held the largest pirate treasure ever known.

From then, he knew he wanted to try and find the wreck of the Whydah. And when he finally did, he realized that the real treasure of this shipwreck was not the gold or the jewels, but the stories they unlocked. We are here to share the true tale of “Black Sam” Bellamy – captain of the Whydah and one of the richest pirates of all time – and Maria Hallett, the love of his life and so-called “Witch of Wellfleet.”

Tell us a bit about you and why you do what you do? Share your passions for your business, initiative, organization.

Real Pirates was established to share the real history of piracy and how they established the first known democracy. Pirates lived together in a community based upon skill and merit, with no relevance to race, color or ethnicity.

Our hope is to inspire people to have a bit of that pirate mentality – explore, discover, pursue the unexpected, and know that just about anything is possible. Adventure is out there.

What role do you think your business plays in supporting a more creative community? OR your community in general. (Bonus! Why do you think a more creative community is important?)

Salem’s real treasure is its creative community. Along with other businesses nearby, Real Pirates plans on being a crucial aspect in the revitalization of Derby Street.

We are especially looking forward to collaborating with the vital, wonderful, and eclectic local talent here in Salem to activate Charlotte Forten Park and the harbor walk – as well as engage with the community in general through different initiatives we are looking to launch.

What was the last book you read or film you watched that made an impact on you?

Currently, a book by Kathleen Brunelle entitled, “Bellamy’s Bride: The Search for Maria Hallett of Cape Cod.” It is branded as the tragic love story of Maria and Sam Bellamy as it has never really been told before.

Unlike Black Sam, not much is known about the young “Witch of Wellfleet.” Her history has mainly been passed down from family stories, and we wish to bring a little more life to her narrative. In the exhibition, you have the chance to explore questions surrounding their relationship and try to help us derive the real from the myth.

What’s the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you our your business?

Bellamy captured the Whydah, as well as more than 50 other ships, earning him the nickname the “Prince of Pirates.” The artifacts you will see are pieces of the world’s only fully authenticated pirate treasure ever discovered. Retrieved from the wreck, they were last touched by the hands of pirates over 300 years ago.

These are real stories and real pirates… and our love for Salem is also real. We are beyond excited to share this adventure with a city that has one of the most rich and vibrant maritime histories.





Real Pirates

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Voyage through pirate history with a museum of real artifacts and treasure from the shipwrecked Whydah Gally! Anchored in Salem, Massachusetts.