Pirates are an interesting lot in many ways. They’re criminals. They’re rogues. They’re mercenaries. They’re killers. They’re businessmen. They’re entrepreneurs. They’re smugglers.
They are also very, very superstitious.
Pirating was a democracy and it was this democratic way of running their ships that attracted a lot of sailors. Sailing for England’s Royal Navy was not all it was cracked up to be—especially for those on the lower rung of the ladder. If a pirate didn’t like the way things were run, a vote was taken and the captain could be voted off the island, so to speak.
In other words, there were rules to follow on this democratic sailing vessel and a lot of those rules came about because of superstitions that were passed on from sailor to sailor, ship to ship and generation to generation.
Here are a few pirate superstitions:
-It was bad luck to have a woman on your ship because it was said that she distracted the sailor. However, if there happened to be a woman on the ship and if she happened to get pregnant and if she happened to give birth to a boy, the boy was called a “son of a gun”.
-Do not whistle on a ship. Whistling was believed to bring on gales. Hence the term, “whistling up a storm”
-Red heads were considered bad luck if you encountered one before boarding the ship. However, if you spoke to the red head first, then the bad luck was averted.
-Bananas on a ship were bad luck (yes, bananas).
-It is bad luck to rename a ship. If you have to rename a ship there are specific steps that needed to be taken and a renaming ceremony has to take place.
-Black cats. Ironically enough black cats were considered good luck to pirates. A cat with an extra toe (known as a polydactyl cat) was considered very good luck.
-In fact there were a lot of superstitions regarding animals. A shark following the ship foreshadowed death. A turtle was good luck but if a pirate killed one and didn’t eat it then it was bad luck. Killing an albatross is bad luck as well as killing a dolphin.
If you like pirates and love strong heroines and would like to read a story about a pirate and a strong heroine, Pleasing the Pirate is on sale for .99.