Seafaring Legends (Inspired by The Pirates of the Caribbean 2)
For the most part, the teasers and trailers for the show reveal Captain Jack Sparrow has a debt to pay to Davy Jones, and that price or debt is his very soul. *voice goes very deep and eeerie on that last word* Nnoo, not Davy Jones from The Monkees--ha ha ha--but the infamous Davy Jones of "Davy Jones' Locker."
In the movie, Davy Jones and his oceanic undead crew manned the phantom ship, The Flying Dutchman. They also had control of the...Kracken...the horrifying mythical sea monster, whom they summoned to destroy any ship on which any particular captain, crew or individual sailor who had dared incur Jones' wrath was.
Also for the movie, the writers had created their own history or legend for Davy Jones. Not knowing that much about him, but being familiar with the phrase:
- "He's gone to Davy Jones' Locker!"
Watching the movie, and knowing the lil I knew about each--the captainship of Davy Jones of the Flying Dutchman didn't ring true--I wanted to find the truth and separate the two legends. According to a recent article in the Hartford Courant newspaper by Susan Dunne, Davy Jones is a spirit of the briny deep who lives on the ocean floor, gathering the bodies of those who die at sea into his locker. He's "'the fiend that presides over all the evil spirits of the deep, and is often seen in various shapes, perching among the rigging on the eve of hurricanes, shipwrecks, and other disasters to which seafaring life is exposed, warning the devoted wretch of death and woe'" (quoted from Thomas Smollet's novel The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle). He's the one the most superstitious of sailors would rather not discuss. Oh, they'll refer to Jones and his dwelling place, all right, but they'd rather leave him an indefinite, unbodied character who keeps to his home, or locker, at the bottom of the sea.
No one knows, really, how he became a feared legend. Some say Davy Jones isn't real. Some speculate he was a pub owner, who allegedly shoved passed out drunken sailors into his ale locker and then dumped them on board any ship that happened to pass by his port town. Others say the name Davy Jones is a mangling of Duffer Jones, a sailor famed throughout the seven seas for being so nearsighted that he often fell overboard. *tries not to laugh at that picture* (I wonder how many times someone yelled, "Man overboard!" And another sailor complained, "Not again!" and another might have said, "It's Jones, isn't it?" in a knowing, resigned tone of voice. Then they would have had to fish the poor guy out.) According to yet another group, Davy might be the Anglicizing of the West Indian word, dubby or duffy, meaning "ghost."
But only the most wicked, hellbound pirates need fear the full wrath of Davy Jones. Though their bodies go to his locker, it is generally believed that a Christian sailor's soul goes to the Fiddlers' Green. In that fine place, an old salt's grog mug and tobacco pipe are always full and beautiful maidens dance forever on a sunny, verdant hillside to the tune of a fiddle.
The Flying Dutchman, if some of you are familiar with the tale, is a tragic one. That much is agreed upon. What isn't agreed upon is whether or not the legend is based upon a real ship and crew. Or rather, on a couple of novels. (Though if sailors through the years have reported sightings of a phantom ship with a spectral glow about it, I'm more inclined to believe them and say it was an actual ship.)
In each version of the story, the captain's name is different, but his iron resolution and his crew's and ship's tragic fate is the same. Whoever the captain was, and whether or not he was foolhardy, stupid, arrogant and proud in his refusal to stay in port till after the storm blew over, or whether he and his crew were caught unawares by a sudden hurricane is debatable. What is agreed upon in the various versions of the legend is that the captain vowed to get 'round the Cape of Good Hope (or Storms), that no storm (nor possibly God) would stop him from making his destination and he'd sail till Doomsday if need be. And to this day the Flying Dutchman continues to sail as a ghost ship, trying to make it around the Cape.
Over the years many people claimed to have seen the ghost ship off their shores, but no sensible captains would or will take their ship near the spectral ship if spotted, because it's believed something terrible would or will happen aboard their ship if they did/do.
The most interesting and well known sighting of the ship was made by the King George V of England, when he was a prince and crewman aboard the HMS Bacchante in 1881. The sighting was recorded in the ship's log, telling of how the ghostly apparition seemed to glow red and of how they could make out all her masts, spars and sails. When the HMS Bacchante sailed closer the vision seemed to disappear, in the manner of a mirage, and the sea was unnaturally calm in that spot. Later that day, the crewman who had first reported the ghostly sighting, fell to his death from the crow's nest.
Another sighting that gives truth to the legend occurred in 1939, when hundreds of people saw the ship off the coast of False Bay. It appeared to be sailing towards the shore at Muizenberg and seemed likely to end up on the beach. Then suddenly it vanished! Into thin air. Many people were convinced that it was the ghost of the Flying Dutchman, still trying to make it 'round the Cape.