Walking The Plank!

by Sweetwater

This concept of pirates making people walk the plank into the sea and such is more romance and media originated than historical. Through reading through many pirate resources from history and articles I found that pirates rarely used this method of torture but rather enjoyed longer lasting methods. Only a few recordings were found that referred to this concept and it was mostly related to pirates strapping cannon balls to the prisoner and making them walk off the plank, this was a quick method of death and not nearly as enjoyable as some of the other methods used by pirates during the golden age of piracy.

If you have never read Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates I would highly recommend it if your looking for more information on torture and pirates, he has a great chapter in his book on torture, violence, and marooning. One method used by pirates was to twist slender cords or matches around the head of a prisoner until his eyes burst out of his skull. This is far more cruel and violent than making someone walk the plank and is more along the lines of how pirates actually tortured their prisoners.

The media has promoted this to such an extent that whenever you talk to anyone who likes pirates they always seems to mention that old phrase “Walk the Plank”. This idea began spreading during the golden age of piracy in theatres and continued through history to modern day.


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