Bluebeard’s Castle in the Virgin Islands- Is it haunted by pirates?

Bluebeard’s Castle is a historic property dating back to the 1600’s in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The island was owned by Denmark in 1666. In 1683, the colony became fearful of an attack by the English so certain measures were taken to protect the little town. Bluebeard’s castle dates back to this time. The castle was used as a fort until 1735. The Danish West Indies and Guinea Company was taken over by the Danish Crown in 1754, and the tower remained government property until 1818, when the tower passed to G. L. Einem. It passed through several hands since then.

Bluebeard’s Castle, Frederiksberg Estate, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, VI ca. 1933

Bluebeard's Castle, Frederiksberg Estate, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, VI

When the United States acquired the tower in 1933 it was part of a program to develop the tourist trade on the Island proposed by the first civilian governor after the 1917 sale of the Virgin Islands to the U.S., Paul M. Pearson, and the buildings on the estate were converted to a hotel.

Bluebeard’s Castle, Frederiksberg Estate, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, VI ca. 1933 Interior

Bluebeard's Castle, Frederiksberg Estate, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, VI ca. 1933 Interior

President Franklin Roosevelt visited the Hotel on 7 July 1934. With the new government administration in 1952, it was decided to dispose of the venture, and the sale to a private organization was effected in 1954. The buildings surrounding the tower have been considerably augmented since the estate was converted to a hotel.

Bluebeard’s Castle, Frederiksberg Estate, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, VI ca. 1933 front

Bluebeard's Castle, Frederiksberg Estate, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, VI ca. 1933 front

The popular name for the tower, “Bluebeard’s Castle,” stems from the nineteenth century when many stories, none substantiated, were told connecting the pirate, Bluebeard, with the tower. A number of these legends have been expanded, written, and published, chiefly by Charles Edwin Taylor and J. Antonio Jarvis.

Photocopy of a measured drawing (original delineated by Tyge Hvass, 1919) PLANS, SECTIONS, AND ELEVATIONS OF CASTLE – Bluebeard’s Castle, Frederiksberg Estate, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, VI

Photocopy of a measured drawing (original delineated by Tyge Hvass, 1919) PLANS, SECTIONS, AND ELEVATIONS OF CASTLE - Bluebeard's Castle, Frederiksberg Estate, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, VI

Built on a hill 224 feet high, rising sheer from the shore on the eastern side of the harbor, the Tower of Bluebeard’s is claimed to be approximately 34 feet high. The tower consisted of two stories, each with two windows facing the town.View of Bluebeard's castle on distant hill

While there is no historical proof of Bluebeard’s Castle ever being inhabited by a pirate, it has had a full share of adventure and a colorful past and pirates, such as Blackbeard were believed to have inhabited the island.

Charlotte Amalie, seen from Bluebeard’s Castle Hotel. Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands by photographer Jack Delano Dec. 1941

Charlotte Amalie, seen from Bluebeard's Castle Hotel. Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands by photographer Jack Delano Dec. 1941

However, Bluebeard was never actually a pirate. He was actually the monster of Charles Perrault’s tale Barbe Bleue, who murdered his wives and hid their bodies in a locked room. The similarity of names, Bluebeard with the actual pirate, Blackbeard, caused some confusion.  George Melies produced the silent film below about Bluebeard in 1901.

Today, Bluebeard’s Castle is a timeshare resort that is centrally located near downtown Charlotte Amalie in the US Virgin Islands. It is located on a hill with beautiful views of the harbor. While it does not have its own beach, you are within a very short drive to numerous gorgeous beaches either on St. Thomas or nearby in St. John or the BVIs

 

SOURCES

  1. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/vi/vi0000/vi0029/data/vi0029data.pdf
  2. Bluebeard: A Reader’s Guide to the English Tradition By Casie Hermansson Univ. Press of

FAITH AND COURAGE

Faith and Courage: A Novel of Colonial America (Tapestry of Love) (Volume 2)
In this action packed novel depicting true events the family saga continues with Ambrose Dixon’s family. George Willson witnesses the execution of King Charles II and is forced to leave the woman he loves to witch hunters in 17th century England as he flees to his sister, Mary, and her husband Ambrose Dixons home in Colonial American. Ridden with guilt over difficult decisions he made to survive, George Willson and the Dixon’s embrace the Quaker faith which further creates problems for their existence in the New World.

 

Faith and Courage: A Novel of Colonial America (Tapestry of Love) (Volume 2)


By (author): Donna R Causey

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me

All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .

For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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