Whydah Museum Waiting on Forensic Results on Possible ‘Black Sam’ Identification

HYANNIS – A team of forensic scientists from the University of New Haven continue to work to compare the DNA of remains found at the wreck site of the Whydah with genetic material obtained from the bloodline of the ships famous captain.

The vessel, captained by Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy, sank off the coast of Wellfleet in 1717 and was discovered in 1984 by explorer Barry Clifford.

Clifford has recovered millions of dollars worth of gold and silver, along with 60 canons and thousands of artifacts. The only authenticated pirate treasure ever discovered is on display at the Whydah Pirate Museum on Route 28 in West Yarmouth.

Museum officials believe the remains found belong to Bellamy because of their proximity to ornamental pistols wrapped in a red sash which belonged to the captain.

The bones were removed from a concretion at the museum in February and turned over to the team of forensic scientists.

“We hope to have the results of the DNA test within a matter of weeks,” said Casey Sherman, an author and investigative journalist, who traveled to Hittisleigh, England in March to meet the descendants of Bellamy, learn more about him and retrieve a DNA sample.

Sherman said he even located the unmarked grave where Bellamy’s mother is buried.

“We really got a sense of the legend of Black Sam from the actual villagers who still carry that legacy to this day,” Sherman said.

Sherman said being able walk in the footsteps of Black Sam in the tiny village he grew up was surreal.

He said the descendants of Bellamy are fascinated by the entire tale of the Whydah.

“They really want to learn more about Cape Cod and the wreck of the Whydah here,” Sherman said. “It’s great because I felt like I was part of the board of tourism for Cape Cod when I was over there because I got so many people interested in taking a trip this way.”

Sherman said finding out if the remains belong to Bellamy would be a major global discovery.

“When I was over in England, everybody in England was fascinated by this story,” he said. “The Brits are absolutely enamored with this story and I think the world will be as well if we can identify Black Sam’s remains.”

If the bones are determined to be those of Bellamy they will be returned to England for a proper burial.

Bellamy was listed by Forbes magazine as the most successful pirate who ever lived.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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