Old Sea Legends: The Incredible Story of Davy Jones and His Locker

Updated on December 5, 2016
Some legends say Davy Jones was captain of the famous Flying Dutchman.
Some legends say Davy Jones was captain of the famous Flying Dutchman.

Many have heard of Davy Jones and his famous locker, maybe through the old legend itself or maybe through the immensely popular movie series The Pirates of the Caribbean. However, the story in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is nothing like the real stories, except for the fact that Jones is captain of the famous 'Flying Dutchman." Sailors used to tell terrifying stories to each other about this legendary pirate, but who was he exactly? Where does the legend come from and what is Davy Jones' locker?

It is unclear when the Davy Jones stories took place, but it was probably around the 1500s when people started trading and fighting at sea more and more. The earliest known written reference was in the Four Years Voyage of Captain George Roberts by Daniel Defoe, 1726. However, there was only a short mentioning of the saying "to be sent to Davy Jones' locker". Among the different stories, some depict him as the devil, while some say he is the evil god of the seas. In some tales, he is a murderer or captain of a ghost ship.

The Different Stories of Davy Jones

  • Pub owner: In one of the stories, Davy Jones was the owner of a British pub and would get sailors intoxicated and lock them in his ale locker. He also locked their unconscious bodies in ships that were passing through the harbor. The story also tells us that his pub went bankrupt, which made him decide to become a pirate. He stole a ship from the harbor, and, supposedly, sailed the Atlantic Ocean, hijacking other ships and decapitating or keelhauling most of the crew from other ships. The surviving crew would be locked in the ship and the ship would be sunk. The story also tells of this pub owner selling his soul to the devil.
  • Captain of the "Flying Dutchman": In some stories, Davy Jones is the captain of the "Flying Dutchman." The "Flying Dutchman" was supposedly a ghost ship that wandered the seas forever because it could not make port. The story goes that Jones hailed out to the sky on a trip from Holland to Batavia. Legend quotes him as saying, "God or Devil... I will sail around the Cape, even if it means sailing towards our last judgement." Then the Devil took control of the ship, and, as a price, the ship had to sail the seas forever, with the dead crew working for eternity without saying a word ever again.
  • The Jonah theory: In the Bible, Jonah became the "devil of the seas" when his crew found out that he was being punished by God for his disobedience. The crew casted him overboard. Some say that Davy Jones came from "Devil Jonah." Sailors believed that any wicked sailor would "go to Davy Jones' locker."
  • David Jones: There once was an actual pirate captain by the name of David Jones who sailed the seas around the 1630s. But, this pirate captain wasn't that well-known and most historians do not think he could have gathered such worldwide fame.
  • Satan: Some believe it is simply another name for Satan, made up by sailors.

Davy Jones' Locker

Davy Jones' Locker is a sailor's synonym for the ocean floor. A locker was another name for a chest back in the day. So "being sent to Davy Jones' locker" actually means dying at sea. In some stories, evil and wicked sailors who died at sea were locked up in the chest by Davy Jones and had to spend eternity trapped in there.

Davy Jones in The Pirates of the Caribbean

Davy Jones in Movies and Books


In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Davy Jones was the main villain. He was supposed to bring souls from sunken ships to work aboard the "Flying Dutchman." Instead of going to the afterlife, Jones proposes that the dead men come and work on his ship for a 100 years, and convinces them that the afterlife is even worse. He also commands the mythical beast the "Kraken."


Davy Jones is mentioned in a lot of books, but mostly only in passing phrases like, "going to Davy Jones" or "going to Davy Jones' locker." Almost every book about life on a pirate ship mentions this at least once. Moby Dick for example contains the phrase: "There was young Nat Swaine, once the bravest boat-header out of all Nantucket and the Vineyard; he joined the meeting, and never came to good. He got so frightened about his plaguey soul that he shrinked and sheered away from the whales, for fear of after-claps, in case he got stove and went to Davy Jones."


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    • profile image

      marshall 3 days ago

      nice i wana become a marine biologist if i die i hope its by davy

    • profile image

      Firestar 2 months ago

      Best ever! thanks for the info dude

    • profile image

      HeWhoWandersTheSeas 5 months ago

      He was to be the Grim Reaper or Devil of all who sail the seas, his infamous locker being a massive prison brig where he locks away unworthy sailors who commit mutiny upon their captain and break the codes of their ship or simply drown at sea. He at no point was actually associated with the Legendary ghost ship "The Flying Dutchman" until the Disney movie as that is an entirely separate myth. Davy was said to enforce his will on the sea with all manner of catastrophe such as plagues, storms, accidents and spirits. And he most commonly appears as the face of an old haggard man in the clouds in the middle of a storm. In my land we speak of him at the ports and beaches, but only in hushed tones, for to speak his name at sea is to call his attention. Somewhere out there I believe Jones wanders the depths, watching and waiting for who next he will lock away.

    • profile image

      Lord Double X 7 months ago

      The Legends are real all right

    • profile image

      geust user 7 months ago

      is he a real octopus or fake

    • profile image

      Isaiah 8 months ago

      Is he real

    • profile image

      Tolani 9 months ago

      Is Davy Jones actually real

    • profile image

      collin 13 months ago

      is davy jones real

    • profile image

      Guest user 15 months ago

      Was he an actual being though?

    • profile image

      Guest User 16 months ago

      I was wondering if you could post the literature references for the section titled: The Different Stories of Davy Jones. Just wondering where you got these stories from? Thanks

    • profile image

      Capt. Hendrick van der Kleefe. 17 months ago

      Many a time hear I tale o' Capt. Jones, but ne'er be I to hear o' The Flying Dutchman hailed by Jones.

      Howe'r, do I rather thank ye for a haul o' grand tale.

    • profile image

      chris 19 months ago

      I want to know what happened to davy jones

    • profile image

      seezal khan 2 years ago

      pirates of the Caribbean is my favorite movie and i also love magic and pirates this article help to read the story of davy Jones.

    • profile image

      Baycee 2 years ago

      I herd that Davy Jones was a young man that was sailing a ship and his ship was attacked by the kraken wile "the Dutchman"was being sacrificed by Davy and he pulled him in the water with him.they both died a sad evil death... But does that make him a devil or a sad lonesome spirit?

      You tell me....are you with the evil lord or are you with a poor man??

    • profile image

      Leroy 2 years ago

      Ok yall be tripping first things first.. Davy Jones never set sail ... Jonah spent three days in a whale ... SpongeBob is a yellow blob... And yall soccer moms need to go get a job!!

    • profile image

      Joshua philpot 2 years ago

      I liked the information from this artical. I always heard that Davy Jones was a sea tale but now I see he is much more he is a big peace in history and a fameuse captain

    • profile image

      Nicola 2 years ago

      Very helpful

    • profile image

      Valeri 2 years ago

      I've also heard of another verition of Davy Jones. He got hired to fairy soils to hades,a great honer. But he lost the woman he loved so he ripped out his heart and became...him. Old octapuse face.And he torched soils in his locker.(oh, and Jonah is NOT THE DEVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nnnn

    • profile image

      neasha 3 years ago

      swag swag . spongebob . swag.

    • profile image

      Destiny 3 years ago

      This has made my day. I wish all pogitnss were this good.

    • profile image

      Capone 3 years ago


    • profile image

      j/s 3 years ago

      Its sea devil,not see devil

    • profile image

      basic Bible 101 for dummies (Emily) 3 years ago

      do you need to go back your Bible class Jonah was not a see devil

    • profile image

      Annie 3 years ago

      Jonah is not the devil in the Bible, he is a prophet that gets swallowed by a "great fish". He later gets vomitted up by the fish on the shore of the city of Ninevah. Where he is told by God to preach to the people, and tell them to stop sinning, or God will destroy them. If that part of the post so far off, I seriously doubt the credibility of any of it.

    • profile image

      Ayden 4 years ago

      Thank You for telling more about Davy Jones. You are well appreciated.Please add more about sea legends

    • profile image

      bible for dummies 4 years ago

      Jonah is not the devil in the bible

    • profile image

      mark 4 years ago

      i have the map

    • profile image

      pretty girl 5 years ago

      find the truth

    • profile image

      wera 5 years ago

      stories picture alsome but I shall find out the truth about davy jones locker ;)

    • profile image

      SpanishMonkeys 5 years ago

      Davy Jones was always my favorite in Pirates of the Caribbean, and I wanted to find out more about the actual legend. :) This was very informative. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Javaring 6 years ago

      Wow, that was awesome! Thankyou very much for educating me about davy Jones, I apreiate it. I've wanted to know this information for so long. Great job. =D

    • nu-flowerchild profile image

      nu-flowerchild 6 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana

      I found this very informative. At first I thought Davy Jones was really something made up out of the blue because the first time, and every other time, I heard a reference to him and his locker was on SpongeBob. lol. I am just finding out that this is an old legend. The things you find out everyday. ;) Thanks for sharing.


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