Between Johnny Depp and numerous sports logos, pirates have become cartoon characters in modern culture. It's easy to forget that the real thing did exist, and that in many cases they were much more badass than the Hollywood version.
Don't take the word "badass" the wrong way; these men were unspeakably violent, often mass murderers and slaveholders. They were pirates, real pirates, not goofy caricatures. Here's proof.
7Francois l'Olonnais Eats a Fucking Heart, Holy Shit
French pirate Francois l'Olonnais really, really hated Spain. Early in his pirating days, l'Olonnais was almost killed by Spanish raiders, and instead of reconsidering his career choice and becoming a dairy farmer or something, he decided he would spend the rest of his life on an anti-Spain rampage. He let them know exactly what he intended by beheading everyone in the crew of a Spanish ship except one man, sending him back with this message: "I shall never henceforward give quarter to any Spaniard whatsoever."
"Yeah, we sorta got that from the beheadings, thanks."
That was just the beginning, though. Considering what happened next, it looks like those beheaded Spaniards were actually the lucky ones.
Having made a reputation for himself, l'Olonnais raised a pirate fleet of eight ships and hundreds of men and proceeded to terrorize the coast of South America, sacking Spanish-ruled cities, capturing treasure ships returning to Spain and generally being a huge pain in the ass to anything Spain-related. Presumably he also killed his fair share of Portuguese sailors during this time, because really who can tell the difference?
Assuming they're all Spanish because they're having siestas is an odd point to make at 2 a.m.
However, the situation was reversed when l'Olonnais himself, returning from pillaging the coast of Venezuela, was ambushed by a much larger force of Spanish soldiers. With his pirate buddies being blown to pieces left and right, l'Olonnais narrowly managed to escape and somehow captured a few Spanish hostages along the way. The problem now was that l'Olonnais and the other survivors needed to know which way to escape so they didn't run into more Spanish ships, which they weren't in any condition to fight. What to do?
Easy: l'Olonnais drew his sword, sliced into one Spanish prisoner's chest, pulled out the heart with his hands and began to "bite and gnaw it with his teeth, like a ravenous wolf, saying to the rest: 'I will serve you all alike, if you show me not another way.'"
"Also, morale is down for some reason. What gives?"
While we wouldn't recommend you use this technique the next time you need directions to the nearest Taco Bell, in this case it apparently worked like a charm. The pirates escaped safely. So if you were wondering what happened to all the heads of the decapitated Spaniards we mentioned earlier ... well, let's just say the whole crew dined like kings for like a week.