Davy Jones


Dead men tell no tales.

Duh. You’re not doing much of anything six feet under. Or even six leagues under if you were unfortunate enough to meet your end at sea. Then it be down to the depths with ye, and may yer blackened soul never know a day’s rest in Davy Jones’ locker.

Davy Jones, or the sailor’s devil, traces its unclear origins back to a 19th century dictionary where he’s said to be a ghost of Jonah. Yes, Jonah from the Bible. A more colorful version claims he’s an incompetent sailor or pub owner who kidnapped sailors, threw them into his ale locker, and sold them off to the highest bidder. Of course the evil version says he’s the fiend that presides over all the evil spirits of the deep, and is often seen in various shapes, perching among the rigging on the eve of hurricanes, shipwrecks, and other disasters warning the devoted wretch of death and woe. But why a locker? Because a locker is a seaman’s term for a storage place of personal belongings. Davy Jones’ hope chest doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

Most superstitious seaman won’t discuss Davy Jones out of fear, but there are a few traditions that leave them smiling such as a pollywog (never crossed) being initiated into the shellbacks (veteran crossers) while they cross the equator. The eldest shellback is called King Neptune and his 1st lieutenant is Davy Jones. Been too long at sea and grown men start playing dress up.

Thanks to Johnny Depp this phrase has swayed the world into thinking it means purgatory, Jack_Pearl_Lockerwith Davy Jones ferrying lost souls of the deep blue to the afterlife. I kinda prefer this explanation as it has to do with Captain Jack Sparrow himself. Savvy?


  1. Tom Threadgill

    Hi J’nell! Glad to see you posting again. I’d never heard that there was (maybe) a link between Jonah and Davy Jones. Interesting. I did hear they’re making another “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. Talk about beating a dead horse!

    1. J'nell (Post author)

      Hi Tom! Long time no see. I know it’s been forever, but I sure am glad you stopped you by. I think Jonah would make the perfect ferrier of souls who have perished at sea. Invent the first whale ride to heaven. What a whale of a story that would be!


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