According to National Georgraphic, explorers in Oregon have discovered a real “pirate” ship that was the inspiration for the movie “Goonies.”
The legend of the Santo Cristo de Burgos was reported as Steven Spielberg’s idea for the timeless 1985 blockbuster movie “Goonies.”
The movie was about a close group of misfit kids looking for lost treasure because their family was about to lose their home to foreclosure.
According to local legends passed down by Native American tribes, a large ship vanished off the Oregon coast in 1693, carrying porcelain, beeswax, and Chinese silk.
Local fisherman Craig Andes found the timber remnants of the ship, and lab tests confirmed it was not driftwood but tropical Anacardiaceae hardwood used to build large ships in the late 1600s.
Robert Kentta, cultural resources director for the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz and a member of the Siletz Tribal Council, said the discovery “confirms that our ancestral people knew what they were talking about.”
The effort to recover the rest of the remnants was tricky because of the powerful tides in the area. A team of archeologists, law enforcement, and researchers discovered bits of Chinese porcelain from the Kangxi period (1661-1772) and a block of beeswax that featured a distinctive mark from the owner.
From National Geographic:
The Santo Cristo is better known along the Oregon coast as the legendary “Beeswax Wreck”—a moniker derived from distinctive blocks of beeswax that washed ashore for centuries and were traded by local Native American tribes and later Anglo-European settlers. Because honeybees are not native to the Americas—they were imported from Europe in the 17th century—Asian beeswax was a major import for Spain’s colonies, where beeswax candles were required for Catholic services.
There were other clues that a shipwreck lay hidden somewhere offshore, from small bits of blue-and-white porcelain to large pieces of wood tossed up on the rocks or buried in the shifting sand. A section of the upper deck of a wooden ship was visible at the mouth of a river near Manzanita until about the 1920s. And oral histories from the area’s Indigenous tribes tell of a foreign ship that wrecked long ago, with a crew that came ashore and met varying fates.
The ship’s timbers are being researched at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon. You can read more about the details surrounding this great discovery here.