Appearing to Jack Knight at first as a combination of odors and then Visions, the Black Pirate finally manifested himself to aid Jack as he persued mad bomber Dr. Pip. He told Jack his story, hoping that the hero of Opal might be able to aid him.
In life, the Black Pirate was Jon Valor, and while he took the dress and manner of a pirate, he was truly a privateer; a pirate who worked for a crown, to secure wealth by raiding the ships of warring countries. The Black Pirate sailed for England and looted Spanish ships for the Crown.
In time Valor retired, wed and had a son named Justin. He tried to live in peace, but was eventually called back into the service of the crown to fight some other pirates. Valor fought the pirate's leader, only to find that it was his own son Justin. Justin had become a puritan and had turned to piracy to fund the passage of more of his faith to the Americas. Valor let his son be, and retired again.
A year later, he recieved word from his son that he needed help. Jon Valor set sail immediately for the Port of Souls, the settlement his son was at. He was met by a man named Cob Dunning, who said he was a friend of his son's and sent him to a tavern to wait for him. At the tavern, Valor was sent into a room where he found his son stabbed dead. As if planned, the town magistrates entered, saw Valor next to the body and quickly had him arrested for murder.
Valor was hung, but before he died he swore to walk the Port of Souls as a ghost until his name was cleared and he cursed the town so that all who died in it, guilty and innocent, would be unable to go onto whatever awaited them in the afterlife until he did. The Port of Souls became Opal City, and the Pirate still roams by night to this day.