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Legends revisited: the Mary Celeste

Posted on Tuesday, 3 December, 2013 | Comment icon 28 comments

What really happened to the Mary Celeste ? Image Credit: PD - 1861
The fate of the Mary Celeste remains one of the most enigmatic and pervasive mysteries of all time.
The story goes that the ship was discovered adrift in the Atlantic in 1872 with absolutely nobody on board. The captain, his family and the ship's crew of seven were all missing and no trace of them could be found despite a thorough search of the vessel.

The circumstances surrounding their disappearance became all the more mysterious when it was found that all 1,700 barrels of alcohol in the ship's cargo hold appeared to be completely untouched, as was a full six months worth of supplies and the personal belongings of the crew.

Despite some minor damage and flooding the ship seemed to be seaworthy with no indication that it had been attacked. Oddly, one of the lifeboats was missing, suggesting the crew had simply abandoned ship despite there being no apparent reason for doing so.

Over the years theories to explain the crew's disappearance have ranged from mutiny, piracy and alcohol fume poisoning to more outlandish explanations such as an attack by a sea monster or extraterrestrial visitors.

Despite numerous investigations however the mystery remains unsolved to this day.

Source: News Shopper | Comments (28)

Tags: Mary Celeste, Ghost Ship

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by Controller Junkie on 4 December, 2013, 20:39
I read an article about this a few weeks ago. Tbe article stated that about 7 or 8 weeks after the boat was found a life boat with a crew of 5 washed up ashore in i think either france or Ireland, not sure which. It was late i was tired just reading some articles. The article stated that the crew was very malnourished and had no recollection of where they had been or where they had com from or what boat they were even aboard while at sea. The townsfolk thiught it was some of the crew of the celeste, but for some reason this theory never really vained any ground. Going to try and find the artic... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by iUser on 4 December, 2013, 20:47
Pretty much everybody would have been on deck in clear weather, though, and now we know about rogue waves, which often happen under blue skies. Whoever was left below-deck abandoned ship in the life raft, which was why only one was gone. They would have been too freaked out to think of supplies, maybe even believing that the ship was sinking or under attack by a seamonster, which they still believed existed back then. Whoever left in the lifeboat died, the ship sailed on and a mystery was born.
Comment icon #21 Posted by Myles on 4 December, 2013, 21:34
I don't understand. Can you explain a couple of your comments? "Rogue waves often happen under blue skies" - Are you saying they happen more often under blue than gray skies? If the wave was that big, why would they set out in a life raft? There is not any evidence that the boat had been damaged by a rogue wave. Noone would abandon a perfectly fine boat for a life raft if the waves are big enough to take down said boat.
Comment icon #22 Posted by iUser on 4 December, 2013, 23:12
Sorry to disagree, Myles but I said "often", (which I'm willing to clarify to "more than a few times but not regularly enough to establish it as the rule rather than the exception", if it's your preference). I also beg to differ on your "no damage to the ship" statement. It's been acknowledged for decades that the ship had minor damage and flooding, as this article reiterates. Rogue waves themselves were thought to be mythical until New Year's Day 1995, when one was documented as it struck the Daupner Platform in New York, with minor damage and flooding being its only fingerprint. A rogue wave... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by iUser on 4 December, 2013, 23:18
I double-checked since I was citing facts from memory, always dangerous. The Draupner Platform was in the North Sea, not New York. Please pardon the senior moment.
Comment icon #24 Posted by Xanthurion2 on 5 December, 2013, 8:06
Reminds me of this story I read when I was little:
Comment icon #25 Posted by Calibeliever on 5 December, 2013, 19:23
Or, they stopped at an island and improperly anchored/moored the ship and it floated away on them, leaving them stranded.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Rafterman on 5 December, 2013, 20:49
Brian Dunning did a episode on the Mary Celeste a couple of years ago. Podcast and tran available at the linke: I lean towards the alcohol theory myself. The information about the 9 empty barrels and the fact that they were the wrong types of barrels for carrying liquids is pretty significant.
Comment icon #27 Posted by Sir Wearer of Hats on 7 December, 2013, 4:09
It was the Daleks who did it.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Chooky88 on 11 December, 2013, 3:20
Ok. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle really messed up with this. His account is as real as Sherlock Holmes. Fiction based on fact. Here are some facts which I forget the source, sorry. Some barrels had popped. The captain was a teetotaller. So they panicked and got into a lifeboat. There was an axe mark where the rope was cut to the life boat on the gunwale, big mistake but he had never transported alcohol before. The ship sailed faster than they could row. No mystery, just a boof head captain, of which there are dozens in history such as the captains of the Batavia, Costa Concordia, Titanic Etc Etc.

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