The Mary Celeste

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

Cadynce Harmon, Writer

The Mary Celeste: a ship that set off from Nova Scotia on November 7, 1872, but unfortunately never arrived at its destination. The vessel was discovered by Captain David Morehouse, who had left Nova Scotia 8 days after the abandoned ship and was curious as to why it hadn’t made it to Genoa, Italy. When he sent a boarding party to the ship, they found it empty. The belongings of the crewmates remained in their quarters, untouched. The ship’s only lifeboat was nowhere to be found, and over three feet of water covered the floor of the ship. Six months’ worth of food and water sat untouched but again, there was not a soul to be found. What happened to the crewmates, and why didn’t they make it to their destination? What kind of mystery lies within The Mary Celeste?

The Mary Celeste appeared not to have had the best reputation. A “series of mishaps” tended to happen in situations regarding both the ship and its passengers. Its first captain grew fatally sick and soon after his diagnosis, he passed away. Another situation that occurred before its disappearance was that it crashed into another ship in the English Channel, so by November of 1872 this ship was known to be found in “coincidental” situations. However, are they coincidences? The “ghost ship” had already  been in so many mishaps, that it may not have been surprising to the locals that 10 of its passengers mysteriously vanished without a trace of an explanation. 

These passengers included Benjamin Spooner Briggs, the captain of The Mary Celeste, his wife, and their two daughters. In mourning, a memorial was held for the family at the Evergreen Cemetery in Marion, Massachusetts. An inscription was made to sustain their memory, and it reads Capt. Benj S. Briggs was born April 24th, 1835, Sarah E Cobb his wife born April 20th, 1841, Sophia M, their daughter, then 10 mos, born Oct 31, 1870. Lost in Brig Mary Celeste Nov 1872.” 

Although this tragedy has been a mystery for over a century, many people think that they’ve cracked the case. Due to new 21st century technology, an experiment was performed to figure out what really happened on that fateful day. It appeared to the experimenters that it must have been an explosion that was the cause of the passengers’ demise. Records proved that over 300 gallons of alcohol had been leaked onto the ship. The scientist used butane gas to simulate the explosion that might have sent the voyagers off of the ship. The butane gas mixed with the insane amount of alcohol could definitely have set off an explosion, so just like that, the mystery of The Mary Celeste was solved. 

Although we now know what happened to turn The Mary Celeste into a “ghost ship,” there are still many more questions arising. Was there any damage to the ship due to the explosion? If there was, you might think that Captain David Morehouse would have seen it and recognized what had happened. Was the ship actually an explosion waiting to happen, or was there another series of events that are still unknown to this day?