The Mary Celeste Departs New York Never To Be Seen Again

Today on November 7, 1872, the Mary Celeste sets sail from New York, only to be found mysteriously abandoned a month later.

The disappearance of Mary Celeste and her crew is one of the greatest mysteries in naval history. The American merchant ship departed Staten Island, New York, on a trading mission to Genoa, Italy. Captain Benjamin Briggs commanded the cargo ship which carried over 1,700 barrels of poisonous denatured alcohol. The Mary Celeste and her crew left New York harbor early in the morning, never to be seen again. Less than one month later, a Canadian brigantine named Dei Gratia found her completely abandoned off the coast of the Azores Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was discovered in a disheveled condition, but certainly still seaworthy. With the main sails still rigged, only the main lifeboat missing from the vessel.

After searching the ship, they found all of the crew’s belongings were still in their quarters, undisturbed. There was also ample supplies, provisions, and alcohol left aboard. Upon reviewing the captain’s logbook, the last entry dated back to ten days earlier. None of the crew were ever seen or heard of again. A formal investigation and salvage hearing launched to find out what had happened to the crew. Several theories centered around foul play were considered; however, none were ever definitively proven as credible evidence was never brought forward. Some of the possibilities include mutiny by the crew, piracy by the Canadian ship that found her, piracy by others, or conspiracy to carry out insurance fraud.

The inconclusive nature of the hearing sparked an intense fascination with the mysterious story. Several fantasy theories have since become a legend, such as the ship’s crew being stalked and attacked by a giant squid. Other theories suggested the ship was the victim of natural disasters, such as seaquakes or waterspouts, that forced the crew the abandon their ship. The story of Mary Celeste has been retold in many novels, movies, and documentaries throughout the years.

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