This Day In History: First Reports Of the Mystery Of The Mary Celeste (1874)

This Day In History: First Reports Of the Mystery Of The Mary Celeste (1874)

Ed - December 6, 2016

On this day, the world was to learn of a great mystery. Indeed, it was to be and remains one of the great maritime mysteries of all time. On this date in history, the world first heard reports of the Mary Celeste. On December, the fourth in 1874 the Dei Gratia, an English ship under Captain Morehouse sights a ship drifting in the open ocean. The Mary Celeste was an American ship and it was sailing at full sail in the mid-Atlantic. The ship was not far from the Azores Islands and was sailing in an erratic way. The captain of the Dei Gratia ordered the Mary Celeste to be boarded, he wanted to determine why it was sailing in a dangerous manner. The sailors who boarded the ship found that there was nothing wrong with the ship and it was still perfectly seaworthy.

However, they found no one on board- not a soul. They searched the entire ship and they did not see any of the crew. They did find some things missing – these included the lifeboat and a compass. This would seem to indicate that the crew had abandoned ship but yet the weather had been calm and the ship was not damaged. The days of pirates were long over. The crew of the Dei Gratia was mystified. The Dei Gratia helped the Mary Celeste back to port in the Azores. New of the ship with no crew was an instant media sensation and the world was bewildered by the ship with no crew.

This Day In History: First Reports Of the Mystery Of The Mary Celeste (1874)
Mary Celeste engraving – the ship was originally known as the Amazon

On November 7, 1874, the Mary Celeste sailed out of NY harbor. It was bound for Genoa in Italy and it was commanded by Captain Benjamin Brigg. He brought his wife and young child, a two-year-old girl on the voyage. The ship had a crew of eight and it was carrying a cargo of barrels of alcohol. It was later determined that the ship had been drifting for over a week, yet no one was guiding the ship. The Captain his family and the crew of the Mary Celeste had just disappeared. Nothing has been found of them. Why they abandoned the ship has never been determined.

Many theories have been offered. They include the idea that UFOs seized the crew and the Briggs family. Some have speculated that one of the crew killed the other crewmembers and the family. Then there is the explanation that the captain was worried that the alcohol on board was going to explode and he ordered the abandonment of the ship. The crew and the Brig’s family boarded the lifeboat and this is why the compass was missing as they needed it to navigate the open seas. The lifeboat with the entire crew disappeared in the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean. No one will ever know for certain why the crew and passenger simply disappeared from the Mary Celeste.

Continue Reading:

Yesterday UK TV – 5 Theories On What Happened To The Mary Celeste

Ranker – What Really Happened To The ‘Mary Celeste’ And Her Vanished Crew?

Smithsonian Magazine – Abandoned Ship: The Mary Celeste

History Collection – Maritime Myths: 6 Fallacies from the Age of Discovery

History Collection – 18 Maritime Disasters other Than the Titanic