The Mystery of the Mary Celeste

The story of the Mary Celeste is an odd one—an empty ship, a missing crew, and no explanation for either? Almost 150 years have passed since the strange day of the ship’s discovery, and while many theories have been presented to explain what happened, the mystery remains unsolved to this day.

The Mystery of the The Mystery of the “Mary Celeste” · Sun, Feb 7, 1943 – Page 31 · Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona) · Newspapers.com

Lost Crew of the Mary CelesteLost Crew of the Mary Celeste · Sun, Mar 9, 1902 – Page 40 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) · Newspapers.com

The voyage of Mary Celeste began in typical fashion. She set sail from New York Harbor on November 5, 1872, headed to Genoa with a hefty cargo of industrial alcohol. It was the last time anyone saw the captain or crew who left with the ship.

A month later Mary Celeste was spotted by the crew of Captain David Morehouse, whose ship, Dei Gratia, was also on its way to the Mediterranean. He noticed the erratic movements of Mary Celeste and sent his first mate, Oliver Deveau, to investigate.

No answer, not a soul on boardNo answer, not a soul on board · Sun, Feb 7, 1943 – Page 31 · Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona) · Newspapers.com

Deveau (referred to as Devon in the clippings below) was convinced he’d find signs of mutiny, sickness, or some other calamity that would explain why not a single person remained on board the almost perfectly seaworthy ship. Instead…

No signs found of sickness or mutinyNo signs found of sickness or mutiny · Sun, Mar 9, 1902 – Page 40 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) · Newspapers.com

Numerous theories have been put forth over the years to explain the crew’s abandonment of Mary Celeste. They cover the gamut of possibilities, from mutiny to murder to fear of shipwreck to forgetfulness. One popular theory was that the crew might have feared an explosion of the alcohol cargo.

The explosion theoryThe explosion theory · Sun, Mar 9, 1902 – Page 40 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) · Newspapers.com

But the ship never exploded, and regardless of their reason for going, the crew of Mary Celeste was never seen again. Captain Morehouse and his crew split the salvage money (though not without suspicion), the world moved on with no satisfactory conclusion, and only Mary Celeste ever truly knew the mysterious motivations of her vanishing crew.

This famous mystery is all over the pages of Newspapers.com. Try a search for more about David Morehouse, Captain Benjamin Briggs (of Mary Celeste) and his family who traveled with him, Briggs’ young son Arthur who remained behind, or the Mary Celeste herself.

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One thought on “The Mystery of the Mary Celeste

  1. Newspapers.com is a great resource for information but even newspapers get their facts wrong sometimes. It appears that fake news is all the trend and anything that is racy or illicit get’s top billing in a Google listing. How does an inaccurate story surface all of a sudden after 35 years? Enemies on the Internet. People you never met and don’t know you at all but post a negative newspaper article about politics, crime and sex then you know everyone will click on the link right? If you post negative posts then off set with the positive posts too.

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