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Mary Celeste - Mysteries of The World


Unexplained Mysteries of The World ::-- [1.] Crop Circles [2.] The Pyramids of Egypt [3.] Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch) [4.] UFOs and Area 51 [5.] The Belmez Faces [6.] The Out of Body Experience [7.] The Mayan 2012 Prophecy [8.] Stonehenge [9.] Loch Ness Monster [10.] Bermuda Triangle [11.] Piri Reis map [12.] Shroud of Turin [13.] Mary Celeste [14.]The taos hum [15.] Black Dahlia [16.] Comte de Saint Germain [ 17.] Voynich Manuscript [18.] Jack the Ripper [19.] The Zodiac Killer [20.] The Babushka Lady.


Mary Celeste

Mary Celeste was launched in Nova Scotia in 1860. Her original name was “Amazon”. She was 103 ft overall displacing 280 tons and listed as a half-brig. Over the next 10 years she was involved in several accidents at sea and passed through a number of owners. Eventually she turned up at a New York salvage auction where she was purchased for $3,000. After extensive repairs she was put under American registry and renamed “Mary Celeste”.

The new captain of Mary Celeste was Benjamin Briggs, 37, a master with three previous commands. On November 7, 1872 the ship departed New York with Captain Briggs, his wife, young daughter and a crew of eight. The ship was loaded with 1700 barrels of raw American alcohol bound for Genoa, Italy. The captain, his family and crew were never seen again. The ship was found floating in the middle of the Strait of Gibraltar. There were no signs of struggle on board and all documents except the captain’s log were missing.

In early 1873, it was reported that two lifeboats grounded in Spain, one with a body and an American flag, the other containing five bodies. It has been alleged that these could have been the remains of the crew of the Mary Celeste. However, the bodies were apparently never identified.



The Mary Celeste (or Marie Céleste as it is fictionally referred to by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and others after him) was an American brigantine merchant ship famous for having been discovered on 4 December 1872, in the Atlantic Ocean unmanned and apparently abandoned (one lifeboat was missing), despite the fact that the weather was fine and her crew had been experienced and able seamen. The Mary Celeste was in seaworthy condition and still under sail heading toward the Strait of Gibraltar. She had been at sea for a month and had over six months' worth of food and water on board. Her cargo was virtually untouched and the personal belongings of passengers and crew were still in place, including valuables. The crew was never seen or heard from again. Their disappearance is often cited as the greatest maritime mystery of all time.
The fate of her crew has been the subject of much speculation. Theories range from alcoholic fumes, to underwater earthquakes, to waterspouts, to paranormal explanations involving extraterrestrial life, unidentified flying objects (UFOs), sea monsters, and the phenomenon of the Bermuda Triangle, although the Mary Celeste is not known to have sailed through the Bermuda Triangle area. The Mary Celeste is often described as the archetypal ghost ship, since she was discovered derelict without any apparent explanation, and her name has become a synonym for similar occurrences.



Discovery

Sporadic bad weather had been reported in the Atlantic throughout October, although the Dei Gratia encountered none and her journey across the ocean in November was uneventful. Just short of a month after leaving port, on December 4, 1872 (some reports give December 5, owing to a lack of standard time zones in the 19th century), at approximately 13:00, the helmsman of the Dei Gratia, John Johnson, sighted a ship about five miles (8 km) off their port bow through his spyglass. The position of the Dei Gratia was approximately 38°20′N 17°15′WCoordinates: 38°20′N 17°15′W, some 600 miles west of Portugal. Johnson's keen, experienced eyes detected almost at once that there was something strangely wrong with the other vessel. She was yawing slightly, and her sails did not look right, being slightly torn. Johnson alerted his second officer, John Wright, who looked and had the same feelings about her. They informed the captain. As they moved closer, they saw the ship was the Mary Celeste. Captain Morehouse wondered why the Mary Celeste had not already reached Italy, as she had a head start on his own ship. According to the account given by the crew of the Dei Gratia, they approached to 400 yards from the Mary Celeste and cautiously observed her for two hours. She was under sail, yet sailing erratically on a starboard tack, and slowly heading toward the Strait of Gibraltar. They concluded she was drifting after seeing no one at the helm or even on deck, though the ship was flying no distress signal.
Oliver Deveau, chief mate of the Dei Gratia, boarded the Mary Celeste. He reported he did not find anyone on board, and said that "the whole ship was a thoroughly wet mess". There was only one operational pump, two apparently having been disassembled, with a lot of water between decks and three and a half feet (1.1 m) of water in the hold. However, the ship was not sinking and was still seaworthy.
All of the ship's papers were missing, except for the captain's logbook. The forehatch and the lazarette were both open, although the main hatch was sealed. The ship's clock was not functioning, and the compass was destroyed; the sextant and marine chronometer were missing. The only lifeboat on the Mary Celeste, a yawl located above the main hatch, was also missing. The peak halyard, used to hoist the main sail, had disappeared. A rope, perhaps the peak halyard, was found tied to the ship very strongly and the other end, very frayed, was trailing in the water behind the ship.
Popular stories of untouched breakfasts with still-warm cups of tea on the cabin table are untrue and most likely originated with fictionalized accounts of the incident, especially one by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. At the inquiry, Oliver Deveau stated that he saw no preparations for eating and there was nothing to eat or drink in the cabin.
Deveau returned to his ship and reported to the captain. Two men, Charles Augustus Anderson and Charles Lund, then boarded the Mary Celeste.
The cargo of 1,701 barrels of alcohol Deveau reported was in good order. However, when it was eventually unloaded in Genoa, nine barrels were found to be empty.
A six-month supply of uncontaminated food and fresh water was still aboard, and the crew's personal possessions and artifacts were left untouched, making a piracy raid seem extremely unlikely. It appeared the vessel had been abandoned in a hurry. There was no sign of a struggle, or any sort of violence.


mary celeste

Speculation and theories

Since her discovery in 1872, many theories have been proposed to explain the mystery of the Mary Celeste.

Piracy

One reporter suggested that the Mary Celeste may have fallen victim to an act of piracy, the crew murdered and thrown overboard, as Ottoman pirates had been known to operate in the area. However, there were no signs of violence on the Mary Celeste. Only common navigation equipment was missing; it is unlikely that pirates would fail to remove the cargo or the crew's valuables after killing the crew.

Seaquake

An explanation offered by a modern sailor, Captain David Williams, who encountered earthquakes at sea, is that a seaquake erupted below the ship and jarred open nine barrels of alcohol (~450 gallons) which leaked into the bilge. The earthquake also dislodged the fuel for the hot stove on deck and caused embers from the fire to drift into the rigging. Williams suggests this caused the crew to panic and abandon the ship and the Mary Celeste sailed on without the crew. The crew then decided to try to catch her in the small sailing dinghy, but did not succeed and died at sea. Seismic activity is indeed common in the area and this theory has been cited frequently. Notwithstanding, the log made no mention of underwater rumblings, nor did the crew of the Dei Gratia report any tremors or aftershocks, nor did any other vessel in the area. Most importantly, the inhabitants of the nearby Portuguese islands of the Azores did not report any rumblings.

Tsunami

Another theory is that an underwater earthquake near the Canary Islands or the Azores caused a tsunami. A tsunami in deep water is a fast-moving swell at the ocean surface and can pass during any time and in any weather. If such a swell passed Mary Celeste from abeam, the unprecedented steep heeling and righting of the ship could dislodge gear and toss people about; either event could severely injure those aboard. This conjecture suggests how Mary Celeste took on sea water and was found with the apparent bloodstain and with damage from an impact by some heavy or fast-moving hard object. Sprung staves from sudden shifting of cargo could explain the drained casks. The stunned survivors could not know whether the inexplicable event would equally suddenly repeat and capsize the ship. Their apparently abrupt and unanimous abandonment of Mary Celeste in mid-ocean suggests that at least the captain, possibly badly injured, considered that staying aboard was even more immediately dangerous for all; or that the captain was incapacitated by injury and that the other survivors so decided.

Waterspout

Lower air pressure resulting from a waterspout might have thrown off measurements of how deep the water level was in the ship's hull. A dipstick-like device was used to monitor water levels in the bilge. Low pressure could pull water up the tube around the stick, creating the impression of a sinking vessel. This explanation was first put forth by Dr. James H. Kimble and author Gershom Bradford.

Mutiny

Another theory has suggested there was a mutiny among the crew who murdered a tyrannical Briggs and his family, then escaped in the lifeboat. This theory is strongly discredited by the fact Briggs had no "tyrannical" history to suggest he was the type of captain to provoke his crew to mutiny. By all accounts, he was well respected, fair, and able. First Mate Albert Richardson and the rest of the crew also had excellent reputations and were experienced, loyal seamen.

 

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