As it hailed for Genoa, Italy from New York City, on November 7, 1872, the brigantine Mary Celeste set sail only to never be seen again. On board this magnificent ship were the seasoned captain, Benjamin S. Briggs, his wife, and their 2-year-old daughter, along with eight crewmembers. The ship was later found abandoned with no caption and no crew less than a month later by a passing British ship. The Mary Celeste did not seem to be damaged and only was missing one lifeboat. So, what actually happened to the people on board, why did they leave, and how did the ship stay in perfect condition although it was abandoned?
Since 1872, rumors have soared around the world about what happened to the Mary Celeste. From mystical to scientific, nothing slowed people from talking about one of the most puzzling disappearances of all time.
Folks loved to romanticize the idea of the Mary Celeste being haunted as it once transported slaves from across the world to the Americas. One possibility of the ship’s demise is that the ghosts of former slaves that were on board took their revenge on the entire crew and threw them overboard and guided the ship to shore.
Others love to speculate that the British ship that found it is not being entirely truthful with their discovery. They like to point fingers and claim that they may have found them to be an enemy ship and took it over as they were in the middle of a cold war, themselves. It is believed they may have accidentally mistook them for an enemy ship and threw them overboard.
Scientists look at the fact that they sailed during the time hurricanes were in the area. So maybe it was a possibility that the crew was flung overboard by enormous waves rocking the ship. Natural phenomena, called a waterspout, could also be a weather disaster that brought the ship’s fate.
Frankly, all of these are equally likely. But the one thing none of them can explain is the missing lifeboat. Where did it go and who took it?
Historians lean towards the idea that the boat was pirated. Pirates likely boarded the boat, stole the belongings, and either kidnapped everyone or threw them overboard while they used the lifeboat to sail them back to their original ship. With no survivors or bodies to be investigated, who is to say?
We may never know what truly happened to the people who boarded the Mary Celeste or even when they allegedly died. Since the ship was in seaworthy condition when found, they still used it for sails across the Atlantic. With each new owner who sold her to the next seaman, she continued to lose them money on each venture she took. Although there was never another crew disappearance again with her, there was always something so eerie and disastrous that the Mary Celeste brought to each owner. Haunted or just coincidental?