New York

The departure of the ill-fated Mary Celeste

November 7, 1872
New York, New York
The Mary Celeste departs; the eleven people onboard are never seen again

The Mary Celeste was found adrift less than a month after her departure on December 5, between the Azores and the coast of Portugal. A ship spotting her saw no sign of a captain or crew and investigated to see if the they needed assistance.

The ship’s single lifeboat was missing and the hold had 3.5 feet (1.1 meters) of water, but otherwise the ship was in fair condition. She was also stocked with plenty of provisions for the Captain, his wife, their 2-year-old daughter, and their eight crew members, and the entire cargo of industrial alcohol was untouched. The ship’s papers and captain’s navigation equipment were missing, however, and the glass housing the ship’s compass was broken, but the occupants’ possessions were still in their quarters in relatively good order. The last log, entered November 25, did not offer any possible reasons for the ship to be abandoned. None of the eleven on board the Mary Celeste were seen again.

Theories about the fate of the passengers and crew are plentiful and include pirates, a mutiny, or a killer sea monster.

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