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Bad Luck Built into the Mary Celeste?

Updated on November 6, 2011
Amazon later Mary Celedte
Amazon later Mary Celedte | Source


The Mary Celeste departed New York on Nov. 7, 1872. On board was the Captain Benjamin Briggs an experienced skipper, his wife and daughter and a crew of seven experienced and loyal men, plus a cargo of 17,000 barrels of alcohol bound for Genoa, Italy.

On Dec. 5, 1872 the ship Del Gartia found the Mary Celeste abandoned but in seaworthy condition. Del Gartia had not experienced inclement weather nor had there been other reports of any in that area.

On fuller inspection the cargo was intact except for nine barrels having been opened and everything else on the ship was as it should be except for one mooring line dangling behind it.

Sarah Briggs wife of the Captain
Sarah Briggs wife of the Captain | Source
Did they Abandon Ship?
Did they Abandon Ship? | Source


The mystery of the Mary Celeste is still unsolved and none of the Briggs family or crew have reappeared.

Because of the bulk of the cargo being intact, experts have discounted acts of piracy or mutiny.

In trying to solve the mystery, experts have come up with one possible scenario.

They speculate that if the nine barrels had somehow spilled into the hold, the inflammable fumes would have filled the air. In this scenario, it is possible that Captain Briggs may have considered the Mary Celeste to have become little less than a floating bomb, thereby ordering all to abandon ship into the lifeboat, intending to remain tethered to the ship. If the line had somehow become unfastened the lifeboat would then have become adrift.

This though would not explain why the kitchen was a mess or why there was water between the decks.

Bad Luck

Whatever the outcome of this mystery, if it is ever discovered, there is no doubt that the Mary Celeste was unlucky.

This though is not the first time it had been unlucky.

The ship was first launched in 1860 under the name of “Amazon”. Over the next ten years it was repeatedly sold, each owner claiming that the ship was unlucky and had only bought bad luck to its owner.

In 1870 the ship underwent extensive refurbishments before being renamed “Mary Celeste”.

Is it really possible for an object to possess luck, good or bad?

If not then coincidences are perhaps more rampant than what we would normally assume.


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