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Vanished From the Mary Celeste: The Mysterious Disappearance of the Sailing Ship's Crew and Passengers

Updated on January 22, 2018
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Cynthia - a freelance writer and amateur photographer believing in the power of words, the magic of storytelling in poetry, prose or photos.

The Mary Celeste painted by an unknown author when it was first commissioned as the Amazon.
The Mary Celeste painted by an unknown author when it was first commissioned as the Amazon. | Source

Historical Facts About the Mary Celeste and Her Vanishing Crew and Passengers

The mystery of the disappearance of the crew and passengers from sailing ship, the Mary Celeste, found drifting on December 4, 1872, has not been solved over 100 years later. The facts in history point to a crew and passengers who seemed to have vanished into thin air and left a completely deserted, yet, totally intact ship behind.

The Mary Celeste was originally commissioned in 1861 as the Nova Scotian brigantine ship, the Amazon. Early history of death marked it as a cursed ship almost from the beginning. Three captains died while on board her, beginning with the captain on the maiden voyage of the Amazon.

After a troublesome beginning that was plagued with untimely deaths and wrecks, the then salvaged sailing ship was transferred to American/British ownership in 1869 and was renamed the Mary Celeste.

The newly named ship set sail from the docks of New York on November 5, 1872 bound for Italy. On board were experienced captain, Benjamin S. Briggs, his wife, their daughter and a very capable crew of seven seamen. In the cargo hold was 1,701 barrels of alcohol for use in Italian wine.

On December 4, 1872, the brigantine ship Dei Gratia spotted the Mary Celeste oddly listing, derelict, and apparently abandoned, with cargo and all the crew's possessions mostly intact.

While many theories have been proposed, from time travel and UFO's to murder and mutiny, the mystery of the disappearance of Captain Briggs, his family and his crew has never been solved. It is no wonder that vanished crew and passengers of the Mary Celeste have haunted the imaginations of writers for decades. This poem is one more lament about their strange disappearance.


Vanished! The Crew of the Mary Celeste

Where are the men who trod these planks?

The lazy listing of the sailing ship, eerily silent and unyielding -

No sign of Captain Briggs, no crew;

Only a cargo of potent brew.

Was there some strange manner of death? The log is incomplete.

No signs of struggle, yet, 'twas mutiny, you say?

But wait, that won't keep the speculations at bay;

What don't we know, even to this day?

A woman on board; a child and preacher, too.

Did all succumb to a watery death, along with the doomed crew?

Where are the men who trod these planks

As their loved ones paced the shore?

Loving gazes, soft caresses and sweet whispers will be no more.

So sad was the fate of the men who trod these planks,

Bound for Italy's sunny banks.

The woman, the child and the preacher, too,

All sailed on the ill fated Mary Celeste laden with that potent brew;

That cargo made it, but, alas, where were her passengers; where was her crew?

Copyright December 1, 2013 Cynthia Turner

The Fate of the Mary Celeste


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