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What Happened To The Crew Of The Mary Celeste?

Updated on March 11, 2011
The Mary Celeste
The Mary Celeste | Source

In 1860 the 103 foot brigantine merchant ship, Amazon,waslaunched from Nova Scotia. For ten years afterward she was involved in several unusual accidents. Because of these incidents, she was labeled as cursed, and after several owners gave up on her, she turned up at a New York salvage auction.

The ship was eventually purchased for a mere $3,000. The new owner made extensive repairs and the ship was put under American registry as the Mary Celeste.

On November 7, 1872 under her new captain, Benjamin Briggs, the infamous ship departed from New York harbor. Aboard were the captain, his wife and young daughter along with eight crew members. Also aboard were 1700 barrels of raw American alcohol. The ship was bound for Genoa, Italy. After the Mary Celeste left the harbor, those aboard were never seen again.

The ship was found in December 1872 with no one aboard. The Mary Celeste was fully seaworthy when it was found and was still under sail heading towards the Strait of Gibraltar.

There was also six month’s worth of food and water still on board. Her cargo was untouched, and all of the personal belongings of the crew and passengers were still in place, including their valuables.

In early 1873 two lifeboats were found grounded in Spain. One of the boats had an American flag in it, and the other held five decomposed bodies. It has never been proven that these unfortunate souls were from the Mary Celeste, as by the time the lifeboats were found, the bodies were unidentifiable.

Because the Mary Celeste was found derelict without any explanation as to what happened to the captain, his family, and the crew, her name as become synonymous with a ghost ship. No one has ever been able to determine what happened to the people who were aboard the ship.

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