In 1872, the merchant ship, “Mary Celeste” sailed left in November from New York to Genoa. On December 5th, halfway between the Azores and Portugal, the captain of the ship “Dei Gratia” sighted the Mary Celeste ship that he recognized. The only problem was it was riding out of control which was not at all something the ship’s pious and stern captain, Benjamin Spooner Briggs, would have ever allowed. The captain hailed the other ship, but for hours he got no response.
He then set off on a small boat with some men to board her.
The men found the ship to be seaworthy and having the appearance of being left in a rush. The investigating captain’s impression by the possessions left behind is that the crew left in a rush for fear the ship was sinking. The ship had contained 7 crewmen, the captain, the captain’s wife, and his small child.
Over the years, this story has become filled with tales of steaming cups of coffee and food on the stove and such being found. This was not the actual case. Here is what the captain of the “Dei Gratia” found:
One pump out of order
Two hatches off and a fair amount of water between the decks
The clock and compass were destroyed
No alcohol was found on board
The chronometer and sextant were not found on board
The ship’s register and captain’s log were both gone
The stove was off kilter and dishes strewn and lots of water in the galley
There were no boats on board
We’re left with many theories from a small explosion caused by munitions onboard to a rogue wave, and the fact that there had been strong storms for days that may have overwhelmed the ship’s capabilities. With the crew and captain and his family exiting on the small boats, they would have become victims of the rough sea.
Many legends have continued about the ship being a victim of some supernatural occurrence of the Bermuda Triangle variety. Even though these were dismissed, the fact remains; for a time the Mary Celeste was a ghost ship in the true sense, wandering the sea without a crew.