Monday, June 26, 2017

The Case of the Abandoned Ghost Ship

The sea is a cruel mistress. She giveth and she taketh away. Such is the case of the "Dei Gratia." 

It was early December 1872 when Captain David Morehouse of Nova Scotia was commandeering his ship, "Dei Gratia," through the cool breeze toward Portugal when he made out the shape of another brigantine in the horizon. She was cutting back and forth oddly and the set of her sails were all wrong.

After signalling and seeing no one on the deck, the captain sent two of his men to investigate. 


One month earlier in 1872, an American merchant ship set out on a routine course from New York to Genoa. The crew was experienced and nothing about the journey led one to believe it would go wrong.

The Mary Celeste was a masted brigantine led by one Captain Benjamin Briggs. The Captain was a very god-fearing man who picked his crew with care, but he could never know as they took the load of denatured alcohol to Genoa, what would be their fate.

He was cautious leaving on the ship, waiting in the harbor for it to look ideal. Hurricane season was over in November and it looked like a crisp sail. When they did take off for open sea, the captain was in his element and viewing a horizon that offered promise of a golden future. 

What he couldn't know was that, for him and his crew, the future was only a few short weeks.


When Morehouse sent his men on board the stray ship, they found it empty. The sails were poorly fit and in poor condition. The single lifeboat was missing. The compass glass was broken, the ship had a few feet of water below, but not unheard of on rough seas. 

The men ventured into the captain's cabin and found his journal. The last entry was nine days previously. Most things were wet, but not out of place. Some things were missing, however, the ship's papers and some navigational instruments. There was no food prepared, everything was stored away. The men shook their heads; there were no signs of struggle or emergency.

When Captain Morehouse heard the news, he told some of the men to captain the ship and bring her in so they could get salvage rights. Still, the captain had to ponder, where the hell did the crew go, and why? 


If a ship could be cursed, the Mary Celeste was. She ran another decade and a half, but lost money and was always in ill repair. 

Finally, she broke apart on a reef. She went by way of Davy Jones's Locker. But, did she meet the previous crew in the dark depths of the ocean floor? 

The crew by some is said to be a cursed group in a dinghy forever traveling the seas in search of a home, but never finding land for all eternity. 

And still the sea holds the mystery of what happened to the Captain and his crew that autumn season in 1872, out upon the ocean blue....

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