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Ivan Seeking Jul22-05 04:08 PM

The Mary Celeste Mystery

...On the Afternoon of December 5th 1872 half way between the Azores and the Portuguese coast the 'Dei Gratia' came up with a Brigantine which Captain Morehouse recognised as the 'Mary Celeste'. He knew Captain Briggs and had dined with him before he sailed. He was puzzled to see the ship yawing, coming into the wind and then falling off, she was out of control. He knew Captain Briggs to be a good seaman.

There were no distress signals, and after watching for two hours and hailing her and getting no reply they set off in a small boat and duly boarded her.

The vessel was found to be in good seaworthy condition and the general impression was that the crew had left in a great hurry. They had left behind their oil skin boots and pipes. Captain Morehouse's explanation was that they had left in panic thinking the vessel to be sinking. The chronometer and sextant were not found on board. The last entry on the ships slate showed she had made the island of St Mary in the Azores on November 25th. [continued]

Frame Dragger Apr7-10 08:59 PM

Re: The Mary Celeste Mystery

Quote by Ivan Seeking (Post 687107)

Now that is truly fascinating. Barring error in testimony (seems unlikely), a rogue wave or a percieved thread (St. Elmo's Fire, etc...) could have frightened them.

I think a rogue wave makes the most sense. Nothing like a giant mass of water sweeping over your deck... The cargo would be secured, but not the people. Being made of sturdy materials (those ships were TOUGH, given proper maintenance) it could easily survive the impact. I can think of many effects that would seem to be an alcohol flame and cause people to literally dive overboard, especially at night.

"We do know that when the cargo was finally unloaded in Genoa nine barrels were found to be empty..."

They may have smelled alcohol fumes, and panicked... or they may have realized volatiles were leaking (possibly with small eruptions of flame from the fumes)... add enough static electricity or lightning, and they would be insane NOT to be afraid.

I also have to consider that alcohol's fumes burn, and a barrell or two very well could have emitted flames in a manner that could have seemed paranormal. Flickering bluish flames that don't seem to consume anything would terrify a seaman of that time, especially one who abstained from alcohol.

Finally, they may have recognized the leaking barrels, panicked with the coming storm, and abandoned ship in the ship's boat. That they took the sextant with them is almost the equivalent of running out of a burning building with your cell-phone. Abandoning ship sans sextant would have been as good as dying on the ship.

Theft is obviously ruled out, as only 9 barrells were empty, and no longshoreman would have mistaken a full barrell for a an empty one. That makes the assumption of a leak more viable. Another factor could be... the leaks took place over a long period, causing rising anxiety in the captain and crew. There is the possilbity as well, that such potent Alcohol fumes, if inhaled, could impair judgement as well.

EDIT: Oh hell... I just necro-ed this thread. I'm sorry, I linked to it through a sticky... feel free to delete this of course. Again, my apologies.

Ivan Seeking Apr7-10 09:19 PM

Re: The Mary Celeste Mystery
As long as the material is still appropriate, necroposts are fine [in S&D]. :smile:

Frame Dragger Apr7-10 09:22 PM

Re: The Mary Celeste Mystery

Quote by Ivan Seeking (Post 2661436)
As long as the material is still appropriate, necroposts are fine [in S&D]. :smile:

Ah! Thank you Ivan Seeking. :)

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