The Mary Celeste
The Archetypal Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship: Mary Celeste
The Archetypal Ghost Ship

The Mary Celeste (often incorrectly referred to as Marie Celeste) was a brigantine merchant ship notably discovered in December 1872 in the Atlantic Ocean unmanned and apparently abandoned, despite the fact that the weather was fine and her crew had been experienced and able seamen.

The Mary Celeste was in seaworthy condition and still under sail heading towards the Strait of Gibraltar.

She had been at sea for a month and had over six months' worth of food and water on board.

Her cargo was virtually untouched and the personal belongings of passengers and crew were still in place, including valuables.

The crew was never seen or heard from again. Their disappearance is often cited as the greatest maritime mystery of all time.

The fate of her crew has been the subject of much speculation.

Theories range from alcoholic fumes, to underwater earthquakes, to waterspouts, to paranormal explanations involving hypothetical extraterrestrial, unidentified flying objects, sea monsters, and the hypothetical phenomena of the Bermuda Triangle. 

The Mary Celeste is often described as the archetypal ghost ship, since she was discovered derelict without any apparent explanation, and her name has become a synonym in British culture for similar occurrences.

Sporadic bad weather had been reported in the Atlantic throughout October, although the Dei Gratia encountered none and her journey across the ocean in November was uneventful.

Just short of a month later after leaving port, on December 4th, 1872 (some reports give December 5th, owing to a lack of standard time zones in the 19th century), at approximately 13:00, the helmsman of the Dei Gratia, John Johnson, sighted a ship about five miles off their port bow through his spyglass.

The position of the Dei Gratia was approximately some 600 miles west of Portugal.

Johnson's keen, experienced eyes detected almost at once that there was something strangely wrong with the other vessel.

She was yawing slightly, and her sails did not look right, being slightly torn.

Johnson alerted his second officer, John Wright, who looked and had the same feelings about her. They informed the captain.

As they moved closer, they saw the ship was the Mary Celeste. Captain Morehouse wondered why the Mary Celeste had not already reached Italy, as she had a head start on his own ship.

According to the account given by the crew of the Dei Gratia, they approached to 400 yards from the Mary Celeste and cautiously observed her for two hours.

She was under sail, yet sailing erratically on a starboard tack, and slowly heading toward the Strait of Gibraltar.

They concluded she was drifting after seeing no one at the wheel or even on deck, though the ship was flying no distress signal. Oliver Deveau, chief mate of the Dei Gratia, boarded the Mary Celeste.

He reported he did not find anyone on board, and said that "the whole ship was a thoroughly wet mess".

There was only one operational pump, two apparently having been disassembled, with a lot of water between decks and three and a half feet (1.1 m) of water in the hold. However, the ship was not sinking and was still seaworthy.

All of the ship's papers were missing, except for the captain's logbook. The forehatch and the lazarette were both open, although the main hatch was sealed.

The ship's clock was not functioning, and the compass was destroyed; the sextant and marine chronometer were missing.

The only lifeboat on the Mary Celeste, a yawl located above the main hatch, was also missing. The peak halyard, used to hoist the main sail, had disappeared.

A rope, perhaps the peak halyard, was found tied to the ship very strongly and the other end, very frayed, was trailing in the water behind the ship.

Popular stories of untouched breakfasts with still-warm cups of tea on the cabin table are untrue and most likely originated with fictionalized accounts of the incident, especially one by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

At the inquiry, Oliver Deveau stated that he saw no preparations for eating and there was nothing to eat or drink in the cabin.

Deveau returned to his ship and reported to the captain. Two men, Charles Augustus Anderson and Charles Lund, then boarded the Mary Celeste. The cargo of 1,701 barrels of alcohol Devreau reported, was in good order.

However, when it was eventually unloaded in Genoa, nine barrels were found to be empty. A six-month supply of uncontaminated food and fresh water was still aboard, and the crew's personal possessions and artifacts were left untouched, making a piracy raid seem extremely unlikely.

It appeared the vessel had been abandoned in a hurry. There was no sign of a struggle, or any sort of violence.

Mary Celeste was built in 1861 in Spencer's Island, Nova Scotia and she was the first one built of many large ships in the community. Three captains died aboard her in the past.

The ship was discovered one day in December 1872 in the Atlantic Ocean unmanned and just floating in the calm waters as if the crew just abandoned her. But why?

Many theories have been suggested from alcoholic fumes, to sea monsters, to phenomena of the Bermuda Triangle.

In Search Of...The Ghost Ship
In 1872, the captain and crew of the Mary Celeste vanished without a trace. The sails were set to the wind and breakfast was on the table. Who or what possessed the ship? Original broadcast: January 24th, 1980.

The Marie Celeste Ghost Ship
What happened to the crew of the Marie Celeste?

Phantom Ship
During a horrific storm at sea, the crew realizes that there is a murderer among them who is killing them off one by one. A masterpiece of weird thrills!
The American ship Mary Celeste’ was found drifting in the middle of the Atlantic on December 5th, 1872, abandoned and derelict. In this reconstruction from the records of the Attorney General at Gibraltar, the story starts at New York Harbor in 1872, where Captain Benjamin Briggs (Arthur Margetson) is hard pressed to find a crew for the ‘Mary Celeste’.

The ship has a reputation for being jinxed. However, he intends to sail at all costs, for he intends to marry the exquisite Sarah Briggs (Shirley Grey) on high seas.

Captain Morehead (Clifford McLaglen) has already asked for her hand, and is willing to make a considerable sacrifice for her, but he loses out to the headstrong Briggs.

On the dock, the drunken, one-armed sailor Anton Lorenzen (Bela Lugosi) arrives at Simpson’s Bar, aged years beyond his time after a mishap at sea.

When Capt. Briggs talks the local loan shark into shanghaiing a crew for him, he manages to lure Lorenzen into signing up with the promise of unlimited booze.

But Capt. Briggs is still one man short, and approaches Morehead. Bent on revenge for being cheated out of his love, Morehead plants a saboteur on board. With an unwilling crew on board, the deck is set for disaster.

Ghost Ships - The term Ghost Ship in the Paranormal realm actually has two different meanings.

Generally it means a ship that has had reports of an apparition upon it or the ship as a whole is seen as an apparition but it can also mean a ship that has been abandoned by its crew mysteriously.

The following footage is famous Ghost Ships within our world:

The Flying Dutchman Ghost Ship
Mary Celeste - Ghost Ship
The Queen Mary - Ghosts & Legends
RMS Rhone - Ghost Ship
SS Watertown - Ghost Ship
Titanic - Ghosts Of The Abyss
Ghost Ships Of The Great Lakes