Mary Celeste Mystery

Discussion in 'Education' started by Shooter, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Shooter
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    Shooter Semper Fi

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    The Mary Celeste was a British merchant ship found in 1872 in the Atlantic Ocean with not a soul on board. The crew was never heard from again. No one to this day knows what happened. It is often referred to as the greatest maritime mystery of all-time.

    The Mary Celeste was found under full sail headed for the Strait of Gibralter. She had been at sea for a month and had six months of food and water still on board. The cargo was untouched and the crew and passenger's personnel belongings were still present including valuables.

    Here are some of the many theories as to the ship's fate.

    Piracy

    Some believe the Mary Celeste was a victim of piracy with the crew and passengers murdered and tossed overboard. Ottaman pirates were known to operate in the area.

    Most historians reject this notion due to no reports of pirates in the area at the time, mainly because Britain's Royal Navy was nearby. Plus, no evidence of violence on the ship was detected and all the ship's cargo and valuables were present.

    Storm

    Some historians suggest a storm was to blame. Perhaps nasty weather flooded the ship and the crew and passengers escaped in lifeboats and later perished. Wen the Celeste Mary was found two of her three water pumps had been disassembled. She also had a large amount of water in the bilge but not enough to cause an evacuation.

    Most reject this theory because the weather was perfect and no bad weather was reported in the area.

    Tsunami

    Some theorize that a tsunami washed everyone overboard or caused them to abandon ship. It would also explain why the Celeste Mary took on so much water.

    Critics claim it's not likely because no tsunami, earthquake or landslide were reported on land or at sea. Plus tsunamis don't have much effect in deep waters. They only become an issue when they hit shallow waters and shore.

    Explosion

    A plausible scenario is that an explosion is the cause of the mystery. The Mary Celeste had 1,700 barrels of alcohol in her hold. Nine barrels were empty. Some theorize that vapors escaped from the barrels and caused a heavy build-up in the hold. Historians go on to theorize that someone opened the hold, smelled they heavy odor of fumes, causing panic, forcing everyone to abandon ship.

    Another theory has the barrels' metal bands rubbing against each other causing a spark resulting in an explosion forcing the crew to abandon ship. A frayed rope was found trailing the Mary Celeste. Some believe the crew and passengers were attached to it waiting for the danger on the vessel to pass.

    Skeptics point out that when the Mary Celeste was found the main hatch to be secured. Also, no reports of fumes or vapors were mentioned by those that found the vessel. Also, no alcohol present outside the vapors. No one knows what happened to the nine barrels of alcohol.

    Mutiny

    Some suggest mutiny could be the cause of the mystery. Perhaps the crew turned on the Captain, killing him and tossing him overboard. Then they could have escaped on the lifeboats, flooding the boat to make it look like an accident.

    Most historians reject this notion because the Captain was extremely well-liked and no evidence of a struggle or resistance were reported.

    Other theories include the crew that found the Mary Celeste murdering the crew and passengers for the salvage rights to the vessel, insurance fraud, storms, seaquakes, waterspouts and ergotamine.

    What do you think happened to the mysterious Mary Celeste?
     
  2. Madeline
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    Madeline BANNED

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  3. Dr.Traveler
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    Dr.Traveler Mathematician

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    I understand this one is pretty well wrapped up by the alcohol explosion theory.

    Chances are the (ery terrifying) explosion happened, they locked down the hatches, and abandoned ship.

    We'll never know for sure sadly though.
     
  4. Madeline
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    If alcohol fumes exploded, why wasn't the ship damaged?

    One reason I love this story is that it helped launch Arthur Conan Doyle's career....such a puzzle.
     
  5. Dr.Traveler
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    Dr.Traveler Mathematician

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    You can look up the technical details online, but the explosion theory rests on a very peculiar, and completely reproducible (!) scenario resulting from ignited alcohol fumes. It turns out the explosion would have been completely terrifying, but not left much in the way of damage at all.

    Cracked.com featured the Marie Celeste mystery recently on a list of "Unsolved Mysteries we've totally solved!" Cracked isn't exactly a high brow scholarly site, but the list is worth a read if you're into this stuff.
     
  6. CrusaderFrank
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    CrusaderFrank Diamond Member

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    They elected a new Captain who promised them "Hope" and "Change"
     
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