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The story of Mary Celeste is one of the greatest sea mysteries of all time. How can everyone
on board a ship simply vanish into thin air? There are plenty of theories but no answers
to this day….
Perhaps she was doomed from the start? I'm not talking about that mysterious day on December
4, 1872, when she was found floating adrift in the Atlantic. No, her sorrows go way back,
to another life that was equally filled with unlucky circumstance…
She didn't always go by Mary Celeste. She was originally called Amazon. Hmm. Made in
Canada in 1861, the vessel was about 100 feet (30 m) long and 25 feet (~8 m) wide. Not the
biggest or greatest ship of her time, but her modest size wasn't the reason why she
had problems finding an owner. From her maiden voyage on May 18, 1861, the Amazon already
started getting a bad reputation for possibly being a cursed ship…
She suffered nasty hull damage after going through a fishing dam. When she was docked
in a shipyard for repairs, that shipyard caught fire and almost burned to the ground. Amazon,
however, remained untouched and continued to serve as a merchant ship. A lot of her
future owners would go bankrupt, each of them selling the vessel to repay their debts. She
also lost her first captain to illness. During Amazon's first journey across the Atlantic
Ocean, the ship crashed into another vessel, sending the latter to the bottom of the English
Channel. After that, the unlucky ship ran aground on her way back to Canada. She was
left there, abandoned and damaged beyond repair.
But, alas, she was taken and sold to an American mariner. Amazon was completely renovated and
dubbed Mary Celeste. She bounced from owner to owner once again, finally falling into
the hands of her new and final captain: Benjamin Spooner Briggs. According to people who knew
him, Briggs was a good captain and a master mariner. He always handpicked his crew and
was very mindful of the people under his command. Many even say he was pretty harsh to those
who dared violate the discipline. But he put together the best crew, and those 7 men along
with their captain and his family set out on that fateful trans-Atlantic trip from New
York to Genoa, Italy on November 7, 1872.
Along with the 10 people on board, the ship was also carrying 1,700 barrels of denatured
alcohol. This industrial liquid is highly flammable if not contained properly. But Captain
Briggs was a careful man. In fact, the trip was supposed to begin two days prior on November
5, but Briggs had decided to wait for a minor storm to blow through. So even with tons of
flammable cargo, I imagine the captain knew what he was doing.
For reasons unknown to this very day, Mary Celeste never did make it to Genoa. At some
point in her journey, something terrible happened. But this is where it gets totally bizarre.
On December 4, 1872, about 400 miles (640 km) off the coast of Portugal, the crew of
another ship, a Canadian brigantine called Dei Gratia, noticed a vessel sailing erratically
and heading right towards them. The captain sent a signal, but there was no response.
As the Dei Gratia got closer and closer, it became apparent that there was nobody on deck.
So, the captain pulled up and sent a few men over to investigate. What they found (or,
rather, didn't find) would make the hair stand on the back of your neck.
There wasn't a single soul on the ship. Ok, well, perhaps they had to abandon? But
here's the thing: all of their belongings and food were still there! The precious cargo
was also untouched, and there were no signs of some sort of struggle or trouble. It was
as if all the people on board had simply vanished into thin air! The only things that were missing
were a lifeboat, a rope, the ship's papers, and the captain's navigational equipment.
Captain Briggs had a habit of keeping very detailed and thorough notes in his journal.
The last entry had been made on November 25. It mentioned bad weather, but nothing more
– nothing that would be enough to force Briggs, his wife and daughter, and the crew
to leave Mary Celeste in such a hurry. The coordinates given put the ship about 800 miles
(~1,300 km) away from the coast. Had she been unmanned and drifting aimlessly for 400 miles
(640 km) over the past 9 days?
What on Earth happened to the Mary Celeste? Or, more specifically, to her crew and passengers?
The crew of the Dei Gratia soon became prime suspects in the case. According to this first
official theory, the men of Dei Gratia got rid of everyone on Mary Celeste, made up a
barely believable story about finding her abandoned, and sailed her to the shore for
a salvage reward. Seems like a reasonable theory. I mean, if I just so happened to find
a wallet that had been reported stolen, I imagine the police would question me first!
But after a thorough investigation, that theory didn't hold up. Although, the crew of Dei
Gratia never did get the full payment for salvaging Mary Celeste. But, hey, at least
they weren't being blamed anymore. Since then, investigators have been left with nothing
but theories, all of them with certain facts contradicting others and making a mess of
the whole thing.
So, what's the first thing that comes to your mind when you imagine why a crew would
abandon ship? Probably a storm, right? Especially knowing that Captain Briggs had mentioned
foul weather in his last journal entry. Some other facts point to such a possibility, but
it's still unclear. For example, the pump on Mary Celeste was apparently malfunctioning
and undergoing some kind of maintenance when this “bad weather” rolled in. Perhaps
the captain didn't think the ship would survive the storm, given that it might easily
flood with a broken pump. The only problem is that there were no storms reported in that
area at that time. When Mary Celeste was found, her lowest area was under about 4 feet (~1
m) of water, but that wasn't too scary for a ship her size. Everything inside the ship
was dry and undamaged. Besides, if there was bad weather, do you really think they'd
switch their ship with a slightly malfunctioning pump for a tiny little lifeboat thinking they'd
have better chances at weathering the storm? Captain Briggs was smarter than that.
One theory suggests that pirates could've attacked the ship. But that theory doesn't
hold since all the personal belongings, food, and valuable cargo were left untouched. Not
to mention, the course Mary Celeste was on ran directly through waters heavily guarded
by the British Navy. No pirate would ever risk sailing there just to attack a small
brigantine.
What if the crew mutinied against their captain? Briggs was known to be pretty strict with
discipline. Not to mention, the only belongings they didn't find on the ship were those
of two of the crewmembers. Had there been some horrific scene? Did they take everyone
out, grab their things, jump in the lifeboat, and flee to avoid getting caught? Again, it's
highly unlikely and pretty much disproven. First of all, what chances do 2 men have against
6 others? Also, there were no signs of a struggle or fight when the ship was examined. And finally,
further investigation showed that those two were German sailors that had been tricked
on their previous journey and left with no belongings at all. They hadn't even brought
anything with them in the first place!
The final and most probable theory comes down to the 9 alcohol barrels found empty on the
ship. Those 9 barrels were the only ones out of the total 1,701 that weren't properly
suitable for transporting alcohol. They were made from a kind of porous timber that couldn't
stop alcohol from evaporating. Ok, that explains why they were empty, but what about the missing
people?
Well, you see, when alcohol evaporates, it creates a really dangerous zone around the
source of the leakage by releasing highly flammable fumes that can lead to an explosion.
Captain Briggs might've noticed that some barrels were empty and ordered everybody to
get off the ship as soon as possible before the hull explodes. This sense of emergency
explains the food and belongings being left. And I doubt the captain had time to jot all
this down in his journal before evacuating everyone to safety.
So, everybody probably rushed into the lifeboat. The captain likely grabbed his navigational
instruments and the ship's papers in case she blew up and they'd need to continue
their journey in the lifeboat. As for the long rope that was missing, they probably
used it to tie the lifeboat to Mary Celeste, wait for as long as possible for the flammable
fumes to air out, and then return to the ship. At some point, the rope could've snapped
and set the lifeboat with 10 people on it adrift in the Atlantic with no way of returning
to the ship and little chances of survival out in the open ocean with no food or water.
And still, even this theory has its flaws. Why was there no smell of alcohol on board
when Mary Celeste was found if 9 whole barrels had leaked completely dry? You'd think the
crew of Dei Gratia would've noticed it immediately. Maybe they did, and they just assumed, well,
the ship was carrying alcohol, hence the smell! I guess we'll never know, and the story
of Mary Celeste shall remain a mystery…
What do you think happened to the Mary Celeste and her crew? Let me know your theories down
in the comments! If you learned something new today, then give this video a like and
share it with a friend. But – hey! – don't go anywhere just
yet! We have over 2,000 cool videos for you to check out. All you have to do is pick the
left or right video, click on it, and enjoy! Stay on the Bright Side of life!
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所有人突然消失的神秘船 (The Mysterious Ship Where All People Suddenly Disappeared)

193 分類 收藏
鍾日昇 發佈於 2019 年 6 月 14 日
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