Whenever a ship is found floating aimlessly in ocean, with not a single soul on board, there is always an eerie and haunted feeling about it. There are many such “Ghost Ships” that have been discovered in the open seas, but perhaps none as famous as the Mary Celeste. It could well be the condition in which the ship was found which adds to the legendary status that this ship has gained.
Usually abandoned ships have enough tell-tale signs of what might have transpired onboard. Worn out sails and broken masts speak of the harsh weather that might have wiped out the crew and left the ship unmanned. In some cases, bloodied quarters and broken furnishings in such abandoned ships tell stories of fight, mutiny even, which ended up with all the crew perishing and leaving the ship deserted.
However with the Mary Celeste none of these seemed to have happened based on the condition in which the ship was found. The American merchant brigantine was found adrift and deserted in the Atlantic Ocean, off the Azores Islands. The last log entry in the ship was from ten days before discovery. She had a large cargo of denatured Alcohol and it was found still intact and undisturbed. The captain’s and crew’s personal belongings were also found in their places.
During investigations on what transpired, many theories were put forward by none of them were conclusive. Harsh weather and rough oceans might have thrown the seamen overboard, but the condition of the ship did not hint at any such disruptive wear and tear. The crew onboard were seasoned seamen and more than capable of handling the moderately rough weather that the ship seemed to have gone through.
Another theory was that of mutiny, but based on the neat and tidy manner in which the belongings of the crew were found, the way the kitchen and other quarters were clean and organized negates the possibility of a violent conflict on board.
One another theory that investigators looked into was the possibility of poisonous fumes from the Alcohol hold that might have killed the crew. However it still seems impossible that not a single body was found onboard in the case that they were killed in such a manner. In fact, when they investigated the matter further it almost seemed like an orderly evacuation of the ship in a lifeboat. Where and why the crew left the ship, if that is indeed what they did do, has been a matter of speculation. For none of the crew from the Mary Celeste was ever seen or heard from since then.