The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press

The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press

The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press


Best before-school coffee spot?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

My Trip to Dover Motor Speedway!
Cameron Delgado, Staff Writer • June 17, 2024
UEFA Euro 2024 Preview
Samuel Fung, Staff Writer • June 10, 2024
Paul Skenes is Here to Stay
Justin Young, Staff Writer • June 3, 2024
Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters Recap
Allison Vaughan, Staff Writer • May 30, 2024

Mysteries, Oddities, and Everything Strange: The Mary Celeste

The Mary Celeste: Ship of Mystery


The legends and tales of sailors have pervaded popular culture for centuries. Even today, sailors still remain a staple of Halloween costumes and dream careers. The relics of sailors we know and love are nothing but memories, drawings, and visions of gigantic ships with sails galore and wooden hulls. Ultimately, one voyage from the 1800s left historians and explorers stumped. The Mary Celeste, a ship that defies all logic, underwent a mysterious disappearance by its sailors and ultimately became a tale of legend.


On November 7, 1872, the Mary Celeste took off from New York harbor to make its way to Italy. The captain that led the ship was Benjamin S. Briggs, and the other passengers brought along were his wife, his daughter, and 8 other crew members. Before they had set sail, the ship itself had had a rough history. The ship was originally named Amazon, but its first captain had an untimely death due to illness and an accident involving another ship. The ship was passed between multiple different owners for a long time until the last captain wanted to claim insurance fraud and purposefully destroyed it in Haiti.


On December 5, 1872, less than a month after the ship originally set sail, a passing ship known as the Dei Gratia from Britain spotted the Mary Celeste 400 miles east of a volcanic archipelago near Portugal known as the Azores. The ship itself had little sustained damage apart from some water flooding on the deck, and a lifeboat was missing. The ship was still supplied with 6 months of resources. The captain of the Dei Gratia, David Morehouse, changed course to investigate. The Dei Gratia had set sail eight days after the Mary Celeste, meaning the ship should have already arrived in Italy.


When Morehouse arrived on the ship, he found that the guiding charts of the ship had been strewn about, and every crew member left all their essential belongings in their barracks. Around 1,700 barrels of alcohol still remained fully stocked. All clothing was completely dry and oil was found balanced on the captain’s sewing machine. The ship cat still remained, along with the half-eaten food of the crew and tea still remaining in cups. 


The theories about what happened to the Mary Celeste and its crew ran rampant following its discovery. The idea that Captain Briggs and the crew members left a ship that appeared to be in perfect working condition was (and still is) quite an abnormal occurrence. The more wild theorists suggested some outlandish solutions, like a mutiny, giant sea monster, or pirate attack. Others theorize the alcohol on board might have been responsible for some explosion or otherwise dangerous reaction.


One of the other objects found on board was a ship log, detailing the happenings of the Mary Celeste on its voyage. According to its records, the ship was about 500 miles away from where Captain Morehouse would discover it nine days later. There have been many examples of media that theorize what could’ve happened to the ten crew members on board. In 1884, a story published by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle told the tale of a crew member being hunted down by an ex-slave. In 2007, “The True Story of Mary Celeste” was a documentary that implied faulty technology could have been at fault.


The crew members of the Dei Gratia brought the abandoned ship back to Gibraltar, a United Kingdom port town off the coast of Spain. Although they were not able to discern what happened at that moment, many people have made strides toward finding it. With modern-day technology and oceanography, the path of the Mary Celeste has been mapped and charted. Wind speeds, weather conditions, and any other possible outside factors have all been generally accounted for. Despite this, nothing has been clearly defined.


Although the fate of the Mary Celeste might not be fully determined, there are many clues. With time, the true ending of the crew members of the Mary Celeste could finally be put to rest. In the meantime, the Mary Celeste still remains a mystery of ancient ship travel.



Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Patriot Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.