A Canadian original, the Marie Celeste, a classic ghost ship. Her very first owner died of pneumonia nine days after taking command of her maiden voyage, the first of three captains to die aboard her. She's had fires that nearly destroyed her and struck fishing boats that almost sank her. On her first crossing of the Atlantic she hit another vessel and had to be returned to port. That captain was dismissed. The Celeste was salvaged and repaired.
Built in 1861 at Spencer's Island, in Nova Scotia, where a monument now sits, the twin-masted, 282 ton, 100-foot brigantine Marie Celeste was discovered on December 5, 1872 drifting ghost-like, unmanned, apparently abandoned, with one life boat missing along with her crew of eight sailors and two passengers. The weather had been calm when they found her, but she had been out to sea for nearly six months.
She was still under sail, her sails at full mast and heading for the Strait of Gibraltar, between the Azores and the coast of Portugal. In her hold were six months of food supplies and water. Her cargo was left undisturbed and so was the crew's personal belongings, everything except the captain's log book.
Through much investigation and speculation, from underwater earthquakes, piracy, even mutiny, but nothing has explained this strange phenomenon, it remains the number one maritime mystery to this date. Theories abound about the dangerous 1701 barrels of alcohol cargo onboard. A rope was tethered behind the Celeste, as if it were pulling the lifeboat and for some reason was cut loose. The lifeboat was never found.
The Celeste's original name was Mary, but A. Conan Doyle with his poetic mind, changed it to Marie in one of his short stories, "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement," published in one of his books The Captain of the Pole-Star (1890). Thomas H. Raddall tells the story in his book Footsteps on Old Floors (1968).
The Mary Celeste was said to be 'cursed' and in 1885 she was destroyed in an attempt to commit insurance fraud by it's last owner.
The ship had claimed many lives and changed hands 17 times in it's short sailing life. Leave it to Canada, when we make a ghost ship, we make a damn good one.
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