Mary Celeste: The Greatest Mystery of the Sea

Mary Celeste: The Greatest Mystery of the Sea

Mary Celeste: The Greatest Mystery of the Sea

Mary Celeste: The Greatest Mystery of the Sea


Mary Celeste is an iconic mystery - a perfectly seaworthy ship found wandering aimlessly at sea, her crew strangely and inexplicably missing.

Paul Begg tells the story of the discovery of Mary Celeste and the people who vanished, and investigates over a century's worth of speculation and survivors' tales, searching for the facts behind one of the world's great mysteries.


At about 1.00 p.m. on Thursday, 5 December 1872, sea time, a sailor namted the ship out to him. The Dei Gratia’s skipper, Captain Morehouse, who was coming on deck from below, also saw the stranger and scanned her through his glass (telescope). With the greater clarity this provided it was obvious that something was indeed wrong. The two vessels were sailing towards each other and as they closed the distance, Captain Morehouse ordered Dei Gratia’s boat be readied to take some of his men across to the ship to render whatever assistance they could.

The two ships came within hailing distance, but there seemed to be no life aboard the stranger. It was decided to lower the boat and for Dei Gratia’s mate, Oliver Deveau, to take two men, Second Mate John Wright and seaman John Johnson, over to investigate. They accordingly piled into the small boat and rowed over to the stranger.

It was now mid-afternoon. On the stranger’s boards they could see her name painted, Mary Celeste, but had no cause to imagine as they clambered over the side and dropped to her deck that they were about to enter the history books as participants in the greatest . . .

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