The Mary Celeste is found adrift under full sail (Dec 5, 1872)

Here is the prototypical “ghost ship” that other ghost ship stories are based on. The Mary Celeste departed from New York on November 7, 1872 on its way to Italy. On board were the experienced Captain Benjamin Briggs (how great a name is that?), his wife, their two-year-old daughter, and eight crew members.

Less than a month later, a passing British ship happened to sight the Mary Celeste adrift off the Azores. The Mary Celeste was in full sail and with all of its cargo on board, but all of the people and one lifeboat were missing. …and no one knows what became of them!

I know, I know, this is a factual historical event, and I’m writing for a blog about fiction. Here’s the thing. This story sparked massive fictional outburst from all over the world as people tried to explain what happened to the ship. Even Conan Doyle weighed in with a short story about a former slave seeking vengeance. And there’s a 1935 film starring Bela Lugosi. More recently, Valerie Martin (who brought us Mary Reilly) wrote a novel with her own exploration in The Ghost of the Mary Celeste. Check out any of the book or film explorations, or see what the Smithsonian has to say on the topic.

How to Commemorate:
  • Choose a great captain name for yourself. (#MyCaptainNameIs)
  • Hide without telling anyone.
  • Find a local mystery near you and see what you can learn about it.
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Works Cited
The Ghost of the Mary Celeste