Talk:Mary Celeste

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I took the liberty of re-organizing the information into a more coherant article. In addition, I removed the heading which seemed to be rather messy in such a brief article. Ganymead 04:02, 4 May 2004 (UTC)

I think you forgot to remove the things you rewrote?

Thanks - I think that you removed some stuff that wasn't duplicated - if I'm wrong please let me know. Mark Richards 17:37, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The Wreck of the Mary Deare[edit]

I find the plot of The Wreck of the Mary Deare (book and movie) by Hammond Innes very similar to the Mary Celeste story. Jay 14:05, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Occultists fools?[edit]

After reading this article, I fail to see where the great mystery lies as it seems pretty straight-forward. Is the article not neutral in it's POV or are the occultist simply fools? Kristian (sorry, no registration for me)

Kristian: Exactly what happened is still unknown, as there were no verified survivors to tell the tale, and occultist claim anything unknown is tied to the spiritual. It is worth noting (and the article does) that it happened nowhere near the so-called "Bermuda Triangle" (another myth).

dino 03:05, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

Re OCCULTISTS. Yes, Kristian, as Dino correctly points out, it is worth noting that it happened nowhere near the Bermuda Triangle. But while it is true that the article duly informs us about this fact, it is also true that it fails abysmally to tell us where else it did not happen. After all it

also happened nowhere near a lot of other places, among them very important and significant ones. Wouldn't these places deserve at least a mention in the article?

But I must say I am appalled to hear you compare occultists to simple fools. Fools? How can you only consider such a possibility? How can you only say such a thing? Where is your NPOV? I'm not surprised at all that you choose to remain anonymous. A wise choice indeed, if I may say so.--BZ(Bruno Zollinger) 09:14, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
While I will not defend anonymity, I will to a certain extent defend Kristian's post. He does not claim that occultists are fools, he just expresses the view that if the article is NPOV, he, as a reader, must conclude that occultists are fools. --- Anyway, the subject of this article is in itself unnotable; its notability comes from its impact on the imagination of Doyle (incidentally an occultist), and others.--Niels Ø 13:13, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Niels, I hate to point it out, but you did a logical mistake. Kristian claims that either the article is not neutral in its point of view, or the occultist are fools, and he's asking which one is true. So, your assumption that he's not claiming they're fool can't be verified :). Kristian either thinks the occultist are fools, or the article is not neutral. Anyway, I really don't find a straightforward explanation for the accident. What happened?
They just found the ship deserted, no human on board. Water in the hold, missing alcohol, no life boat... OK, obviously they took the lifeboat along with some pumps and navigational equipment, the crew of Celeste. Why? Why would you go out of a ship, using a small vessel that doesn't even has sails? If the ship's sinking, then this desperate act could (on theory) prolong your life, but the ship wasn't sinking! What about the alcohol? OK, sb stole it in the docks (9 barrels's a lot!). And... then? Diyan.boyanov (talk) 10:41, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Well considering it, a ship found in perfect condition - with no damage except a slight rip in the sails - and looking as if the crew just died, would be strange. If they left, there would be things cleaned up and the ship would have stopped. But everythting was in posistion and the ship was still moving,meaning that they did not disembark. Vpitt5 (talk) 03:45, 2 June 2014 (UTC)


"However, Briggs, a New England Puritan, was known as a very religious, though just and fair, man." The use of the word "though" here is confusing and anti-religious to the reader.

  • I agree ... it confused me and I had to stop re-read that part, so it is being edited out now !!! DavidHumphreysSPEAK TO MEABOUTTHE THINGS I MESSED UP 06:15, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
It is meant to illustrate that Briggs was not a 'Jonathan Edwards-type' Puritan. If he were, he would have been like Capt. Bligh from the HMS Bounty. But he was NOT this type of fire and brimstone Puritan. He was very lovey-dovey.

Old sailors[edit]

Does anybody besides me feel that the following sentence is unencyclopedical? "Old sailors sometimes claimed that they had been aboard the Mary Celeste. Little credence is given to these stories." BJS 01 August 2006

Blood Stains?[edit]

I noticed something odd about the article. In one part it says there were blood stains along some rails and scratch marks but later it says no evidence of violence was found. Do we not count blood and scratch marks as hints/evidence of violence in this story?

Jaybrown27 10 October 2006

The blood stains are fictional. --Gibnews 09:44, 22 July 2007 (UTC)


The article states that the cargo was methanol. However, most sources claim, or imply, that it was ethanol. I would be most interested in knowing the source of the methanol claim as the nature of the cargo is of crucial importance in reconstructing what happened to the ship and her company. Thank you. Barend Vlaardingerbroek, Ph.D.

I'm going to remove the remark about methanol. The cargo was most likely ethanol, as methanol was much harder to produce back then. Even nowadays the "industrial alcohol" is just ethanol laced with some denaturant to stop people from drinking it. Methanol is usefull only when you use it as fuel and thus need the increased energy density. Fizzl 09:42, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
No, 'Industrial alcohol' is ethanol. It can be denatured by adding methanol and other substances, like pyridine in order to prevent people drinking it and to avoid paying excise duty. However if you want to use alcohol in a chemical process you don't want crap in it. As the purpose of the alcohol was to fortify wine in Italy its safe to assume it was 95% ethanol with water. --Gibnews 20:54, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Speculating on whether or not the crew tried drinking the alcohol and the possible results of such an attempt is all well and fine for school papers, but without sources that discuss this possibility specifically with regard to the Mary Celeste's crew, it constitutes original research and does not belong here per policy. Rklawton 12:45, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Everyhing I've read states the cargo was "commercial" alcohol which I took to mean rum or something. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:16, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

As mentioned above, the cargo was drinkable alcohol, however there is no evidence that the crew drank any or were inclined to do so. Speculation about the subject is pointless and comments about toxicity are ill informed. Water is also toxic in sufficient quantities and a more likely explanation of the ultimate fate of the crew. --Gibnews (talk) 08:30, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

There are sources that relate the "drunken crew" theory; it should be mentioned no matter how silly we may regard it. What matters is that it forms part of the history of the legend and has appeared in print. (I think it is mentioned by Macdonald Hastings, for example.) --Michael C. Price talk 08:33, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree, but not with the inclusion of material suggesting that the alcohol could not be drunk as it was toxic as that is obvious nonsense. --Gibnews (talk) 12:53, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
That you regard it as obvious nonsense is irrelevant and certainly is not a reason for deletion. If the theory has been debunked as obvious nonsense then we should mention the theory AND that it has been debunked. --Michael C. Price talk 13:02, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
A reliable source for this would be good. --John (talk) 13:10, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Various theories that drinking the alcohol have indeed been proposed, including by Solly Flood; so its right to mention them, what is nonsense is the repeated claim that 95% alcohol cannot be consumed, indeed there is a commercial vodka which is 88% As for 'debunking' see Charles Fay's book page 124 The Drunken Crew Theory where it is concluded to be unsound. --Gibnews (talk) 23:23, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I was just about to mention that the Drunken Crew Theory was first proposed by Solly Flood at the original inquiry. Please clarify what was the unsound conclusion in Charles Fay's book -- that the crew could drink the alcohol, or that they couldn't? --Michael C. Price talk 09:24, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
P125 "Neither John Austin who spent five hours examining the vessel, nor Oliver Deveau who sailed the vessel to Gibraltar remarked that the cargo had been tampered with. Deveau testified in the inquiry that no wine or spirits were found on board". Although Solly Flood believed that alcohol was the cause, there was no evidence whatsoever to support his view. --Gibnews (talk) 00:01, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
In the very silly 2006 TV doco they show that there could have been an explosion caused by alcohol vapor. That was OK so far as it went but it was a demonstration on a very small scale under controlled conditions. Strangely it seems that only one of the hold hatches was off as was that of the bosun's store. That hatch cover had it been blown upwards by an explosion it surely would have caused a lot of damage when it came back down. There seems to have been no evidence of that having been the case. The cover of the lazarette would have been much smaller and likely had been taken off then the ship was abandoned as the crew would have wanted some of the gear in the store to be in the ships boat.

Whilst the hold would have been pretty water tight I can't see it having been totally airtight and surely Briggs would have been fully aware of the nature and characteristics of his cargo and would have had it inspected regularly. Even if he hadn't sailed with alcohol as a cargo before he would have known all about it and if he didn't he would have looked it up in his stowage manual.

Note the atty-gen of Gibraltar's surname was Solly-Flood.

Albatross2147 (talk) 11:54, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

The hold represents a confined space, there is no evidence of a stowage manual, and IMCO regulations were not in force at the time. The AG was Mr Frederick Solly Flood without a hyphen. --Gibnews (talk) 16:08, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

1. That refuge of the pedantic "Notes and Queries" gives it with and without. The family history site gives it with the hyphen. The Irish Law Reports of the Chancery case give it as S Flood. However I am not going to die in a ditch on this especially if there is an authoritative reference as to how he rendered his name during his time there. 2. I am aware the IMCO regs were not in force but there were stowage guides around and Briggs and the mate would have been aware of them and have access to them in harbour at the very least. Briggs was an educated and stable family man it seems unthinkable that he would not have known what he was involved with. 3. The more I look the more the will o' the wisp style ignition that merely scared the crew seems rubbish. Ethanol explosions in confined spaces seem to be catastrophic see for an image of what happens when someone is careless. However if it is a possibility it would be unlikely that the MC incident was the only event of this nature, Albatross2147 (talk) 00:11, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

The essence of the MC mystery is that whatever happened was something unexpected. Ethanol fires and explosions are unique because of the properties of the material. But because of the enduring nature of the mystery is guaranteed as we can never really KNOW what happened. --Gibnews (talk) 11:20, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

This article states that of the 1,701 barrels only 9 were empty. Thats 450 gallons of alcohol. The ship departed NY nov 7 and was found abandoned dec 4. While in theory that is enough time it is highly unlikey the people on the ship would be able to consume that much in that time. The captain and his family being teetotalers would also play a role, as well as that he probably discouraged the important members of his crew from 'drinking on the job' so to speak. That being said the issue remains that there is no way to know when the alcohol was extracted from the barrels. They could have been loaded onto the Mary Celeste empty for all we know. Assuming that is not true and everything was as it was supposed to be, where the hell did all that alcohol go? Unfortunately there is no way to know exactally how the barrels were stacked and location in relation to one another (ex. in the event of a seaquake it would be unlikely for 9 barrels, randomly scattered among 1701, to open. its more likely that they would all be touching or clustered together). The one thing i found interesting (if i read the article correctly) was that the 9 empty barrels were constructed of red oak while the rest of 1,698 barrels were made of white oak... why? It said red oak is more porus, which would deter me from using it if i were barreling liquids. SirHenryJosephBell (talk) 17:43, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

There are two serious flaws in this paragraph: "This theory's main flaw is that the boarding party found the main hatch secured.[12] Upon going into the hold they did not report smelling any fumes or vapor, which would have still smelled very powerful by that point if this theory were correct. Nor did people who came aboard at Gibraltar and Genoa report smelling any vapors.[citation needed] There was no evidence of alcohol outside the barrels in the hold. What happened to this missing alcohol from the nine empty barrels is as much a mystery as what happened to the crew, although it could have gone missing at any stage of the journey, from before being put on the ship in New York to after Gibraltar.[citation needed]" The first is that ethanol is highly volatile, and all trace of the leaked alcohol would have evaporated within hours, let alone the days before the Mary Celeste was discovered. The second is that pure ethanol is virtually odourless - there would have been no smell. Peter Bell (talk) 06:47, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Abel Fosdyk papers[edit]

For what it's worth, the Strand Magazine was a magazine that published fiction. --ForDorothy 00:01, 24 September 2006 (UTC)


The mention of ergotism says that the crew of the Dei Gratia didn't suffer from it - why would they? Erot poisoning is the result of ingesting food that has been contaminated by ergot mould - did they eat any food on board the deserted ship? Autarch (talk) 22:40, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, they most certainly did, and when the ship sailed on to deliver its cargo the crew ate the food on board without any strange effects. --Gibnews (talk) 21:56, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

right spelling of the names[edit]

Hi, ich found out, that the brothers Volkert and Boy came from the same Island like me. The right spelling of their name has to be "Lorenzen". In the german wiki, they wrote that the brothers were dutch. But I think it`s the old problem that deutsch (german) is frequently confused with dutch. Does anybody knows how the two brothers were classified in the log? EnkiduBn 18.03.2007

I've read a theory that the slour on the ship may have been infected with ergot causing ergotism that caused the crew to abandon the ship. // Liftarn

which is nor supported by the fact that the remainder of the voyage to Italy was uneventful with a new crew and existing ships stores. --Gibnews 20:54, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

The Bermuda Triangle[edit]

I think the line: "No reasonable inquiry includes "Bermuda Triangle" speculation, as the ship's course would not have taken it through that area."

Should be changed to: "No reasonable inquiry includes "Bermuda Triangle" speculation."

Or, even better: "No reasonable inquiry includes "Bermuda Triangle" speculation, because the Bermuda Triangle doesn't [expletive deleted] exist."

Why do we have to burden an encyclopedia entry with anything that even remotely supports "woo-woo" theories such as the so-called "Bermuda Triangle?"

Just my $0.02... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 12:12, 3 April 2007 (UTC). Oops... forgot to sign: Pinto66, Canada (accessing Wikipedia from work)

While both you and I disbelieve the whole 'a ghost did it, I saw 'im I did' line of theories, they must be included because of 2 reasons,
1) NPOV, while we disbelieve that the occult even exists, there are those who believe in it, and see it as a valid possibility, so removing it would be to them like removing all the rational info and making it into an occult article for us. Both sides need to be represented for it to be fair and NPOV.
2) We have no proof that casper didnt come aboard and strangulate the entire crew :D. There is no proof that the occult doesnt exist, just as there is no proof it does (other than 'paranormal experiences (AKA daydreams)') So we cant just discount this line of thought as we have no proof its false. 13:40, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

IMHO, if many people think the MC was cruising the Bermuda Triangle, and if many people think this may bear any relevance, then it's reasonable to clarify facts in that case. --Syzygy 08:41, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

In popular culture[edit]

Are there any articles about the Mary Celeste in popular culture, or is the list in this article someone's original work? If at all, I think this material belongs in the articles about the books/movies/songs, etc. and not here. Chances are, though, it's too trivial to appear even in those articles. In the mean time, we have an article about an historic event that is cluttered with contemporary references. It's just not necessary. Anyone wanting to know about the Mary Celeste in relationship to things that had nothing directly to do with the ship or event can simply click on the "what links here" link. Rklawton 01:53, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

The section on "The story in popular culture" seems to be erroneous in its statement on Doyle's short story "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement" when it says "It was said that their tea was still warm and breakfast was cooking when the ship was discovered; these are fictional details from Doyle's story." I have skimmed through the story at looking for these points and cannot find them, nor does a search show them. In fact the story says "They are of opinion that she had been abandoned several days, or perhaps weeks, before being picked up." and the whole plot of the story is contrary to it asserting that a meal was still cooking when the ship was found as in the story the ship is cast adrift off the coast of Africa after the passengers are murdered. Therefore it looks like this line about the origin of that myth is a myth itself and should be removed. Rab234 15:09, 13 June 2007 (UTC)


According to a source found on google earth it was not found on the spanish coast but portuguese coast, and if you look at a map I believe its more accurate do say it was portuguese coast instead of spanish...

Iberian peninsula coast then? Chris Buttigieg 21:48, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
As a follow up, I have reverted your edit to appear as the Strait of Gibraltar which is more specific and as it appears in the article itself. Chris Buttigieg 22:05, 11 July 2007 (UTC)


The temptation to re-write the bit about steaming mugs of tea was too much, after all the captain was from Massachusetts where they threw all the tea away rather than pay tax on it --Gibnews 18:09, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Is it encyclopeic to call a ship "she"?[edit]

I notice the article uses the pronoun "she" to identify the ship. Should the pronoun "it" be used instead? I understand that nautical terms may refer to a ship in the feminine, but is it encyclopedic? I do not know the answer and am not being critical, just looking for clarity. Oh, and whatever is decided, it should be consistant within the article and with other articles. 18:44, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Its correct English, and this is the English language wikipedia. --Gibnews 23:07, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Plus if your willing to cope with a few splinters, a ship can be all the woman you need172.212.136.219 13:45, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

In all seriousness though, is 'she' in reference to a ship really valid english, as I thought it was sailor slang personally. 13:45, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
I just checked my trusty 'paper' World Book Encyclopedia circa 1960 and it uses "she" as a pronoun when referring to ships. So it would seem to be correct English (at least up to 1960)Postmortemjapan 13:54, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

The nature of the cargo[edit]

There is some confusion on the nature of the cargo, however reliable sources say it was alcohol for the purposes of fortifying wine, the chemistry of alcohol would suggest that to be 95% ethanol with water.

That is consistent with the ships loading. Authors such as Hicks introduce the erroneous idea that it was Methanol, although there would be no sense in shipping that from America to Europe in 1872.

The term 'industrial alcohol' is ambiguous and is normally taken to mean denatured alcohol unsuitable for drinking. There is no evidence for this and again it would be pointless shipping alcohol like that.

95% ethanol with water can be drunk, its not a very inspiring drink and the voyage predates the invention of coca cola and there is no evidence of any other mixer being carried. The Captain was a non drinker and it was a commercial ship not a booze cruise. --Gibnews 09:07, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Other fictional accounts[edit]

Way too long. Anyone feel like condensing it? --John (talk) 07:15, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

I have cut some unnecessary nonsense out, however an important feature of the story of the Mary Celeste is the myth that has been built up around the story by successive writers trying to answer 'the mystery' and inventing stories and events which are then repeated as fact by others. There is an industry on Mary Celeste books, which a search of Amazon reveals. --Gibnews (talk) 23:55, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Can references to someone in a book about something else mentioned the Mary Celeste really be considered "other fictional account"? Seems more like "references in popular culture" to me, and we know that they aren't popular. Duggy 1138 (talk) 12:45, 23 April 2008 (UTC)


It has been said that originally the Mary Celeste had two small boats, both of which could have been used as life-boats. It seems that one of them was destroyed when the ship was being loaded. The ship then set sail with only one life-boat. This fact seems to have helped send the crew to their deaths. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:07, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

It's said wrong. The boat which was destroyed during loading cargo when a barrel was dropped on it was replaced with a new one. SOLAS regulations were different then. --Gibnews (talk) 23:42, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Charles Lurd said "he could not state how many there should have been [but] he felt sure there had been a boat at the main hatch".
Lurd seems to have been a member of the crew of the Dei Gratia. He treats it as a definite possibility that there should have been
more than one life boat. See
For the avoidance of doubt that is a reference to my website, so I am familiar with the content. There was a boat, and the Captain and perhaps the crew of the DG knew their counterparts on the MC and had met them at the docks in the US. --Gibnews (talk) 18:45, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Origin of name?[edit]

Is there any information about the origin of the name "Mary Celeste"? Was the ship (re-)named after a real person, or is there a religious link? Jimbob muppet (talk) 22:37, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

"Mary of Heaven" maybe? EamonnPKeane (talk) 03:33, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Mentions of the Mary Celeste[edit]

I suggest that its only worth including things that are substantive and notable. Plays and TV documentaries about the MC are reasonable, but unless there is some significant reference to the ship, a mere mention of it in something is not. Because it is the definitive 'mystery ship' it is naturally something that people refer to - Google shows 400k references and the article should not be bogged down in trivia.

But that is only an opinion. --Gibnews (talk) 18:45, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Trial of the crew of the Dei Gratia[edit]

This is absolute nonsense, there was no such trial. The Original court documents relate to an inquiry about the circumstances regarding the MC there was categorically NO TRIAL of the salvors. --Gibnews (talk) 20:34, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

While there may not have been a trial as such, the Crew of the Dei Gatia were without doubt objects of suspicion (for no other reason than the circumstances were so strange). The final Salvage money awarded to the crew was a fraction of what would normally be awarded on such a valuable cargo and is said to have reflected the suspicions of the Authorities at the time.Johnwrd (talk) 02:20, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

What was held was an inquiry into the circumstances which would include all things, but the crew of the 'Dei Gratia' were there as witnesses, nothing more. Yes, they got a bad deal on the salvage, thats the legal system. However, Gibraltar remains active in shipping matters as the admiralty court is recognised as being fast and efficient. --Gibnews (talk) 11:21, 8 August 2009 (UTC)


The offending pseudophysical explanations are the following:

  • Seaquake? At least there's nothing about anything that can be interpreted as "seaquakes" here on Wikipedia. The "article" seaquake is a redirect to earthquake that handles tsunamies but nothing like "seaquake" (imagine a slight tone of scorn here!). Tsunamies are almost not perceivable on the sea.
  • Tsunamis exist but are, as said previously, almost not perceivable on the sea.

The rest are mostly funny, but possible however unlikely. ... said: Rursus (bork²) 20:40, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

The seaquake theory is serious and the term is established, so its not 'pseudophysics' --Gibnews (talk) 23:50, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Big changes a-comin'[edit]

There is a lot of uncited information in this article. Without a vast improvement, the uncited stuff is going to be culled from the article. I'll wait a few days before the trimming starts. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 06:56, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Its a pretty comprehensive article, most of the material is cited, although its not necessary to find a citation for every sentence in an article - it really does not need someone who does not understand the subject in depth butchering it - so you might find creating new articles a more productive pastime. --Gibnews (talk) 09:06, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Read my post again, Gibnews; I am not sure that the word "butchering" was ever used, and the characterization seems a bit unfair. As well, I am not sure that I stipulated that every sentence needed citation. In actuality, the article, while being well-formed for the most part, makes a lot of claims that do need citation. Those are what need to be addressed. Everywhere that a claim is made, it needs to be supported by a citation.
Wikipedia is constantly exposed to accusations from without that we are injecting our own points of view and beliefs into article; the only way to properly defend against those sorts of accusations is to ensure that everything we write is cited, and cited well. If one of the supposed theories states that the missing crew of the Mary Celeste joined Starfleet or was killed off by a vampire in the hold, that need as much citation (as to the claim) as would the claim that piracy was unlikely.
We don't get to add our own expertise to the article. We use whatever knowledge we have to evaluate what is intrinsic to the article, and what is extrinsic. The reader might want to follow up on a statement that really grabbed them. Offering them a citation gives them the chance to do so.
Lastly, I believe that nowhere in my post did I state that I did not "understand the subject in depth"; you might want to keep in mind that we write these articles for the general reader, and not for those specifically interested in the intricacies of the subject. That is why we offer sections for external links and further reading. Wikipedia doesn't offer added weight to "experts", any more than it does for fans. Also, such statements are another way of saying 'why don't you run along, little man, and let us smarter people work'; I am sure you can see how that isn't all that polite or conducive to professional interaction.
Therefore, you might want to spend your time following up on my call for citations; as you claim to "understand the subject in depth", it should be short work for you to provide the them, right? If you are unsure where they are needed, please feel free to ask. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 19:21, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
I think I made my points clearly, as regards your last suggestion of clearing up messes after you - if you are waiting for a Yes Bhwana you may be dissapointed. --Gibnews (talk) 20:37, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
I am going to suggest it yet again, Gibnews: could you perhaps find a wee bit more AGF? If you need to root through your closet for some, or nip off to the store to purchase some, I can wait. Either way, I think its clear that I have addressed each of your points, nullifying them when inaccurate, clarifying them when murky and agreeing with you when they are correct. If you insist on looking at this as a confrontation, you are going to be both sorely disappointed as well as on the losing end of policy/guideline discussions. I am trying to help you improve the article. Trating me as an interloper in your field of expertise is both unseemly and unfriendly.
You consider yourself - via your own statements - far more qualified to wrk the article than myself. Using that (defective and infectiously uncivil) reasoning for a moment, consider that an "outsider" has asked for citations, not being familiar with the topic. You job now is to supply those citations. Disposing of that reasoning, you are being presented with an opportunity to make the article and subject more accessible to the general reader while making it far more likely to evolve as an article into GA and eventually FA. Getting your dander up seems the incorrect response.
The article is going to be revised. If citations show up, great; the article is improved and strengthened. If they do not, the weak information will be removed, leaving only that which is cited and supported by external sources. You can lead this effort, follow the efforts of others, or simply get our of the way of those who will do the work. For my part, I hope you will lend yourself to the task of improving the article. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 20:54, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
I have been improving the article for some time - its not in bad shape and is unlikely to be 'strengthened' by being butchered as per your initial declaration of war. Its describes an event which occurred in 1872 about which little is actually known or well documented and although there is a large amount of written about it subsequently, most of which lacks any factual basis. I feel you may be wasting your time and that of others if you think that can be changed. --Gibnews (talk) 08:22, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
(ec)I would like to take a moment to remind you that Wikipedia is not a battleground; there has been no "declaration of war", no "fatwa" (as you suggested here). I would also like to suggest that as you have just admitted to having worked on the article for "some time", you might be too close to the article to notice its clear weaknesses. I am not attacking your efforts, Gibnews; I am suggesting that more improvement is necessary. If citations cannot be found for the majority of the uncited statements, those statements will have to go. I - once again - urge you to roll up your sleeves and put some of that self-claimed expertise to work. Find the citations to support the statements. I repeat that if you are unsure as to what statements need citation, just ask; I will be happy to provide you with a few (of the very, very many) examples.
I do understand that the article is somewhat like a great many Victorian era mysteries, like Jack the Ripper - long on legend and short on facts. Most of the information about the topic is going to be coming from books discussing the subject. That doesn't mean that we don't have to cite the statements of the article; to the contrary, we have books that we can cite from. If you are unclear how to use a citation template, I would be happy to help you.
The point I have been making is that the article is not some high schooler's term paper; the point is that the article needs a great deal of citation. As you have been working on this for some time, and claim extensive knowledge on the subject, you are better situated to find the sources for those statements needing them. If you aren't willing to do that, then the uncited information will be removed, and you shant have anyone to blame but yourself. If you want help, just ask. Don't attack, as that gets you nowhere except painted into a corner. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 08:46, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps its my fault for reading your comments as being from an arrogant and condescending position. You might find a different less confrontational strategy more conducive to co-operation, and as I am here to edit articles that is the last word on that subject from me. --Gibnews (talk) 18:09, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, I accept that you might have misunderstood my editing position; looking back over my comments, I see nothing ""arrogant and condescending" about them. I pointed out that citations were needed, 'ere the article be trimmed of the uncited statements, nothing more or less. I am glad that you are interested in working productively with me, and I fully accept your apology for having failed to assume good faith and being confrontational. Since you'd like to lay the matter to rest, so will I. :) - Arcayne (cast a spell) 20:39, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary break 1[edit]

This edit should provide some insight into the sorts of citations and copy-editing the article needs. Of course, there are likely more that I missed.
As an aside, I found it interesting that while no citation appears in the section noting Winchester's ownership of the ship, the owner who is listed in the citation, Richard Haines isn't listed anywhere in the article. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 09:17, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Richard Haines was the first owner recorded of the Mary Celeste when the ship was registered under that name, but ownership changed within a few months. Ships generally have several owners over their lifetime and the owners at the time of the event and inquiry are the significant ones. --Gibnews (talk) 17:45, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Okay, thanks for providing that information, but it doesn't appear, cited, within the article. As you consider me a novice on the topic and I caught the discrepancy, you can bet that others will as well. Cold you provide a citation for your assertion, please? - Arcayne (cast a spell) 20:29, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

citation needed: rogue waves[edit]

Its pretty meaningless putting in tags noting that Tsunamis were not reported at the time of the crew disappearance. This was 1872 and the infrastructure for recording seismic events was very limited and inaccurate at the time. --Gibnews (talk) 08:32, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't think it's meaningless, because people still can report tremors, earthquakes, etc., without having precise technology for recording such events. They could have (and probably did, I don't know) sent people investigating the case, inquiring people, etc. If a tsunami had happen, then it would be felt in a large land area, where most probably fishermen would have noticed it; but they didn't, therefore it is more likely that a rogue wave had happen, rather than tsunami. So, it's not meaningless. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Diyan.boyanov (talkcontribs) 10:56, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

I am presuming you are referring to the edit wherein I removed the rather bold statement:
"A rogue wave would have caused much more damage, if not sinking the ship outright."
I was asking for a citation - relating to the therory that the MC was doomed by such a wave - from a book that explicitly makes that claim. Paraphrasing of sources is allowed in som cases, but you need to actually provide the sources. This is part of what I am talking about, Gibnews. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 08:51, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Firstly it is not MY article or quote you removed. However in the hundred plus books about the Mary Celeste you can probably find a quote that says that and all sorts of other nonsense. The origin of the name 'Mary Sellars' is from an article published in 1926. Interestingly enough some of the unfounded rubbish about the ship has its origins in the story in the Gibraltar Chronicle published in 1873, and although it did not have an online edition, its preserved in the archives.
There has been a lot of speculation and there is little in the way of genuine source material to support it despite the large industry in writing books and making TV documentaries. --Gibnews (talk) 18:00, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
I am not sure where I contended that it was your quote I removed, Gibnews. Either way, removing your contributions is certainly not my intention, and if you feel threatened by that idea, worry not. I am simply trying to improve the article, and that is going to mean that we put together an article using those sources that are reliable, whilst at the same time addressing the mainstream fallacies of the subject. It's part of the reason we have the article in the first place, right?
The statement removed wasn't cited and, as the claim of the statement was significant, it requires citation to remain. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 20:34, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I'm having a problem with the tsunami theory. Deep water tsunamis, having small amplitudes and long wavelengths[1], are barely noticeable on the surface and would have almost no effect on the ship. A rogue wave is a completely different phenomenon. (talk) 07:46, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

How many owners?[edit]

I noticed your edit, Gibnews, good stuff. However, i wanted to address an apparent discrepancy: in one source, it states that the Amazon was purchased by two folk after the was blown aground. Your edit removes the mention of the second owner. Might I ask why? - Arcayne (cast a spell) 20:44, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

The article is about the Mary Celeste rather than the quite unremarkable Amazon, the sources are a bit vague about ownership prior to the ship being refitted and renamed with the one cited only saying 'two men from Glace Bay'. By way of contrast the source for the ownership of the vessel at the time of the incident I gave reproduces the certificate of registration and is meaningful. --Gibnews (talk) 12:59, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Respectfully, the interpretation of the source being more "meaningful" is just that - an interpretation. If you are suggesting that the source you find more meaningful has more information to use than the one that notes the two owners? Considering the reliability of the source (being of governmental origin), we cannot ignore it. If we have lots of sources that do not mention/miss that ownership issue, we can note the discrepancy. We don't ignore it. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 20:49, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
The cite I give is a reproduction of the ships registration document which more reliable that a passing mention of two un-named owners on a website which does not give its source and is in itself meaningless. --Gibnews (talk) 08:31, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Gibnews, I am unclear as to which reference you are referring to. The citation that notes two owners (one of which is in fact named as Haines) is from the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, a government-sponsored website out of Halifax. Perhaps you are referring to the 1988 (and not 1942, as noted in the citation reference) book by Fay, which notes Haines as the single owner. I find the governmental source quite reliable - more so than the book - and think we need to mention the second owner, if for no other reason than to prevent it from being added by some other editor who read the same material. As the second owner is not named in either source, we are on safe ground. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 09:54, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Benjamin Briggs's letter[edit]

I am wondering if we actually need the entire substance of Briggs' letter reproduced in the article. We could instead reproduce parts of it that are pertinent to the article, and paraphrase the rest. Thoughts? - Arcayne (cast a spell) 20:53, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

The point of inclusion of the letter is to establish the state of mind of the captain. It might be sufficient to include a link to the letter intact, as its on my website and will remain so. I'm strongly against rewriting it to 'improve' readability as some editors have attempted as its an original letter - however an excerpt would be OK. Space for text is cheap and we could easily use up more bytes arguing about it than it takes. --Gibnews (talk) 08:37, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Wait, you maintain a website on the MC? What's the link? It might be useful, as it might point to other sources. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 09:40, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
I've rewritten the 'discovery' section which seemed to be lifted from a work of fiction. I will include references to the Admiralty inquiry, when I locate my copy as the section is based on that rather than the imagination of authors. I'll email you the url of my website so as not to be accused of self promotion, and also to frustrate the editor who takes delight in removing any of my links in Wikipedia he finds. --Gibnews (talk) 20:35, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Okay, that was also a nice trim. Something like that is what I had in mind for the Briggs letter. I think we can maintain the spirit of the letter, but overlook those parts which are less than germane to the subject matter.
I look forward to the emailed url. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 23:43, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
I am sorry if I left the impression that I thought the article iwas now acceptable. It celarly is not, and more work is required. Since It's been well over a week since I warned that a lot of clean-was going to occur, it was commence forthwith. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 03:12, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Tornado sucking up the water from the water-gauge[edit]

I'm really not much into physics (and by that I mean really really), and I didn't understood how the low pressure sucks the water up the tube, but anyway... If you're in the middle of the ocean with your wife and 2-year old daughter, very valuable cargo, the ship, and, you know -- you're alive -- would you pack up the lifeboat and grab the vessels without checking whether this gauge might have just fooled you?Diyan.boyanov (talk) 11:08, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Log Book[edit]

The original ship's log of the Mary Celeste is (or was) held by the insurers, Lloyd's of London, as it was they who had insured the vessel when she was found abandoned. It has been shown by them on several TV programmes about this and other mysteries. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:09, 19 November 2010 (UTC)


No evidence is adduced that John McCabe was English rather than Scottish, so I have deleted the attribution. Deipnosophista (talk) 08:42, 28 December 2010 (UTC)


i reverted this edit The "Mary "BONER" Celeste was a boat for perverted people, but the people would never wear clothes. They would all have sex to toast the night off. She was built by Margrux "BJ" Magogo. With her crew. The Captain's name was Peter "Spooner" Martini. " has this been happening a lot? Killemall22 (talk) 02:48, 14 June 2011 (UTC)


This article should be made coherent. We are told that the mistery resides in that the ship was found in order and without signs of violence. But letter we learn that Deveau, the first person to go onboard it, called it "a mess", and that later the investigators found blood in the captain's cabin... Againme (talk) 14:15, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

A tsunami?[edit]

Why is there discussion of a tsunami? Am I missing something? Out in the open, deep ocean, a tsunami is teeny.

dino (talk) 16:28, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

How many days?[edit]

"However, Morehouse was still waiting for his cargo to arrive when the Mary Celeste left port on November 5. Morehouse's cargo eventually arrived and on November 15, the Dei Gratia finally set off with 1,735 barrels of petroleum in her hold. The Dei Gratia left New York harbor seven days after the Mary Celeste (some sources say eight days later)."

The Mary Celeste left port on the fifth the Dei Gratia left New York harbour on or after the fifteenth but was only seven or eight days behind the Mary Celeste, does this mean the Mary Celeste spent two days collecting cargo or on Staten Island? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Owain meurig (talkcontribs) 19:46, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Hurricane in the Atlantic Nov 22nd-26th[edit]

After a friend, Chris Hood (see Books), pointed out a Japanese boat appeared off B.C. Coast, he suggested the Mary Celeste might have had the same fate. I did a search for tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanoes and so on around the week of November 24th - 30th 1872 in the online collection of UK Newspapers and there are dozens of reports of hurricanes beating against south-west England and ships running aground on Monday 25th November.

SEVERE STORM AND LOSS OF LIFE . The Derby Mercury (Derby, England), Wednesday, November 27, 1872; Issue 8262.

Snippets: "Today a week's rough weather has culminated in a hurricane which in intensity and destruction of life and property has not been equalled since 1865. From Scilly, on the westward, to Exmouth, on the east, records of disaster and death are received, while steamers driven back hundreds of miles in the Atlantic bear testimony to the wide range of the storm....", "Not so happy was a large barque drifting unmanageable towards the shore. When a mile off, the crew were seen to take to the boats, and pull towards one of the most dreadful spots on the coast, where they were drowned.... ", "A steamer coming into Falmouth harbour during the height of the gale drove in among the ships at anchor and three or four broke loose. Three went ashore, the fate of the crew is not known yet.", "Early this morning a French schooner went ashore on Batten Reef.", "A Norwegian boat was capsized in the harbour, the body of one of the crew washed ashore"

SEVERE GALES AND LOSS OF LIFE . The Morning Post (London, England), Wednesday, November 27, 1872; pg. 6; Issue 31328. 19th Century British Library Newspapers: Part II.

There is a telling of a ship on the Monday 25th Nov that came close to the coast battling against the strong gales.. eventually the captain made a beeline to the coast, ran aground, but the crew and passengers could not get clear of the waters... one man lost his life.. then the ship swung out again.. Finally they could get off... women and children were rescued... the boat was the Royal Adelaide (1865) travelling from London to Australia. As they were brought to shore the sea crashed around them... "During the whole of this time the sea was dashing with the wildest fury against the vessel, threatening to sweep off the remainder of the people, who were seen anxiously awaiting their turn to come in the cradle, but afraid to venture. One by one the masts fell with a terrific crash, whilst the sea began to pour through the sides of the ship, and it was evident that she was breaking up." The last three to cross (leaving 4 or 5 still on the boat) got snapped away by waves and drowned.

So it's not quite hard to account for the Mary Celeste... if the last entry in the log was November 25th.. and there was water on-board... I am very surprised to find this with a 'Paranormal' classification.

Zorgster (talk) 16:11, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

There was indeed a storm then, according to records, and not just near England (wrong part of the Atlantic) but in the Azores, with gale force winds (62 km/h is the minimum for a "gale" and just at the top range for "tropical depression" but not quite high enough for "tropical storm"), although this seems to be the only recorded observation: The pressure, 752 mm (=29.6 inHg), isn't a record-breaker by any stretch, but it's a bad storm.
Further, it's hard to imagine a cyclone (hurricane) between the Azores and Portugal not making landfall on the Iberian peninsula, but the NHC declared upon the landfall of Hurricane Vince in 2005 that it was the only tropical cyclone to make landfall there; still, there's also record of an hurricane making landfall in Spain in 1842, so the NHC records may be incomplete.
As noted in the European windstorm, cyclones in Europe do form and do so in clusters. The 1872 Baltic Sea flood was devastating: a major November storm blew from the southwest up across the Baltic towards Finland, became a cyclone (not technically a hurricane, but the press used and still uses the terms interchangeably), reversed direction, and bore down back across Europe, wiping out the Baltic coast on November 13; the "Mary Celeste" was at sea then, but the "Dei Gratia" was still in port in NY waiting for cargo. Another one (″The Great Storm of 1872″) hit Britain on December 8 ( ). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:13, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Alcohol Theory Questioned[edit]

The article states that "The idea was put forth by the ship's major shareholder, James Winchester, and is the most widely accepted explanation for the crew's disappearance." There is no citation given to support the idea that this is the "most widely accepted" explanation for the crew's disappearance yet that statement gives weight to one specific theory. I suggest either providing a citation for that or remove it. Mychair (talk) 20:37, 3 June 2014 (UTC)mychair

Agree. Salmanazar (talk) 19:54, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Life boats[edit]

In 1873 two life boats reportedly landed on the Spanish coast with 6 corpses and an American flag on board. Should this be included in the article? -- (talk) 10:22, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

No, not without references and identification of MC relevance. Chienlit (talk) 12:46, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Of course it's merely speculation but then again everything about this mystery is. It wouldn't be a mystery otherwise. There are several websites that report the lifeboats. However, I'm unfamiliar as to whether these websites are reliable or far flung conspiracy theorist havens. A google search of "1873 2 lifeboats spain" turns up plenty of results, if someone could see if any of these are of use it'd be greatly appreciated. -- (talk) 21:30, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

The story was reported on May 16th 1873 in the Liverpool Daily Albion as follows:
A sad story of the sea - a telegram from Madrid says 'Some fishermen at Baudus, in Asturias, have found two rafts, the first with a corpse lashed to it and an Agrican [American?] flag flying and the second raft with five decomposed bodies. It is not known to what vessel they belonged.
It wasn't until much later as far can be made out that anyone theorised that the rafts belonged to the Mary Celeste.
Salmanazar (talk) 19:51, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Who presided over the inquiry?[edit]

A minor quibble discussed in the past is the spelling of the name of the Gibraltar Attorney General. One editor on this page has said that he won't "die in a ditch" if we've spelt his name wrong, but that's not the issue I am raising. Every occurance of the name is linked to an article on Major Gen. Sir Frederick Richard Solly-Flood. The "protector" (I hesitate to call him an "edit-warring turf dictator" because I think he believes he is acting in good faith) of that article is quick to remove any contribution that mentions the Mary Celeste or the inquiry. He believes they are not the same person; his assertion is that it is "unlikely" because "one is an attorney, the other is a soldier", although the two professions are not mutually exclusive and he cites no sources to support his claim. So we'll have to do it for him, and doing so requires that we verify the correct spelling of the name. If the Gib. AG has a compound surname that is not hyphenated, then they are certainly not the same person. If we can find a source that confirms that they are the same person, then the source can be cited in both articles. If they are different persons, we should not be linking to that article. Certainly the Who's Who citation in that article makes no mention of the MC inquiry and only references his military career. (talk) 17:10, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

One more theory to the list.[edit]

Here is a new theory, similar to others but with a significant twist. First, I must state, I am not an expert in the Mary Celeste, nor am I a seasoned seaman, etc. I have not spent years studying the hearings. I am just applying a little common sense to what is already said here and a couple other published places. So feel free to rip this to pieces.

On the cargo, I note that only the red oak barrels were empty. What are the odds that crew members or other people would have randomly picked those 9 barrel? If they had drank that much, there would have been other signs of damage by drunken crews. I also note that there is no report that the barrels had been tapped, broken or otherwise violated. That gives strong support to the theories about the alcohol seeping out either through the porous red oak, the seams, or in some other manner. Perhaps the sloshing by the rolling of the ship, it had been a rough crossing with several storms and/or the heat in the hold causing the alcohol boil off more etc. aggravated the situation.

(Today, a company shipping alcohol would have various experts on packaging, etc. But in late 1800’s, it was common laborers with little or no education who filled the barrels with little thought about the difference in red oak and white oak, and when they ran out of one, they just grabbed the red oak barrels. After all they held water, so what’s the difference.)

I have not heard of any effort to prove or disprove these theories. Get one red oak barrel as close as possible to those on the Mar Celeste, fill with alcohol, place in a sealed up shack or container obviously in a remote location, kept at the temperature in a ships hold of that time, a mechanism to keep it rocking, and see what happens in a couple months.

For now, I will accept that the fumes eventually started seeping out and finally, the crew realized they had an explosive situation. The caption did not have access to a modern chemist to let him know exactly what he was dealing with, but he clearly knew enough to know that fumes like this built up in the hold were not good. So he did what we all would do. If you go home tonight and find the strong order of gas in your house, do you just start fixing dinner and ignore it? You probably open the windows, and get everyone out, call 911 or the gas co. You hope the gas man gets there quickly turns off the gas, and then wait for the house to air out until it is safe to go inside, find and fix the leak. You then go on with your life.

My guess is they did just that. Open the hatches, a few port windows, etc., got into the boat tied a safe distance behind hopefully until the hold had time to air out. They then planned to come back on board, find what they assumed to be the broken barrel(s) dispose of it(them) and continue their trip as planned. Unfortunately, something went horribly wrong. Perhaps, a large wave capsized the little boat, maybe a wind shift as they were trying to re-board caused the Mary Celeste to shift over them, etc. Dealing with the two year old may have contributed and many sailors back then could not swim. In any case, they all ended in the water watching the Mary Celeste still towing the little boat sail off. Eventually, the little boat, likely swamped or capsized, broke away. The rope trailing in the water provides evidence for this.

The key here is they never intended to abandon the Mary Celeste, just get off until the hold had time to air out, then planned to re-board, correct the problem and continue their trip. Possessions left on board support this theory. Navigation gear would help them know if they were getting close to land and had to quickly get back on board to change course.

Clark G — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:20, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^