On December 4, 1872, the “ghost ship” Mary Celeste was discovered sailing near the Azores Islands, unharmed and with her cargo intact—but without any crew. The abandonment of the Mary Celeste and the fate of her crew remains one of history’s greatest maritime mysteries.The Mary Celeste had left New York City, New York, about a month earlier. The ship carried a cargo of industrial alcohol and was headed to Genoa, Italy. A crew of eight, plus the captain’s wife and son, were on board.A British vessel spotted the Mary Celeste sailing erratically and investigated. They found the cargo mostly intact, instruments working, and all the crew and passengers’ valuable items still secure. The weather was good. The only unusual elements were one missing lifeboat, several broken barrels of alcohol, and a frayed rope trailing behind the ship.There are many theories surrounding the mystery of the Mary Celeste, ranging from pirates to mutiny. One of the strongest theories is that insecure barrels of alcohol broke, and the fumes helped create sparks that startled the crew. Thinking the ship may explode, the crew and passengers of the Mary Celeste boarded the lifeboat, tied to the larger ship while the cargo hold “aired out” the fumes. With the lifeboat safely tied to the Mary Celeste, a storm may have hit. While the large, sturdy Mary Celeste survived the storm, the tiny lifeboat and single rope were much more vulnerable. No trace of the lifeboat or any survivor of the Mary Celeste has ever been found.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry abandon Verb
to desert or leave entirely.
chemical compound, usually ethanol or methanol, generated by fermentation and used for fuel, hygiene, medicine, and food.
goods carried by a ship, plane, or other vehicle.
workers or employees on a boat or ship.
to learn or understand something for the first time.
wandering or veering from a set course.
to expand with great speed, force, and noise.
predetermined course of events in the life of a person.
to wear away or unravel.
vapor from a substance that usually has an identifiable odor.
physical damage or injury.
having to do with factories or mechanical production.
whole or complete.
to study or examine in order to learn a series of facts.
having to do with the ocean.
to overthrow authority.
unknown or secret thing.
thief who steals from ships or ships' crews while at sea.
to guarantee, or make safe and certain.
tiny, firey particle.
severe weather indicating a disturbed state of the atmosphere resulting from uplifted air.
surviving mark or evidence.
craft for traveling on water, usually larger than a rowboat or skiff.
capable of being hurt.
state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.
Encyclopedic Entry: weather