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The Mystery of the Mary Celeste
 

The Mystery of the Mary Celeste

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In 1871 a deserted ship is found drifting in the sea. The captain and the crew have disappeared... ...

In 1871 a deserted ship is found drifting in the sea. The captain and the crew have disappeared...

Aimed at young learners but of general interest. Linked to learning activities & video here: http://ghoststories.eslreading.org/ghost/maryceleste.html

More English language learning materials here: http://www.eslreading.org/

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    The Mystery of the Mary Celeste The Mystery of the Mary Celeste Document Transcript

    • THE MYSTERY OF THE MARY CELESTE! PAGE 1 Mystery Ship Found Deserted Near Azores NO SIGN OF PASSENGERS OR CREW December 4th, 1872 ‘Where’s it heading?’ No answer ‘Nowhere,’ says the first The deck of Celeste is mate. ‘I’ve been watching it for completely deserted. There are an hour. I can’t see anyone on no signs of life. board.The ship is just drifting The men from the Dei on the tide. Gratia board the ship. ‘Ahoy More men came out onto there!’ they call out. ‘Is anyone the deck. They watch the Mary here?’ Celeste drift slowly in the wind. But there’s no answer. Captain Morehouse discovers the Mary Celeste ‘What’s happening, Captain Briggs is not on board. Captain?’ Nor are his wife and daughter. The Dei Gratia is sailing ‘I don’t know,’ says Captain Nor are his seven crew. from the Azores towards the Morehouse ‘But I don’t like it. ’ ‘They’ve all gone,’ says the Portuguese coast. first mate. ‘It’s like a ghost ship It’s a hot afternoon. The Boarding Party ‘What can we do, Captain?’ First Mate of the Dei Gracia is Morehouse has known ‘We need to to find out looking out to sea through his Captain Briggs for many years. what is going on,’ says Captain telescope. In the distance he ‘He’s a good sailor,’ he tells his Morehouse. ‘Pre pare a sees something surprising. He crew. ‘Captain Briggs wouldn’t boarding party.’ calls to his captain. allow his ship to drift like that. ‘Look over there, sir’ he We n e e d t o i nve s t i g a t e. There was no answer tells Captain Morehouse. ‘Do Organise a boarding party.’ A boarding party sails out you recognise that ship?’ The boarding party consists to the Mary Celeste closer. As Captain Morehouse looks of the first mate and two other they get closer all conversation through the telescope. For a men. They sail out towards the s t o p s . I t ’s o b v i o u s t h a t moment he can’t believe his other ship in a small boat. something is wrong. eyes. ‘The Mary Celeste?’ he As they get closer to the ‘ W h e r e i s e v e r yo n e ? ’ says. ‘What’s it doing here?’ Mary Celeste all conversation someone whispers. stops. Something is clearly The deck of Celeste is The Dei Gratia wrong. completely deserted. There are The Mary Celeste left New ‘Where is everyone?’ one no signs of life. York a week before its sister man whispers. ship, the Dei Gratia. The Mary Celeste © 2009 Kieran McGovern | kieran@eslreading.org | http://www.eslreading.org/
    • THE MYSTERY OF THE MARY CELESTE! PAGE 2 What Really Happened? • the Mary Celeste got lost in the Bermuda Triangle. None of this is true. The ship What really happened? was clearly abandoned There is very little we can say for certain about what had happened in a hurry. The men from the Dei Gratia about the Mary Celeste. There was board the ship. ‘Ahoy there!’ they The official enquiry into the no attempt call out. ‘Is anyone here?’ But there’s no answer. Captain Mary Celeste relies on evidence to weigh from Captain Morehouse and his Briggs is not on board. Nor are his the anchor, boarding party. They describe the wife and daughter. Nor are his seven ship as ‘in a bad state’ and ‘not fit roll up the crew. for human habitation’. canvas, or The boarding crew explore the In the dining room there were tie up the ship but find no one. ‘They’ve all no cups of hot tea or abandoned steering gone,’ says the first mate. ‘It’s like a breakfasts: ghost ship wheel. • the stove was knocked out of its place, and the cooking utensils Legends were {thrown} around. • nor was the ship mysteriously There are many legends about clean and tidy. what was found on deserted Mary • the whole ship was a wet mess. Celeste. People say: The Captain’s bed was not fit to • there were half-eaten sleep in and had to be dried. breakfasts, cups of hot tea & a warm apple pie in the dining room of the ship. • washing was hung out to dry • the ship’s cat was found asleep • the ship was clean and tidy • the weather was good when the crew ‘disappeared’ The Mary Celeste © 2009 Kieran McGovern | kieran@eslreading.org | http://www.eslreading.org/
    • THE MYSTERY OF THE MARY CELESTE! PAGE 3 Navigation Chart What do we know? Briggs’s cap and In the rst mate’s The Mary boots cabin Celeste was sailing a trunk containing a diary with from New York to woman’s dress un nished entry Genoa in Italy with a a small portable un nished cargo of alcohol. piano with sheet calculations Where Mary Celeste was found On board were 37- music left on top year-old Captain a portable sewing In the Cargo hold Briggs, his wife, machine with a 1, 701 barrels of Sarah, his two-year- child’s sleepwear alcohol old daughter half sewn (9 empty) Sophia.There were small bottle of oil also seven crew. spool of white On the bridge: There was a six- thread one broken clock month supply of an open bottle of Captain’s Log uncontaminated food. child’s cough Clean, fresh water medicine Missing: was still aboard. two silver Life boat What possessions medallions Chronometer were found in the several rings Sextant captain’s cabin? a watch First Mate Albert Richardson a purse containing clothes “thrown two pieces of $10 hither and thither” The Mary Celeste © 2009 Kieran McGovern | kieran@eslreading.org | http://www.eslreading.org/
    • THE MYSTERY OF THE MARY CELESTE! PAGE 4 Key T heories Did Briggs order the passengers and crew to leave the ship? If so, why? Pirates Did pirates attack the ship? Did robbers rob & kill? is was a very dangerous thing to I don’t think pirates attacked. do and would normally only ere were rumours that a bloody The cargo was intact. It’s like happen in an emergency. sword was found on board. robbing a bank without taking the money! But Briggs was an experienced captain. He was also a part owner Another rumour was that there Lifeboat was bloodstains on the deck. But of the ship. this information did not come Did the rope break? from the enquiry and seems very Perhaps the rope connecting One theory is that the cargo of unlikely the lifeboat to the ship broke - alcohol caused an explosion. or was deliberately cut? Another is that Captain Briggs Was there a sword ght? Aliens feared an explosion was imminent No. Morehouse and his men did Sucked into space? Did Captain Briggs believe nd an old sword on the ship – I think The Mary Celeste that the Mary Celeste was sailed into a time warp. Aliens but it had not been used for years. came down from space and sinking? sucked the people away. Was there a robbery? Bermuda Triangle? If so, he was wrong. When Many ships have disappeared Morehouse boarded the ship it was ere was no sign that a robbery into what they call the seaworthy had taken place Bermuda Triangle. This is an area of the sea where Did Morehouse nd anything e ship’s cargo of alcohol was still mysterious things happen. unusual? on board. Only nine bottles were Okay, so the Mary Celeste empty.. wasn’t sailing through the Bermuda triangle but .... e chronometer or navigation book was missing. So was the Tsunami ship’s register. Seaquake? Where were they? Why would the Perhaps a ‘seaquake’ swamped the ship crew take them onto a lifeboat? The Mary Celeste © 2009 Kieran McGovern | kieran@eslreading.org | http://www.eslreading.org/
    • THE MYSTERY OF THE MARY CELESTE! PAGE 5 Captain Morehouse’s Theory I cannot know Of course they may not for certain have tied their lifeboat to what the Mary Celeste. But I still happened on think they would have the Mary been unlikely to survive a Celeste. My storm in a small boat on personal view is that the open sea. If only they something happened to had just stayed on the make the crew panic. I Mary Celeste we could If only think they left the ship have rescued them. they had because they thought it just stayed was sinking. So why did they leave on on the that lifeboat? That is the When we boarded the real mystery. I knew Mary Mary Celeste we found a Captain Briggs well – I had Celeste we broken rope hanging over dinner with him in New York could have the side of the deck. a few days before the rescued Perhaps this was used to Mary Celeste sailed. He them tow the smaller boat was a good man and an behind until it broke. experienced seaman. Storm He would not have left the bridge of his ship unless he There was very bad believed it to be in mortal weather in the days before danger. What happened we found the Mary to frighten him into risking Celeste. For four days there the lives of his family and had been a storm – it only crew? ended on the morning we found her. The Mary Celeste © 2009 Kieran McGovern | kieran@eslreading.org | http://www.eslreading.org/