An 1861 painting of the Amazon (later renamed Mary Celeste) by an unknown artist (perhaps Honoré Pellegrin)
The Mary Celeste (or Marie Céleste as it is fictionally referred to by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and others after him) was a British-American merchant brigantine famous for having been discovered on 4 December 1872 in the Atlantic Ocean, unmanned and apparently abandoned (one lifeboat was missing, along with its crew of seven), although the weather was fine and her crew had been experienced and capable seamen. The Mary Celeste was in seaworthy condition and still under sail heading toward the Strait of Gibraltar. She had been at sea for a month and had over six months' worth of food and water on board. Her cargo was virtually untouched and the personal belongings of passengers and crew were still in place, including valuables. The crew was never seen or heard from again. The Mary Celeste crew's disappearance is often cited as the greatest maritime mystery of all time.
The fate of her crew has been the subject of much speculation. Theories range from alcoholic fumes, to underwater earthquakes, to waterspouts, to paranormal explanations involving extraterrestrial life, unidentified flying objects (UFOs), sea monsters, and the phenomenon of the Bermuda Triangle, although the Mary Celeste is not known to have sailed through the Bermuda Triangle area. The Mary Celeste is often described as the archetypal ghost ship, since she was discovered derelict without any apparent explanation, and her name has become a synonym for similar occurrences. The ship was said to be "cursed" and had a long history of disasters and catastrophes, and three captains died on the ship. The ship was destroyed in 1885 when it was intentionally wrecked off the coast of Haiti in an attempt to commit insurance fraud.