A Conversation for The Mary Celeste
Fizzymouse- no place like home Started conversation Nov 19, 2006
I watched a programme recently about the Mary Celeste, and apparently alcohol fumes from the cargo could be the cluprit.
Seemingly one of the few reasons a Captain will abandon ship is fire, and the fumes from the alcohol could, if sparked, have caused a sort of enormous flash fire - enough to blow off the doors of the hold (which was apparently how they were found), but because it was just a flash of fumes no actual fire started. The crew on seeing the hold blow open, and the flames rising would naturally assume the hold was on fire, and what with all the alcohol, naturally abandon ship without going down to check.
It was thought that the lifeboat was initally tethered to the Mary Celeste to let those present monitor the 'fire' however, somehow it became detatched and drifted off taking those onboard to their doom.
BigAl Patron Saint of Left Handers Keeper of the Glowing Pickle and Monobrows Posted Dec 26, 2006
Yes I saw a similar programme (on UK Channel 5) this evening. After discounting the possibility of a 'seaquake', which do occur in the area that the MC was found, and which can be extremely frightening, the theory was cadvanced of the flash fire - involving the alcohol, methanol.
There is a demonstration which can be done involving an almost empty bottl;e of spirits, such as rum or brandy. One inserts a burning splint and the vapour ignotes and 'roars' out of the top with a characteristc blue flame. (Thisa will be familiar to people who ignite brandy on their s). This demo is called 'releasing the spirit'.
They then did a large scale demo involving paper cubes (to represent carg) in a fish tank, which had a wooden lid with trapdoors in it - to represent the hold of a ship.
They then filled the tank with butane has and ignited it with an electrical spark. The resultant explosion caused the trap doors to fly open, but the paper cubes were completely unscorched/undamaged. This would seem to be a convincing theory.
As fire is the most feared event on board a wooden ship, and due to Briggs' inexperience of transporting methanol, it would appear that the explosion, together with roaring blue flame emerging from the holds would be enough to cause him to give the order to abandon ship. It explains the description given by the crew of Dei Gratia that the hold contents appeared undamaged but that the hold trapdoors were open.
Fizzymouse- no place like home Posted Dec 26, 2006
cactuscafe Posted Nov 25, 2013
Yet another great Guide Entry, brought to me via Twitter. . I've always wondered about the Mary Celeste, you know. It's one of those things that I was going to think about when I had time in my life to be obsessed. . Obsessed with the Celeste!
Interesting about the programme you folks saw. The fire theory sounds plausible, indeed.
What about the rye flour theory then, as listed in this Entry? This is most disturbing (we live on rye bread). haha. I must find out more about this, also. The properties of rye flour. hmm. If anyone knows any more about this ...
cactuscafe Posted Nov 25, 2013
Oh wait. . I just had an insight, re the rye flour theory, courtesy of another hootoo researcher. Albert Hofmann ate the rye flour. . Big clue. I thought he was on the wheat. I should know better, I've read his books, he's a respected thinker. But Albert Hofmann wasn't on the Mary Celeste.
So I'm getting back on topic.
Obsessed with the Celeste.
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