2. The Mary Celeste
On December 4th, 1872, Captain Morehouse of the Dei Gratia was informed by a seaman that a derelict vessel had been spotted just off the port bow, west of Portugal. As they drew closer to the vessel, it was noted that only three of the ship’s sails were actually set, with the remaining sails having been blown away or not raised. It was obvious that something was wrong, so Captain Morehouse sent three sailors to board the ship in an attempt to find out what had happened.
As they drew closer, the sailors were able to see the name Mary Celeste New York on the stern. It was noted that the ship had some damage but overall she was completely functional. It was discovered that the lifeboat was missing, along with the sextant, navigation book, chronometer, and ship’s register. The ship’s steering compass however, was discovered smashed. The last entry in the ship’s log on November 25th, 1872 stated that all was normal, and that the ship was nearing the Azores, roughly six miles from Santa Maria. A six month supply of food and water was also discovered. The clothing of the crew and passengers was found to be stowed away in their lockers.
After returning to the Dei Gratia, the investigators informed Captain Morehouse of the ships identity and condition. Surprisingly, Morehouse knew the Captain of the Mary Celeste – Captain Benjamin Spooner Biggs. He had dinner with Biggs and his wife just one day before the Mary Celeste set sail from New York City on November 5th, 1872. The Biggs informed Morehouse that their two year old daughter Sophia would be sailing with them.
No sign of the crew or passengers of the Mary Celeste were every found. Captain Morehouse split his crew in order to sail the Mary Celeste back to Gibraltar for salvage. There are many theories about what happened aboard the Mary Celeste. The most popular theories are mutiny, piracy, and even attacks by sea monsters or giant squids. Perhaps there was an unknown mechanical issue that caused the Captain to abandon the ship. The mystery of the Mary Celeste remains unsolved.
1. Time Traveler Rudolph Fentz
On August 27th, 1876, Rudolf Fentz disappeared without a trace while taking an evening stroll in New York City. A lone witness claimed to have seen Fentz vanish as he crossed a street in Longacre Square (now known as Times Square). Unfortunately, the witness was a known drunkard so he was quickly discounted. Rudolph’s family reported him missing, but they never saw him again.
Now fast forward to 1950. A man in Victorian era garments wearing mutton chop sideburns suddenly appeared in Times Square. Witnesses say that the gentleman seemed rather startled and unfortunately he walked in front of a car and was struck and killed just a minute or so after his appearance. After arriving at the morgue, officials searched the clothing and body of the unknown man and found the following interesting items:
A five cent beer token with the name of an unknown saloon, 70 dollars in old banknotes, a bill for the care of a horse as well as the cleansing of a carriage by a Lexington avenue livery stable, and business cards with the name Rudolph Fentz along with a Fifth Avenue address. None of the items showed any signs of aging.
The New York police department attempted to identify the man using the items found on his body. The Fifth Avenue address was now part of a business and the livery stable and saloon couldn’t be found in any public directory. There was also no record of Rudolph Fentz in any directory, nor were his fingerprints recorded.
Rudolph Fentz Jr. was finally located in a 1939 phone book. Unfortunately he had died five years earlier, but his widow was living in Florida. When contacted, Mrs. Fentz informed the police that her husband’s father had disappeared at the age of 29 in 1876.
So what is the truth behind the disappearance and reappearance of Rudolph Fentz? Was he an accidental time traveler, or was it something else all together? There have been claims that this story was fiction, and that the story was printed in a Robert Heinlein science fiction anthology. However, no copies of this story have ever been found. Of further interest, in 2007 a researcher working for the Berlin News Archive found the story in an April 1951 edition and it was essentially the same as what is reported today. Other researchers have also found evidence of the existence Rudolph Fentz as well as his disappearance in 1876.
Well there’s our look at 5 baffling events that remain unsolved. Do you have a plausible explanation for any of these cases? If so, hit us up on any of our socials or in the comments section below.