An illustration of the Mary Celeste. Credit: Unconfirmed, possibly Honore Pellegrin (1800-c.1870).

The “one in a million” ghost ship Alta that washed up on the shores of Ballycotton in County Cork, Ireland, on Sunday amid Storm Dennis stirred up references to the unforgettable true story of the most famous maritime mystery of all time: the Mary Celeste and her missing crew.

The ship’s saga and the serpentine twists of fate before and after its discovery in December 1872 captivated both the people of that era and subsequent generations almost 150 years later as tales of giant sea creatures, aliens, a voodoo curse and more became a part of its lore. Acclaimed writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – before achieving fame as the creator of Sherlock Holmes – even contributed greatly to the myth

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