Here’s an odd, little-cited detail in the mystery of the Mary Celeste, the American brigantine found sailing unmanned in the Atlantic in 1872. John Austin, the marine surveyor who inspected the ship for the board of inquiry, reported:
On approaching the vessel I found on the bow, between two and three feet above the water line on the port side, a long narrow strip at the edge of a plank under the cat-head cut away to the depth of about three eighths of an inch and about one and a quarter inches wide for a length of about six to seven feet. This injury had been sustained recently and could not have been effected by weather or collision and was apparently done by a sharp cutting instrument continuously applied through the whole length of the injury. I found on the starboard bow but a little further from the stern of the vessel a precisely similar injury at the edge of a plank but perhaps an eighth or tenth of an inch wider, which in my opinion had been effected simultaneously and by the same means and not otherwise.
“As the Official Surveyor for this Court of Inquiry,” Austin concluded, “I must profess intense bewilderment as to the tool used to cut such marks and why they would have been cut in any vessel at these locations.”
So, what, was she attacked by sea monsters? Who knows?