-The Mary Celeste encountered a waterspout (ocean tornado) based upon bilge water being above the bilge pump plungers and most hatches being battened. The weather for that day was calm and warm with a cold front coming in. He believed only a waterspout could explain the closed hatches and bilgewater above the pump plungers which would have occured from a positive pressure difference between the bilge and outside air pressure.
-The cargo of industrial alcohol had been disturbed and some caskets had leaked.
Several of the sails were torn and unfurled but had not been set.
The author's conclusion was that followig a waterspout the presence of the bilgepump water and the alcohol gave the crew the impression the boat not only was sinking but liable to blow up. He surmised they launched in the (missing) lifeboat to wait for the fumes to clear from a safe distance. A gust of wind came and unfurled one or more of the hastily pulled sails driving the Mary Celeste beyond the reach of the lifeboat.
It was known a strong gale hit that part of the ocean that night and the Mary Celeste's crew, perished at sea in the lifeboat.