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The Inspiration for "Charter for Death"


Fumigating the lifeboat from the Marie Celine. 'Charter for Death' (Season 6). "Hawaii Five-0." Leonard Freeman Productions / CBS Television, 1975.

If you will recall, "Charter for Death" (Season 6) centered around a schooner found abandoned off the coast of Oahu. Her name was Marie Celine, and she was carrying bubonic plague-carrying rats, as well as brutally attacked crewmen.


Her lifeboat was missing, and women's clothing was left on the boat, telling McGarrett that others probably had gone ashore. They had, and they were carrying the plague, as well. Before it was over, all of Oahu was in a panic as residents scrambled to take gamma globulin injections to protect themselves from the disease.


Those who had abandoned the Marie Celine proved to be a family with mob connections, a family so disreputable that each would kill the other in order to reach the pot of gold and keep it all for himself. They had sailed from France to Tahiti to Hawaii in an effort to hide their footprints even as they left new footprints with each step they took.


Enter real life: A sailing ship by the name of Mary Celeste was found abandoned, all members of her crew missing. It turned out that her history was no less shady than that of the fictitious Marie Celine. Built in Nova Scotia, Canada, as the Amazon, she was purchased for pennies on the dollar and taken to New York, where she was hidden behind a partial rebuild and a new name, Mary Celeste, before she went on to her own abandonment. Watch this video and see for yourself that some things in life are, indeed, stranger than fiction: Ghost Ship Mary Celeste: The 150 Year Mystery - YouTube

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