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Emily Swallow plays God’s sister the Darkness on Supernatural, but now the actor is taking on the very real disappearance of a merchant ship in the horror movie Haunting of the Mary Celeste. Showbiz Cheat Sheet spoke with Swallow over the phone about her the supernatural theories presented in the horror flick. Plus, Swallow reveals what she thinks happened to the real-life passengers on the Mary Celeste all those years ago. 

Emily Swallow
Emily Swallow | Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

Emily Swallow plays a researcher in ‘Haunting of the Mary Celeste’

Swallow plays Rachel in Haunting of the Mary Celeste, a researcher who will stop at nothing to prove rifts in the space-time continuum exist. She and her team board a small passenger boat hoping to enter into one of one of these rifts. But what they discover is more than they bargain for. 

While Rachel’s crew believe rifts in time are possible, they don’t know that Rachel shares a deeper connection to these portals. As crew members start to vanish and electronic voice phenomenons (EVP) transmit through the radio, Rachel embraces the idea of another dimension.

There are many theories about what happened to the Mary Celeste 

The story of the Mary Celeste is rooted in history. On Dec. 4, 1872, the American merchant brigantine known as the Mary Celeste was found adrift and deserted off the coast of Azores Islands. 

In Haunting of the Mary Celeste, Rachel believes these supernatural rifts in time caused the ship’s passengers’ disappearance. In reality, theories have ranged from pirates to sea monsters and even killer waterspouts. Considering how the boat was found — with the cargo and crew’s personal belongings intact — pirates are an unlikely answer. Fictional sea creatures are another easily disproved theory. 

Another theory says the crew members drank the alcohol onboard and mutinied. But after interviewing crewmen’s descendants, documentarian Anne MacGregor deemed that scenario unlikely (via Smithsonian Magazine). 

Yet another theory assumed vapors from the alcohol the ship was transporting expanded in the Azores heat and blew off the main hatch, prompting those onboard to flea for safety.

Emily Swallow doesn’t believe in ghostly rifts 

Swallow might play a primordial entity with extraordinary powers on Supernatural, but she doesn’t necessarily believe these beings to be real. For Swallow, the most sound theory regarding the Mary Celeste is rooted in logic.

“The theory that makes the most sense to me is that there was something that happened that made them think that they need to needed to abandon ship quickly,” Swallow told Showbiz Cheat Sheet.

Because the boat was carrying alcohol — “not drinking alcohol, stronger alcohol that would kill you if you drank it,” Swallow said — she believes the captain may have feared for everyone’s safety and ushered them onto the lifeboat. 

Emily Swallow in 'Haunting of the Mary Celeste'
Emily Swallow | ‘Haunting of the Mary Celeste’

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“The really weird part about it was that they found the boat in like perfect condition,” Swallow added. “All of the passengers’ belongings were still there. There was even food that was half-eaten. But the lifeboat was gone.” 

As for the passengers who were never seen or heard from again? Swallow believes they could have gotten caught up on some rough seas. 

Swallow might balk at the idea of a rift taking the Mary Celeste’s passengers. Still, the Supernatural star thinks it’s “really cool to think about the idea of rifts in the space-time continuum.” 

Watch Swallow in the Haunting of the Mary Celeste on VOD platforms beginning Oct. 23.