MS. Found in a Bottle is a short story classic written by Edgar Allan Poe and first published in 1833.
The plot follows an unnamed narrator at sea who finds himself in a series of harrowing circumstances. As he nears his own disastrous death while his ship drives ever southward, he writes an “MS.” or manuscript telling of his adventures which he casts into the sea.
Some critics believe the story was meant as a satire of typical sea tales.
After asserting his own reliability, insisting he is practical rather than imaginative, an unnamed narrator tells the story of his shipwreck. His vessel gets into a storm then is crashed by another ship. At the moment of the impact he winds over to the board of the enormous, weird, mysterious ship. First he is hiding, but soon realizes that no one notices his presence, even if he is standing in front of them.
Incomprehensible men! Wrapped up in meditations of a kind which I cannot divine, they pass me by unnoticed. Concealment is utter folly on my part, for the people will not see. It was but just now that I passed directly before the eyes of the mate –it was no long while ago that I ventured into the captain’s own private cabin, and took thence the materials with which I write, and have written.
The writing style is captivating, sprinkled with humor, but the story is finished abruptly. You don’t find out anything about the mysterious ship and its creepy, weird crew before they meet their inevitable end.
It appears to me a miracle of miracles that our enormous bulk is not swallowed up at once and forever. We are surely doomed to hover continually upon the brink of Eternity, without taking a final plunge into the abyss.
You are engaged in the story, your interest is piqued, then you are left unsatisfied… What a pity…
Some scholars suggest that MS. Found in a Bottle was meant to be a satire of sea stories in general, especially in light of the absurdity of the plot and the fact that the narrator unrealistically keeps a diary through it all. (Wikipedia)
But come on, is any of Poe’s writings realistic? Far from it. Maybe he just wanted to ride the trend of sea tales and wrote his own spooky version.