Titanic Musings

Photo: George Hodan (publicdomainpictures.net)

It is a rainy day here in Northern California. We are being hit with a major storm dumping lots of water and the strong winds are making things treacherous. Trees have come, power has gone off for many, and some areas have lots of flooding. It amazes me that people will try to drive through large standing pools of water. Most cars end up stranded since waterproofing is not a standard option on most vehicles. And car engines do not like lots of water sloshing about under the hood. Of course the weather forecasters and reporters breathlessly report on every part of storm and the havoc it creates.

Funny thing how repetitive the media can be. For instance the recent claim that the coal bunker fire caused more damage than White Star wanted to admit and contributed to Titanic sinking by weakening the steel, is now going around the world in that all too familiar pattern. It is reported like a new story with headlines that report Titanic’s demise has a new theory. It is not that old since debate on the coal bunker fire has been around for a while. The new claim is that White Star was criminally negligent and ought never to have allowed Titanic to sail. Walter Lord was fond of saying that with Titanic there are many “What If’s.” For instance had they paid more attention to the ice warnings, put more lifeboats on the ship, the lookouts had binoculars and so on much of what happened could have been averted. And this is another one of those type of What If’s.

Over at Bustle they have a listing of the 6 Titanic conspiracy theories. Most are known to Titanic enthusiasts and researchers but here is the list for those who have never seen or heard of them. I am only putting four of the most well known ones on my list.
1) Titanic Switch Theory
No it is not Titanic down there but Olympic. Depending on who is pushing the theory, either the it was done for insurance reasons or to hide something much worse.
2) The Sinking Was Deliberate
This one says Titanic was sunk to kill specific persons (Jacob Astor IV, Benjamin Guggenheim, and Isador Strauss)because they opposed the creation the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank. However things got out of control and more people died as a result. And the Illuminati were involved as well.
3) U-Boat
A German U-Boat sank Titanic and depending on who is advancing the theory either it was an accident or deliberate.
4) That Old Standby: Mummy Curse
A cursed mummy was aboard Titanic and that curse means Titanic and all aboard were doomed. Except there was no Egyptian mummy aboard and its story can be traced back to those trying to stir up a story for their own use.

My own “conspiracy theory” is that Marvin The Martian was testing out a new weapon.

Have a nice Sunday everyone.


Today is Epiphany/Three Kings Day(Observed)

Adoración de los Reyes Magos
El Greco (1541–1614)
Public Domain

Epiphany or Three Kings Day is January 6 and as the Twelfth Night officially ends the Christmas season. It is a day to celebrate the baptism of Jesus and the arrival of The Magi (Three Kings or Wise Men). In the Middle Ages Christmas was celebrated from Christmas Eve to January 6. And Epiphany Day was a major celebration well into the mid 19th century when its importance diminished. The Catholic Church no longer requires January 6 to be celebrated as a solemnity and celebrates it on the Sunday that follows it. Some Protestant churches celebrate the Epiphany season from January 6 till Ash Wednesday. Orthodox Christians celebrate it on January 19 as they follow the Julian calendar.

In many Spanish speaking countries, Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings’ Day)is celebrated with special foods and gatherings. Many European countries have their own unique observances as well. Children often gets treats or presents on this day. In Italy, La Befana flies through the night on January 5 on a broomstick to deliver gifts to good kids and give coal to the bad ones.


Premier Exhibitions Update:Objection Filed

Things are getting a bit testy at the Titanic bankruptcy proceeding. Euclid Investments and Euclid Claims Recovery filed an objection to the company seeking an exclusivity extension. In simple terms they are not happy that Premier appears to be dragging its feet on following through on what is required to be done. “….management’s abject failure to engage with the statutory committees in moving these cases forward before now cannot be ignored. It has had the effect of placing estate stakeholders in an urgent and untenable position with little time remaining to formulate the terms of a chapter 11 plan as the estates now appear on the verge of operational insolvency.” Ouch.
Source: Premier Exhibitions Objection Filed (Bankruptcy News, 4 Jan 2017)


Titanic Musings:Of Titanic Fires and Ships That Never Were

Titanic Leaving Queenstown 11 April 1912. Believed to be the last photograph of ship before it sank.
Public Domain

Most Titanic researchers know that there was a serious coal fire when the ship set sail. Bunker fires are not new but they can be extremely difficult to deal considering the high heat that is often generated as a result. The heat can result in visible damage to the ship and even result in causing the steel to loose some of its strength. This was seen on 9-11 when jet fuel burning at high temperatures weakened the steel causing the building collapse.

In the case of Titanic though, it has always been a question whether or not the coal fire had some connection to Titanic’s demise. Senan Melony certainly thinks so in a documentary. As reported by The Independent, Melony argues that the fire caused damage to the hull which made it less strong when it hit the iceberg. And he argues that White Star president J. Bruce Ismay told the ship officers not to mention the fire to the passengers. Damage was visible and to prevent it from being seen Titanic was backed into Southampton. Malony believes Titanic ought never to have been put to sea because of the fire damage. It was not the cause of Titanic’s demise but a contributing factor in it.

The Flying Dutchman, Circa 1896
Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847–1917)
Public Domain

SS Ourang Medan
The SS Ourang Medan is a ghost ship that was shipwrecked in the Dutch East Indies in 1948 and its crew died under mysterious circumstances. The story was reported in a Dutch-Indonesian newspaper in three accounts from February through March 1948. While two of the later articles mention the name of the ship as Ourang Medan, the first one did not. The incident was reported as taking place 400 nautical miles southeast of the Marshall Islands. A survivor who made it to an atoll told his story before dying. He told a missionary the ship was carrying sulphuric acid and was not properly stored. The poisonous fumes killed off must of the crew and it later sank. The ship was sailing to Costa Rica from an unknown Chinese port and because of the cargo was avoiding authorities.  More recent research found other news articles from the Associated Press and from some U.K. newspapers. The location is different as is the SOS message. Interesting is that the source is the same: Silvio Scherzi of Trieste.

Many speculative writers (some who dabble in the Bermuda Triangle or supernatural/paranormal reporting)reported the Ourang Medan as well. The story somewhat parallels another famous story: the Mary Celeste. The Celeste was found abandoned on 5 Dec 1872 by the Dei Gratia. The ship had ample provisions and belongings were undisturbed. But the crew was never seen again. Over time false details and fantasy were added. Sensationalist writers talked up the story using supernatural angles or connecting it to the mythical Bermuda Triangle (it was found well outside that area). After a salvage hearing in Gibraltar, there was no definitive cause as to why the ship was found abandoned. And so the mystery remains.

The Orang Medan likely never existed since proof of its existence has never been found. Most likely it was a story embellished likely from the smallest sliver of truth to generate media interest. Unlike the Celeste, which is a true mystery of the sea, the Orang Medan is an episode of alternate science reality show likely on the SyFy network.


Tinian Titanic-Themed Resort Stalled

Robert Kyllo/Shutterstock.com

A planned Titanic-themed resort hotel in Tinian has stalled reports Radio New Zealand. While Bridge Investment Group secured a 40-year lease on the property from the Port of Tinian, it has not gotten approval from the Coastal Resources Management. They contend that since the resort will have casino gaming it is not a port-related activity.  So they have denied a permit.

And when it rains it really pours as the Department of Public Lands argues the lease violates its grant of public domain to the Commonwealth Ports Authority. They argue leasing to an entity that engages in a prohibited activity is illegal. So while lawyers and politicians argue how to resolve all of this, the planned development that was supposed to have begun early in 2016 has been pushed back. Way back.
Source:$150M Titanic-themed resort on Tinian stalls (30 Dec 2016,Radionz.co.nz)


Recent Titanic News

There has not been a lot of news concerning Titanic or Premier Exhibitions. Here are some though that might interest those who follow those topics.

1. Titanic Hotel Entertains The Lonely On Christmas Day
Hundreds of people who faced spending Christmas Day alone were treated to a festive lunch at a luxury Liverpool hotel. Over 300 people were entertained by a team of around 80 volunteers at Stanley dock yesterday for the Titanic hotel’s annual White Christmas event.
Source:Titanic hotel entertains the lonely on Christmas day 26 Dec 2016, Liverpool Echo

The Grand Staircase of the RMS Olympic
Photo:Public Domain (Wikipedia)

2. At this New Year’s Eve Celebration, You Can Walk the Titanic’s Grand Staircase Like Jack and Rose
And as New Year means new life, celebrate that precious gift at the Titanic Belfast in Northern Ireland by doing the re-creation of the popular grand staircase scene in the 1997 movie. A replica of the staircase will be made available for guests. Features that will happen during the night include a New Year’s Cocktail, Light Supper, Live Band, Midnight Piper, and DJ Entertainment. Visitors will get to wear in tux and cocktail dresses. An entrance fee of $50 will be charged.
Source:At this New Year’s Eve Celebration, You Can Walk the Titanic’s Grand Staircase Like Jack and Rose Travelers Today, 24 Dec 2017

3.For this deep-sea archaeologist, finding the Titanic at the bottom of the sea was just the start
It works like this: A researcher picks a project that lies along the route of E/V Nautilus, the 50-crew ­research ship Ballard commands. Ballard’s crew then sends a remote operated vehicle (ROV) to the research site. The ROV feeds video and data to the surface, which the crew beams to the Inner Space Center at the University of Rhode Island, which ­Ballard founded in 2009. Workers there post it to YouTube for public and scientific viewing. Among the images Ballard has ­given the world: mud-spitting volcanoes, barnacled World War II patrol boats, Byzantine amphorae (old clay jugs), and fuzz-covered iron-chewing microbes.
Source:For this deep-sea archaeologist, finding the Titanic at the bottom of the sea was just the start 23 Dec 2016, Popular Science

4. Fans of Bewitched will remember Bernard Fox as Dr Bombay while “A Night To Remember” fans will recall he was the lookout who spotted the iceberg. I recall him as the daffy Colonel Crittendon who was the bane of Colonel Hogan. Every time he showed up his naivete and incompetence would put Hogan’s plans in jeopardy. Most people remembered his face but not always his name. A shame since he was a very talented actor. He passed away recently in Van Nuys, California. He was 89. RIP
Source:Bernard Fox, Actor on Classic ’60s Sitcoms, Dies at 89 15 Dec 2016, New York Times

5. Now that Clive Palmer’s Titanic replica has effectively been shelled, the major media outlets now are reporting what readers of this blog already knew. There is a full size replica of Titanic being built in China. It will be permanently docked at theme park and will include a much criticized Titanic Sinking Simulator. You can read one such article at the New York Times.

Titanic Belfast (side view)
Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)

6. It was not so long away when Belfast was devoid of any large scale Titanic exhibition or museum. That changed in 2012 when Titanic Belfast opened. And now it won the prestigious World Travel Award beating out serious competition making it the first Irish attraction to do this.
Source:Titanic Belfast named world’s best tourist attraction at Tourism Oscars 2 Dec 2016, Daily Mail

Premier Exhibitions Update
Premier Exhibitions Extension Sought
Premier Exhibitions filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court a motion proposing that the period during which the Debtors have the exclusive right to file a Chapter 11 plan be further extended through and including April 10, 2017, and, if a plan is filed on or prior to April 10, 2017, the exclusive period to gain acceptance of a filed plan be extended through and including June 10, 2017.
Source:Premier Exhibitions Extension Sought 19 Dec 206, Bankrupt Company News


Today is St. Stephen’s Day(Boxing Day U.K.)

The Demidoff Altarpiece: Saint Stephen
St. Stephen from The Demidoff Altarpiece(Carlo Crivelli–circa 1435–circa 1495) Photo:Public Domain

If you remember the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas you heard the name. Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian church who was accused of blasphemy and put on trial by Jewish authorities in Jerusalem. After a trial in which he denounced them, Stephen was stoned to death. One of the witnesses to the event was Saul of Tarsus, who later converted and is known today as the apostle Paul. Stephen is considered the first martyr for the faith, the reason his feast day immediately follows the celebration of Jesus’ birth. All the major Christian congregations–Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Orthodox–all venerate him as a Saint and celebrate the feast day (Western churches on 26 December, 27 Dec Orthodox, and 8 Jan Oriental Orthodox). In some countries (mainly Western Europe)it is a public holiday.

In the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand it is celebrated as Boxing Day, a secular holiday that falls on the same day as Feast of Stephen. Traditionally it is the day in which servants and tradespeople receive the “Christmas box” from their employers. While that tradition may still hold true, it is either a second Christmas day for some or an extra shopping day (though in some countries it apparently is a day when a lot of returns to retailers takes place). It is also a major sports day as well.

Commentary on Titanic news and other related items.

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