Is The Iceberg Photo Up For Auction Really The Iceberg That Hit Titanic?

Photograph of iceberg taken by chief steward of Prinz Adalbert on morning of 15 April 1912 near where Titanic sank. At the time he had not learned of the Titanic disaster. Smears of red paint along the base caught his attention. The photo and accompanying statement were sent to Titanic’s lawyers, which hung in their boardroom until the firm dissolved in 2002. Public Domain
Photograph of iceberg taken by chief steward of Prinz Adalbert on morning of 15 April 1912 near where Titanic sank. At the time he had not learned of the Titanic disaster. Smears of red paint along the base caught his attention. The photo and accompanying statement were sent to Titanic’s lawyers, which hung in their boardroom until the firm dissolved in 2002. Public Domain

Livescience.com has an article today that reports there is some doubt about the iceberg photograph up for auction is the one that collided with Titanic.

“There are two photos of icebergs from the area on the day following the collision, both of which purport to be the Titanic iceberg,” said Grant Bigg, an environmental scientist at the University of Sheffield in England.”

Bigg found there was another iceberg photo taken by Captain William George Squares de Carteret of the SS Minia. And believes it matches the dimensions that survivors gave of it. But there is no definitive proof that it is either.

Source:Photo of Iceberg that Sank Titanic for Sale: Is It Real?
(Livescience.com,22 Oct 2015)

From the Halloween Files:The Amityville Horror

 

It is that time of year when supernatural tales abound. Most are fiction but sometimes stories come along that purport to be true. A very long time ago while in a bookstore I came across a book called The Amityville Horror by Jan Anson. Being into things supernatural back then, I bought and read it eagerly of the tale of people living in a house being tormented by demons. It scared me and the original movie had its scary moments as well. At the time the book came out, there were some who said the story was not true but they were barely heard at the time. The book claimed many things occurred and even witnesses to them. Yet when patient investigators began following up on the sensational claims, things just did not add up. And later it would be learned that a defense attorney worked to create the story so that his client, who killed his family in that home, be judged insane.

The story begins on 13 Nov 1974 when Ronald DeFeo, Jr. killed his parents, brothers, and sisters by shooting them in the beds they slept in. It was a horrific crime and DeFeo was arrested, tried, and convicted of the murders. The defense claimed insanity stating he had heard voices telling him to kill his family. A prosecution witness countered that he suffered an antisocial personality disorder making him sane at the time the murders were committed. The jury found him guilty of six counts of second degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison in 1975. That normally would end the story, except for the usual appeals by defense counsel.

In 1977 the book The Amityville Horror was released (to become a 1979 movie of the same name). It told the tale of the Lutz family that lived in the DeFeo house for 28 days between December 1975 and January 1976. The family consisted of George and Kathy Lutz with their three children. The book related tales of poltergeist and demonic activity that would drive the Lutz family out of the house. Doors opened and closed on their own, mysterious voices and hooded figures, green slime appearing on walls, mysterious stenches and insect infestation, supernatural attacks on George and Kathy Lutz, and even demonic possession, and a priest driven from the house.  And there were even demon footprints in the snow.

The problem was that many things they either saw, heard, felt or smelled had no independent witnesses. And the physical damage (doors, hinges, windows etc)claimed were not found when the building was inspected. Many other details when more closely looked into proved to be dubious, questionable or false. Joe Nickell notes that at no time while the Lutzes lived in the house they never called the police (both the book and original film said this happened but official records have no record of any calls from the Lutzes). The so-called snow demon footprints could not have happened as there was no snowfall during the time in question.

So then the next question is why they would make up such a story. To make money from a sensational story? That is certainly plausible but there appears another motive as well. William Weber, who was the defense lawyer for Ronald DeFeo Jr., said in People magazine (17 September 1979) that “We created this horror story over many bottles of wine.” It would be a win-win for both. The Lutzes would have a sensational story they could market (which they did) and Weber would be able to use it on DeFeo’s appeal and get a new trial.

What they did not count on, it seems, were people who began to look seriously at the claims and start exposing the fabrication. The Lutzes never fully retracted their claims though had to pull back on some of them. Lawsuits began to fly as well between the Lutzes, Weber and other parties in 1977 claiming invasion of privacy, defamation, and sought damages of $4.5 million. Weber countersued claiming breach of contract. The underlying issue was whether the book was true or not. The Lutzes argued that it was. U.S. Federal District Jack B. Weinstein heard the case. He dismissed the corporate defendants for lack of proof. In September 1977 he would dismiss their claims entirely concluding that “Based on what I have heard, it appears to me that to a large extent the book is a work of fiction, relying in a large part upon the suggestions of Mr. Weber.” He also questioned the ethics of defense attorney Weber and recommended an investigation by the New York State Bar Association.

A 2005 remake of the 1979 movie brought a lawsuit from George Lutz against the film company, producers and directors in 2005 alleging defamation and breach of contract. However the judge dismissed his claim saying that the film was a work of fiction protected by the First Amendment and that Lutz had signed a release agreement many years ago giving them the right to use the story and agreeing not to sue for defamation. His other claims of being denied profits from the original movie went forward but was apparently settled before he died in May 2006.

The Story Today

While the Lutzes story has been largely debunked, some in the paranormal community (psychics, clairvoyants, and others)continue to say the house has an evil presence. This despite the fact no one else who has lived in the house since then has reported anything unusual. In fact, to protect the homeowners its address was changed and was  extensively remodeled so it looks nothing like it did in 1975 when the Lutzes moved in.

Father Ralph Pecararo was the Catholic priest involved in the story. He initially stated that his only involvement as what was going on was a telephone call. Nor was his relationship close to them either. He would curiously alter his testimony when he testified (by phone) and said he did go to the house and heard the word’s “Get Out!” but ascribed no meaning to them (meaning no supernatural element). He would later give an account in 1979 to the television show In Search Of which seemed to back up the original book account of what happened. However the discrepancy between his original statement and later statements cannot be resolved. The contradiction has caused many to believe he became part of the hoax. The official position of the local diocese however is(as detailed in 2002 letter to Ric Osuna):

The Diocese maintains that the story was a false report. In November of 1977, Diocesan attorneys prepared a substantial list, to be submitted to the publisher [of The Amityville Horror], of numerous inaccuracies, factually incorrect references and untrue statements regarding events, persons and occurrences that never happened.

Since Father Pecararo has passed away, we will likely never know why his testimony changed. His superiors in the church, who asked him to detail what happened, have not altered their position since 1977 on the matter. And they were in the best position to ask the obvious questions that arose later when he changed his statements that more closely followed the book sequence of events.

Finally Ronald DeFeo Jr. did try various appeals; none of them worked and at last check was still serving out six life sentences.

The real evil was not supernatural but Ronald DeFeo Jr who killed his family while they slept in their beds.

Sources
1. Books
Kaplan, Stephen and Roxanne Kaplan. The Amityville Horror Conspiracy. Laceyville, PA: Toad Hall Inc., 1995. ISBN 0-963-74980-3.
Nickell, Joe. Entities: Angels, Spirits, Demons, and Other Alien Beings. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1995. ISBN 0-879-75961-5.

2. Articles
Moran, Rick and Peter Jordan. “The Amityville Horror Hoax.” (Fate magazine,May 1978)
Moran, Rick. “Amityville Revisited.”(Fortean Times, January 2005)
Nickell, Joe. “Amityville: The Horror of It All.”(Skeptical Inquirer,January 2003.)

3. Websites
Ronald DeFeo,Jr. (Biography)
Ronald DeFeo,Jr.(Wikipedia)
The Amityville Horror (Snopes.com)
The Amityville Horror: A Scam Debunked(Decodedpast.com)
The Amityville Murders (Ric Osuna’s site)
The Amityville Horror (Wikipedia)

Photo of Titanic Iceberg Up For Sale

A picture of the possible iceberg that doomed Titanic along with a
statement by a chief steward is up for auction at Henry Aldridge & Son. The steward describes seeing red paint on the iceberg that came from scraping a vessel. The photograph and statement signed by the steward were given to the White Star Line lawyers Burlingham, Montgomery & Beecher. After the inquiry it was framed and hung in their boardroom until the firm went out of business in 2002.

Photograph of iceberg taken by chief steward of Prinz Adalbert on morning of 15 April 1912 near where Titanic sank. At the time he had not learned of the Titanic disaster. Smears of red paint along the base caught his attention. The photo and accompanying statement were sent to Titanic’s lawyers, which hung in their boardroom until the firm dissolved in 2002. Public Domain
Photograph of iceberg taken by chief steward of Prinz Adalbert on morning of 15 April 1912 near where Titanic sank. At the time he had not learned of the Titanic disaster. Smears of red paint along the base caught his attention. The photo and accompanying statement were sent to Titanic’s lawyers, which hung in their boardroom until the firm dissolved in 2002. Public Domain

The photo was taken by M. Linoenewald, chief steward on German liner Prinz Adalbert. The Adalbert passed through the area where Titanic sank on 15 April 1912 but the disaster was not yet known to them. He took the photograph of the iceberg and later had three other crew members sign the statement as witnesses. The picture was included in Walter Lord’s book A Night To Remember.

Four of the remaining partners in the firm are putting it up for sale
through Henry Aldridge on 24 October 2015. It is lot 209 and estimated to fetch £15,000 ($23,000USD).

Source(s)
1.Guilty: the iceberg that sunk the Titanic (16 Oct 2015, Daily Telegraph)
2. Henry Aldridge & Son website*

*Note you will need to search the upcoming auction for details on the photo and other Titanic items up for auction.

Happy Sunday

Image:Petr Kratochvil(publicdomainpictures.net)


Premier Exhibitions Announces Second Quarter Fiscal 2016 Earnings

PremierExhibitionslogoPremier Exhibitions, which owns RMS TItanic Inc and Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition,  has reported its second quarter 2016 results. Here is some information from that statement:

  • Gross profit decreased to $1.1 million from $3.0 million in last year’s second fiscal quarter while gross margins fell to 16.1% from 36.5% in the prior year period. The decrease in gross profit is primarily due to the decrease in revenues and an increase in production and marketing expenses related to our New York City location.
  • Total exhibition days decreased 28.4% to 1,076 as compared to 1,503 in the second fiscal quarter of 2015.
  • Average attendance per exhibition day decreased 26.7% to 366 compared to 499 in last year’s second fiscal quarter. Average ticket prices for semi-permanent and partner presented exhibitions decreased 4.1% to $16.10 from $16.79 in the second quarter of fiscal 2015.
  • Average attendance per exhibition day for semi-permanent exhibitions was 319 compared to 344 in the prior year period. Average ticket prices for semi-permanent exhibitions increased 3.7% to $22.20 from $21.40 in the second quarter of fiscal 2015.

Company president Michael Little stated that they need additional financing to keep going. “We have a working capital deficit of $1.4 million excluding the convertible debt of $13.5 million, which is included in the short term portion of note payable on the balance sheet.” Which is why they desperately want to merge with Dinoking (proxies have been mailed out for the special 29 Oct 15 meeting).

Little argues the merger will allow them to get additional capital ($5m) to fund ongoing operations and to have the company “break-even” in its operations. Otherwise he warns:

If we are unable to obtain additional financing, we will likely not be able to continue operations as they are currently anticipated or at all.

Of course there is that lawsuit out there by Mark Sellers to enforce the previous merger agreement, which could throw all plans out the window if it survives early judicial review.

Source:Premier Exhibitions Reports Second Quarter Fiscal 2016 Results(Press Release-14 Oct 2015, Global Newswire)

Titanic Exhibition at National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium Drew 154,065

 

From thonline.com (otherwise known as Telegraph Herald):

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” drew 154,065 people to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium during its 20-week run, which ended  Oct. 11. At 5,000 square-feet, “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” was  the largest exhibit ever hosted at the river museum.

Source:’Titanic’ exhibit drew 154,065 to river museum (13 Oct
2015, thonline.com)

From The Titanic X-Files:Business Insider Looks At Federal Reserve Conspiracy Theory

conspiracy-theory-alertMike Bird, who writes for Business Insider,was intrigued by a Titanic conspiracy he had learned about on the Internet. Various Titanic conspiracy theories have been around for a long time. This one involves Benjamin Guggeheim, Isidor Straus, and John Jacob Astor. All three men, so the theory goes, opposed the creation of the U.S. Federal Reserve. So their deaths on Titanic were not coincidental but purposeful and by the Rothschilds. Bird tracked down this theory along with others(The Jesuit and Illuminati ones). Needless to say, he was not impressed (nor are most people when they read up on the facts).

He mentions at the close of his article something I had not heard about:

There’s also a lot of chatter about the idea that the Titanic should
not have sunk just because it hit an iceberg — a sort of
jet-fuel-doesn’t-melt-steel-beams for the early-20th century.

Frankly I am not surprised at all if some out there are taking this
line. Some have no concept, either through ignorance of what icebergs are or simply not understanding the forces involved, that a giant block of ice can cause such crippling damage to the unsinkable Titanic. So if it could not be the culprit, then of course it opens up a world of things to consider. I will leave it at that and still pursue my personal theory that Titanic was sunk by Marvin the Martian playing with his ray gun.  🙂

Source:
There’s a crazy conspiracy theory that the Rothschilds sank the Titanic to set up the Federal Reserve (12 Oct 2015, Business Insider)

Countdown to Halloween: Horror of Dracula (1958)

Bela Lugosi was for many years the standard by which Dracula portrayals were judged by until 1958 when Christopher Lee(1922-2015)assumed the role in Hammer Films Horror of Dracula. The movie differed,like the 1932 version,from the book and would spawn a series of sequels (some of which towards the end had dubious quality). Lee’s depiction had both a seductive quality and one of horror. In this movie showing blood was not taboo as it was back in 1932 (note that by today’s standards the gore factor here is light). The movie had not only Christopher Lee but such recognized actors as Peter Cushing (as Van Helsing) and Michael Gough (Arthur Holmwood). It was well received at the box office and still gets high marks from Dracula movie buffs usually near the top of most Dracula film ranks. Consider adding it to your Halloween fright movie lineup.

Lee had a long career in cinema after Dracula but has become better known to millions of fans for his portrayals in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hallow,as the traitor Saruman in Lord of the Rings, and of course Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus in Star Wars (Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith).

For Your Friday-Roy Hobbs Homer That Wins The Pennant

As baseball is now in postseason, I thought it fitting to perhaps play the famous (but fictional) Roy Hobbs homer that clinches the league pennant for the New York Knights in the 1984 movie The Natural. Barnard Malmud originally wrote Hobbs as anti-hero and in the end makes an unwise choice unlike the movie. For the movie, the director decided to remake Hobbs with elements of Greek and Arthurian stories weaved in. The Greek gods famously put down mortals who dared to think they were on their level (called hubris meaning excessive pride). And Hobbs’ journey in the movie reflects that kind of Greek story of a man who reaches too high, falls back to Earth, and then learns to become better than he was before without the hubris.

Hobbs has been tempted in the movie to throw the game. The Judge, Gus and his gal (who is closely allied with Gus, the Arnold Rothstein of this movie). But he realizes after talking with Iris (a friend from his youth who he was close with and the father of her child)he can still do a lot with his remaining time before a forced retirement (his stomach needed to heal from a silver bullet left in years before when he was shot by a woman desiring to kill men who sought greatness). So he tells the Judge to shove it and throws the money back. They think he will fail. And at first it does not look like he will make it. As the trio looks down thinking Hobbs will loose the game, he takes the bat he made with the teams bat boy called the Savoy Special and delivers a hit never to be forgotten in that fictional baseball world. And the music from the movie is often used when they introduce players of note in ballparks or when awards are given.