Category Archives: Titanic

Titanic News: Titanic Inquiry and Museum to Buy Titanic Era Steamship

 

Sketch of J. Bruce Ismay giving testimony before U.S. Senate Titanic inquiry.
Public Domain (via Wikipedia)

Did the Official 1912 Titanic Investigations Go Far Enough? (History.com 18 Nov 2020)

Fortunately, for the sake of history, government officials in both the United States and Great Britain moved aggressively to find out what had happened and why. Their inquiries, beginning on April 19 and May 2 respectively, put on record much of what the world now knows about the disaster—that the ship was traveling too fast for the icy conditions, that its design made it more vulnerable to sinking than anyone realized, that it was carrying far too few lifeboats for the people onboard and much more.

Kingston’s Marine Museum In Talks To Acquire Titanic-Era Steamship (Global News, 18 Nov 2020)

Kingston’s Marine Museum of the Great Lakes is charting a new course for the future with an ambitious fundraising campaign and a Titanic-era steamship in its sights. Chris West, chair of the museum’s board of directors, revealed to Global News for the first time that the museum is in “very close talks” to acquire the more than century-old SS Keewatin, an Edwardian passenger steamship, to become its flagship exhibit.


Update: Pastor Harper Letter Auctioned Off

Reverend John Harper
Source: Wikipedia (via Encyclopedia-titanica.org)
Public Domain

The Irish Post reported that the Pastor Harper letter, penned before the ship left Cobh, was auctioned off for $55,803 (£42,000) by Henry Aldridge & Son. The name of the person who won was not revealed. The contents of the letter are as follows:

My Dear Brother Young,

I am penning you this line just before we get to Queenstown to assure you that I have not forgotten you and especially all your kindness while we were north.

I intended sending on Mrs Pratt’s train fares just before I left but in the rush, which was exceptional having had 11 or 12 services for the week-end, I was unable to get it done.

I will send it on from Chicago. We had a great season of blessing during the last few days in Walworth.

I don’t know how I am to thank dear Aunty Mary and yourself for all your kindness. The Lord will repay you for it all. Trust things are going well at Paisley Road. The warriors are with me here and are doing well so far on the journey.

Very kindest love, your loving auld Pastor, John Harper.

Source:

Titanic Letter From Hero Pastor Who Sacrificed His Life To Save Others Sells For £42,000 (17 Nov 2020. Irish Post)


The Titanic Mystery Ship

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

A recent television documentary show is once again raising the issue of a mystery ship that was near to Titanic during the time it was sinking. The SS Californian was thought to be that ship by many though it was hotly denied by its captain Stanley Lord. He would be forever tarnished by the accusation, right or wrong, that he failed to act in assisting Titanic when it sent out its distress calls. With the discovery of the wreck in 1985, it became easier to pinpoint, from the location of the wreck and reported locations during that period of time, the relative positions of ships in the area.

According to Senan Moloney, Californian was at least 40 nautical miles away from Titanic. They likely saw the rockets but were not close enough to see the ship itself. Now there were other ships in that area that night that were seen by the captain of the Mount Temple but could not be identified. Captain Roston of the Californian saw two ships in the morning when he arrived near where Titanic sank. One was the Californian, the other he could not identify. Despite some intriguing possibilities, to date no one has been able to positively identify the other ships seen in the area.

We may never know for certain the mystery ship(s) that were in the area. We can certainly make some educated guesses but for everyone put forth, their seems to be contrary evidence against it. So, it remains one of those mysteries that will not be solved. Nor harm in going over the many fine points though, if for nothing else better understanding what went on that fateful night in 1912.

For further information:

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Titanic News: Letter from Pastor Who Died on Titanic Surfaces; Diving to Titanic Will Cost You Big Money

 

Photo:Wikipedia

Titanic Letter Written By Hero Pastor Who Died In Disaster Surfaces (Fox News,  1 Nov 2020)

A letter written on the Titanic by a hero pastor who died in the ship’s sinking is up for auction in the U.K. The letter was written by John Harper, the pastor of Walworth Road Baptist Church in London, a widower who was traveling with his sister and 6-year-old daughter to preach at the Moody Church in Chicago.

The letter will be auctioned off by Henry Aldridge & Sons on 14 Nov.

Ship Branded The ‘Titanic Of The Great Lakes’ Discovered 110 Years After It Sank (Mirror, 2 Nov 2020)

A ship branded the “Titanic of the Great Lakes” has been found in its watery resting place – 110 years after it mysteriously sank. The Pere Marquette 18 spent the summer giving pleasure cruises in Chicago and was called the “world’s largest pleasure boat” and the “safest ship afloat”. But the vessel sunk with the loss of dozens of lives en-route from Michigan to Wisconsin as it returned to its regular route in September 1910. There were multiple witnesses to the sinking – including another ship, the Pere Marquette 17, which came to the rescue – but the cause of the calamity remains a mystery.

You Could Join A Tour To See The Titanic Wreckage In 2021 – But You’ll Need A Spare £96,000 (Yahoo, 29 Oct 2020)

The expeditions, which will see nine guests set off on an eight-day trip from Canada’s Newfoundland, won’t be cheap. Each of the “mission specialists” (used to describe the guests) will be expected to pay $125,000 (£96,368) for the trip which includes a six to eight-hour dive in the submarine to see the wreckage. Only three guests will join the driver in the submarine at any one time. Rush, who is planning to host the trips from May to September annually, says that 36 people have already booked in for the first six expeditions.

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TITANIC SUPERNATURAL: THE MUMMY’S CURSE

[Note: I originally wrote about this back in 2014.  I have since rewritten the post adding in the full text of the legend and updated the source material.]

Unlucky Mummy
Pearson’s Magazine,1909, featuring the story of the Unlucky Mummy (British Museum ref AE 22542)
Public Domain (via Wikipedia)

One of the most enduring supernatural stories of Titanic is that a cursed Egyptian mummy aboard the ship caused its demise. The tale has been around since Titanic sank often repeated in books about the supernatural. And with the advent of the Internet, this tale gained a new audience as it bounces around in emails, social media posts, and blogs. Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a lot of interest in Egypt. People were fascinated with the pyramids, its history, and mummies. Bram Stoker, who wrote Dracula, wrote his own mummy horror story called Jewel of the Seven Stars that has become the basis of many mummy movies. So, it is not hard to see how the tale of a cursed mummy would be appealing to many.

Tale of the Cursed Mummy

The Princess of Amen-Ra lived some 1,500 years before Christ. When she died, she was laid in an ornate wooden coffin and buried deep in a vault at Luxor, on the banks of the Nile. In the late 1890s, 4 rich young Englishmen visiting the excavations at Luxor were invited to buy an exquisitely fashioned mummy case containing the remains of Princess of Amen-Ra They drew lots. The man who won paid several thousand pounds and had the coffin taken to his hotel. A few hours later, he was seen walking out towards the desert. He never returned.

The next day, one of the remaining 3 men was shot by an Egyptian servant accidentally. His arm was so severely wounded it had to be amputated. The third man in the foursome found on his return home that the bank holding his entire savings had failed. The fourth guy suffered a severe illness, lost his job and was reduced to selling matches in the street. Nevertheless, the coffin reached England (causing other misfortunes along the way), where it was bought by a London businessman.

After 3 of his family members had been injured in a road accident and his house damaged by fire, the businessman donated it to the British Museum. As the coffin was being unloaded from a truck in the museum courtyard, the truck suddenly went into reverse and trapped a passerby. Then as the casket was being lifted up the stairs by 2 workmen, 1 fell and broke his leg. The other, apparently in perfect health, died unaccountably two days later.

Once the Princess was installed in the Egyptian Room, trouble really started. The Museum’s night watchmen frequently heard frantic hammering and sobbing from the coffin. Other exhibits in the room were also often hurled about at night. One watchman died on duty; making the other watchmen wanting to quit. Cleaners refused to go near the Princess too. When a visitor derisively flicked a dust cloth at the face painted on the coffin, his child died of measles soon afterwards.

Finally, the authorities had the mummy carried down to the basement figuring it could not do any harm down there. Within a week, one of the helpers was seriously ill, and the supervisor of the move was found dead on his desk. By now, the papers had heard of it. A journalist photographer took a picture of the mummy case and when he developed it, the painting on the coffin was of a horrifying, human face. The photographer was said to have gone home then, locked his bedroom door and shot himself. Soon afterwards, the museum sold the mummy to a private collector. After continual misfortune (and deaths), the owner banished it to the attic.

A well known authority on the occult, Madame Helena Blavatsky, visited the premises. Upon entry, she was sized with a shivering fit and searched the house for the source of an evil influence of incredible intensity; She finally came to the attic and found the mummy case. Can you exorcise this evil spirit? Asked the owner. There is no such thing as exorcism. Evil remains evil forever. Nothing can be done about it. I implore you to get rid of this evil as soon as possible. But no British museum would take the mummy; the fact that almost 20 people had met with misfortune, disaster or death from handling the casket, in barely 10 years, was now well known.

Eventually, a hardheaded American archaeologist (who dismissed the happenings as quirks of circumstance), paid a handsome price for the mummy and arranged for its removal to New York. In Apr 1912, the new owner escorted its treasure aboard a sparkling, new White Star liner about to make its maiden voyage to New York. On the night of April 14, amid scenes of unprecedented horror, the Princess of Amen-Ra accompanied 1,500 passengers to their deaths at the bottom of the Atlantic. The name of the ship was of course, the H.M.S. TITANIC [sic].

The problem, and there are many, is that so far no one can confirm that a Princess Amen-Ra (or someone similar) ever existed. There are many prince and princesses in Egyptian history. What appears to be a mummy is actually the inner coffin lid described as a gessoed and painted mummy board of an unidentified woman. The lid was found in Thebes and has been dated (by style and shape) as from the late 21st or 22nd dynasty (about 950-900 bc). Unfortunately, her identity is unknown and the only inscriptions are religious phrases. She likely participated in ceremonies in the temple of Amen-Ra. It is speculated though not proven she was a priestess of that temple. It was donated to the British Museum in 1889 and has been on display ever since (except during the two world wars) and even gone on traveling exhibitions.

The tale, according to David Mikkelson at Snopes.com, was concocted by two Englishmen William Stead and Douglas Murray. Stead was a well known journalist and believer in mysticism. Murray is described as an Egyptologist. They both crafted a horror story about a mummy that went to the home of a friend. According to their tale, the next day everything in the drawing room where it was located was destroyed. It was moved to different rooms but that only resulted in more damage to objects in those rooms. The mummy would cause all sorts of things to its owner that included sickness and death. After visiting the British Museum and seeing the coffin lid, they concocted another story that the look of terror depicted on the coffin lid indicated a tortured soul with an evil spirit now loose upon the world. This fanciful tale was repeated to newspaper reporters who ate the story up. Two stories then became one and this mummy would cause havoc wherever it was. Stead would die when Titanic sank in 1912 but told the tale to dinner attendees about a cursed mummy.

Survivors who heard the tale from Stead relayed this to reporters. The story Stead and Murray concocted and Stead’s presence on Titanic telling the story of a cursed mummy became merged producing the current legend. It was modified that the British Museum, so anxious to be rid of it, sold it to an American who shipped it home on Titanic. So of course the mummy caused Titanic to sink. Some more elaborate tales have the mummy making it off Titanic and would cause havoc and had to be shipped elsewhere causing more disasters. However, the cargo manifest shows no mummy or Egyptian relic being transported aboard Titanic.

We have a fascinating tale in the end but that is all that it is. It was two stories merged into one and then altered to include Titanic. And has been repeated in numerous times over the years and found a new home on the Internet.  It is a great tale, and if you left off Titanic, would make a great horror story.

Sources:

  1. Everything But the Egyptian Sinks (10 October 1999 ,Snopes.com)
  2. The ‘Unlucky Mummy’ Said To Have Sunk The Titanic (23 Nov 2014, Epoch Times)
  3. Unlucky Mummy (Wikipedia)
  4. Did a Mummy’s Curse Sink the Titanic? (6 Mar 2017, liveabout.com)
  5. The Myth of the Titanic Mummy (The Museum of Unnatural History)
  6. The Craziest Titanic Conspiracy Theories, Explained (25 feb 2019, History.com)

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SATURDAY TITANIC NEWS

Harold Bride, April 1912
Encyclopedia Titanica(via Wikimedia)

The First To Use SOS Signal: Titanic Radio Officer Honoured At Former Perthshire Home (The Courier, 23 Oct 2020)

Harold Bride – who lived in Scone for a decade – is often named as the first person to use the SOS signal in operational circumstances. A blue plaque was unveiled in his memory on Thursday afternoon at his former home on Mansfield Road, by the Scone and District Historical Society The house is now owned by George Stewart, one of the society’s members.

OceanGate Expeditions Annouces Citizen Scientist Submersible Dives to the Titanic in 2021 (PR Web, 13 Oct 2020)

OceanGate Expeditions today announced the Titanic Survey Expedition 2021 with the world’s onlly 5-crewmember manned submersible able to reach Titanic depths. Submersible owner and operator, OceanGate Inc., has agreed to charter its Cyclops-class submersible, Titan, to transport Titanic expedition experts and researchers, along with citizen scientists trained as Mission Specialists, on a series of deep-sea research missions. Each of the six 10-day missions will give up to nine qualified citizen scientists a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore and experience this historic memorial site

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TITANIC SALVAGE UPDATE: GOVERNMENT ARGUES HUMAN REMAINS MAY BE FOUND

Titanic Wreck Bow
Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)

In the continuing legal challenge to prevent salvage of the Marconi radio from Titanic, government lawyers are arguing that remains may be disturbed and were not considered in the dive plan. RMS Titanic Inc. has responded that human remains inside the wreck have not been in any of the dives thus far.  U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith approved the salvage in May. The government has appealed the decision to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal.
Source: Titanic: Concerns About Human Remains Could Block Company From Retrieving Iconic Radio (Boston.com,18 Oct 2020)

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SUNDAY TITANIC NEWS

Exhibition update-Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition has reopened at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The hours of operation are Thursday-Sunday from 11 am – 6 pm. Last admission is at 5 pm. Prices have been reduced to $26.50 for adults and $18 for children. For further details go to Titanic Las Vegas.

Catalina Island Museum to host virtual premiere of Titanic exhibition and Museum Benefit (The Log, 9 Oct 2020)

Catalina Island Museum announced it will host its annual Museum Benefit event virtually, welcoming participants from around the world with the first opportunity to view the new Titanic: Real Artifacts, Real People, Real Stories exhibition. The virtual evening experience takes place on Oct. 17, from 6 – 7 p.m. The first-ever virtual affair will be streamed live on YouTube and is free to attend with advanced registration at betterunite.com/catalinamuseum.

Estonian Interior Minister Wants to Salvage Bodies From ‘Baltic Titanic’ (Sputnik News, 7 Oct 2020)

In the wake of a recent documentary that found a previously unknown 4-metre hole in the hull of the Estonia, whose sinking in 1994 became the deadliest peacetime maritime catastrophe since the Titanic, Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme has called for the wreck to be re-examined and the remaining bodies salvaged. It is about a “humanitarian mission”, he says according to Estonian newpaper Postimees. Helme called it a “humanitarian mission” to dispel the speculations about what really happened to the giant ferry that became a watery grave for 852 people.

MONDAY TITANIC NEWS

Monday has arrived and it is back to work. Here is a news article you may find of interest. Have a nice day everyone.

Titanic Memorial Lighthouse,South Street Seaport Museum, New York (2008)
Image: Andy C (Wikipedia)

New Yorkers Petition for Titanic Lighthouse Historic Landmark Status and Upkeep (Irish Central, 2 Oct 2020)

Now, Friends of the Titanic Lighthouse Restoration plan to faithfully restore the delipidated lighthouse in just over 18 months. The group hopes to restore the lighthouse’s time ball and green lantern. The time ball would be the only working time ball in the United States, while the lantern would make the Titanic Lighthouse the only working lighthouse in Manhattan. The restoration project would also record the names of the passengers and crew who perished when the Titanic sank in 1912.

 

St. Francis of Assisi by Philip Fruytiers(1610-1666)
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
Public Domain (Wikipedia)

Yesterday was the Feast of St. Francis.  He gave up a life of wealth and ease to live as a beggar helping to restore the Church. He is the patron saint of merchants, the environment, and animals. To find out more about St. Francis, go to Catholic Online.

FOR YOUR FRIDAY EVENING: JOHNNY CARSON AND JACK WEBB

There was a time when staying up late at night was worth it to see the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He hosted this from 1962-1992. During this time, the show attracted most of the major stars of the day along with other interesting guests. He also did spoofs of commercials and related items. He did a whole series that poked fun at Karl Malden when he did the famous American Express commercials.

Below is one such spoof with Jack Webb. Jack Webb was known for his Dragnet roles and movies. His dead pan acting got him praise and questions whether he ever smiled or not. He did (there is a picture of him laughing). Here in this spoof with Johnny Carson, he is playing his role from Dragnet. In the role he made famous, he just wanted the facts. So sit back and watch how Sergeant Joe Friday asks about the facts of the famous Copper Clapper Caper Case.

Happy Friday everyone.