Saint Lucy is the patron saint of the blind and eye disorders and her feast day used to coincide with the Winter Solstice which is the day often celebrated as a festival of light in many places. Many stories and legends have become associated with her but research has failed to substantiate many of them. It is known she lived in Sicily early in the fourth century and was persecuted and executed for her faith. One story that is likely true is that she was denounced as a Christian by a suitor after she turned him down because of her faith. She faced torture and death for her beliefs. Because it is believed she was blinded during Roman torture, she is the patron saint of the blind.
Her feast day is celebrated in Scandinavian countries as a festival of light during the long winter night. A young girl in a white dress and red sash carries palms and wears a wreath of candles on head. Special rolls or cookies are made for the day and often handed out to the elderly. It is also celebrated in parts of Italy particularly in Sicily and in many places of the world today. There are many churches dedicated to her and the island of Santa Lucia in the Caribbean is named for her.
Anyone who has studied Titanic will eventually come upon a variety of conspiracy theories to explain what happened that fateful night in 1912. Becky Little over at History.com has put together the top three of the craziest in an article reviewing these theories. The top ones are:
1. JP Morgan planned the disaster to kill off Jacob Astor, Isidor Straus and Benjamin Guggenheim.
2. Titanic was switched with Olympic and never sank.
3. A Mummy’s curse doomed the Titanic
I had not heard of the first one but it connects to the one concerning the Illuminati and Jesuits conspiring to bring about the Titanic disaster. The Titanic switch theory keeps getting dusted off every decade or so but easily disproved since the wreck found clearly is of Titanic and not Olympic. As for the mummy curse, well it is pretty much debunked now but it too occasionally gets new life on the Internet as well. I pretty much stick with the theory that Marvin the Martian was testing out his new ray weapon at the time.
1. First Titanic, then Empress: an Irish Man’s Lucky Escapes
There are those that survive not one but two major disasters in their lifetime. Such is the case with William Clark of Greenore, County Louth, Ireland. He was reportedly in the Boer War. In 1912 he signed on as a fireman on Titanic and listed Southampton as his home. He was one of the few fireman to survive Titanic and was in lifeboat 15.
How he escaped he does not know. He was caught in the swirl of waters as the vessel plunged down – dragged down into the ocean depths with the crippled leviathan as she sank to her last resting place. Even then his abnormal luck did not desert him. He never thought to come up again, but the force of the boiler explosion lifted him and rushed him up to the surface. He struck out vigorously; was pulled aboard one of the boats, and came home to tell the tale.
Then in 1914 he was a fireman on Empress of Ireland when tragedy would strike there as well. On 29 May 1914, the ship collided with the Norwegian coal freighter Storstad in the Saint Louis River at Pointe-au-Père, Quebec. Unlike Titanic which took over two hours to sink, Empress of Ireland would sink quickly resulting in over 1,000 deaths. Clark escaped but his description shows how harrowing it was:
His lifeboat station was No. 5, and somehow or other he got there, but he cannot remember how she was launched. His mind is a blank concerning some of those awful moments spent on the canting decks of the doomed liner. They had to crawl on hands and knees on the sloping hull in order to get the boat clear, and then their best chance of escape was to plunge into the water in the hope of being able to scramble aboard. Clark was drawn under several times before he got into the boat, and afterwards, he said, they were able to pull about sixty men into her.
2.Irish firm’s virtual reality Titanic trip to launch on PlayStation (Irish Times, 15 Nov 2018) Irish firm VR Education’s virtual reality trip on the Titanic is set for launch on Sony’s PlayStation later this month. Titanic VR puts players aboard the doomed vessel the night it hit an iceberg and sank in April 1912. It will be available from November 22nd. The Titanic experience has already been launched on PC, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality. But the company said it expects the PlayStation VR version to drive sales, replicating the experience of its Apollo 11 VR showcase.
Thanksgiving was not an official national holiday until 1863. A letter from a 74-year magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, inspired President Abraham Lincoln to create a national holiday. She wrote in 1863 that we needed to have a national day of Thanksgiving so that everyone could celebrate it on the same day. At the time Thanksgiving was celebrated by the various states but not on the same date. She wanted President Lincoln to make it a national day so it would become a permanent part of “American custom and institution.”
According to Abraham Lincoln Online , other presidents had ignored such requests. Lincoln decided to act on her request and directed a proclamation be drawn up. On 3 October 1863, President Lincoln’s proclamation that establishes Thanksgiving as a national day was issued. It sets aside the last Thursday of November as a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Secretary of State William Seward actually drafted the proclamation which Lincoln signed. Thanksgiving became a national holiday and was celebrated on that date until 1939. President Roosevelt in 1939, 1940 and 1941 changed it to the third Thursday (to extend the Christmas season) causing considerable controversy. A joint resolution of Congress in 1941 resolved it by decreeing Thanksgiving would fall on the fourth Thursday of November.
Lincoln’s proclamation was written during the American Civil War, a terrible time in U.S. history. Today we forget why this day was made a national holiday. It was to thank God for the blessings of liberty but also to ask his help. In our politically correct times, this proclamation is not always read in full or edited. So here is the original proclamation. Read it and understand why Lincoln thought a national day of Thanksgiving was needed for the United States of America.
— Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day October 3, 1863
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth. A. Lincoln
Sorry folks for being down but all is fixed. There has not been a lot of news since the sale was announced. I expect there will be some legal action to try and get it changed but till then we have to wait. So here is your pre-Thanksgiving Titanic news.
1. “Titanic historian” Who Resembles Captain Smith Gets Role Playing Him
The BBC relays a news story from Irish News about an Australian man named Michael Booth. He grew up listening to Titanic stories about the ship and, quite naturally, became a Titanic enthusiast. Owing to his resemblance to Captain Smith, he was asked to play the role in a Titanic show.
Source: Titanic’s new captain and spa scrapped (BBC News,13 Nov 18) https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-46191449
2. Titanic Marriage Proposal
If you have not heard about it, a chap decided to pop the question to his girlfriend on the Titanic replica staircase at Titanic Pigeon Forge. Really, just watch it. Enough said.
3. A purported haunted mirror where Titanic captain Edward J Smith appears is up for auction in the UK for £10,000 (about $12,775). According to the story, a servant who worked for the captain took the mirror from his home after his death. And then the ghost of Captain Smith supposedly appeared in the mirror scaring the person who took it and then others as well. Not quite sure why Captain Smith would hang around in a mirror but that is the story. For 10,000 British pounds, it can be yours. The ghost is free.
Source: Haunted mirror ‘possessed by the GHOST of the Titanic captain’ up for sale (The Sun,18 Nov 2018) https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7771542/mirror-possessed-ghost-titanic-captain-for-sale/
Brian Ticehurst, who was a founding member of the British Titanic Society and did much to expand knowledge of Titanic, passed away recently at age 82. He did a lot to bring information about Titanic survivors, memorials, and the ships crew to light. His deep knowledge of Titanic made him a well known expert who frequently contributed his knowledge through books, articles, and online forums. He even was asked to testify in court trials concerning Titanic memorabilia. It is through him that much about the Titanic’s crew and Southampton were documented. And still are required reading to this day.
His contributions to our knowledge of Titanic will never be forgotten. RIP Brian.
The judge in the Premier Exhibitions bankruptcy case has approved the sale of the artifact collection to a hedge fund consortium for $19.5 million. The Equity Committee filed objections to the sale but the judge overruled them. A UK consortium attempted to raise funds to purchase the collection but withdrew after the judge ruled that potential buyers would have to raise $21.5 million to trigger an auction. Criticism of the sale process has been raised by both National Maritime Museum Greenwich (NMMG) and National Museums Northern Ireland (NMNI) who were part of the UK consortium.
It is unknown at this time whether the Equity Committee will appeal the judge’s decision. The artifact sale will still have to be confirmed by the Federal Court in Virginia where the salvage award was litigated.
1. Rare Titanic Poster Surfaces
The Irish Mirror reports that a rare Titanic poster has been found and soon will be up for auction. Red,white and blue posters were put up around lower Manhattan in New York during the spring of 1912. After the sinking,the posters were taken down by White Star. The posters advertised Titanic as “Queen of the Ocean.” They included two black and white photos of the interior with Olympic as the stand in. And they were for the return journey set for Saturday, April 20, 1912. The Mirror reports only a handful survived and the one up from auction cam from a private source. Henry Aldridge & Son is handling the auction. The presale estimate is £60,000-£100,000 ($78,580-$130,968).
Source: Rare poster on return voyage of the Titanic surfaces over 100 years after sinking (Irish Mirror,17 Oct 2018, )
(Due to policy of Irish newspapers to impose fee on links to news articles, we are not providing one here.)
2. Titanic II in 2022?
Well say this about Clive Palmer, he is not given up on the idea of creating a seaworthy replica of the famous ship. It was a total bust last time since he could not get Chinese investors aboard. Now he is claiming it will launch in 2022 after being built in China, sail to Dubai following a shakedown cruise from China to Signapore, and then to Southampton. The project is expected to cost $500 million. Whether this is just a publicity stunt remains to be seen.
Source: New Titanic to set sail from Dubai in 2022, says Clive Palmer (arabianbusiness.com,16 Oct 2018) https://www.arabianbusiness.com/travel/406296-new-titanic-to-set-sail-from-dubai-in-2022-says-clive-palmer
On 8 Oct 2018, Premier Exhibitions filed a Notice of Cancellation of Auction with the federal bankruptcy court as no other bidders met the minimum required. This means that the bid submitted by PacBridge Capital Partners (HK) et al for $19.5 million will stand. The company will now seek the court approval to sell the company and artifacts to them.
The Equity Committee has filed motions opposing the sale and still seeks other bidders.