Tag Archives: Morgan Robertson

Recent Titanic News

[This is a curated list of news stories. If you see a news story we should cover here, send email to editor@titanicnewschannel.com]

“The Titanic’s Other Casualties | Holy Cow! History.” Lompoc Record, 20 Apr. 2024, lompocrecord.com/opinion/columnists/the-titanic-s-other-casualties-holy-cow-history/article_139171a2-904a-5670-9d43-73dfbf00d555.html.

Let’s start with what we know for sure. At least three dogs escaped in lifeboats: two Pomeranians and one Pekingese show champion, Sun Yat Sen. Their escape was a big deal because, with so many passengers and so little space in the lifeboats, crew members refused to let animals go with their owners. It’s believed all three owners spared their beloved pooches by smuggling them inside their cabins because they were so small, later hiding them inside thick winter coats as they fled the ship.


“‘Rare’ Footage of Titanic Shipwreck Released for First Time: See Into Chief Officer’s Cabin and More.” Yahoo.com, People, 16 Apr. 2024, ca.news.yahoo.com/rare-footage-titanic-shipwreck-released-184318760.html.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has just released never-before-seen video of the wreck on YouTube to celebrate the 25th anniversary of James Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic. The “rare, uncut footage” includes nearly 90 minutes of images from the July 1986 voyage that, according to Today, helped inspire the award-winning movie.


Grover, Jamie. “Remembering the Somerset Passengers on Board the Titanic.” Somerset County Gazette, 21 Apr. 2024, www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/news/24258613.remembering-somerset-passengers-board-titanic.

Among those on board was 26-year-old Marion Wright, from Yeovil, who survived the disaster. She eventually arrived in New York and was reunited with her fiancé.  Marion said: “I don’t think I shall ever want to cross the ocean again just yet. It has been sad losing all I had, wedding presents and everything I had worked so hard at, but they’re nothing in comparison to all the lives lost.” The couple married and successfully ran a farm in Oregon.


D’Arcy, Sharon Dolan, and Sharon Dolan D’Arcy. “West Clare Connection to Famous Titanic Bugler.” The Clare Champion, 18 Apr. 2024, clarechampion.ie/west-clare-connection-to-famous-titanic-bugler.

The young 25-year-old man tragically died when the ocean liner struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912. A mere three months previously, he had married a Kilrush woman called Mary Meaney at St Gregory’s Catholic Church in Wandsworth. Local historian and county Tyrone native, Geoff Simmons had put out an appeal in March via local Clare media and social media for descendants of Mary Meaney’s to attend the unveiling of an historic blue plaque in Percy’s honour at his former home at 26, Lessingham Avenue on April 14, the eve of the anniversary of the ship’s sinking. Mr Simmons had hoped The Cliffs of Doneen would be sung on the day in recognition of Mary and the Clare connection.


Alam, Zoheb. “Titanic Survivor Revealed He Continued to Have Nightmares About the Tragedy for Over 65 Years.” https://www.good.is, 20 Apr. 2024, www.good.is/titanic-survivor-revealed-he-continued-to-have-nightmares-about-the-tragedy-for-over-65-years.

One of the survivors, Frank Prentice, shared his experience and recalled how he survived the sinking ship but continued to have nightmares about it. His interview was recorded by BBC in 1979 for their documentary series “The Great Liners” and has been shared on YouTube. Since the tragedy, he had held on to a keepsake that was a vivid reminder of the tragedy. It was the watch he wore that night that remained frozen in time and had stopped at exactly 02:20 AM after lasting for a couple of minutes in the freezing water. During the BBC interview, he was asked whether talking about the Titanic bothered him and he replied, “I shall probably dream about it tonight; have another nightmare.”

You can view his BBC interview on YouTube by clicking here.


“The Titanic Disaster Was Predicted in an 1898 Novel With ‘eerie’ Foretelling.” Irish Star, 19 Apr. 2024, www.irishstar.com/news/us-news/titanic-disaster-predicted-1898-novel-32628706.

A novel released in 1898 eerily foretold the sinking of the Titanic, with multiple parallels between a fictitious sinking in the book and the infamous Titanic disaster. “The Wreck of the Titan Or, Futility” was authored by the American writer, Morgan Robertson. In his book, the Titan sank off Newfoundland Banks, around 1,000 miles off the coast of New York. Coincidentally, it had hit an iceberg and, in a similar fashion to the Titanic, and the accident occurred in mid-April on an otherwise calm night at sea.

Editor’s note: As the article notes, there are some striking similarities to the actual tragedy of 1912. There are some crucial differences though. Unlike what happened to Titanic, the fictional Titan was not in calm seas. In fact, according to the story, it was a hard choppy sea and fog as well that made it hard to sea. Like Titanic, the lookouts could not see the iceberg until too late. However, it hits the berg directly and this is what Robertson wrote of the collision:

“But in five seconds the bow of Titan began to lift, and ahead, and on either hand, could be seen, a field of ice which arose in an incline to a hundred feet high in her track. But a low beach, possibly formed by the recent overturning of the berg, received the Titan, and with her keel cutting the ice like steel runner of an iceboat, and great weight resting on the starboard bilge, she rose out of the sea, higher and higher-until the propellers in the stern were half exposed-then meeting an easy spiral rise in the ice under her port bow, she heeled, overbalanced, and crashed down on her side to starboard.”

That is quite a scene if you picture it in your head! Robertson, like many authors, latched on to a great kernel of a story when he speculated on huge ships like his fictional Titan hitting an iceberg. Other great authors have done the same as well. It should be noted another Robertson story foretold of a Japanese attack on the United States as well. There was a greater loss of life in his story as they only had 24 lifeboats (the bare minimum) lashed to the upper deck (and hard to use since the ship was inclined) but to minimize other safety costs put cork jackets in passenger and crew cabin.


Cummings, Denis. “A Look at the Titanic Second Class Survivors.” www.findingdulcinea.com, 19 Apr. 2024, www.findingdulcinea.com/titanic-second-class-survivors.

As a fervent admirer of history with a penchant for uncovering forgotten tales, the stories of resilience and survival especially captivate me. Among such narratives, the epic tale of the Titanic stands out not just for its unfortunate demise but for the human spirits that persevered.  In this article, I’m thrilled to shine a light on those extraordinary individuals – the Titanic second class passengers who managed to survive this monumental tragedy.


Felton, James. “Iceberg That Sank the Titanic May Be Shown in Unearthed Photo From 1912.” IFLScience, 18 Apr. 2024, www.iflscience.com/iceberg-that-sank-the-titanic-may-be-shown-in-unearthed-photo-from-1912-73865.

A rediscovered photo captured two days after the Titanic sank is going on auction this month. The photo, taken by undertaker John Snow Jr, may show the iceberg that sank the ship on its maiden voyage 112 years ago on April 14. When the Titanic sank 640 kilometers (400 miles) off Newfoundland, Canada, over 1,500 of the passengers, of which there were over 2,200, died – many by drowning or immersion hypothermia. John Snow Jr was chief embalmer of funeral directors John Snow & Co and was summoned to the wreck of the Titanic to help collect some, but not all, of the bodies for burial.


 “Titanic Secrets Revealed: Number of Lifeboats Reduced to Give First Class Passengers a Better View.” Sarajevo Times, 17 Apr. 2024, sarajevotimes.com/titanic-secrets-revealed-number-of-lifeboats-reduced-to-give-first-class-passengers-a-better-view.

His video showcases all 10 of Titanic’s decks, including the boat deck at the very top. Part of the reason for the lack of lifeboats was also because designers didn’t want to overcrowd the ship’s deck and obstruct the view of the Atlantic for first-class passengers. Another interesting fact is that Titanic actually had two grand staircases, both restricted to first-class passengers only. The far larger and grander one was the front grand staircase, adorned with a wall panel of carved oak with a clock in the center, also the setting where Jack and Rose meet in James Cameron’s 1997 film hit.


 “How Many First Class Passengers Died on the Titanic?” www.findingdulcinea.com, 18 Apr. 2024, www.findingdulcinea.com/first-class-passengers-died-on-the-titanic.

Are you curious about the tragic fate of the Titanic’s elite? My passion for history has always drawn me towards unraveling stories from the past, and today, I’m here to share with you a piece of history that still captures our imagination over a century later.We often hear about the Titanic’s ill-fated voyage, but who exactly were those first-class passengers who lost their lives in one of history’s most infamous maritime disasters? Let’s explore together and uncover how many first class passengers died on the Titanic.


Mawson, Brandon. “A Look at Two Cumbrians Who Lost Their Lives on the Titanic.” News and Star, 18 Apr. 2024, www.newsandstar.co.uk/features/24257172.look-two-cumbrians-lost-lives-titanic.

Two men in particular, Jonathon Shepherd and his mentor Joseph Bell, were some of the Cumbrians who lost their lives on the ship. Jonathon was born in Whitehaven in 1880 and Joseph was originally from Farlam, near Brampton. 


Fraga, Kaleena. “Edward John Smith, the Captain of the RMS Titanic.” All That’s Interesting, 18 Apr. 2024, allthatsinteresting.com/titanic-captain-edward-smith.

On the Olympic, Smith was involved in the worst catastrophe of his career (until he became captain of the Titanic). In September 1911, the Olympic collided with the HMS Hawke off the Isle of Wight. Though Smith was reportedly not directing the ship at the time, the Royal Navy protested that the Olympic had caused the collision by taking an abrupt turn. White Star Line vehemently disagreed but ended up having to pay high legal fees.


Jonathan. “Titanic: Fact Vs. Fiction – Debunking Common Myths About the Disaster.” Anglotopia, 17 Apr. 2024, anglotopia.net/british-history/titanic/titanic-fact-vs-fiction-debunking-common-myths-about-the-disaster.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic has captured the imagination of people worldwide for over a century, spawning countless myths and misconceptions about the events that transpired on that fateful night in April 1912. While the Titanic disaster remains one of the most well-documented maritime tragedies in history, numerous myths and inaccuracies have persisted over the years. Here, we debunk ten common myths surrounding the Titanic and separate fact from fiction.


O’Rourke, Connor. “Extraordinary Story of Titanic’s Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightroller.” IrishCentral.com, 17 Apr. 2024, www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/titanic-charles-herbert-lightoller.

In the following years, he joined the Royal Navy and helped with the naval efforts during WWI and eventually became a full commander at the end of 1918. Remarkably, even in his old age, he had commanded one of many civilian ships in 1940 that helped rescue over 338,000 men from the beaches of Dunkirk during the Second World War.


Ratliff, Melissa. “WATCH: How Was the Sinking of the RMS Titanic Reported Locally?” https://www.mysuncoast.com, 16 Apr. 2024, www.mysuncoast.com/2024/04/16/watch-how-was-sinking-rms-titanic-reported-locally.

It took days for information to be distributed to sources and some of the information that got out was completely incorrect. By the time the news began trickling down to major newspapers in Florida, there were different accounts of everything. On April 15, 1912, the evening edition of the Tampa Daily Times reported that the ship was afloat and all passengers had been rescued. This was eventually retracted and corrected in subsequent editions.


Knudsen, Cory. “So Minnesota: Deephaven Couple Were Passengers on Titanic.” KSTP.com 5 Eyewitness News, 16 Apr. 2024, kstp.com/kstp-news/top-news/so-minnesota-deephaven-couple-were-passengers-on-titanic.

Monday marks the 112th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912. Walter Douglas and his wife Mahala from Minnesota were passengers on the ship. The Douglas family’s wealth came from starting the Quaker Oats Company and Douglas Starch Company. “His peers dubbed him a captain of industry,” said Liz Vandam with the Lake Minnetonka Historical Society. “They considered him to be a man of great integrity.” By the beginning of 1912, Walter Douglas retired and construction of the family’s palatial mansion in Deephaven overlooking Lake Minnetonka was complete.


Burgess, Madison, and Jonathan Chadwick. “Inside the Remaining Mysteries Surrounding the Titanic – From What Happened to the Passengers To…” Mail Online, 15 Apr. 2024, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13309119/remaining-mysteries-titanic-happened-passengers-iceberg-caused-tragedy.html.

One theory suggests that a freak weather event created the phenomenon, which possibly both obscured the iceberg until it was too late and hindered communication with a nearby ship. Historian and broadcaster Tim Maltin claims the Titanic’s crew fell victim to a thermal inversion, which is caused by a band of cold air forcing itself underneath a band of warmer air, the Times reports. He believes that the cold current in the North Atlantic Ocean called Labrador pushed this cold air beneath the warm Gulf Stream, creating a mirage.


Chadwick, Jonathan. “See Inside the Titanic Like NEVER Before: Incredible Video Reveals a Cross Section of the Doomed…” Mail Online, 14 Apr. 2024, www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-13288299/Titanic-Incredible-video-cross-section-doomed-liner.html.

But the scale and the glory of RMS Titanic can be admired once more, thanks to a detailed digital cross section of the stunning luxury liner.  Posted to YouTube by US animator Jared Owen, it shows Titanic from every angle, exactly as it appeared just before it set sail from Southampton 112 years ago.  The video may prove helpful to Australian billionaire Clive Palmer, who has promised to recreate the famous ship at an estimated cost of £1 billion.  ‘Titanic II’, to be ready by 2027, will closely mimic the original ship’s specifications, while including modern 21st navigation and safety systems.

You can view the video on YouTube by clicking here.


Winston, Alex. “The Lives of Jews Who Boarded the Titanic.” The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com, 14 Apr. 2024, www.jpost.com/diaspora/article-796496.

Some 69 of the passengers on board the Titanic were known to be Jewish, and their stories and experiences are some of the most interesting and heart-wrenching of the whole saga.


Watch “‘Titanic: The Official Cookbook’ Author Demonstrates ‘Blue Moon’ Cocktail.” ABC7 Chicago, 11 Apr. 2024, abc7chicago.com/titanic-the-official-cookbook-veronica-hinke-recipes-recipe/14646456.

There were several events happening around the Chicagoland area to commemorate that day. Author Veronica Hinke, author of “Titanic: The Official Cookbook” stopped by ABC 7 Eyewitness news to talk about her book and demonstrate one of the 40 timeless recipes for every occasion.


Jones, Alec. “Five Ways ‘Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition’ Makes You Feel Like You’re Actually on the Ship.” Concrete Playground, 11 Apr. 2024, concreteplayground.com/melbourne/arts-entertainment/five-ways-the-titanic-the-artefact-exhibition-makes-you-feel-like-on-the-ship.

A more engaging way to learn this tragic story is to Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition, an incredibly detailed exhibition that studies the vessel, its crew, the passengers and takes visitors through a memorable journey through the events of that fateful night. But how does it do that and why is it worth your time? Let’s set sail to find out.


Bromovsky, Lettice. “Is This the Iceberg That Sank the Titanic? Newly-unearthed Photo Provides Fascinating Clue to 1912…” Mail Online, 10 Apr. 2024, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13293371/Titanic-photo-fascinating-clue-1912-tragedy-killed.html.

A newly unearthed photo of the iceberg that may have sunk the Titanic has come to light 112 years after the disaster. The black and white image was captured by an undertaker working on the body recovery ship that arrived on the wreck site in the aftermath of the sinking. It is now coming up for sale at Henry Aldridge & Son Auctioneers of Devizes, Wiltshire, for an estimated price of £4,000 to £7,000.  It shows a large glacier oddly shaped like an elephant above the surface of the north Atlantic.It was taken two days after the luxury liner struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage and sank killing 1,522 people.

The auction will take place on 27 April 2024 at 9:00 am UK time. Information about how to bid can be found here.


Small, Alonzo. “Titanic: The Exhibition at Old Orchard Extended Due to Popular Demand.” WGN9, 10 Apr. 2024, wgntv.com/news/trending/titanic-the-exhibition-at-old-orchard-extended-due-to-popular-demand.

On the 112th anniversary of the ship’s departure, Exhibition producer Imagine Exhibitions announced that, due to popular demand, they would extend the immersive experience through July 7. A Titanic-inspired afternoon tea experience has also been added, which “promises to transport visitors back in time, blending culinary delights with the rich tapestry of Titanic’s story.” Titanic Afternoon Tea begins on April 28. A new combination ticket will also be available, which grants access to both Titanic: The Exhibition and Downton Abbey: The Exhibition.

 Information on dates, times, and prices can be found here.


Hickey, Kate. “Titanic Hero Irishman Thomas Andrews Epitomized Bravery as Ship Went Down.” IrishCentral.com, 10 Apr. 2024, www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/thomas-andrews-titanic-hero.

Andrews had been overruled on two key issues when the ship was being designed. He wanted to double the number of lifeboats to 64 and wanted a double hull built extending up to the B deck which would certainly have prevented the disaster. After he died on 15th April 1912, his father received a telegram from his mother’s cousin, who had spoken with survivors in New York, seeing news of Andrews. The telegram was read aloud by Andrews Sr. to the staff of their home in Comber: “Interview Titanic’s officers. All unanimous that Andrews heroic unto death, thinking only safety others. Extend heartfelt sympathy to all.”


“How New York City Grieved the Titanic – Ephemeral New York.” Ephemeral New York, ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/tag/how-new-york-city-grieved-the-titanic. (8 April 2024)

For the next 55 years, as ship traffic decreased in New York Harbor and South Street’s fortunes turned, the Titanic memorial with its time ball stayed in service on the roof. In 1968, the Seaman’s Institute moved to a new headquarters on State Street. The top of the Titanic Memorial was given to the South Street Seaport Museum. But it wasn’t until 1976 when the memorial lighthouse went up on a triangular corner at Pearl and Fulton Streets (now known as Titanic Memorial Park), held in place by a concrete podium. The time ball is also gone; it’s been replaced by an ornamental sphere.


Molony, Senan. “Faces of the Titanic: William Burke, Irish Hero Who Saved a Woman’sLife.” IrishCentral.com, 8 Apr. 2024, www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/titanic-william-burke-irish-hero.amp.

This is an extract from the book “The Irish Aboard the Titanic” by Senan Molony which tells the tales of the people who were on board the night the ship went down. This book gives those people a voice. In it are stories of agony, luck, self-sacrifice, dramatic escapes, and heroes left behind.


Barnes, Freya. “Leather Case for Violin Used on the Titanic to Reassure Passengers as the Ship Sank Is Set to Sell…” Mail Online, 5 Apr. 2024, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13277023/leather-case-violin-titanic-sale-auction.html.

A leather case that protected the violin played by the bandmaster on the Titanic as the ship sank is tipped to sell for £120,000 at auction. Wallace Hartley and his orchestral band famously played on to reassure the passengers as the 1912 disaster unfolded around them. Wallace went down with the ship but not before he put his wooden violin back in its valise bag which he strapped to himself – possibly for buoyancy – using the long handles.

The auction will take place on 27 April 2024 at 9:00 am UK time. Information about how to bid can be found here.


“112-Year-Old Elaborate Menu of Titanic Is Viral, Internet Reacts.” NDTV.com, www.ndtv.com/offbeat/112-year-old-elaborate-menu-of-titanic-is-viral-internet-reacts-5374994. (4 April 2024)

A popular page on X named Fascinating has released the elaborate menu served onboard the Titanic. The page posted two slides that included pictures of the original menu cards for the first and third-class passengers of the Titanic. The original menu card exudes an enchanting aura, offering various dining options from luncheon and buffet to breakfast, catering to first and third-class passengers. The post soon went viral on X.  “Third class’s menu looked good to me,” a user commented.


Knoxville News Sentinel. “Pigeon Forge’s Titanic Museum Attraction Buys Panel at Center of ‘Titanic’ Controversy.” Knoxville News Sentinel, 2 Apr. 2024, www.knoxnews.com/story/news/local/2024/04/02/pigeon-forge-museum-buys-panel-at-heart-of-titanic-controversy/73177923007.

Speculation will likely continue forever on whether Jack would, in fact, have fit on the “door” with Rose and survived the sinking of the Titanic. But any possible conspiracy theories over who, exactly, shelled out more than half a million dollars during a March auction for the iconic wood panel from the eponymous film can now be laid to rest. The “door” that featured prominently in the Oscar-winning blockbuster “Titanic” was purchased by Titanic Museum Attraction, which has locations in Pigeon Forge and Branson, Mo. According to the museum, it will become part of one of the largest permanent collections of Titanic artifacts anywhere.



Friday Titanic News


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

Hey Kids, Want to Visit the Titanic? Only $250,000
Explorers Web, 11 Sep 2022

If you’ve never seen the Titanic in person, you’re not alone. But you can become part of that small coterie soon. As part of a trip with OceanGate Expeditions, you can visit the wreck of the Titanic next year alongside a crew of dive experts, scientists, and filmmakers. The caveat: it costs a quarter of a million dollars. Still, the experience promises to be a singular one. Scuttled under about 4,000m of North Atlantic Ocean water, the RMS Titanic rests about 600km off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The ship sank in 1912, taking about 1,500 souls with it. Divers first found its wreckage in 1985. Tour visitors are called “mission specialists”. That could register as amusing but actually, the company requires its clients to train for some mission-specific tasks while at sea. Submersible navigation, piloting, tracking, communications, maintenance, and operations all make the checklist. Mission specialists make one submersible dive during the voyage and assist on the surface when other teams dive. There’s room for six such positions on the mission, the brochure adds.

You can view details and download a brochure by going to https://oceangateexpeditions.com/titanic.


Woman Who Completed Lifelong Dream To Explore Titanic Says She ‘Lost It’ Afterwards
Independent, 12 Sep 2022
(Paid access required to view full article.)

Renata Rojas had been obsessed with the Titanic for more than half of her life when she looked out the window of a submersible, 4,000 metres under the North Atlantic, and saw the doomed ship’s spectre appear hauntingly from the depths. She thought she’d cry – but she was far too busy.



Morgan Robertson
circa 1890-1900, self-portrait
Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

The Man Who Predicted the Sinking of the Titanic
History of Yesterday, 15 Sep 2022

Robertson’s novella draws many similarities between the fictional SS Titan and the RMS Titanic. The book mentions the ship’s perceived “unsinkable” attribute that many assigned to it due to the advanced technology used to construct it, an attribute shared by the RMS Titanic. It is also predicted that because of this perceived attribute, less-than-usual safety precautions were taken when equipping the ship with safety equipment, mainly manifesting through the lack of lifeboats.

Editor’s Note
The book, Futility or Wreck of the Titan, is actually a good read. The article accurately relates the similarities, but the fictional Titan was different and hits the iceberg dead on. Robertson always denied his book was inspired by anything supernatural. The version of the book I have also includes one or two other stories. One is about an attack on the United States by Japan long before it happened! Back in the time he wrote it, Japan had emerged as a major power and was flexing its military muscle (such as defeating the Russians and taking Port Arthur from them). So a lot of people were worried about a Japanese attack on the US (I know because I read a lot of letters written by people back prior to World War I about their concerns). Robertson took what he knew about ships and crafted a clever story about a big new ship that suffers catastrophically on its maiden voyage with a shocking loss of life. The book would likely have been forgotten had not Titanic occurred making it a prescient book. It does beg the question-if he saw it as a real possibility how come the people who built and ran the ship didn’t? Like the question as why every culture has a version of meatballs, you may bang your head fruitlessly against the wall on this one.


Padlock on gate
George Hodan

Titanic True Story: Were Third-Class Passengers Locked Behind Gates?
Screen Rant, 18 Sep 2022

As seen in Cameron’s movie, there were clear separations between first, second, and third-class passengers on the Titanic, and they had designated areas where they could walk around freely. In accordance with US immigration law, the Titanic had to have gates between the ship’s decks in order to avoid the spread of diseases, but these weren’t used in cruel ways as seen in the movie. Third-class passengers were in the bowels of the ship and thus didn’t have direct access to lifeboats, but they weren’t purposely kept behind gates to avoid getting to the lifeboats, and third-class stewards were reportedly instructed to have passengers put on their lifebelts and go to the deck, but many refused.


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Did a Book Predict Titanic’s Doom?

Morgan Robertson (date unknown) Public Domain

Now that all the stale news about Titanic II has gone around the globe enough times to make it really old news, another one is getting primed to take its place. The new/old story is about how Titanic’s demise was foretold in the book Futilityby Morgan Robertson. The book was published in 1898 and renamed after the Titanic tragedy as Wreck of the Titan. Many who read the book are struck by the similarities between the fictional Titan and Titanic. Some even go so far as to say Robertson was either clairvoyant or had some other supernatural revelation of what was to happen.

While there are similarities between the fictional Titan and the historical Titanic, there are a lot of things different. Titan was not on its maiden voyage and on its sixth heading back to Britain from New York. There were fewer lifeboats so five hundred could be saved out of the 3,000 passengers aboard. It looked different as well, more like a steam yacht with sails and carried no cargo. The collision was different as well. Titanic impacted with the iceberg on its starboard side causing punctures in the hull. In Robertson’s book, the ship collides with the iceberg head on and rolls up on it. Then it rolled on the side allowing the boilers and engines to pierce through the hull then slipped back into the sea and sank. One could go on but you get the salient point here: that the fictional Titan’s demise was very different from the historical Titanic. Robertson denied he had any supernatural vision and concocted his story using the available data he had on ships of the day.

So when you see news reports that proclaim “book predicted Titanic’s demise 14 years earlier” it is nothing more than puffery by editors trying to fill space (and tv news producers do the same as well). It ought to be noted that Robertson wrote about a surprise Japanese attack on the United States but hardly anyone thinks it predicted the events of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.


  1. Titanic X-Files
  2. Gardiner, Martin ed. THE WRECK OF THE TITANIC FORETOLD? Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY 1998
  3.  Robertson, Morgan THE WRECK OF THE TITAN OR FUTILITY, Bucaneer Books, Cutchogue, New York 1994 [Originally published 1898]

Titanic X-Files

The Titanic X-Files concerns the supernatural, otherworldly, or just plain mysteries about Titanic and has been updated with some newer information since I last updated it a few years back (on the Titanic News Channel website). I see a lot of queries about the mummy, no pope and other related issues. One item deleted and moved to Titanic Sinking Theories are conspiracies. I think those entries are better placed there rather than here.


Poster for the 1932 film The Mummy Image:Public Domain
Poster for the 1932 film The Mummy
Image:Public Domain

1. Was There A Cursed Mummy Aboard Titanic?
Here is one version of this story that is circulating out there on the Internet:
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 men was shot by an Egyptian servant accidentally. His arm was so severely wounded it had to be amputated. The 3rd man in the foursome found on his return home that the bank holding his entire savings had failed. The 4th 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 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. 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 causing 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 know authority on the occult, Madame Helena Blavatsky, visited the premises. Upon entry, she was seized 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 yrs, 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 April, 1912, the new owner escorted his 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 1,500passengers to their deaths at the bottom of the Atlantic. The ship was the “Titanic.”

The legend of a cursed mummy began not long after the Titanic disaster. Supposedly the mummy of an ancient Egyptian princess, whose curse warned not to disturb her tomb, was placed aboard the Titanic. Then we are supposed to believe that the ancient gods of Egypt condemned everyone on Titanic to death for this desecration. The ancient princess referred to was Queen Hatshepsut who did rule Egypt about 1640 b.c.e. Her tombs (there are apparently three that were built) do exist but her mummy has never been positively identified although there are some that could be hers. Additionally no curse exists or has been found in any of her tombs. Nor is there any proof she was loaded aboard the Titanic. In short, no proof has been found to substantiate almost all of the facts claimed in most versions of this story. Nor that the mummy was in the British museum, which by the way fields calls and letters to this day asking about the cursed mummy. As to the curse, it should be noted that the most famous curse of all- King Tut- was a fabrication as well. In this case it was created by Howard Carter to keep people away from the tomb. While much has been made of some prominent deaths after the discovery, the vast majority of people who were involved in the excavation lived long lives, including Howard Carter who discovered the tomb.

Update 2/2015
Barbara Mickleson over at Snopes.com  did an examination of the legend and found new information (at least to me) about how this legend came about. It comes down to an inner coffin lid and a desire to get publicity for a new book. It turns out that writers William Stead and Douglas Murray, who were writing a horror book about an Egyptian mummy, decided to use this coffin lid with the image of an unidentified woman (possibly a priestess of Isis) to generate interest. They concocted stories of items being moved around in the area of the British museum, strange noises, frightened workers and even a death and crafted the legend it being cursed. Needless to say, it was all a fabrication. The inner coffin lid is at the British Museum and there is no mummy that came with it (apparently still in Egypt).

WreckoftheTitan_bookcover2. Did The Book “Wreck of the Titan” Foresee The Tragedy?
In 1898 the book Futility (later retitled Wreck of the Titan when republished after Titanic tragedy) by Morgan Robertson was published. The book told the story of a large ship called Titan which struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage in which close to 3,000 people died.
Many who have read the book believe it was prophetic in light of Titanic. Robertson himself was a known believer in the occult so many hold his book was a psychic vision. The fictional Titan was indeed similar in many way to the actual Titanic. Here are some interesting similarities:
Titan                                                                      Titanic
Length (feet)    800                                            882.5
No. of watertight compartments    19             16
Passengers (maximum)        3,000                 3,000
Passengers Onboard    3,000                           2,200
Lifeboats    24                                                      20
Month of Maiden Voyage    April                   April
Time Hit Iceberg    Near Midnight               11:40 P.M
Collision location    North Atlantic                North Atlantic
Deaths    2,987                                                    1,523

As one can gleam from the table, there are similarities between the two ships. While similarities abound, there is no real proof that can be put forward this was a psychic forewarning of the tragedy. For instance, it is more than likely that Robertson learned of White Star’s plans to build a fleet of giant passenger ships that would travel the North Atlantic route (New York-Southampton).In 1892 the White Star Line announced it had commissioned Harland & Wolff to build large Atlantic steamers. Many newspapers carried information about it (like the New York Times on September 17, 1892). The New York Times article mentions a ship called Gigantic would be built and many of the specifications given are close to what Robertson used in his book. It is not hard a stretch to believe that Robertson used this information when writing his book.

For many though, it is the collision with the iceberg that seems the strongest part of the psychic warning theory. Both the fictional Titan and Titanic collided with an iceberg within the same time frame. Titan struck the berg near midnight, Titanic at 11:40 P.M. Also the warnings are almost the same. On Titanic, the warning to the bridge by lookout Fleet was “Iceberg, Right Ahead!” Titan’s lookout shouts: ” Ice, Ice ahead. Iceberg. Right under the bows.” The similarities are certainly striking. But there are crucial differences as well. On the night the real Titanic sunk, the sea was remarkably calm almost like a pond. It was moonless as well making it very dark. And the temperature was below freezing. Now compare it to what Robertson writes of the night:

When the watch turned out at midnight, they found a vicious half-gale blowing from the northeast….a fairly uncomfortable whole gale of chilly wind.
The hard sea, choppy as compared with her great length, dealt the Titan successive blows….
A fog-bank, into which the ship had plunged in the afternoon, still enveloped her….

In both cases the lookout was unable to see the iceberg until it was fairly close. Another crucial difference is the impact of the berg. On the real Titanic, not many people felt the impact except in the forward areas. And it struck on the starboard side. But in Robertson’s book the impact was far different:

But in five seconds the bow of Titan began to lift, and ahead, and on either hand, could be seen, a field of ice which arose in an incline to a hundred feet high in her track. But a low beach, possibly formed by the recent overturning of the berg, received the Titan, and with her keel cutting the ice like steel runner of an iceboat, and great weight resting on the starboard bilge, she rose out of the sea, higher and higher-until the propellers in the stern were half exposed-then meeting an easy spiral rise in the ice under her port bow, she heeled, overbalanced, and crashed down on her side to starboard.

Crucial differences such as these support the proposition that Robertson’s book was not a psychic forewarning. Rather the book was made one after the demise of Titanic. Certainly many books can be considered prophetic after the fact. Oliver Stone produced a movie called Wall Street which was about an evil mogul and a naive stockbroker. Yet news was soon filled with real-life stock manipulators like Michael Milkin. A coincidence to be sure. Just like in 1912 when Titanic sank the publishers of Futility decided to reprint the book under a new title,Wreck of the Titan.

Behe, George & Goss, Michael, LOST AT SEA, Prometheus Books, 1994. Chapter six of this book deals specifically with occult warnings of Titanic’s demise.
Gardiner, Martin ed. THE WRECK OF THE TITANIC FORETOLD? Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY 1998
Robertson, Morgan THE WRECK OF THE TITAN OR FUTILITY, Bucaneer Books, Cutchogue, New York 1994 [Originally published 1898]

3. No Pope
Various supernatural warnings have been identified as signs Titanic was doomed. Some have argued that a reading of the stars (practiced by astrologers not astronomers) indicates the planets were aligned in a way that foretold this disaster. Still others claim strange birds seen flying over the shipyard or landing on Titanic (well not strange birds just birds not normally seen) were a warning as well. Another intriguing warning comes in the form of numbers. In John Eaton and Charles Haas book Titanic: Destination Disaster, they write on page 18:

“There were those that said Titanic had been doomed from the start, from the moment the hull number 390904 had been assigned by her builders, a number some Harland & Wolff workers read in mirror images as NO POPE.”

When one gathers up all the various supposed supernatural warnings, Titanic was doomed! Throw in the mummy curse and this ship was lucky to have even left Southampton. Some have claimed to have precognitive dreams as well of the disaster. One explanation that people turn to superstitution to explain tragedies is that we do not see improbable events as probable. Yet the chance of something bad or something good, however improbable, is possible. When you buy a lottery ticket the statistical chance of winning is low but not improbable. Same with disasters.

Many have sought supernatural explanations for the loss of ships. The whole concept of the “Bermuda Triangle” is to try to explain ships disappearing. Various explanations by sensationalist authors have put forth theories like vile vortices, cursed ships, alien spacecraft, and Atlantis to name a few. Yet in most cases one can draw rational answers from studying shipping reports and weather forecasts for the day concerned. A ship that disappeared during a storm is likely to have suffered a fate known to all sailors.
In the end, most of the supernatural warnings are probably nothing more than coincidence at best.

And finally number 390904 does not read as NO POPE when read backward, forward, or viewed as a mirror image.

4. Was Someone Buried Inside The Hull?
Another popular legend is that a worker got buried in the hull. According to the legend, workers and even passengers heard someone banging from inside the hull. While accidents did occur at the ship yard, there is certainly no proof anyone was entombed in the hull. Wags say that perhaps it was the mummy that was trapped inside the hull.

5. Fake Descendants & Memorabilia
From time to time various people have come forward to claim they are related to people who survived Titanic or perished that night. So many claims have come up that one could write a whole book on the subject. Why do people make such false claims? The general reason is to gain attention. After all, claiming to be related to a person on Titanic offers a certain cache.

While imposters can and do fool people, fortunately there are ways to often to verify the accuracy of a claim. A fairly complete list of passengers is available and many scholars, both professional and amateur, have studied the many people aboard Titanic. Additionally various public records are searched and checked to make sure a claim is legitimate. From time to time some on the Internet have claimed to be descendents but often, unless proven, such claims should be taken warily.

Another area of concern is fake memorabilia. Ever since the great ship went down, and especially after the recent movie, the desire to acquire things Titanic has grown. However with the exception of coal sold by RMS Titanic, the company in charge of the salvage operation, nothing brought up from Titanic has been sold publicly.On occasion items do appear at auction houses from families of survivors. Thanks to the resurgent interest, the price of Titanic collectibles has swung up. So families do put items up for auction and usually they are authenticated before auction. The premium on these rare collectibles, usually letters or other items, is pretty high. Be on the look out for anyone who claims to have “genuine” artifacts from the Titanic. More often than not, they are fakes. Be especially careful of so-called signatures of survivors.

Update 2/2015
Loraine Allison/Helen Loriane Kramer
Perhaps the most notable story in recent years. In 1940 Helen Kramer of Berkley, Michigan claimed she was Loraine Allison, the daughter of Hudson and Bessie Allison who perished with them in 1912. Their infant son, Trevor, did survive because Alice Cleaver (the nursemaid)took the child and headed out presumably to meet up with the rest of the family. Unfortunately it appears they did not know Cleaver had done this and spent most the time looking for their missing child and died when Titanic went down. Helen Kramer claimed she had been saved by a man named Hyde who had taken her to England and raised her as his own child. However she also claimed Hyde was none other than Titanic designer Thomas Andrews. However the death of her lawyer and a subsequent fire destroyed the paperwork and ended the story.

That is until many years later when apparently her granddaughter found all the papers her grandmother had on the issue and started the whole issue up again. The big difference between 1940 and now is that we have better ways of determining whether someone can be genetically proven to be related or not. The case of Anna Anderson, who claimed to be the only surviving member of the Russian royal family executed by the Communists, was finally put to rest with a DNA test that proved she was not related in any way with them. And a mitrochrondial DNA test has now shown that Helen Kramer could not have been Loraine Allison or any other member of that family.

7. Ghostly Encounters
From time to time there are news reports about people claiming to see, hear, or feel ghosts specific to Titanic are around. Sometimes it is around objects once owned by those that perished or perhaps in places where they once lived. There is no way to really investigate each claim without going to each alleged occurrence, conduct interviews, and do an on site inspection. Sometimes there is a perfectly rational explanation to strange sounds such as buildings that settle or voices from the outside coming through pipes or vents. It is easy for our eyes to be fooled. The late Arthur C. Clarke related the story of someone spotting a monster in the water between Sri Lanka and India. From a distance it looked like something out of a Jules Verne story as all you could see was the top and something that looked like a trunk. Not to worry though, it was an elephant merely crossing over but the optical illusion that was created by the water, sun, and the half submerged body of the elephant made it look like a monster.

More recently some have claimed that ghosts are following the Titanic exhibitions. We have to keep in mind that sometimes promoters of events recall the old carnivals in trying to get people to come in and see the strange creature inside. So putting out stories of ghostly sightings and sounds may draw people in out of curiosity. Certainly when a television show that follows around “ghost hunters” to a alleged haunting at a Titanic exhibition suddenly pops up, the alarm bells ought to be going off as to what is going on here. It is likely there are more logical explanations rather supernatural ones. For now this case file remains open.