1. A lump of coal and a rusticle that were salvaged from Titanic in the 1990’s are going up for auction. The coal was brought up in 1994 (the Titanic Research & Recovery Expedition) and the rusticle from the ship’s hull from the 1998 French expedition to the site. The go under the hammer today at JP Humbert Auctioneers (UK).
Source: Chunk Of Titanic Goes Under The Hammer(10 Mar 2015,Advertiser & Review)
2.The UK Guardian’s Chase Condrone gave Titanic Museum at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee a good review. She notes the museum crafts reality and theatre into one with people dressed up in period costumes, the original items on display, the ability to feel the coldness of that night. It also makes her in one case feel a bit creepy:
I walk up to a narrow trough of water, and a sign tells me to plunge my hand into it. The water is 28 degrees: the temperature of the Atlantic that night. In his 1915 poem The Convergence of the Twain, Thomas Hardy saw the Titanic and the iceberg as “twin halves of one august event”. My iceberg is just a picture, but this room is nonetheless creepy, and as I trail my hand in the trough of icy water, I feel certain that I could never know the experience of the Titanic.
3. Eurogamer.net reports that a proposed project called Titanic Honor & Glory will be the most ambitious recreation of the disaster to date. While it will be a game, the developer has hired a team of contributors to make it historically accurate (except of course the fictional aspects of the story). There will be interaction with real-life Titanic passengers and crew. Sounds pretty ambitious and hopefully will come to pass.
Source: Ambitious Titanic Game Lets You Explore The Sinking Ship In Real-Time (eurogamer.net,24 Feb 2015
Premier Exhibitions, the owner of RMS Titanic Inc and Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition, had a sudden stock drop this week. The company in an official statement says:
With regard to the recent decline in our stock price, Premier Exhibitions, Inc. (Nasdaq:PRXI) knows of no specific reason for the decline. As previously announced, the board is currently exploring all strategic and financing options. The board is currently in advanced discussions with a potential strategic partner and is considering several other financing alternatives. We expect to have more news to report in the near future.
Now it could be just a general drift of the market but this is a niche stock, one that is not traded on the big boards. The big problem the company has is that, aside from monetizing the Titanic artifacts, it has been unable to sell the collection to another buyer. The strict conditions imposed by a federal judge means the entire collection gets sold at one time. It cannot be sold in sets or individual lots. The high sale price means only the most wealthy of investors or institutions can afford to purchase. And even if a bid is finally accepted by Premier, then you head off to federal court to have the judge sign off on it. And that will not be easy. The judge will demand lots of proof you are going to maintain the collection. And the hearing will be public. Expect anti-salvors to show up to protest the sale. Not to mention petitions that seek to reopen the salvage award.
Or another reason could be the decision to have a 1 for 10 reverse stock spilt. Normally a stock split gives you stock (for every ten shares you own we give you two). Reverse stock splits are not unheard of but unusual. It is cheaper than a stock buy-back but means investors loose shares. Say you have 100 shares in Premier. Every 10 shares will be converted to 1 share. So instead of 100 shares, it gets cut to 50. In theory, by reducing the number of shares held by investors it increases the market value. Premier had 49.1 million shares before the deadline of 27 Feb 2015. Now thanks to the reverse stock split, it now has 4.9 million shares thus increasing its market value. And its ability to keep the stock price above a certain threshold ($1.00)to be publicly traded as well perhaps bettering the chances for financing.
Investors ought to be worried. They cannot sell the Titanic collection, a major deal to sell shares to another entity fell through, and there seems to be a sense that something is not going right at Premier. Taking back shares is a desperate gamble to keep the stock from sinking below $1.00. As of today, the stock is trading at $3.02. So it seems to have worked but still the stock is more trending down than up. Investors are right to be wary about this stock and perhaps take their cash out when it gets high enough to make some money. But more likely it is a loss on the tax form.
France is not happy about this. Belfast Live is reporting that Titanic Belfast received the coveted title of Europe’s Best Group Visitor Attraction in Berlin at the European Group Travel Awards on Thursday. Sacre´ bleu! No doubt this will spark unrest in France over this obvious snub. Forget about their dislike of American fast food. It has been replaced by their contempt for all things Irish. Of course one might remind them that the last surviving White Star Line tender sat for years neglected in France until brought to Belfast and restored to present glory.
Source: Titanic Belfast Beats The Eiffel Tower To Be Named Europe’s Best Group Visitor Attraction(6 Mar 2015, Belfast Live)
So you have tired of the usual discussions about Titanic and that very famous movie and are looking for something new. In a Castle like moment, it happens! Jack Dawson was a time traveler sent back in time to prevent Rose from committing suicide. Shazam! The Internet goes ablaze as people discuss its possibility and offering proof. Like the famous cursed mummy, it is sure to last a long time.
If we follow the logic of its believers, if Rose had fallen overboard Titanic would have stopped to look for her. This would take time and quite possibly prevented Titanic from colliding with the iceberg. History would have been changed but for good or ill we do not know. Like all such theories, it opens up a lot of possibilities for alternative history writers. If Jack came back in time to save Rose though it could only be for one reason–that something very bad will occur as a result. Unless of course there was something very personal he wanted to change but it likely would be the first reason.
And Rose is the key. If she lives, history will be changed as Titanic will sink. Some point to the manner of his death as another indication he was a time traveler. Or that he references places he will take her that do not exist yet. Well it is certainly interesting and even entertaining to think about. Which makes her more important than Indiana Jones was in Raiders of the Lost Ark. In that movie, as those guys on Big Bang Theory realized after Amy pointed it out, Jones was not central to the story at all. If he had never been in the story, the exact same ending would have occurred with all the Nazi’s being killed in the end just without Marian and Indy tied up nearby with their eyes closed.
2. $4.75 million will get you a six-bedroom home that was once owned by Titanic survivors in Wayzata, Minnesota. According to the news report:
The two-story, stucco home now has six bathrooms, four fireplaces, two powder rooms on the main floor, two staircases, a library, a wine cellar, a billiard room and a recreation room. The 12,939-square-foot property is on 2.16 acres. Out back there’s a New York bluestone terrace, a tennis court and nearly 100 feet of shoreline on the north side of Lake Minnetonka with a dock.
1. The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that the former Harland & Wolff drawing offices (closed since 1989)have a new lease on life. There is now a plan for a 84-room boutique hotel and using the space to “tell the story of Belfast’s industrial heritage, focusing on the Board Room, Telephony Room and Entrance Lobby.”
Source:Luxury Hotel Has Designs On Derelict Titanic Offices In Belfast(18 Feb 2015,Belfast Telegraph)
2.A statue to Titanic captain Edward J. Smith stands in Lichfield but how it came to be there is an interesting story. Locals did not pay for it but wealthy Americans and Britons. And its placement in Beacon Park was not without disagreement. Locals did not like a statue being paid for by wealthy Americans who sailed on a British ship. The statue was put up anyway but omitted any reference to Titanic until much later. Today of course it is a popular stop for tourists.
Source:The Way We Were: Controversy surrounding the statue of Titanic captain Edward Smith(The Sentinel,18 Feb 2015)
1. Looking through old engineering journals that have accounts of Titanic’s construction can sometimes be interesting as Jamie Condliffe at Gizmondo learned. Bill Hammack reviews what he found when he looked through The Engineer between 1909 and 1911.
Source:Fascinating Engineering Details of the Titanic From a 1909 Journal (11 Feb 2015,Gizmodo)
2. Looking through old footage in The Netherlands found something surprising for doctoral student Jeff Nichols at University of Illinois at Chicago. He found rare news clips in Dutch newsreels that showed the SS Eastland disaster of 1915 in the Chicago river. The SS Eastland was one of five boats that was to take Western Electric workers and their families to a park in Michigan City, Indiana. It had 2,5oo people aboard when it turned on its side while docked killed 844 people. The film clips shows a rescue attempt and later an attempt to right the ship. The film clips are now available at Eastlanddisaster.org.
Source: Chicago’s Titanic: Lost Footage Of 100-Year-Old Ship Disaster Discovered(10 Feb 2015,The Guardian)
Now on display at Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas is a rare cherub statue that was recovered from the wreck. It is rare as it is the only one recovered from the wreck and comes from the 1987 dive expedition. It possibly was a light fixture from a side post in the aft staircase that connected C Deck to the Promenade Deck. It wil be on display through 28 February and can be viewed by anyone purchasing a general admission ticket. For hours of operation and cost, go to www.premierexhibitions.com.
Titanic Helps Out A Theatre Group
1. The Maysville Players in Maysville, Kentucky will be auctioning off a replica of a White Star Line deck chair. Local furniture maker Joe Brannen crafted the chair from looking at a design in Popular Mechanics. It has taken just about month to get it done and now in its final stages. It will be used in a Titanic-themed mystery called Scotland Road. And then in March raffled off to benefit the Maysville Players.
Source: Players Raffling Replica Of Titanic Chair(28 Jan 2015,Ledger Independent)
2. Titanic Exhibition At Discovery Park
Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition is at the Discovery Park of America in Union City, Tennessee from 31 Jan 2015-2 May 2015. For details and admission prices. go to discoveryparksofamerica.com.
3. Boy Remembered In Local Library With Titanic Bookshelf
Ben Marks loved Titanic says his brother Eric. And he loved the Titanic movie and its famous line “I’m king of the world!” But sadly he was killed in a car accident in July 2012. He was 8-years-old. Robin Sargent, his second grade teacher, spearheaded the project.
Sargent, with a vivid pink face, occasionally chokes back tears as she speaks, with both hands gripped together clinging to the upper part of her chest as if to hold up her head if it were to drop, recalled Ben as a bright young man devouring every scrap of knowledge in his path.
The Titanic themed bookcase memorial was set up in January in the library of Shepherd Elementary School in Shepherd, Michigan. It has a replica life preserver hanging in the front with a replica suitcase at the bottom. There is a plate that reads “Ben’s Bookcase” at the top. The project was aided by donations from teachers, school staff and others. A fitting tribute indeed to a small boy who loved Titanic.
Source: Shepherd Boy Remembered With Titanic-Themed Memorial(26 Jan 2015,Morning Sun)
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.
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.
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).
2. 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:
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.