Tag Archives: Titanic/Olympic Switch

Titanic Switch Theory Resurfaces

Way back in 1912 some survivors believed Titanic split in two, but this was dismissed by the British enquiry. And it was commonly believed a gigantic gash was responsible for it sinking so quickly. Today thanks to finding the wreck we know Titanic did split in two but there is no gash. What happened is the iceberg ruptured the hull in many places resulting in tears and holes but no long gash. Since the watertight compartments were not sealed all the way to the top. the water filled in one and then the other pulling Titanic down to its doom. Various other theories have emerged that may have contributed to her demise. This includes the bunker fire or brittle steel. Other explanations either take a supernatural turn (mummy’s curse) or a conspiracy of some kind.

There is a video out there that purports to prove Titanic is Olympic, that White Star switched the liners for its own reasons (insurance or other corrupt issues). Generally this theory believes the tragedy was unplanned, that something went horribly wrong resulting in loss of life. The British enquiry (not the American one) was a cover-up. Lord Mersey kept key facts from being heard and proof is his handling of Lusitania’s sinking. which was torpedoed by German submarine on 7 May 1915. Her rapid sinking and belief it was carrying munitions from the United States (which was neutral at the time) has fed many conspiracy theories. So far it is unproven whether Lusitania actually carried munitions.

Now this theory has been out there for a long time. I think it comes back every twenty years or so with someone claiming they have the goods the ship was switched. For years it had little traction, since the ship was too far down for any conventional diving method to see for sure. And like all conspiracies, there often a small group of believers out there. Just like there are people who believe Neil Armstrong never set foot on the moon or that 11 Sep 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center were a government conspiracy, there are those who argue the Titanic/Olympic switch.

The problem is that we know what Olympic and Titanic looked like. Aside from photographs and blueprints, there is a lot of material from news reports. Both ships were well known and switching identities would not be easy at all. In fact it would be very hard to do. Due to the large size, these ships could only be fitted out in places that had the facilities to handle them. And in 1912, that was limited to just a few places like Harland & Wolfe in Belfast. Then you needed the labor to do all the retrofitting required for a switch. Merely changing the nameplate and repainting the names would not be enough. Lots of details to be taken care of as this would be a major operation. Assuming you could do this without arousing any suspicion, the main problem will be making sure that everyone involved keeps their mouths shut. Think about it. You have the workers, the shipyard owners, the sailors and officers of each ship, White Star Line and government officials that would have to be involved. Only if you operated like the Gestapo or Stalin’s henchmen could you pull off total silence.

Of course there is another problem, namely that wreck two miles down on the ocean floor. It has been examined and photographed very closely. Artifacts from the debris field have been brought up. So far nothing has been found that contradicts it is Titanic.

Then there is another problem. Namely that White Star was willing to risk lives to pull off the switch. They knew exactly how many people those lifeboats would carry and that a lot would be stuck on board waiting for lifeboats to return (assuming rescue ship was right there). No matter what one may think of J. Bruce Ismay, I cannot imagine him signing off on a plan that would put so many in peril. It simply would have been unthinkable and foolish to boot simply to collect insurance. A far simpler plan with minimal loss of life would have it occur during sea trials or a trial run between Ireland and the U.S. before having passengers board. This is not a crew of pirates and scoundrels for the most part but well trained officers with years of experience. Much of the crew, except for the newest the same. So it would be hard to get them aboard with such a scheme. Of course conspiracy theorists have an answer: a private submersible would await Titanic and then sink her. The officers and crew would be unaware of any conspiracy and any blame would likely fall on Germany due its well known bellicose nature at the time.

So far no one has proved with hard irrefutable evidence that a switch occurred. We get lots of interesting bits of suggestive information but just smoke and no fire. So if you hear about this tall tale around the web with a link to a video, by all means watch it. If nothing else to be amused by the seriousness of the person making the claim. Remember though such claims require extraordinary proof. And in this case that is very hard to find.

Alternative History: What if Titanic Sinking Was A Conspiracy?

AuthorHouse sent out a press release on 22 June announcing the publication of  “A Cold Night in the Atlantic” by Kevin Wright Carney. Serial numbers that do not match Titanic and a stash of gold found in the wreck lead to the discovery that conventional history got it all wrong. Due to accidents and serious questions about Captain Smith, the RMS Olympic is not considered seaworthy. So in 1912 the White Star Line decided to switch the ships. Titanic became Olympic and Olympic became Titanic. And it was decided to sink the ship to collect insurance. Alas it all falls apart when the plot is uncovered and the sinking occurs prematurely thanks to an iceberg.

“A truly unique and thrilling novel, “A Cold Night in the Atlantic” cleverly breathes new life into a piece of American history,” says the press release. That will come as a surprise to Robin Gardiner and Dan Van Der Vat who wrote the non-fiction book “The Titanic Conspiracy;Cover-Ups and Mysteries of the World’s Most Famous Sea Disaster (1995, Carol Publishing). Their book examines the motivations of the people involved to switch the ships and argues that something nefarious did occur. The book was and still is dismissed by most Titanic historians as nothing more than tabloid fodder.

It seems to finally have found its home in a fictional novel, which is probably where it ought to be. Gardiner and Van der Vat will likely be reading the book as well kicking themselves for not doing the same thing–or sue Carney alleging he used their “facts” to make his book more legitimate. Down the road I can see a miniseries on a cable network (probably Sci Fi Sy Fy).