Monday, April 2, 2012

A Titanic Prediction!

The RMS Titanic is one of the most legendary stories in maritime history. There have been many myths about the Titanic, from laying of her hull to the death of the last survivor. Yet, there is one story that stands out among Titanic lore and that is Morgan Robertson's 1898 novel Futility, or the Wreak of the Titan. That's right, someone wrote a story about a ship named the Titan sinking, and guess what it happened in the North Atlantic and oh yea, it struck an iceberg. I know what your thinking, bullshit right? But no it's true, Google it. And there is a freakish parallelness between the Titan and Titanic, some which are too close to seem true.

The mother of all Titanic legends is the story of the Titan. Robertson's story follows deck hand John Rowland, a failed British Naval lieutenant who is down and out on his luck and working on the Titan. However, for this piece that's all that Rowland will be mentioned, but for those who are interested he lives happily ever after. So how does the Titan stack up to the Titanic? First would be size, the Titanic measured at 800ft while the Titan measured 882ft, thus making both the biggest ships on the sea at the time. Second would be the fact that both ships did not have enough lifeboats. Third, and the icing on the cake, both ships were dubbed "unsinkable." I bet Bruce Ismay wished he had read Robertson's story before he called the Titanic "unsinkable." But the similarities don't stop there, there are a few more which are too close to call and simply be coincidence.

How many more similarities can there be? Well when it comes to the sinking of this ships, a lot more. First, the iceberg. Both struck an iceberg and both struck it going way above a average speed. The Titan was steaming along at 25 knots and the Titanic at 22 knots. Both ships hit the iceberg on their starboard sides. And oh yea, both went down about 400 miles east of Newfoundland. Second, both went down by the bow forcing the stern to rise out of the water. However, in the case of the Titan, she would capsize and finally sink. Third, casualties. As I said before both ships lacked a sufficient amount of lifeboats which caused massive loss of life. The Titan lost 2500 fictional souls, while the Titanic lost 2200. Both ships had their maiden voyages in April. And oh yea, both ships were the largest ships on the ocean at the time of their sinking. And one more eerie coincidence, there was an ice warning from the lookouts.  We all know the Titanic's "iceberg, right ahead!" while the Titan's went a little something like this, "ice, ice, ahead iceberg!" We can see that the story was somewhat of perhaps a warning or we can see it as just a story.

There are some difference between the two ships. The Titan had almost no survivors, only 13, while Titanic had 705. The sinking times also vary greatly, Titanic sinking in 2 and half hours and Titan in only minutes. The ships were heading in opposite directions, Titan to England and Titanic to America. There are several other difference but they are so minor and I wouldn't want to bore you with the fiction of the story. But how do we look at the story of the Titan, and more important how do we look at Robertson? Can we see him among the likes of Nostradamus and other great future telling prophets? Or just as a guy who wanted to write a story to scare the crap out people sailing across the Atlantic and entertain his audience. Well what if I told you this was one of Robertson's many prediction?

So of course when Robertson publish his story he had no idea the impact his story would have in 1912. In fact it's because of this that his other works were even looked at and surprise surprise there is other creepy predictions in his works. First in 1905 he published the Submarine Destroyer, which a submarine used a new piece of technology called a "periscope" which wouldn't be used by the U.S. Navy for several more years. In his short story Beyond the Spectrum (1914) he talked about a future war between the United States and Japan. A war which would be started by a surprise attack by the Japanese on American ships on their way to the Philippines. He also published a short story which some literary scholars say was the influence and basis for the novel The Blue Lagoon and Tarzan and the Apes. Again, is this a coincidence or was Robertson some type of future seeing genius? I am pretty sure that it's all coincidence and Robertson was looking just to entertain. I highly doubt he had a supernatural gift to see the future for if he did he would have seen his own death which was an accidental overdose of paraldehyde. In the end I think we can see Robertson and the story of the Titan and its similarities to the Titanic as just another piece of Titanic lore and myth, which is sure to keep the legend of Titanic going for perhaps another 100 years.

1 comment:

  1. These are no coincidences, nor are they prophecies. The Titanic was scheduled to be built and hit an iceberg to promote white star lines worldwide! They could not predict nor match every element as written such as the length of time it took to sink or how many survivors there would be. Similarly, the second story is identically echoed in reality intentionally.