by Mark Lukach
The sinking of the Titanic in April of 1912 is probably the most famous shipwreck of all time. The romantic pairing of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslett in the movie rendition helped to cement its notoriety.
For real Titanic buffs, the sinking of the Titan in 1898, though entirely fictional, is equally memorable for the remarkable similarities to the real sinking of the Titanic.
But to dig even deeper and complete the bizarre trinity, consider the near-shipwreck of the Titanian in 1935, also in April, also in the North Atlantic. Unlike the fictional Titan or the real Titanic, the Titanian was able to avoid colliding with icebergs because of the watchful eye of lookout William Reeves, who remarkably enough, was born on April 15, 1912… the day the Titanic sunk.
To back the story up a bit, let’s lay out the well-documented similarities between the Titan and the Titanic…
In 1898 Morgan Robertson wrote Futility, a novella that tells the rise and the fall of the Titan, the greatest man-made boat of all time.
It was touted as unsinkable, and launched from northern England across to the United States. The ship sinks after crashing head-on into an iceberg, and several thousand people perish because of woefully inadequate life boats. Are you seeing the similarities?
The book was intended to be a scathing social criticism of the selfish goals of industrialization, lambasting the fatcat tycoons who championed “progress” while overlooking human suffering. But it’s not remembered that way at all. It is instead forever known as the book that preceded the sinking of the Titanic, with countless, eerie similarities. The Titan was 800 feet, Titanic was 882. Titan had 24 lifeboats (less than half necessary) and lost 2500 passengers, Titanic had 16 lifeboats (also less than half) and lost 2207 passengers. They both crashed into icebergs in April about 400 miles from Newfoundland, traveling too fast at over 22 knots.
Totally weird. Totally, totally weird. There are many websites that treat Robertson like some sort of Nostradamus in his uncanny ability to foresee the disaster of the Titanic, and his book is very well-known.
Far less known is the follow-up story of the Titanian from 1935. While I have given away the main punchline of the story, it is definitely an odd one. A boat is chugging along through the North Atlantic during April, and a novice watchmen is spooked by his inability to see what lay ahead of him. He was worried about crying wolf, but had an unshakable premonition of impending disaster.
A dramatized rendition of the story from the Hemlington Nautical History Society tells us that ...read more>>>>>