James Cameron’s 1997 hit film Titanic thrust a tragic piece of history into the pop culture lexicon. It is no surprise that the majority of people’s knowledge of the event comes from the film. However, the story features a plethora of interesting facets that are known only to history buffs.
In his new book The Titanic Disaster: Omens, Mysteries and Misfortunes of the Doomed Liner, author James Bancroft reveals the early omens that foreshadowed the ship’s demise.
Early Signs of the Titanic’s Doom
Popular new release:— Frontline Books (@Frontline_Books) April 22, 2023
📖 The Titanic Disaster – Omens, Mysteries and Misfortunes of the Doomed Liner by James W Bancroft 🚢⚓️
Order now with 20% off the RRP ➡️ https://t.co/plNsLYnRM9 #Maritime #Titanic111 pic.twitter.com/0ETo9Wt0S3
The Titanic—a cruise liner with a level of luxury the world had never seen—set sail out of Southampton on April 14, 1912; it carried 2,240 passengers. What happened next is common knowledge: The ship hit a North Atlantic iceberg, killing 1,503 people.
What many don’t know, however, is that as the ship was pulling out of the harbor , it almost collided with the SS New York. And during its construction in Belfast, a fire had broken out in the coal bunkers. Anyone with the slightest belief in superstition must admit that these events did not foreshadow a happy future for the vessel.
Interestingly, just as the ship was about to set sail, around 50 passengers demanded to be let off, expressing vague forebodings about the voyage.
Coincidental Parallels: A Short Story and Other Media That Predicted the Titanic’s Sinking
14 years before the Titanic set sail, American author Morgan Andrew Roberson published a story about a fictional cruise liner—called the Titan—striking an iceberg approximately 400 miles from Newfoundland, which was, believe it or not, around the same location at which the Titanic sank.
Paralleling the Titanic’s situation, the Titan did not have an adequate number of lifeboats to save the majority of its passengers.
Additionally, two early 20th century almanacs—Old Moore and Zedkiel’s—claimed, “Shipping affairs will be disordered… This country is threatened with disaster,” following a total solar eclipse whose occurrence would coincide with the Titanic’s attempted voyage.
The Titanic’s Captain: A Poor Choice?
Prior to the Titanic’s sinking, the ship’s captain Edward Smith had already been involved in five maritime disasters, most involving the vessel’s sister ship the Olympia.
In addition to running a share of ships aground, he had crashed into a tugboat in New York Harbor and even been rammed by a warship.
Several deckhands who had worked under Smith in the past refused to work under him again on the Titanic.