8 “Titanic” myths, debunked

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The tragic end of the RMS maiden voyage Titanic April 14, 1912 led to a long period of international mourning for her deceased passengers and crew and sparked a fascination that has not yet diminished even 110 years later.

At times, this plot allowed a number of myths, conspiracies, and urban legends about the doomed ship to surface. As you will see, they usually fail to retain water. Take a look at some of the most enduring misconceptions surrounding history’s most famous ship.

A 'Titanic' artwork is pictured

Prayers at the sinking site of the “Titanic”, 1912. / Print Collector/GettyImages

It is easy to grasp the irony inherent in the fact that a ship proclaimed “unsinkable” finds itself submerged in the North Atlantic on its very first voyage. While there are a few substance to the idea that people thought Titanic was infallible, it was not often used as a marketing tool. And when the word unsinkable found its way into newspapers or advertisements, usually came with a qualifier like “virtually” or “almost” – that is, nearly unsinkable, not absolutely unsinkable. In an extensive advertisement in 1993, White Star Line circulated that sister ships Titanic and Olympic were “as far as practicable … designed to be unsinkable”. After the disaster, the ‘possible’, the ‘practically’ and the ‘designed to be’ were generally left out, leaving the impression that the Titanic had been unequivocally sink-proof.

There was a seemingly unimpeachable statement made by White Star Line and Albert Franklin of the International Mercantile Marine Company, which noted that “there is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable and passengers will only experience inconvenience.

But the timing of this statement doesn’t quite validate the myth. Franklin was quoted in the newspapers on April 15, 1912 in the hours following the disaster and just as news was beginning to circulate of his whereabouts. Franklin didn’t know it yetbut his rare mention that the ship was beyond doubt unsinkable was made after it had already sunk.

A mummy blanket is pictured

Rumor has it that a mummy (not this one) is responsible for the “Titanic” tragedy. / Roberto Machado Noa/GettyImages

While the notion of a cursed artifact causing a ship to sink is too fantastical to be taken seriously, this urban legend could be clarified for one simple reason: there was no mummy, cursed or otherwise, at edge. Titanic.

As the the story goes, the Egyptian princess (or priestess) Amen-Ra was interred in a coffin around 950 BCE and covered with a “mummy board”, or lid, which represented Egyptian iconography. Over time, the cover has gone through a series of Guardians who have each suffered injury, bad luck, or death due to their proximity. With such mishaps making it difficult for the mummy to find a forever home, she was brought aboard the Titanic he could therefore eventually find a resting place in New York under the care of a pragmatic and not very superstitious archaeologist.

Unless the curse of the mummy extends to changing the cargo manifest, the story is not true. No mention of a mummy was made in the detailed list. The story likely dates back to the imagination of two men, William Stead and Douglas Murray, who helped circulate a haunting tale at the dawn of the 20th century about the priestess’ revenge on the living. But the lid – which has never been confirmed to even be linked to a priestess – was and continues to be in the custody of the British Museum, which insists the artifact has not been linked to any misfortune.

There is, however, a slight twist. Stead was a passenger on the Titanic, and reportedly told his thread to other passengers. Once it sank, the legend of the priestess converged with the true story of the tragedy, and an urban legend was born.

(LR) Thomas W Lamont, George Whitney and J..P Morgan are pictured circa 1930s

JP Morgan (R) had ties to the “Titanic”. / Heritage Images/GettyImages

If you take Facebook memes at face value, you’ve probably considered the possibility that the powerful White Star Line banker and money man (via the possession of his International Mercantile Marine Company) John Pierpont Morgan orchestra the Titanicis sinking. According to the myth, he wanted to eliminate three passengers who opposed his idea of ​​the American Federal Reserve and centralized banking.

Although it’s theoretically possible that Morgan could have somehow gained access to the ship and staged some sort of sabotage (such as removing the flares or, in the most outlandish tales, sealing the passengers to the interior), there are no facts to support it. Morgan was supposed to be on the ship and it is alleged that he canceled abruptly, but this is not confirmed in any records. Instead, it is more likely that Morgan was concerned about new laws in France that would prevent the export of art to the United States, which would have affected his own purchases. That, not the maiden voyage of the Titanictook priority, so he skipped the trip.

Moreover, the three men who allegedly opposed the Federal Reserve—Isidor Straus, John Jacob Astor, and Benjamin Guggenheim—never seemed to take a public stand against it. Straus, in fact, voiced his support.

an artifact

A secret message would have been written on the hull of the “Titanic”. / David Paul Morris/GettyImages

Some believe that after working hard to restore the ship to seaworthy condition, Catholic workers toiled on the Titanic in the Belfast Dockyard were rocked by what appeared to be a secret message appearing on the hull. His number, 3909 04, could be interpreted as “NO POPE” when viewed backwards. Workmen took it as a sign of impending doom and later considered it a bad omen once the ship sank.

Reality tells a different story. The number 3909 04 does not appear anywhere on the ship’s hull and the workers were predominantly Protestant.

The twins of

Binoculars recovered from the “Titanic”. / Mario Tama/GettyImages

One of the persistent misconceptions about Titanic was that no one on the ship was in possession of binoculars, which may have helped the crow’s nest lookouts spot the iceberg that sealed their fate. During a United States Senate investigation into the disaster in April 1912, the Frederick Fleet watch noted that ‘glasses’ (binoculars) were available from Belfast to Southampton, but not from Southampton to New York.

Fleet was unaware that the twins were indeed on board the entire time. They were restored from the wreck site in 1994. Unfortunately they were locked away and the key was not present. Second Officer David Blair kept him when he was relieved by another officer. If anyone knew the binoculars were still available, they wouldn’t have had the means to get them back.

When asked if the twins would have made a difference, Fleet was candid. “We could have seen [the iceberg] a little earlier,” he said. “Enough to get out of the way.”

A violin used on the

A violin played on the “Titanic”. / Matt Cardy/GettyImages

One of director James Cameron’s most poignant moments of 1997 Titanic is the band aboard the ship playing a tune for the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee” as the ship sinks – a valiant attempt to soothe the nerves of anxious passengers in what would be the final moments of their lives.

Although this belief is not demonstrably wrong, there are many raison doubt its veracity. For one thing, none of the band members survived the sinking to confirm which song they were playing. A surviving passenger, wireless radio operator Harold Bride, appointed tune as ‘Song d’Automne’ or ‘Autumn’, a popular British waltz at the time.

Other survivors have named “Closer to you my God”, but there is an asterisk to such claims. Different melodies exist for the anthem, making it unlikely that passengers will be able to recognize all versions. It’s more likely that they were told the band played the anthem, then repeated the information when asked about it.

The 'Titanic' is pictured

The “Titanic” was in no hurry at all. /Hulton Archive/GettyImages

In an age of commercial travel offering bigger, better and faster accommodations, it’s easy to imagine the Titanic get in trouble in a attempt set a kind of speed record. But nothing on the ship supports such a claim. On the one hand, its maximum speed was 21 to 24 knots, less than the 26 knots achieved by the old Cunard liners. Go as fast as the Titanic could move would set no record. The ship was size, not speed.

Moreover, not all of the ship’s boilers were active at the time of the collision and the route taken in the Atlantic was not the most opportune. There is no indication that his speed contributed to the disaster.

The 'Olympic' is represented

The “Olympic” was the sister ship of the “Titanic”. / Heritage Images/GettyImages

It takes complete separation from all logic to believe that Titanic never really sank, but sometimes you can find an argument that the ship set sail on an insurance scam gone wrong.

the story states a theory that White Star Line extinguished the Titanic for her sister ship, the Olympic, during the trip. the Olympic, one of the line’s other massive ships, had been damaged in a collision in 1911. Hoping to recoup expensive repair costs not covered by insurance, White Star Line launched the similar (but not identical) Olympic instead of the most recent Titanicwhich would then be deliberately sunk to collect insurance payout.

If it is true that Olympic has been damaged, insurance coverage for Titanic makes the plan absurd: Titanic had an estimated value of $7.5 million, but White Star Line’s insurance was capped at $5 million.

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