This is one of those real but surreal tales, one of those that make people with children shiver. Beyond that initial chill, the unexplained effects in this story make people tinkle with nervous laughter, because, as everyone knows, these things happen only in fairy tales or in Stephen King novels. But, deep down inside, we all know that these things really happen.
Fifteen-hundred people went into the sea, when Titanic sank from under us.
There were twenty boats floating nearby… and only one came back.
Six were saved from the water, myself included.
Six… out of fifteen-hundred.
Afterward, the seven-hundred people in the boats had nothing to do but wait… wait to die… wait to live… wait for an absolution… that would never come.
- Quote from the movie Titanic
Why? Because it’s (reportedly) true.
Although the actual love story was a complete work of fiction, the Titanic backdrop was very real, adding further weight to the shocking scenes, in one of the most expensive movies ever made. The fact the movie was soo expensive to make, lends me hope that the film financiers showed the utmost respect, for the real story of the sinking of Titanic.
The historic disaster has been immortalised by Hollywood for the entire world to see, to experience, to feel the sadness and emotive power of such a tragic time in history – outside the ravages of war. I am not ashamed to admit, the first time I saw the movie, I cried inside one hour and cried all the way home!
However, in this 100th year anniversary of the sinking of Titanic, I wanted to share the effects of the disaster, on the employees and their families.
The busy City of Southampton was a place I spent many a Saturday, shopping as a youngster. Back in 1912, this southern English city would have been truly alive with excitement, in the days, hours and minutes before Titanic set sail, on its first ever journey across the Atlantic. Out of 885 crew members. looking after the colossus ship, 699 were registered to the City of Southampton. And no doubt, intermingled within the excitement there would have been a fair share of tears and anxiety, as mothers, fathers, wives, girlfriends and children bid farewell to the men and women of Southampton.
The full extent of the disaster was not revealed immediately, as conflicting reports and rumours circulated through the news agencies. However, it was not too long before the true horror of the disaster dominated the national and international newspapers. When the story finally hit the newsstands it read like a massacre: 685 crew members lost their lives, and approximately 538 of which were Southampton residents – eight men were lost in one Southampton street alone. The few survivors were rescued by the Carpathian, a ship that took hours to reach the Titanic disaster site.
According to some of the descendants of the survivors, the operating company, White Star Line, practically disowned the crew as soon as the Carpathia docked. They had to remain in New York until an official enquiry got underway, forcing the employees to live off charity donations. One crew members’ hair colour went from brunette to shocking white within weeks. In addition, the surviving crew and the family members of the deceased had to fight White Star for compensation, but luckily relief funds were set up to help the families.
The people of Southampton pulled together again, to mark the centenary of the ships departure from England’s southern waters, with wreaths and flowers thrown from the dockside, as a mark of respect. Memorial services were held and a procession of children marched through the city, holding pictures of Titanic’s crew. BBC News Reporter, Robert Hall, remarked, “….the silence ended by a sound which hasn’t been heard since Titanic said her farewell, a recording of her whistle echoing across a city which has pledged never to forget.”
I do feel slightly awkward, veering away from the true story of Titanic and the heart-warming acts carried out in memory of the departed. However, Holistic Words would not be Holistic Words if I did not add some kind of twist………………
The book Futility, later renamed Wreck of the Titan, contained a short story written by Morgan Robertson, is believed to be a precognitive vision of the sinking of the Titanic. Robertson, an ex merchant seaman from New York, wrote the piece some 14 years before the sinking of Titanic and, from what I have read, the similarities between the story and the actual event are indeed remarkable.
In Robertson’s story, Titan was the largest ship ever built and it was spookily close to the length and size of the Titanic. The passenger numbers on Titan and Titanic were uncannily close. Titan hit an iceberg, in the Atlantic in April, as did Titanic. Titanic was travelling from England to New York and Titan was travelling New York to England. In addition, there were not enough lifeboats on either ship, so the survival rate was very low on both counts.
OK, it gets a little wobbly when the surviving “hero” jumps onto the iceberg and wrestles a polar bear, which definitely detracts from the wide-eyed moment. Nonetheless, you would have to admit it is close to the money, no?
I have to confess, I have not actually read the story, so I am probably not “qualified” to pass comment or provide theories on the content. However, from the synopsis of others – and believe me there are a vast number out there – there really could be something to this theory.
In Robertson’s hay day, his stories supported him well and he became a well-known writer of sea adventures. He also invented a periscope, to which he received no accolade for, and an underwater search light. However, after a nervous breakdown his life went downhill, with barely enough food to sustain both him and his wife.
In 1915 he passed, after a heart attack, but his penchant for a drug, to help him sleep, was initially blamed for his death.
Like many of his time, the posthumous recognition, and human curiosity, of this interesting and profound coincidence seems sad. Two stories; one openly and publicly revered and the other whispered with curiosity and a hint of conspiracy. One author wealth beyond his dreams and the other destitute; no celebrity lifestyle, and never thought of as an influential visionary, a literary genius, or a profound philosopher.
I wonder if Robertson ever knew about the correlation between the Titan and Titanic? If his obituary is anything to go by, the answer is probably no. I wonder if his life would have changed at all?
But then again, you could say, our lives are set and when it is our time, destiny smiles at us all.
- National News: VIDEO: Titanic memorial cruise sets sail for wreck site (coventrytelegraph.net)
- The novella that predicted the wreck of the Titanic [Secret History] (io9.com)