Ocean liner that sank on maiden voyage at 2:20 AM on April 15, 1912, after striking underwater shelf of iceberg.
The Titanic, then the world's largest and most luxurious ocean liner, disappeared into the icy depths of the North Atlantic. With her she took the lives of some 1,500 men, women, and children more casualties than in any other marine disaster in peacetime history.
After striking a huge iceberg, the 46,500 ton vessel sank in less than three hours. Lloyd's of London, the firm which had insured the Titanic, had reasoned that the probability of such an event was one in a million. The ship's specially constructed bulkheads, it was believed, would check the seawater no matter how severely the ship might be damaged. As though fully convinced of the Titanic's invulnerability, the White Star Line had provided only enough lifeboats for half the persons aboard.
Legends are sure to cluster around such a monumental disaster, but a remarkable number of "coincidences" seem to have surrounded the Titanic's calamity. They began some years before the vessel was even built: in the 1880s the well known English journalist and editor W. T. Stead wrote an account of the sinking of an ocean liner in mid-Atlantic, and in 1882 embroidered it by making an iceberg the cause of the calamity. In 1910, in a lecture, he emphasized the necessity to match the accommodation offered by a liner's lifeboats to the number of passengers listed. At the same time, Morgan Rochester, an American novelist, published a novel about the sinking of a great liner which attempted to steer too quickly through fog, struck an iceberg, and sank. He named his fictional vessel the Titan.
The Titanic herself sailed on April 10, 1912. On board was W. T. Stead — although he had some misgivings. Not only did he have forebodings (which he had communicated to more than one person), but he had been warned by a well known psychic — Count Louis Hamon — that travel during April 1912 would be dangerous for him. Another psychic W. de Kerlor — consulted by Stead, dreamed that he would be involved in "a catastrophe on water." Stead had received two more warnings — one from an anonymous American woman who had heard a voice warning that Stead "would soon be called home", and another from a clergyman, warning him that the Titanic would sink.
Several people who had booked tickets on the vessel canceled them at the last moment — including the banker millionaire J. Pierpoint Morgan. A Mr. Colen Macdonald resigned the position of second engineer because he had 3 premonition of disaster. A businessman, J. Connon Middleton, dreamed twice of the wreck of the Titanic, and canceled his passage. A psychic, V. N. Turvey, predicted on the day she sailed (in a letter to a friend) that she would sink two days later. As she sailed out of Southanipton, a woman in the crowd was heard to cry, hysterically, "That ship is going to sine is going to sink! Do something! - save them!" Four days later, on April 14-15, the liner met the iceberg, and sank; there were insufficient lifeboats to save all her 2,224 passengers and crew. Stead was among the 1,513 who died.
Researchers later attempted to correlate all the precognitive dreams or premonitions about the accident. Even making allowances for the enormous publicity about the world's largest passenger liner — which itself might certainly be expected to have resulted in many dreams about her — the statistics are impressive: 23 well-supported incidents were recorded, some of them either remarkably coincidental in their details, or extremely accurate.
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