The beacon of the Atlantic Ocean and the glazing flare of the theatrical romance. The tragedy that scarred an era.
From Jack Dawson's French girls to Rose's Heart of the Ocean, aristocratic Cal's money to Chief Baker Charles Joughin, James Cameron brought together the true historical and tragic, ill-fated maiden voyage of RMS Titanic and the fictionalized blooming romance.
But the descending of the REAL Titanic has more stories bound to its hull, conspiracies exceeding many a man's imaginations. First let's dive into how it "really" sank or in this case, how it "supposedly" descended according to the records of history.
RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner operated by the White Star Line and was the largest ship afloat at the time she entered service. She was under the command of Captain Edward Smith, leaving for her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.
The ocean liner carried some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as hundreds of emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, Scandinavia and elsewhere throughout Europe, who were seeking a new life in the United States. And the next events were uncalled for, rather unfortunate.
After leaving Southampton on 10 April 1912, Titanic docked at France and Ireland, before heading west to New York. On 14 April, four days into the crossing and about 375 miles south of Newfoundland, the gaze of the grim reaper passed over this beauty and the passengers. She hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m ship's time. Two hours and forty minutes later, on 15 April 1912; 109 years ago, the Titanic disappeared from the horizon.
Of the estimated 3,327 passengers and crew aboard, more than 1,500 were buried under the depths of the Atlantic with the ship, marking one of the most tragic mass losses in history, mostly due to the lack of lifeboats on board.
As all the pivotal events have a way of attracting myths and conspiracy theories, even with the wrecks in the sea and the survivors on land who fought the death firsthand, to make sense of this tragic and seemingly random disaster, people over the past century have told stories of ominous signs of bad luck that were supposedly ignored beforehand or spun elaborate conspiracy theories to explain the “real” reason it sank.
Surprisingly one of the most famous conspiracies about Titanic is insurance fraud.
This theory starts with the fact that the R.M.S Olympic, another White Star Line ship, was damaged while sailing from England to New York in September 1911 and had to return to Belfast for repairs many times thereafter. Again, in March 1912 few weeks before the Titanic sailing, it returned to Belfast for more repairs.
The conspiracy theory claims that some person or people found the Olympic too severely damaged to be profitable, and so at some point switched it with the Titanic to purposefully ditch the damaged ship, reap the insurance money and, it seems, kill a bunch of people in the process. There are a lot of holes in this theory, but one of the biggest is that the Titanic’s insurance wasn’t enough to cover the Olympic’s loss.
Who doesn't love a good insurance fraud right? It's free jackpot from just a slight, well-timed accident. Lives of 1500 human beings? Just necessary collateral damage according to this theory.
Another one of these conspiracies says that J.P. Morgan, a millionaire banker planned the disaster to kill his rivals.
According to this theory, he planned the Titanic disaster to kill off rival millionaires Jacob Astor, Isidor Straus and Benjamin Guggenheim, who all perished aboard.
The theory hinges on the fact that Morgan had originally planned to sail on the Titanic but changed his mind shortly before it took off. Yet it doesn’t offer any explanation for how he caused the ship to hit an iceberg and kill over 1,500 people, let alone the three men he supposedly intended to die. To top it off, the theory claims Morgan wanted to kill them because they opposed the creation of the Federal Reserve, even though Astor and Guggenheim don’t appear to have taken a position on it and Straus actually supported it.
Whereas it leaves no space to say anything but for this theory to be of truth, Morgan had to be a mad magician who had the power to control 52,310 tons of metal across the Atlantic into a well-positioned iceberg out in nowhere.
Thirdly, someone who really loved to play with the wonders of letters and numbers came up with a conspiracy puzzle.
The ship’s hull number 3909 04 read “NO POPE” backwards, they claimed. Who spent time to flip the hull on a mirror, no one knows but was this a sign of bad luck that foretold the ship’s doom? No, because there was NO such number attached to the Titanic! The hull number painted on the ship was 401. So much for fun with typography.
Where there are conspiracies, there are curses, and where there's a curse there's a mummy. Yes, those gauzes wrapped, thousands of years old Egyptian DEAD bodies. It said at one point a mummy’s curse doomed the Titanic.
One of the passengers who went down with the Titanic was William Stead, a British editor who had spent the past several years claiming a cursed mummy was causing mysterious destruction and disaster in London. Onboard the Titanic, Stead happily repeated his tale of the mummy’s curse to other passengers. After the accident a survivor claimed that Stead's story to the papers. some people linked the “mummy’s curse” to Egyptian artefacts that a survivor, Margaret Brown really did take with her on the Titanic to deliver to a museum in Denver. In other versions of the story, the mummy was actually aboard the Titanic because the British Museum had sold it to an American who was shipping it home. But the truth is the so-called “unlucky mummy” is still at the British Museum.
So, it probably wasn't a mummy on a murder rampage going on a cruise ship for vacation, responsible for the accident.
In some stories, some say that a solar flare caused the Titanic to sink. A study recently discovered that the northern hemisphere was experiencing a "moderate to severe" magnetic storm on the night of the ship's collision. Similar solar flares are known to cause power outages on Earth and could have affected the ship's radar and radio rescue signals. The ship might've sunk because of the iceberg but the rescuing could've been late because if these disturbances. This conspiracy seems to have raised a lot of questions and concerns to this very day, in comparison to other theories.
Finally, a fan conspiracy, a fun little story based on the "Titanic" movie. Jack Dawson is Jay Gatsby. No clue how anyone would tie a connection between Great Gatsby with the Titanic, other than the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio who acted as Jack, portrayed Jay in Great Gatsby as well. A completely fantastical theory, an alternate timeline where Jack survives and returns to Great Britain, waiting for Rose but falls in love with Daisy instead.
Whereas this has nothing to do with the descending of the ship, who doesn't like some of the fantasy gossip or should I say some tea in DiCaprio universe.
Of many a conspiracy, some questioning the history while some are utterly ridiculous, they do make a pretty interesting topic to dive in. But in the end, may it be a mummy, a demented banker or an iceberg, Titanic did take thousands of lives with her, resting beneath the Atlantic to this day, may they rest in peace.
Like when Jack Dawson said "I Know, It Doesn't Make Sense — That's Why I Trust It" maybe...just maybe there is a possibility for the Impossibilities.
Who knows? In the end, that's why they call 'em conspiracies after all.