Fiction or Foretelling?
Before the Titanic was even conceived there were three stories written that have an uncanny resemblance to historical fact.
The first story is Futility: Wreck of a Titan by Morgan Robertson. It was written in 1898, just 14 years before the Titanic tragedy. This book has the most resemblance to the disaster of all. It is named the Titan and takes place in April, it was the maiden voyage a large unsinkable British ship crossing the North Atlantic from Southampton to New York, it has triple screws, it was traveling at 24-25 knots, and strikes an iceberg on the starboard hull with 2000 passengers onboard. All but 13 of the passengers perished due to the lack of lifeboats. The non-fiction book “A Night to Remember” includes a short description of Robertson's story.
The author had no connection to the Titanic except that supposedly his book was part of the Titanic's library.
The next two stories were written by William Thomas Stead. A British journalist who was on board the Titanic and coming to the United States to take part in a peace congress at President Taft's request. He of course never made it, perishing on the Titanic as he sat in the First Class Smoking room reading a book as the ship sank.
His first story published in 1886 was entitled, How the Mail Steamer Went Down in Mid-Atlantic, by a Survivor. He writes of two unnamed ships colliding with a large loss of life due to not enough lifeboats. Stead also writes, "This is exactly what might take place and will take place if liners are sent to sea short of boats".
Published in 1892 his book entitled, From the Old World to the New tells of a large ship sinking after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Survivors were rescued by the Majestic captained by E.J. Smith.
The Majestic was a White Star Liner and Edward J. Smith would be the captain of the Titanic.
Even though these stories are fiction, it is very strange how they have similarities to the real historical events. And for William Stead to talk of large loss of life due to lack of lifeboats in his 1886 story and then for him to loose his to just such an event is just plain uncanny.
Maybe he was thinking about what he had written so many years before, as he was sitting in the First Class Smoking Room waiting for the end to come.
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