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NY Post
New York Post
22 Apr 2023

NextImg:Why the Titanic may have been cursed even before it set sail

Even before the Titanic sailed out of Southhampton on April 14, 1912, on its maiden voyage, the luxury ocean liner bound for New York with 2,240 passengers and crew on board appeared to be jinxed.

As it was pulling out of the harbor, the ship almost collided with the SS New York.

Earlier, during her construction in Belfast, fire had broken out in the coal bunkers.

Those are just a few of the bad omens surrounding the ship before it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank, according to “The Titanic Disaster: Omens, Mysteries & Misfortunes of the Doomed Liner” (Frontline Books) by British author James Bancroft, his second book about the tragic crossing.

The RMS Titanic was the world’s largest and most luxurious vessel at the time, a veritable floating palace valued at $7.5 million in 1912.

But according to Bancroft, a sense of gloom hung over her. Rumored aboard was a cursed Egyptian mummy’s coffin lid.

“There are more strange events concerning RMS Titanic than any other ship in history, and the feelings of foreboding and bad omens associated with it suggest that fate had it doomed to a watery grave,” writes the author.

“The iceberg [was just] the weapon that sent it there.”

One of the items alleged aboard the Titanic: The coffin lid of an Egyptian mummy, rumored to be cursed.
Getty Images

As the Titanic was prepared to sail, some 50 booked passengers had such strong forebodings they refused to board at the last minute, willing to lose the high cost of passage.

Fourteen years prior to the maiden voyage, an eerie short story by American writer Morgan Andrew Roberson had been published, detailing the sinking of a fictional ocean liner, The Titan, after striking an iceberg some 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland, roughly the same location where the Titanic would go down.

As with the Titanic, the fictional Titan did not have enough lifeboats.

Two almanacs, Old Moore and Zadkiel’s, reported that “Shipping affairs will be disordered…This country is threatened with disaster,” after a total solar eclipse 53 years was due to occur in the UK — during the Titanic’s first voyage.

When Edward Smith became the Titanic’s captain on April 1, he had already been involved in five major incidents — most recently involving the Titanic’s sister ship, The Olympia.

An illustration of women and children boarding the lifeboats during the chaotic scene on deck.
Bettmann Archive

He had also run several ships aground, hit a tugboat in New York Harbor, and been rammed by the warship HMS Hawke.

He confessed to friends he felt jinxed, writes the author.

Reportedly, some deckhands who served on the Olympia under Smith refused to serve again under him on the Titanic.

Passengers consulted psychics, who warned against making the voyage on the Titanic.

Irish astrologer Count Louis Hamon (known as Cheiro), cautioned the British newspaper editor W.T. Stead against traveling on the Titanic.

“I see more than a thousand people, you among them, struggling desperately in the water. They are screaming for help and fighting for their lives. But it does none of them any good…yourself included,” Cheiro told him.

Newspaper editor WT Stead was cautioned by a psychic against making the trip. “I see more than a thousand people, you among them, struggling desperately in the water,” he was told. “They are screaming for help and fighting for their lives. But it does none of them any good…yourself included.”
Getty Images

Stead still boarded the Titanic, on his way to speak at a world peace congress at Carnegie Hall at an invite from President William Howard Taft.

He was last seen reading a book in the first-class smoking room as chaos unfolded around him.

There is a memorial dedicated to him on Fifth Avenue near Central Park.

Just before midnight on Sunday, April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg.

“The ship that took three years to build took less than three hours to sink,” writes the author.

The 1997 film “Titanic,” starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, brought the tragedy to the big screen.
©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

“No human eye would see it again for over 70 years.”

With only 16 lifeboats and four collapsible dinghies on board, two out of every three people perished.

One of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in modern history, more than 300 bodies were later recovered.

A first-hand account told later by Joseph Hyman revealed that there wasn’t much panic until a chief officer fired a gun into a group of third-class passengers, accidentally blowing off the chin of the man standing next to him.

Prior to the Titanic, Captain Edward J. Smith (pictured with Purser Hugh Walter McElroy) had also run several ships aground, hit a tugboat in New York Harbor, and had been rammed by the warship HMS Hawke.
Corbis via Getty Images

Another officer shot himself in the head with a revolver, the New York World newspaper reported.

Chaos erupted with the realization of the severity of the disaster.

“From the time the lights went out until the vessel plunged head first into the icy sea, there was one prolonged cry as of a single, mighty animal in mortal agony,” Hyman stated.

The Titanic Disaster: Omens, Mysteries and Misfortunes of the Doomed Liner by James W Bancroft

“We pulled away about half a mile…and then we heard a small explosion and a terrible cry. The cry was blood-curdling and never stopped until the Titanic went down. We were terror-stricken.”

Lifeboats rowed until they came upon the Carpathia, where survivors were hoisted aboard and given brandy and coffee.

And then the savior ship headed for New York.

People believing there was life beyond the veil contacted mediums hoping for visits from perished loved ones in seances.

Claims were made for jewelry, wardrobes — even husbands — ranging in price from $25,000 to $250,000.

The sinking of the Titanic was one of history’s most catastrophic human tragedies.