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RMS Titanic Urban Legends: Fraud on a Massive Scale?

RMS Titanic Urban Legends: Fraud on a Massive Scale? 86

In the early hours of April 15th 1912, RMS Titanic had her name permanently etched in the annals of maritime history. Over the years, a multitude of rumours have circulated surrounding her sinking ranging from evidential studies of her speed of descent and debris spread on the ocean floor all the way through to supernatural influences.

This three-part article delves into the more fanciful of those rumours.

Part 1: The ‘Olympic’ Switch

RMS Titanic was built alongside her sister RMS Olympic at the Harland and Wolff Shipyard in Belfast, Ireland between her initial laying down on 31st March 1909 until her pre-completion launch on 31st May 1911. The 3rd Olympic-Class sister, RMS Britannic, would be built later.

Titanic and Olympic were almost identical in size, profile, and detail with only very minor differences between the two Goliaths. While the majority of building works on the two vessels took place at the same time, Olympic was always to be the lead ship for White Star Line’s Olympic-Class fleet and as such she was started and completed earlier than Titanic; her pre-completion launch took place on 20th October 1910.

On 20th September 1911 off the coast of the Isle of Wight, the Olympic was struck – and severely damaged – by the British warship HMS Hawke. Despite the damage, Olympic managed to return to Southampton under her own power. As an interesting aside, the collision with HMS Hawke occurred while Olympic was under the command of Captain Edward Smith, who would be lost at sea less than a year later with Titanic.

Titanic olympic

The damage caused by the collision with HMS Hawke had dramatic implications for White Star Line; found culpable for the collision, the company’s insurance would not cover her repair costs and having the ship out of service while Titanic lay unfinished in the Belfast shipyard could have serious implications for the company. Getting Olympic repaired and operational again was pushed to the forefront of the White Star Line’s interest.

A Plan of Fraud on a Massive Scale

The popular urban legend kicks into place here, as instigated and investigated by Robin Gardiner in his book, “Titanic: The Ship that Never Sank?” (Ian Allen Publishing, 1998). To save time and money, says the legend, White Star Line merely patched up the damage to the Olympic; meanwhile, under cover of darkness, Titanic was readied as the new Olympic. Very little between the two ships was branded with the individual vessels’ name so, by changing the bell, lifeboats, and name plates along with minor amendments to navigational equipment, the two ships could easily be switched.

According to Gardiner, White Star Line’s plan was to run Titanic as the Olympic and scuttle the original Olympic during her maiden voyage disguised as the newer vessel thus allowing them to claim the insurance money for the Titanic while ridding themselves of a money trap in the original Olympic.

White Star Line planned for rescue ships to be posted in the vicinity of the planned sinking, hence there was no need for sufficient lifeboats on board to cope with the number of passengers as the boat would sink slowly and several runs could be carried out to the rescue boats. Of course this plan backfired spectacularly as we all know but Gardiner suggests that even this is not necessarily in the reported way.

Subsequent Investigation.

For a more balanced view on this argument, Bruce Beveridge and Steve Hall’s book “Olympic and Titanic: The Truth behind the Conspiracy” (Six Star Publishing, 2004) offers an unbiased and reasoned account of the fact and fiction of this theory and is a highly recommended starting point for further reading on this subject.

Subsequent studies and investigation of the wreck appear to have proved that it is indeed the original Titanic that lies on the sea bed and Olympic overcame the damage caused from the collision with HMS Hawke and continued to serve the White Star Line until her retirement and scrapping in 1935. Despite these conclusions, the tale remains a fascinating theory that continues to be debated today.

Part 2: What Sank the Titanic?

The commonly-held belief that the Titanic fatally struck an iceberg in the north Atlantic has been questioned a few times in the years since the event.

One theory is linked to Part 1 of this article and again comes from Robin Gardiner in his book “Titanic: The Ship That Never Sank?” (1998. Ian Allen Publishing). This theory suggests that, while en-route to the proposed location where the attempt to sabotage the ship – ostensibly by releasing the sea cocks to slowly flood the vessel – was to take place, Titanic and Olympic (henceforth referred to simply as Titanic) actually struck an un-lit International Mercantile Marine Company (IMM) vessel.

IMM had absorbed White Star Line in 1902 and the ship that was struck is said to have been one of the vessels positioned to rescue passengers from theTitanic once the controlled sinking had commenced. This would explain why the boat was drifting without any form of lighting and why it was not seen in sufficient time to prevent the collision.

Titanic

This theory, explains Gardiner, would also justify the actions of the nearby Californian, a ship that was castigated in the trials following the Titanic tragedy for not making her way to the stricken liner to assist in the rescue.

It is said that the Californian did not react to the distress signals that were sighted as it was waiting for the Titanic to reach it; IMM also owned the Leyland line, which operated the Californian and the ship was on duty to rescue passengers from the Titanic. It remains unclear within the remit of this rumour as to whether the distress flares that were seen from the Californian came from the Titanic or the IMM ship that she had struck.

Gardiner also surmises that the ice found on the deck of the liner did not come from the iceberg at all, but instead was shaken loose from the rigging of the IMM vessel and the Titanic itself by the impact.

An unnamed survivor of the sinking also noted seeing a half-submerged vessel in the water directly after the collision; Gardiner suggests that this was most likely a lifeboat which had been knocked from the IMM ship during the collision and other theories put forward that the IMM ship then limped away from the scene so as not to be found within the area of the Titanic although there remains the possibility that the sinking vessel sighted was in fact the IMM rescue boat itself.

Iceberg or Pack Ice?

The iceberg theory was once again called into question in 2003 when former Captain of the Ice Pilotage Service, L. M. Collins, published his book, “The Sinking of the Titanic: The Mystery Solved” (2003, Souvenir Press). In his study, Collins drew on his experience in ice navigation along with witness statements from the two post-incident enquiries that took place at the time.

Collins notes that reports relating to the height of the ice varied dependant on the position on the ship of the witness. These reports varied from being low in the water on the starboard side, through 60ft high in front of the ship to a massive 100ft (30m) high being reported by Quartermaster Rowe on the poop deck.

Collins suggests that this difference in heights can be attributed to an optical illusion common to navigators of ice plains whereby cold air and flat seas combine to make the ice appear to be as high as the vessel’s lights at that point.

The lights of the Titanic were positioned at approximately 60ft above the waterline at the bow and 100ft above the waterline along the superstructure of the ship. The report of ice being low in the water came from Fourth Officer Boxhall who was positioned on the darkened starboard side at the time of the collision.

Further to this Collins states that, as the Titanic turned through pivoting at a point located approximately a quarter of her length from the bow, reports of the ship being pulled hard to starboard would have actually resulted in the ship not catching a glancing blow from the iceberg but instead striking it square on the starboard side. Collins relates that a collision such as this would be more likely to crush the entire starboard hull and possibly even the superstructure resulting in the ship capsizing and sinking within minutes.

Part 3: Supernatural Influences

One of the more bizarre rumours surrounding the liner was the tale of sectarianism in her birthplace of Belfast leading to a curse on the ship. The rumour would have us believe that Titanic was given the yard number 390904 which, when read as a reflection via a mirror, resembles the statement ‘NOPOPE’.

This was deemed as an indication of the company’s alleged anti-Catholic beliefs, compounded by a shortage of Protestant employees. While it was true that Harland and Wolff employed very few Catholics, it is unproven as to whether this was as a result of employment policy or merely due to the location of the shipyard in an area of Belfast that was highly-populated with Protestants.

In fact, Titanic and her sister Olympic were granted the yard numbers 401 and 400 respectively. But of course, that doesn’t make for nearly as juicy a tale!

The Cursed Cargo.

A fascinating legend surrounding the sinking – and the one that initially sparked my interest in the myths surrounding the vessel – is the tale of her cursed cargo.

The tale tells of the discovery in the 1890’s of the mummified remains of an Egyptian Priestess, often thought to be that of the Priestess of Amen-Ra. Following the discovery, the person who purchased the mummy ran into a string of unfortunate incidents and illness, culminating in his eventual death.

Following the death of the initial purchaser, the mummy was donated to the British History Museum where the remains continued to cause concerns for staff and mysterious afflictions to affect those visitors that had dared to photograph her.

Titanic

Ongoing incidents and an elevated interest from the British press lead to the mummy being locked away in the Museum vault until journalist William Thomas Stead, discounting the previous events surrounding the remains as mere circumstance purchased the mummy and set in action plans to have her shipped to New York.

Reports at this point separate as some state that the mummy was in fact included on the cargo list of the Titanic (although this had been proved incorrect) while others report that the remains were actually hidden underneath Stead’s car as he feared that White Star would not accept her as cargo due to the reputation of the piece. Stead then reportedly revealed that he had stowed the mummy away to other passengers during merry-making the evening before the collision.

‘Futility’ – A Premonition of Disaster?

In 1898, Morgan Robertson published his novella “Futility”, otherwise known as “The Wreck of the Titan”. The story relates the fortunes of the hero, John Rowland, following the sinking of the World’s largest liner on her maiden voyage through striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic.

While the Titan was actually travelling in the opposite direction to the Titanic in the novel and she strikes the ice head-on as opposed to the glancing blow of the real ship, there remains some startling similarities between the 2 vessels.

– Both ships sank in a similar position (approximately 400 miles off Newfoundland) on an April night on their maiden voyage.
– The Titan was also the largest ship afloat and was deemed to be “unsinkable” / “indestructible”.
– The Titan also had as few lifeboats on board as was possible and nowhere near sufficient numbers to cope with the level of passengers on board.
– The casualties of both wrecks were considerable, taking the lives of in excess of half of the passengers on board.

Indeed, the similarities went even further with the fact that the Titan hit and sank a sailing ship, while the Titanic only narrowly avoided a collision the SS New York; when the Titanic left her berth on her maiden voyage, the New York was dragged from its moorings in the wake of the much larger ship and pulled towards the liner, missing her by around 4 feet before being towed away by a patrolling tugboat.

While, of course, Robertson could not have had any pre-cognition regarding the building of the Titanic – the Olympic-class liners had not even begun their design stages at the time of the novels’ release – the similarities between the story and actual events provide a quite astounding example of coincidence.

By Andy Hill

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Fact or fiction

Was an Angel filmed over a house extinguished by firefighters?

Was an Angel filmed over a house extinguished by firefighters? 99

Having appeared on the network, this photo caused a lot of comments – from the fact that it really was a Guardian Angel who guarded the firefighters during work, to those who assured that all this was just an illusion, no more complicated than a cloud in the shape of a lamb.

At the end of December 2020, while extinguishing a fire in the Polish village of Maldyty, an Angel hovered over the firemen, or at least something like an Angel. This photo appeared on the Facebook page of the Maldyta fire station and generated many comments.

“This is something that was formed during the last extinguishing of the fire from the ignition of soot in the chimney in Maldyty. Write in the comments your thoughts about it,” was written under the picture on their FB page.

Poles are known to be very religious and there are plenty of people willing to comment on the picture.

Many indeed believed that the Angel oversaw the work of the firemen and, perhaps, even helped them to extinguish the fire. But there were also enough of those who believed that it was all just a random silhouette between clouds in the sky and pareidolia (illusion). The photo was taken by an unspecified person sitting in the cab of a car parked next to the burning house.

“Christians have always believed in the existence of guardian spirits. Some call them Guardian Angels. The Bible confirms their existence,” Pastor Leszek Kozheniecki told reporters, commenting on this photo.

By the way, Kozhenetskiy is a well-known Polish pastor who believes in the existence of supernatural beings.

Three years ago, he told the press that he had driven out the evil spirit that settled in his house in Turza Wielka. One of the firefighters who worked on the extinguishing of the house that night said:

“If we have this kind of protection watching over us, I am pretty calm about safety during work.”

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Fact or fiction

The skeleton of a mysterious “prehistoric beast” found in Antarctica?

The skeleton of a mysterious "prehistoric beast" found in Antarctica? 100
Photo: © thesun.co.uk/Google Earth

Blogger MrMBB333 shared an image of a “mysterious creature.” It was discovered 80 kilometers off the coast of Antarctica in a remote region of Antarctica, according to the Sun.

According to the blogger, the pictures are screenshots from the Google Earth service, which were sent to him by his subscriber and conspiracy theorist under the nickname BONKERS.

They estimate the length of the remains at 3.6-6 meters.I don’t know if it was frozen for thousands of years or appeared recently,- the blogger said.

MrMBB333 believes the skeleton belonged to a dinosaur. He came to this conclusion by examining the front and hind limbs of the creature. His subscribers are sure that these are the remains of a seal.

The skeleton of a mysterious "prehistoric beast" found in Antarctica? 101
© thesun.co.uk/Google Earth

A google search for seal skeleton images shows a pretty good match,- one of them wrote.

Other subscribers call the skeleton “suspicious”. They explain that “seals have no hind legs.” Another wrote that the remains belonged to an alligator or some other reptile.

In the comments, conspiracy theorists also expressed their opinion that “Antarctica is full of unexplained phenomena that may be related to ancient aliens.”

It is also believed that most of the “discoveries” made by users of Google Earth can be explained by the unusual shape of ice or other natural phenomena.

MrMBB333 uploaded his investigation video to YouTube on January 5. Since then, the video has been watched more than 200,000 times.

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Fact or fiction

150 thousand years old Metal pipes in Tibet, contradict the official history

150 thousand years old Metal pipes in Tibet, contradict the official history 102

It is said that there is a mountain in Tibet that contains a network of special formations that extend to the nearest lake. Many researchers believe that this is an artificial pipeline system. But, strangely enough, its origin dates back to the era of the Neanderthals.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

This mountain rises about 40 km from the city of Dalingha in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. It is called Baigongshan (White Mountain). In the world, it is better known for the wonderful formations that are in its heart and wide surroundings – they are called the Baigong pipes.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

This miracle has been the subject of controversial discussions for many years. Some believe they are a natural formation, but there are many who are sure that someone built them in the distant past to drain the lake. They base their arguments on research results, but there is a catch; the mysterious aqueduct should have appeared 150 thousand years ago. Traces of settlements around the mountain are not even older than 30 thousand years. So who could build metal pipes inside an uninhabited mountain?

There are three caves at the foot of Mount Baigongshan, two of them have already collapsed and are inaccessible, but the largest of them has since been the target of many tourists who come to the area.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

The cave looks like it was artificially created by someone. Visibility is enhanced by a massive pipe about forty centimeters in diameter that sticks out of the stone.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

Another apparently hollow pipe of the same diameter ran into the cave from the top of the mountain. Another one came from the bottom of the cave somewhere below.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

At the entrance to the cave, you can see several other pipes with a diameter of 10 to 40 cm. All this gives the impression of the remains of some ancient system or mechanism. About 80 meters from the cave, Lake Toson sparkles with a large number of scattered pipes on the beach.

Photo from open source
Photo: open sources

They stretch from east to west and have a diameter of 2 to 4.5 cm, these archaeological finds are described by the Chinese scientist Liu-Shaolin:

The unmistakable rust color indicates that they are made of metal. And their craftsmanship showcases advanced attachment techniques. Who could have built such a complex pipe system? Only one who knew well what he was doing and why.

The version that such an engineering miracle was created by the Chinese disappears immediately. The inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom could not build something like that 150 thousand years ago. As the authors of many amazing inventions, bureaucracy became one of them. Therefore, it is simply impossible to imagine that such a large-scale and, without exaggeration, a great construction project was reflected in any ancient Chinese source. Any emperor, during whose reign this happened, would make sure that his great deed was not forgotten by descendants.

Baigong tubes are another unsolved mystery in human history. This find once again refutes the facts of the official history. Where is the true and where is the misconception? Maybe there will be people among the readers who will logically explain the origin of the ancient aqueduct.

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