Did Novelist Predict Titanic Disaster 14 Years Beforehand?
On this date (April 10) in 1912, the R.M.S. Titanic departed Southampton, England for her maiden voyage to New York. As virtually everyone knows, she never reached her destination: the great ship that was deemed unsinkable struck an iceberg just a few days later and plunged to the bottom of the Atlantic less than 3 hours later with approximately two-thirds of her estimated 2,224 passengers and crew still aboard.
While the details of the disaster have long since passed into common knowledge, it is surprising to many to learn that a novel published 14 years before the Titanic‘s sinking foreshadowed the actual event with what would seem to be uncanny accuracy.
American-born Morgan Andrew Robertson first went to sea as a cabin boy at the age of five! After a career at sea that lasted over 30 years, he turned his attention elsewhere: first to jewelry making and then to writing. Drawing upon his maritime experiences, he penned adventure stories set at sea which were published by popular magazines of the day, including McClure’s and the Saturday Evening Post.
In 1898 he published a short novel titled Futility. It told about an enormous British passenger liner that sank in April in the North Atlantic while loaded with rich-and-famous socialites, many of whom perish due to a scarcity of lifeboats. Oh, and the fictional ship’s name? Titan.
Other similarities between Robertson’s fictional account and the actual events include:
- Both the Titan and the Titanic had 4 smokestacks.
- Both ships were driven by triple screws (propellers).
- Both ships were considered unsinkable.
- Both were the largest ships of their day (Titan: 800' long and 70,000 tons displacement; Titanic: 882' long and 52,000 tons displacement).
- Titan‘s top speed: 24–25 knots; Titanic‘s top speed: 21–23 knots
Was it clairvoyance? Evidence of time travel? Or just wild coincidence? Robertson, who died in 1915, just three years after Titanic‘s sinking, steadfastly denied any paranormal explanation, crediting instead his first-hand knowledge of the shipping business and ability to project trends.