10 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About the Titanic
We bring you surprising bits of trivia and Titanic facts you’ve never heard.
A full moon may have caused the fatal iceberg to cross paths with the ship
Scientists arrived at a theory that the full moon months before could be to blame for the collision, which killed about 1,500 people. Quoting astronomer Donald Olson of Texas State University-San Marcos, National Geographic’s Richard A. Lovett wrote, “That full moon, on January 4, 1912, may have created unusually strong tides that sent a flotilla of icebergs southward—just in time for Titanic‘s maiden voyage.”This wasn’t a normal full moon, though: “It was the closest lunar approach, in fact, since A.D. 796, and Earth won’t see its like again until 2257,” wrote Lovett. Iceberg theories aside, here are the 8 ghost ship mysteries that can’t be explained.
Nearly eleven Titanics could be built with the money James Cameron’s Titanic movie has made worldwide
20th Century Fox/Shutterstock
According to the California ScienCenter, the Titanic would cost about $195 million to build today. James Cameron’s Academy Award-winning film Titanic has earned over $2.2 billion worldwide since its release in 1997—enough to construct about 11.2 complete replicas of the ship. That’s also including money earned from the 3D re-release of the film in the spring of 2012.
Research says an optical illusion prevented the ship from receiving help
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British historian Tim Maltin believes that the atmosphere on the night of the sinking created conditions that made it difficult for the crew to spot icebergs—and for other ships to spot the Titanic. Smithsonian magazine reported back in 2012, “Atmospheric conditions in the area that night were ripe for super refraction, Maltin found. This extraordinary bending of light causes miraging, which, he discovered, was recorded by several ships in the area. He says it also prevented the Titanic’s lookouts from seeing the iceberg in time and the freighter Californian from identifying the ocean liner and communicating with it.” Atmosphereic conditions are just one of the many times crazy weather changed history.
Researchers completed a map of the wreck site for the first time in 2012, using over 100,000 photos taken by underwater robots
The Associated Press reported in early March that a team of researchers completed “what’s believed to be the first comprehensive map of the entire 3-by-5-mile Titanic debris field,” a milestone that could lead to more insights as to what happened when the ship sank on April 15, 1912. “An expedition team used sonar imaging and more than 100,000 photos taken from underwater robots to create the map, which shows where hundreds of objects and pieces of the presumed-unsinkable vessel landed,” wrote AP reporter Clarke Canfield. Though the site wasn’t fully mapped until now, the Titanic‘s wreckage was first discovered in September 1985 by underwater explorer Robert Ballard. If you think this map is cool, take a look at the most gorgeous shipwrecks from around the world.
$88,000: The sold auction price for the Titanic’s final lunch menu
TIME reported that the menu actually exceeded the auction house’s expectations for $18,000. Abraham Lincoln Salomon, a New York businessman, who was among the small number of first-class passengers who climbed onto a lifeboat rescued the menu from the ship, according to the Associated Press. Another first-class passenger, Isaac Gerald Frauenthal, signed his name on the back of the menu. He may well have eaten the meal, which included grilled mutton chops and smoked sardines. Plus, this family was supposed to travel on the ship, but a last minute decision saved their lives.
More than 5,000 other artifacts were also up for grabs
Collectors with deep pockets were able to bid on everything from silverware to diamond jewelry, reported CNN. The collection of items has been priced at $200 million. Even the salvage rights to the ship are being sold. In fact, CBS News reports that a cracker from the ship sold for $23,000 in 2017 and a violin owned by the Titanic’s orchestra leader fetched more than $1.4 million in a 2013 auction.
Did an 1898 novella anticipate the Titanic disaster?
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The plot of Morgan Robertson’s Futility bears an uncanny resemblance to the events surrounding the sinking of the Titanic, published 14 years before the voyage. The book tells the story of the Titan: “The largest ship ever built, billed as ‘unsinkable’ by its British owners and the press, strikes an iceberg one April and goes down. Due to a lack of lifeboats, more than half the passengers perish in the North Atlantic,” wrote The Portland Press Herald of the book’s plot. Sound familiar?Futility has since been renamed The Wreck of the Titan, and it’s available for free on Google Books. If this book has you freaked out, you’ll really be spooked by these other historical predictions that were eerily accurate.
There was a cruise that echoed the Titanic experience
Leaving exactly 100 years after the Titanic began its ill-fated voyage, a memorial cruise made its way to Halifax in 2012, where many Titanic victims were laid to rest, and later arrived at the spot in the Atlantic where the ship sank for a day of reflection.
It’s still one of the biggest local attractions and shows no sign of stopping
“Tragedy plus time equals tourism.” That’s what one Titanic expert and guide told the Associated Press, and it’s true! The Titanic Belfast exhibit recorded its busiest year to date since the tourist attraction opened its doors in 2012. More than 841,000 visitors walked through its doors for the year of 2017-2018 – a 13 percent increase from the year prior! And here’s why we are still fascinated by the Titanic over a century later.
Even today, major ships still get “iced” by ocean bergs
Ships continue to struggle with icebergs to this day. In 2011, “an iceberg tore a hole in the hull of a Russian fishing boat cruising around the Antarctic. The 32-person crew threw cargo overboard to lighten the ship while waiting nearly two weeks for rescue,” wrote Lauren Everitt for BBC News Magazine. In fact, research into Atlantic iceberg sighting records has shown that the number of icebergs floating into a ship’s path has increased in recent decades partly due to climate change. As we all know by the shipwreck evidence and lost lives, the Titanic did actually sank, but these are the famous history moments that never actually happened.