Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The 1898 Book that Predicted the Sinking of the Titanic

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By Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1918

In England I had my attention called to a story by Morgan Robertson, which had been written more than a decade before the Titanic disaster, and which was being republished because of its peculiar plot. The story was entitled "Futility," and described the building of an enormous ship, the Titan, and of its destruction by an iceberg the second day after being launched. At the time the story was first published no such monster passenger ships were known; but Mr. Robertson's imagination had given a picture of the Olympic and Titanic which was almost photographic in detail, and had called his ship the Titan.

I was curious to know more of the matter; so after my return to America I wrote to Mr. Robertson and received the following reply:

"As to the motif of my story, I merely tried to write a good story with no idea of being a prophet. But, as in other stories of mine, and in the work of other and better writers, coming discoveries and events have been anticipated. I do not doubt that it is because all creative workers get into a hypnoid, telepathic and percipient condition, in which, while apparently awake, they are half asleep, and tap, not only the better informed minds of others but the subliminal realm of unknown facts. Some, as you know, believe that in this realm there is no such thing as Time, and the fact that a long dream can occur in an instant of time gives color to it, and partly explains prophecy."

Interesting as Mr. Robertson's letter may be, it leaves the reader of "Futility," written and first published fourteen years before the Titanic was built and sunk, with a strange and creepy sensation. In the realm of unknown facts, was it already recorded fourteen years previously that the Titanic should sink?

And how should Mr. Robertson fix on almost the very name which was afterward given to the ill-fated sea monster?

In the year 1917 a similar puzzling and mysterious incident occurred. Miriam French, a beautiful American woman, was on board The City of Athens, sailing from Cape Town, Africa, to America. During her voyage Mrs. French amused herself by writing a story about the ship and imaginary passengers, and ended the tale by having the ship strike a mine and sink into the sea. Two months later The City of Athens met that exact fate. How can the purely material reasoning mind explain such occurrences?

The old TV show below talks about this very book in the last few minutes, View it on youtube at

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