It was a clear, cold night in April. The largest vessel in history to float at 800 feet long, displacing 45,000 tons, and declared unsinkable was gliding through the water with roughly 2,500 passengers all peacefully sleeping. Then, suddenly the ship is struck by an iceberg on its starboard side while moving at 25 knots, 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland. The ship sank quickly. With an insufficient amount of lifeboats, it took a majority of its passengers down with it. You would think this is the story of Titanic right? However, what you just read is actually the plot of a novel titled Futility which was released 14 years before the Titanic ever set sail.
A man named Morgan Robertson in 1898 wrote a book titled The Titan’s Wreck: Or, Futility. The story was about a man named John Rowland, an alcoholic and disgraced former Naval officer taking a job onboard the Titan, the largest vessel in the world. Robertson describes it as “unsinkable,” and “among the greatest works of men.” in his novel. The Titan strikes an iceberg on its journey, sinking, and becoming one of the worlds greatest tragedies.
The tale could almost be an exact retelling of the Titanic tragedy, if not for its release date. That’s what makes it even eerier.
The similarities between the Titan and the Titanic go far beyond a name and an iceberg. The length of the titan was 800 feet, the Titanic 882.
The speed at which the Titan cruised into the iceberg was 25 knots. The Titanic’s was 22.5.
The Titan held 2,500 passengers. The Titanic held 2,200, though both had a capacity of 3,000.
Both the Titan and Titanic were British owned ships. Both ships were hit on their starboard bow, around midnight.
Both ships sank in the North Atlantic exactly 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland. Both had a severe lack of lifeboats, the Titan holding 24, and Titanic carrying just 20. Both also had a triple screw propeller.
Though there are a few differences, they are still few and far between. For example, the Titan’s sinking left only 13 survivors, while the Titanic left 705, and the Titan actually capsized before sinking, where the Titanic split into two pieces.
After the Titanic tragedy, Robertson was accused of being clairvoyant due to the insane similarities between his work and real life. After all, the likelihood of someone writing a book so similar to a tragedy that hadn’t even taken place yet is almost impossible.
There are 41.1 million square miles of Atlantic ocean available for shipwrecks to choose from, and there were plenty of reasons a ship could sink besides an iceberg.
Over the years, many conspiracy theories have raised the similarities between “Titan” and Titanic. Some conspiracy theorists think the vessel was deliberately sunk in order to prevent the Federal Reserve bank from being created. Others think it was cursed because their vessels were not christened by the White Star Line.
Although the conspiracy theories may not hold up, it is difficult to ignore the similarities between the Titan and Titanic and not wonder what kind of luck Robertson had to predict the most famous maritime disaster in the world.