There are few stories in history that have received as much attention as the sinking of the Titanic. Even before the award-winning film, the tale of the disastrous voyage captured the attention of the entire world.
Because of this, one would think the circumstances surrounding the event are pretty much an open-and-shut case. In truth, though, even one of the most notorious maritime disasters in history has become the subject of an interesting theory.
When you hear all about this wild speculation, you might just start to question everything you know about the Titanic…
Most of the facts surrounding the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic are quite well-documented. We know, for example, that construction of the ship began on March 31, 1909, and $7.5 million later, it was completed on April 2nd, 1912.
It’s easy to forget that the Titanic was just one of three “Olympic class” ships built by the White Star Line. The Brittanic and the Olympic were almost identical to the Titanic, which had just a few other modifications. That’s going to be important to remember later on…
By the time that the Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage (which, of course, would turn out to be its only voyage) on April 10, 1912, there were 1,317 people on board in total. Almost half of those lives would soon be lost…
Despite the fatal errors that would soon present themselves, Captain Edward Smith claimed he “could not imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.” Boy, was he wrong.
What followed was one of the most legendarily disastrous tragedies in maritime history. “I saw that ship sink,” said Eva Hart, who survived the event as a child. “I never closed my eyes. I didn’t sleep at all. I saw it, I heard it, and nobody could possibly forget it. I can remember the colors, the sounds, everything… The worst thing I can remember are the screams.” Only, is there more to this story?
There were only 710 survivors of the accident, and of that number, most were “first-class” passengers. There’s no question that this was a tragic event, but some people have cast doubt on certain details. For example, journalist Senan Molony claims that the sinking was caused not by an iceberg, but a fire that went unnoticed for three weeks! However, several experts debunked that theory.
Soerfm / Wikimedia Commons
Yet, some people have taken that doubt even further. According to author Robin Gardner in his book Titanic: The Ship That Never Sank, it was not the Titanic that sank, but one of its sister ships, The Olympic, which, he alleges, was disguised as the Titanic!
Gardner claims that, after the Olympic had an accident on September 20, 1911 when it collided with another ship, Lloyd’s of London—the White Star Line’s insurance agent—refused to pay the claim for the damage, even after the ship had managed to return to England.
These financial troubles delayed the construction of the Titanic, so, according to Gardner, the White Star Line company swapped out parts of the Titanic that bore its name with the Olympic to make the Olympic look like the Titanic!
Willy Stower / Wikimedia Commons
Unsurprisingly, many experts have disputed these claims. This would have been an extremely (and perhaps unnecessarily) convoluted plan, after all, and whatever the ship was actually called, it doesn’t change the fact that hundreds of innocent people lost their lives.
Antonynizh / Wikimedia Commons
While it’s easy to be skeptical of conspiracy theories like this one, it’s still fascinating to consider. Do you think the people behind the Titanic were hiding something?
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