Everyone has heard of the Titanic. The sinking of the ‘unsinkable’ ocean liner in the frozen pre-Great War waters of the Atlantic ocean has captured our imaginations like no other maritime disaster.
But what if I told you that the ship that sank in the night of the 14/15 of April 1912 was not the Titanic at all?
That is ridiculous, you would say. It’s at the bottom of the ocean. People have seen it. There are pictures. There were survivors. Why?
Well, the answer to that could be a rather convoluted conspiracy theory.
What you may not know about the Titanic is that it was one of two virtually identical ships made by the White Star Line – the Titanic of course, and her older sister the Olympic.
And, the conspiracy proposes, it is the Olympic, not the Titanic, which lies at the bottom of the ocean.
The Olympic had her maiden voyage a year before the Titanic. In this time the Olympic had collisions with three other ships, including a disastrous encounter with a British Naval vessel, the HMS Hawke. This collision not only damaged the naval ship, but ripped massive holes in the hull of the Olympic and damaged almost 1/3 of her length. The owner of the White Star Line, J. P. Morgan, the famous banker, was unable to collect insurance on her because his crew was found to be at fault with the collisions, so he not only had to pay to repair his boat, but damage caused by her as well.
The damaged Olympic and the Titanic sat next to each other on dry docks while the Olympic was patched up with the Titanic’s borrowed starboard propeller and rivets and steel braces and plates added to her hull.
The Titanic’s maiden voyage was delayed what conspiracy theorists claim was enough time to swap the ships over – swap the names, swap the fittings, swap the propeller – and let the Olympic head out to sea disguised as her younger and undamaged sister, the Titanic.
But what was the point of this? Money.
15. The Wreck Of The Titanic Had The Wrong Propeller
As mentioned before, the shipfitters who looked after the White Star Liners, the Britannic, the Olympic and the Titanic ‘borrowed’ the starboard propeller– or at least that is the claim made by conspiracy theorists such as Robin Gardiner and John Hamer, who have each written books on the subject.
Each ship had different, numbered parts, the Titanic parts being labelled 401 and the Olympic parts labelled 400. When the starboard propeller of the vessel sunk that is commonly presumed to be the Titanic is examined, it has the number ‘401’ engraved on it – the number of the Titanic.
The conclusion can be drawn that this is because the propeller was switched before the voyage, however this is not the only place that the number ‘401’ can be found on the wreck, so it is up to you to decide how much of the ship would have needed to be swapped to continue the deception.
14. The Titanic’s Maiden Voyage Flew Under The Radar
Sorry, what? Everyone knows about the Titanic!
Well they do now, but before she sank she was kind of the second and less interesting sister ship of the Olympic.
The Olympic had been open to the public before her maiden voyage, celebrated and given as much publicity as possible. The Titanic was a year younger and only slightly bigger – she flew a little under the radar.
Remember that at this point in history, trans-continental travel took place on ships, and a voyage across the Atlantic was THE way to get to the other side. Newspapers would have mostly published advertisements for passage or passenger lists.
Whether it was deliberate or not, the maiden voyage was NBD and hardly the festival that the Olympic had enjoyed.
13. The Titanic Was Understaffed
At the time of the launch of the Titanic, there was a coal shortage. As we mentioned before, ships were a key way of getting around in those days and the steam ships used masses of coal to move their huge bulk through the water.
The workers who based their careers around the sea were many. Many, many. Not only sailors, there were engineers, firemen, waiters, cooks and other professionals like doctors who all need to be able to go to sea and work to keep themselves and their families in the black.
And yet the Titanic was understaffed, with rumors flying around that she was going to be scuttled (purposely sinked). Why would there be a lack of willing workers on a liner at this time in history when sea going jobs were hard to find? You would think there would be workers lined up around the block to go on the Titanic. But in fact, many signed up for the voyage, went to the pub, and never returned.
Or perhaps the White Star Line simply did not want too many people on a ship that was going to go down, especially as it would be the big coal boilers and engines that would give away how old she really was to any engineers or firemen using them.
12. The Captain May Have Been A Bit Of A Cowboy
Captain Edward Smith was, at the time of the sinking of the Titanic, one of the most experienced sea captains in the world, and one of the only sea captains who had any experience with the new Olympic Class of ocean liner.
In fact, it was Captain Smith who was in command of the Olympic when she had a collision with the naval boat that ripped into her hull – and this was found by an inquiry to be the fault of Captain Smith.
This wasn’t the first time the Captain had had a collision with another boat on his watch – on a previous voyage with the Olympic she had collided with a tugboat.
Was this a string of bad luck, or just bad judgement?
To this day, it is not sure how Captain Smith did not see the iceberg that the Titanic hit. According to other sea captains that testified in the hearings about the incident, he should have seen the iceberg long before he did and easily avoided it.
Whatever the failings of Captain Smith, if indeed they were failings, he died a hero, going down with his ship The Titanic and sacrificing his own place on a lifeboat for the benefit of his passengers.
11. The Owner Cancelled His Passage At The Last Minute
There has always been some confusion about who was and who wasn’t on the Titanic. Approximately 50 passengers and crew cancelled their passages aboard the Titanic on that fatal trip – many just before. Did they know something that others didn’t?
An interesting story involved Mr. and Mrs. George W. and Edith Vanderbilt, who cancelled at the last minute because a family member had begged them not to go in case something went wrong. They were so eager NOT to go on the Titanic’s maiden voyage that they left their luggage on the boat and stayed back without it. Obviously they never saw it again.
The biggest red flag regarding passengers was the last minute cancellation of the owner of the White Star Line, J.P. Morgan himself.
10. There Was A Virtually Empty Ship Only 19 Miles Away, Just Sitting There
The SS Californian was a British ship that was the closest big ship to the Titanic when she went down.
Conspiracy theorists have surmised that she was basically empty – full of coal and carrying only wool sweaters and blankets across the Atlantic.
For no apparent logical reason, the Californian stopped in the middle of the ice field and seemingly ‘waited’ over night. Despite Captain Stanley Lord being told repeatedly that the Titanic was sending distress signals, these distress signals were ignored.
A theory has been put forward that in fact Captain Lord was waiting for colored flares (as the Titanic was sending) but was not seeing them due to an illegal sealing boat sitting between the two ships and setting off white flares to recall seal hunting boats.
9. The Captains Did Not Go To Bed That Night…
The Captain always has a good cabin. That is one of the perks of captaincy. The Captain also has a team of trusted crew members who are able to take command so that he can rest.
And yet on the night the Titanic sank, both Captain Smith of the Titanic and Captain Lord of the Californian reportedly decided to remain dressed all night and rest on sofas instead of go to bed. They were on alert. The seemed to be waiting for something – but what?
The Titanic was just trucking along doing her thing. Her crew knew there were icebergs. No one was worried. Why did the Captain need to stay up?
Similarly, the Californian was doing literally nothing, sitting dead in the water. Why did Captain Lord not just call it a night and relax?
8. …But They Did Talk To Each Other
Considering that the Californian famously ignored the floundering Titanic, is it strange to you that not only was Captain Lord well aware of the Titanic nearby, but had been in communication with the Titanic before it sank?
In fact there were six messages sent between the Californian and the Titanic – three warning the Titanic of icebergs and three that were personal communications between Captain Lord and Captain Smith.
No one knows what these communications were, but it makes sense that if there was a plot afoot – say for the Californian to wait for the Titanic to send up colored distress flares and then swoop in and save the day, that there would be a number of communications that would be sent between the plotters in readiness for the action.
I’m sure that it was not always the crew’s business what transpired between two Captains who probably knew each other socially and may have well simply been having a personal conversation, but isn’t it weird to think that so much communication occurred and then…nothing?
7. The Crow’s Nest Lookouts Watched The Titanic Miss The Iceberg… Then Perhaps Reversed?
The two lookouts in the crow’s nest of the Titanic, sailors Fleet and Lee, did not see the Titanic hit the iceberg.
What they saw was the Titanic squeeze past the big iceberg with no damage. They did not even see the berg ‘shed’ ice onto the deck, as it allegedly did.
Fleet and Lee were completely unalarmed and continued on with their shift. They had given warning of the iceberg to First Officer Murdoch who had not been bothered by it.
Maybe because they didn’t hit it.
Maybe because the ice that fell onto the deck fell from the rigging after the Titanic abruptly reversed its engines to deliberately hit the iceberg it had just avoided.
Fleet and Lee survived the disaster and later said that they had warned the First Officer about the iceberg, and that he had shot himself later as a result of the guilt he felt for ignoring their warning.
6. …And Only A Handful Of People Saw Anything At All
There were only five people who saw any collision or interaction with the iceberg: four non-ranking seamen and First Officer William Murdoch.
Of these five, the only survivors were the four non-ranking seamen, including the two men in the crow’s nest, Fleet and Lee. First Officer Murdoch allegedly shot several passengers with a revolver and then shot himself. This allegation has never been accepted by his family.
Conspiracy theorists argue that the ‘working class’ surviving witnesses would have their silence easily bought or equally easily threatened with either harm or ‘never working again’.
However, with all the survivors having been allegedly forced to sign papers that gagged them from whistling on the incident, it is impossible at this stage to ever really know what it was that the four surviving witnesses actually witnessed.
5. Some Rather Convenient People Died
Benjamin Guggenheim, Isador Strauss and John Jacob Astor were hugely, fabulously, incredibly rich men who were the financial opponents of the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank. On the other side of this disagreement were representatives of the also ridiculously cashed up families of J. P. Morgan, the Warburg family, the Rothschild and the Rockefeller family. This second party all joined up to push for the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank.
Yes, that is the same J. P. Morgan who owned the White Star Line, and who decided not to travel on the Titanic, which is odd in itself because you would think that he would welcome the opportunity to maybe butter up his competitors a little bit – or at least show off.
After the Titanic’s voyage, Guggenheim, Strauss, and Astor were no longer with us, or able to stand in the way of Morgan. Whether this was on purpose, or just a happy bit of collateral damage we may never know.
4. The Surviving Titanic Crew Were Possibly Illegally Imprisoned
When the surviving crew of the Titanic arrived in Plymouth, they were allegedly detained against their will until they gave detailed depositions of the sinking of the Titanic.
While they were detained, crew members were allegedly not able to speak with their union representatives and also not allowed to leave until they had signed documents that were believed to be relevant to the British Official Secrets Act.
What lot of information.
208 crew members gave detailed depositions for the British inquiry into the disaster, and yet most of these eye witnesses were not ever called to give testimony, nor were their depositions ever used in any way.
The White Star Line was secretive and…well, just plain weird. The crew members were forced to stay in provided accommodation and not allowed to speak to anyone outside the White Star Line and Board of Trade Officials. They were virtual prisoners until all their unused depositions were notarized.
3. The Titanic’s Portholes Magically Changed
Basically this evidence is purported to be simple, and there are photos freely available which clearly show the Titanic and the Olympic and their portholes:
The Olympic had 16 portholes on the port side C deck.
The Titanic had 14 portholes on the port side C deck.
The ship that left Southhampton on the Titanic’s maiden voyage had 16 portholes.
But wait, come on, you say. They just added two. The Titanic wasn’t finished yet.
Well that is a possibility. It is true that the Titanic was still in the final stages of completion until she sailed off on her maiden voyage.
But adding two portholes is also just a theory, it could explain, but does not debunk, the possibility that the boats were switched. It may have been an overlooked detail in the attempt to quickly change the ships over without creating any more delay in scuttling the ‘Titanic’ with as little fanfare as possible.
2. The Wreck Of The Titanic Has Evidence Of Repair
One of the ways that a big ship like the Olympic, which sustained a huge amount of damage and had a ripped open hole in her hull, was repaired by replacing and reinforcing. Popped rivets were replaced, big sheets of metal were replaced, and in the case of the Olympic, the broken keel was reinforced with metal braces.
While the original Olympic obviously already had the rivets and metal sheets, it did not have the metal braces until it was repaired and they were added to strengthen the hull.
The braces don’t appear on the blueprints (yes, ships have blueprints!) of the Olympic. They certainly don’t appear on the blueprints of the Titanic… then why did the first exploration of the wreck of the ‘Titanic’ in 1987 show longitudinal braces that were holding the keel together? The Titanic was an undamaged, maiden ship and she should have had no evidence of large repair jobs. That is, if the wreck is actually of the Titanic.
1. The White Star Line Was In Dire Need Of Money
It sounds strange, doesn’t it, that J. P. Morgan’s company, which owned the most luxurious liners in the world, was struggling financially.
Well that brings us back again to the Olympic. She was absolutely trashed by her run-in with the Naval ship, and her repairs had not only (as the official story goes) caused her to be out of action for a significant amount of time, but also for the Titanic to delay her maiden voyage because parts of her were being used to repair the Olympic, pushing the Titanic completion date further and further back.
To add to this, White Star had to pay for her significant repairs AND repairs to the naval ship out of pocket with no insurance from Lloyds of London.
Is it so far fetched to think that scuttling the Olympic as the brand new and insured Titanic was the perfect solution to all of White Star Line’s cash flow problems?
There is certainly a lot that does not add up.