Top 10 Misconceptions About The Titanic Debunked

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8. The Mummy Of Amen-Ra


A popular urban legend is that Titanic carried the cursed Mummy of Amen-Ra in its cargo hold, which naturally wreaked havoc and magically brought the ship into the direct path of the iceberg. Of course, there was no mummy aboard the Titanic. But the origins of this story are a good example of how so many Titanic myths and legends begin.

During the voyage, famous spiritualist William T. Stead told the story of the mummy of Amen-Ra to his enthralled dinner companions. At the time, the mummy was actually being displayed at the British Museum. However, after the sinking, this quickly became distorted, and before long, instead of the British Museum, the mummy was on the ship.

7. If There Had Been Enough Lifeboats, Everyone Would Have Been Saved

 

Most people know that Titanic didn’t have enough lifeboats for everyone aboard. At the time Titanic set sail, regulations dictated that she required a total of 16 lifeboats. Titanic not only complied with this but actually carried an additional four smaller boats (“collapsibles”). It’s worth noting that the idea that lifesaving equipment was considered irrelevant on an “unsinkable” ship is clearly false. But if Titanic had carried enough lifeboats to accommodate everyone aboard, would it have really made a difference in terms of loss of life?

The short answer is “no,” and there are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, we know that the last of Titanic‘s boats were launched (if we accept the term “launched” to mean “swept off the deck”) around 2:15 AM, just five minutes before the ship sank completely. In other words, officers didn’t even have enough to time to launch and lower the boats they had. In addition to this, firsthand accounts tell us that many passengers were reluctant to get into the boats, feeling they were safer aboard the ship. Some had to be “convinced” to get into them, while others flat out refused. We also know that those in third class had difficulty finding their way to the boats quickly, if at all.

Storage of the boats created problems, too. For example, Collapsible C couldn’t be set up, let alone launched and lowered, until Boat 1 had been lowered away. Collapsibles A and B were stored on the roof of the officers’ quarters, requiring valuable time to get them down to the boat deck in order to load them. It’s likely that further boats would have been stored in similar difficult-to-reach places, and officers and crew simply wouldn’t have had time to prepare and load them.

While it is true that given the calm sea conditions, a few extra boats may have been helpful in the water (provided they were cut free beforehand), it’s clear that even if Titanic had had enough lifeboats for all aboard, the loss of life would still have been incredibly high. That night, it seems, time was as cruel a mistress to those poor souls as the icy water below them.

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