Ghost Stories


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Covianna Mohr

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Are there any ghost stories about the Titanic, or about the people on board?
 
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Cátia Lamy

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Hi!
I read somewhere that a man died while Titanic was being build. He was stuck between two walls. The men working there said that they could listening an hammer and they said that was him. Well, of course this story became a myth, an there were people who thought that this man was the responsable for the sink, that he was hunting the ship and made something like "if you killed me I'll kill you to".

If you ask me, I think this is *! (eheheh)- sorry for the bad word!

There are lots of stories about the Titanic. I can't remember any more concerning ghosts but probably there would be more.

Bye,
Cátia Lamy
 

George Behe

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Hi, Covianna!

My book "Titanic: Psychic Forewarnings of a Tragedy" (now out of print) described many 'premonitions' etc. connected with the Titanic disaster, and a few accounts of 'apparitions' snuck their way into the book as well. My second book ("Lost at Sea," cowritten with Michael Goss) contains a chapter of 'new' Titanic psychic cases that came to light after the first book was written. (The book also covers cases connected with the Lusitania, Empress of Ireland etc.)

New Titanic cases continue to turn up with great regularity.

All my best,

George
 
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Michael Gibbs

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George Behe,

I have respect for any books you may write, but don't you think that most or all of these many 'premonitions' that survivors or relatives seem to of had are nothing more than falsehoods, exaggerations or down right lies?

I mean, the Titanic tragedy is a fantastic story, having 'premonitions' about it happening beforehand, make for even better storytelling, right!

After all, It's easy to say "Ooh, I had a premonition that that great ship was going to sink when I boarded it at Southampton" after the event, when you have the gift of hindsight.

No disrespect to you George, I guess I'm just a cynical skeptic...
 

George Behe

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Michael Gibbs wrote:

>I have respect for any books you may write, but don't you think that
>most or all of these many 'premonitions' that survivors or relatives
>seem to of had are nothing more than falsehoods, exaggerations or down
>right lies?

Hi, Michael!

Your question has a number of facets, so I'll answer these facets one at a time.

Do I believe that most or all of these premonitions were not true psychic phenomena? It's quite possible that many -- or even most -- of these accounts were merely the results of coincidence, and my books try to point out as many examples of this as possible.

Do I believe that these accounts were falsehoods or downright lies? Yes, a few of them were, and my books present as much historical information as possible in order to demonstrate which of these people were deliberately trying to pull the wool over our eyes. (E.g. I was able to prove that one lady who claimed to be a reincarnated Titanic passenger had thoroughly researched that passenger before she went public with her claim.)

Re: other cases, the historical documentation I was able to gather together suggested that there may have been non-psychic reasons for certain (honest) people to have felt uneasy about the Titanic (e.g. a widely held superstition about maiden voyages in general, fear of the water, etc.)

Do I believe that many of these accounts were the result of later exaggeration? Undoubtedly.

Do I believe that *all* of these accounts were non-psychic in nature? I honestly don't know. I'm a skeptic in the classical sense of the word and try to keep an open mind on subjects like this, since people who close their minds *completely* to such possibilities are not being skeptical -- they're pretending to be omniscient.


>I mean, the Titanic tragedy is a fantastic story, having 'premonitions'
>about it happening beforehand, make for even better storytelling, right!

Quite true.

>After all, It's easy to say "Ooh, I had a premonition that that great
>ship was going to sink when I boarded it at Southampton" after the
>event, when you have the gift of hindsight.

True, but that doesn't explain the premonitions that people spoke about *before* the ship went down. A number of financially hard-pressed crewmen went down to the Southampton docks on April 10th in order to sign onto the Titanic -- only to return home without doing so (and without any much-needed money) because of a sudden feeling of dread that came over them when they were about to board the ship. Mrs. Bucknell had a similar long-term feeling of dread and repeatedly told her shipboard companions that she was convinced something ghastly was going to happen to the Titanic before the vessel reached New York. Major Butt was so certain that he would soon be "at the center of some awful calamity" that he made out his will right before he sailed. A friend of Henry Harris was so certain that Harris faced danger on the Titanic that he cabled Harris from New York and urged his friend not to sail. T.W.S. Brown's face suddenly went white as he and his family were about to board the Titanic, and that evening he told his wife that "something is going to happen." Mrs. Hanson was so certain the ship would sink that she described (to her family) the type of funeral she wanted to have in the event that her body was recovered. Eugene Daly repeatedly insisted to his shipboard friends that the Titanic would never reach America; just before he went to bed on April 14th he told them that the Titanic was going to sink *that night.*


These events (and many others) took place *before* the Titanic went down. Could they have been the result of mere coincidence? Sure. *Were* they the result of mere coincidence? I don't know -- and I don't think anyone else does either.

>No disrespect to you George, I guess I'm just a cynical skeptic...

I understand completely, old chap, and there's nothing wrong with being a doubting Thomas. If you'll read my books (blatant plug) :) you'll see that I've postulated what I consider to be reasonable non-psychic explanations for as many of these accounts as I was able to. (In fact, the first two chapters of my first book are called "The Curious Coincidences" and "Mistaken Accounts and Deliberate Hoaxes." I'm much more skeptical of psychic phenomena today than I was a few years ago, but some of the accounts in my books still manage to raise the hairs on the back of my neck and make me wonder if we really know as much about our world as we think we know.

At the very least, though, the accounts present interesting sidelights on the frame of mind that possessed many Titanic passengers and their familes in the days prior to (as well as during and after) the maiden voyage.

All my best,

George
 
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Michael Gibbs

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Hello George,

Thanks for the last message, it was interesting! I guess being an atheist, I'll always be suspicious of such things. Not that I don't respect other people's opinions and stuff. I'm sure your book is an excellent read...

I'd just like to suggest one thing, which is a kind of theory I have. Aren't some people always bad passengers, when it comes to traveling? If this is the case, maybe they only remember their fears because the Titanic sank?

As an example, imagine that the Titanic made 100 trips across the Atlantic. On 99 of them, there were passengers who were afraid or upset at having to travel, like many passengers are today on air liners. Because the ship got across the ocean without mishap, their fears were forgotten and probably never spoken about again...

On the 100th trip, where the ship hits the iceberg and sinks, the usual passenger fears are understandably exaggerated, magnified and spoken about for years afterwards. The only reason they're remembered so vividly, becoming such interesting stories years later, is because the ship's sinking marked it out as something special... Just an idea. What do you think?

Also what do you think of the latest trip by Titanic Inc to the Titanic wreck? My opinion is that they're too motivated by money and greed. I think they should just leave it alone for now. Taking pictures is one thing, but cutting into the hull in search of booty is a bit much...
 

George Behe

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Michael Gibbs wrote:

>I'd just like to suggest one thing, which is a kind of theory I have.
>Aren't some people always bad passengers, when it comes to traveling? If
>this is the case, maybe they only remember their fears because the
>Titanic sank?



Hi, Michael!

I completely agree with your premise and believe that a certain number of 'premonitions' can probably be explained in that manner. In fact, I expressed pretty much the same idea in my first book. (Plug, plug.) :)

>Also what do you think of the latest trip by Titanic Inc to the Titanic
>wreck?

For what it's worth, I think that any company that salvages over 5000 Titanic artifacts and exhibits only a tiny fraction of them (while insisting that the company urgently needs to recover still *more* artifacts) has no business being the so-called 'protector' of a historical site.

All my best,

George
 

Beth

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Hello everyone, This is actually a comment instead of a question: I was Listening to a Titanic Cd one afternoon, I believe it was (Titanic music as heard on the fateful voyage). when all of a sudden I heard someone whistling to the music in the other room I was in my bedroom at the time. I know I heard what I heard, cause there was no one else home at the time, hearing the whistling did'nt startle me but I was surprised by it. P.s. I cant whistle at all, If it was a ghost of a passenger whoever it was, him or her can whistle rather well. Sincerely Beth
 

George Behe

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Hi, Beth!

Interesting! Thanks for sharing that with us -- I don't believe I've ever heard an account quite like it.

All my best,

George
 
Dec 12, 1999
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These two incidents aren't ghost related, but do fall into the strange and unusual:

In 1995, I was working at a library and during a slow period I wrote down the full names of the officers. (Don't ask why, just one of my quirks). Anyway, I knew all of them from my research, except the middle name for James Moody. The only thing I knew about it was that it started with a P. So I started thinking, and came up with Paul. A few weeks later I got a copy of Marcus's book and found out it was "Pell". But last year I came across Inger and Kerri's site and discovered his middle name was really Paul.

And last year I went to the Titanic artifacts exhibit at the Tropicana in Atlantic City. I did not want to do this; I was and am still very much against salvage, but something was literally tearing me apart about everything that happened with the people for some time and I needed to resolve the matter. I went in there, and I should have been in floods of tears, but strangely I was...content, happy even. It was like somehow none of the nonsense about the Titanic that has come up in recent years (the salvaging, the Cameron movie) didn't matter. All that mattered was the people, and not even how they died, but that once they were alive...the only important thing.
 
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When I put together the 'original' crew list for Encylopedia Titanica, I was under the mistaken assumption that Moody's middle name was Pell. I later discovered my error, and have corrected what I could.

However, I've since seen that original list posted uncredited several other places on the web, with the incorrect 'Pell' included - along with a number of other names which told me very specifically it was 'my' list!
 
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Kay Wilson

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Just to return to the story at the top of the page, the tale of a man accidently sealed up inside the ship's hull, making his ghostly presence felt by knocking sounds seems to have been transferred to the Titanic from the Great Eastern. And it wasn't true of the Great Eastern either.
The Great Eastern was a famously unlucky ship and the story got around that every time she had an accident a strange knocking sound was heard beforehand. Well, ships of that era were prone to make odd noises but someone decided it must the the ghost of a shipyard worker who was trapped when the ship's double hull was sealed and starved to death.
What the story ignored was that there were inspection hatches set into the hull and so no-one could possibly have been sealed in in that way.
It's a nice example of how legends spread, though.
 

Inger Sheil

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Hallo, Bill and Kritina -

Well, you were following in some excellent footsteps there...it was Marcus (who corresponded with Moody's sister) who really popularised the 'Pell' error, although it had been around since the time of the sinking.

Going back to the original published crewlists derived from the crew agreements, the 'Pell' error seems to derive from Moody's own signature. He ran the 'P' of his middle initial into the 'M' of 'Moody', giving the signature the appearance of 'Pelloody' which is how it was originally reported in the press (causing a great shock to one member of his family who was unaware that James was on the Titanic - although he had read the crew and passenger lists as originally published - until a reporter came knocking on his door). Other errors we've come across going back to 1912 include 'Palloody' and 'Melloody'.

Kerri and I sought out Moody's birth certificate a few years back to establish to our own satisfaction what his middle name really was.

Best wishes,

Inger
 
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Kay, inspection hatches don't necesserily mean that anybody trapped inside a space can get out. I've seen plenty of them during my 20 years in the Navy. Such covers leading into tanks and voids are typically bolted shut from the outside. The same is often true of hatches leading into storerooms. I don't know if this is the way the inspection hatches were constructed on the Great Eastern and I would like to see some engineering drawings or contemporary photos befor I accept anything as fact in this regard.

Oh, and no, I don't buy into ghost stories or tales of premonitions of disasters. One never hears about those until AFTER the fact, so there's no way of knowing whether or not they were contrived. Such stories make or good copy and color in the print media but are scarcely credible as history.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

George Behe

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Michael Standart wrote:

>One never hears about those until AFTER the fact,

Hi, Michael!

The cases I described earlier in this thread clearly demonstrate that that isn't always the case. Although the *general public* usually doesn't hear about these premonitions until after the disaster, the family and close associates of the percipient in question usually hear about them *before* the disaster.

IMO, it's the *cause* of such forebodings that is debatable, not their *timing.*

All my best,

George
 
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Baz

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I don't believe in ghost stories either but when those grave robbing, treasure hunting thieves cut into the hull, I hope they are haunted forever.
 
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Goerge, anyone can offer these stories after the fact...and how does ANYONE of us know that the one offering up the story is being completely candid or just trying to get a moment in the limelight. That's the real problem with claims like that. There's just no way of knowing and that's why I just can't take them seriously.

Now if somebody claiming to be a psychic was to publish such premonitions in exactly correct detail BEFOR the events, then there might be something worth checking out.
 

Dan Cherry

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The novel 'Futility' seems to do a good job of
foreshadowing the Titanic disaster, in 1898.
Of course, there are always those stories of
premonition that simply can't be bought, such as
the Slade brothers' mother's tale. She supposedly
said they didn't board because of a premonition,
but truth be known they spent a little too much
time at a local pub and simply missed the boat.
Accepting stories for what they're worth has to be
determined by the person's M.O. As Michael says,
are they being candid or just trying to get a
moment in the limelight. Someone can say that a
ship will sink, or a plane will crash, and
eventually, it may come true. Still, many stories
prevail about premonitions about the ship's
voyage. I tend to believe Eva Hart's recollection
of her mother's dread, as well as those who saw
the stoker poke his head above the 4th funnel
casing at Queenstown as an ill omen. The New York
incident also stirred up thoughts about impending
disaster. So, the seed of catastrophe was planted
in some people's minds on April 10, 1912 as it
was. And, as it turns out, this time the people
were right.

George, on a side note, I have examined the
stories and testimonies over the years, and I only
found one incident where a passenger supposedly
recalled seeing 'the' iceberg an hour before the
collision. Could you point me in the direction of
where you found reasons to believe several
icebergs/pieces of ice were spotted in the half
hour before the collision? I find it somewhat
interesting that this bit of information hasn't
been made part of the widely-known history of the
Titanic disaster.

Regards,
Dan
 

Dave Gittins

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Dan, Futility was not as prophetic as it's made out to be. It was rewritten in 1912 to make the fictional ship more like Titanic. The original Titan was smaller and had less power. The book also has no resemblance to the facts at many points. Titan was not on her maiden voyage, she carried sails to assist her engines and so on. The book is really the work of a seaman who could see what would happen if ships continued to be run in a casual manner.

The business of seeing bergs before the collison is not of mentioned because it didn't happen. It comes largely from a big-mouthed steward called Thomas Whiteley who told a wild yarn to the US press. He supposedly heard the lookouts talking about it while in a boat. He can't name his sources, he was not in a boat with Lee or Fleet and best of all, they supposedly saw the bergs in the moonlight! People like Whiteley always appear when major things happen. Their egos feed on making out to have inside information.

For more on stories foreshadowing Titanic, read The Titanic Disaster Foretold, edited by Martin Gardiner, the famous scourge of flim-flam.
 
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Hi Dave, seeing ANYTHING in the moonlight on a night with no moon must have been quite a trick. I wish I could have pulled that off. Would have been useful when I was on the USS Comstock in the Persian Gulf looking for debris from a crashed helicopter. Even with searchlights, we couldn't see diddly squat past 50 meters or so!

I wonder if it ever occured to the reporters to check an almanac after chatting with Whiteley. I guess newshawks were as gullible then as they are now.
 
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