Possible death theories


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Paul Melville Austin

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The page Mary linked says this of Astor's body "The face was swollen, one jaw was injured" -what could have caused that? (and that his watch stopped at 3:20 - does that mean he lived for an hour after the sinking?)
 
Paul,
injury could have been caused by anything, and the fact his watch stopped at 3:20 only means the watch either kept running or the time was off to begin with. Most watches recovered stopped in the 2 o clock hour, but if Astor's watch was set an hour ahead, it would indicate actual stoppage at 2:20, the accepted time of Titanic's sinking.
The owner doesn't have to be alive for the watch to continue running, of course...
 
>>The owner doesn't have to be alive for the watch to continue running, of course...<<

Seawater would have stopped the watch wouldn't it?

And another question - why would he set his watch 1 hour ahead?
 
Maybe the watch kept running for a while simply because it was a superior watch. You can bet Astor had something pretty good.
 
True, Dave. There's all sorts of contingencies that could come into play as to why Astor's watch read 3:20...variations in immersion/non-immersion, set ahead in anticipation of ship's time changes, wound down, a combination of one or more of the above; or stopped unnoticed the afternoon before (doubtful). It's simply, though, something we don't, and won't, have the answer to...
 
Maybe a shark decided to taste Astor and broke his jaw in the process. Maybe it found a more tasty body. Captain Smith maybe? ;P~

Paul
 
If a shark had decided to "sample the goods" I think evidence of such would have been found. Bite marks tend to stand out, and sharks are anything but subtle.
 
Jeremy, wasn't it you who asked about sharks recently in another thread? As I said then, there are still plenty of shark species in the North Atlantic, especially in the area of the Gulf Stream, though their numbers have declined sharply in recent years.

On the subject of Astor's remains, there might be a risk of polarisation when this issue is discussed - ie was Astor badly crushed, or was his body unmarked? There is a possible middle ground. My feeling is that Astor probably died of exposure like most of those whose bodies were recovered. There is no direct evidence to suggest that he was badly crushed, but since the bodies were floating upright in lifejackets their heads especially would have been exposed to the possibility of 'post-mortem' damage in some degree by collisions with floating wreckage, ice or even other bodies.

Though Harry White (Gracie's source for the 'crushed' report) was definitely in Halifax (to identify another body) it's by no means certain that he had a chance to see Astor's corpse, crushed or otherwise. He might have heard stories from one or more of those who had seen the body before it received attention from the embalmers. Gerald Ross, a crewman on the Mackay Bennett, was the man who described the body as it appeared when taken from the water: "the face was swollen, one jaw was injured". That would be consistent with minor damage sustained during several days floating amid wreckage and ice. It's unlikely that the embalmers had much time for cosmetic refinements while on the recovery ship, but the chief embalmer John Snow was an expert and it would have been a relatively simple job to 'repair' a dislocated jaw - certainly in Halifax if there was a little time before the body could be officially identified and described as having unmarked features.
 
Maybe Astor got a posthumous whack on the jaw from an oar wielded by one of the crew of boat 14. Or maybe not!

Gracie records that he received injuries from floating debris during his relatively brief swim. Plenty of time for Astor to be hit by something.
 
Astor might even have got a whack from Gracie or one of the other guys seeking to keep the upturned collapsible B from going down: "Our concern now was to get out of the wreckage and to get away from the swimmers in the water before they tried to get on the boat, and all of us would be lost. You do not want the details of that, nor the horrors of it? That does not concern you". Now there's a thought!
 
Any enemies of Astor on board?
grin.gif
 
Jeremy, I wouldn't be at all shocked to learn that Colonel Astor had a few enemies aboard. It's just about impossible to aquire a fortune without stepping on some toes, and rivalries could be quite bitter. I'm sure some of the passenger researchers could tell you a few stories about that. I don't think this would have been a factor though. It's not as if a cluster of knives were found in his back, and anyone aboard would have been a lot more interested in saving his own skin rather then bumping off somebody he didn't like.
 
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