Titanian story fact or myth

Neil McRae

Apr 16, 2001
I recall reading in a book about a ship (I believe this was in the 1930s) called the Titanian which was sailing in the Atlantic at night. The lookout, noticing that it was just about the time of night the Titanic sank, called for a complete stop. An iceberg loomed ahead.

This story looks quite dubious, but then so did the one about the ficticous ship named the Titan which sank in a story written around 1898 or so.

George Behe

Dec 11, 1999
Hi, Neil!

The story given out by the Titanian's lookout seems to have been embellished a bit. The London Times stated that Titanian had her encounter with ice at 48.06N, 49.05W. -- nowhere near the Titanic wreck site. As for the Titanian lookout's alleged 'Titanic musings' just prior to the accident, I'm afraid nobody knows the truth about that except the lookout himself.

All my best,

Apr 22, 2012

In Eyewitness Books' Titanic, there is mention of this incident, which I had never heard of until I purchased the book. On pg. 23, the following is stated:



In April 1935, the Titanian, a tramp steamer carrying coal from Newcastle, England, to Canada, encountered an iceberg in the same area as the Titanic had 23 years earlier. Crew member William Reeves had a premonition seconds before the iceberg came into view and yelled "Danger ahead!" to the navigator, who quickly reversed the engines and brought the ship to a halt. Reeves was even born on April 15, 1912 - the same date on which the Titanic sank.


And that's all she wrote! I thought the story seemed pretty far-fetched when I first read it. While I believe the story of the Titanian narrowly avoiding a collision with an iceberg, I think the claim above is exaggerated. Perhaps it has been told repeatedly through the years, and we all know how fishing stories start out with a small trout being caught and end with the catch being a whale. My guess is the same has happened here.



Mike Herbold

Feb 13, 2001
Without stealing George Behe's thunder, in his book "Titanic, Psychic Forewarnings of A Tragedy," (pages 113-114) he gives a much longer version of the same story. Reeves was the lookout on duty. George doesn't mention the birthday coincidence, but does relate that Reeves gave his warning just before 11:40 pm on the night of April 23rd, and that when the "Titanian" did come to a halt, a huge iceberg was directly in the ship's path.

Reeves had been reading a copy of Morgan Robertson's "Futility," and that got him to thinking and worrying about how the lookouts on the "Titanic" had not spotted their iceberg in time.

George's book was written in 1988. The Eyewitness book, designed for a juvenile audience and published in 1999, does a great job of acknowledging where it acquired its photos throughout the book, but there is no mention of where it got its information, and there is no bibliography.

Pre-dating both books, Rustie Brown's "The Titanic, the Psychic, and the Sea", published in 1981, gives a footnote on page 134 that relates the same story, but without the same detail as Behe's book.

The actual wording of the Eyewitness book seems to come from Geoff Tibballs' 1997 book "The Titanic, The Extraordinary Story of the 'Insinkable' Ship" page 13:

In April 1935, a ship called "Titanian," carrying coal from Newcastle to Canada, almost suffered the same fate as the "Titanic" when it encountered an iceberg in the same area of the North Atlantic. Luckily, crewman William Reeves had a premonition of impending disaster and yelled "Danger Ahead!" to the navigator shortly before the iceberg became visible in the darkness. Strangely Reeves was born on April 5, 1912, the day the "Titanic" sank.

George Behe

Dec 11, 1999
Hi, Mike!

My version of the story was based on an account that Lookout Reeves wrote for publication. I didn't include the story among my book's 'better' psychic accounts because it was recorded so long after the events in question and because it posed too many unanswered questions. (Turns out I was right to be cautious about the account.) :)

Looking forward to seeing you soon, old chap. :)

All my best,


Jack Coburn

Does anyone have any information about the story of a ship called the Titanium, which apparently nearly hit an iceberg, had it not been for one of the crew on board having a premonition about the ship hitting it. This happened quite close to the same spot where the Titanic sank 23 years earlier, on the exact same date! Is this true?
Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
"The Psychics and Mediums Network" isn't exactly the sort of thing that inspires confidence. Especially since they uncritically repeat The Mummy legend which has long been debunked. I seem to recall that somebody mooted that "Titanium" legend befor but nobody can seem to figure out where that one came from.

Might I suggest that if anybody is interested in asserted psychic/paranormal phenomenon and claims related to Titanic, that they dig up George Behe's "Titanic: Psychic Forewarnings of a Tragedy." He at least traces this stuff to the source...(George is damned good at that)...and also exposes a number of outright hoaxes. It's probably the only reasonably objective book you'll find on the subject anywhere.
Jan 28, 2003
A ship called Titanium in 1935? Did they know about titanium then? I suppose they probably did, but even so it's a very peculiar, and convenient, name for a ship with such a legend..

Dave Gittins

Apr 11, 2001
Titanium has been known for many years, though little used until relatively recently. It's a quite common element.

The ship, however, was called Titanian.

Mark Baber

Dec 29, 2000
The 1935 ship was called Titanian, not Titanium. Senan Molony submitted some news articles about this last year; they appear here.

There's also an earlier thread discussing Titanian; today's messages have been moved to that topic.

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