Wednesday 29 January 2020

Titanic passengers and crew ignored superstitions – new research

Passengers and crew on the ill-fated Titanic ignored a number of maritime superstitions, according to family history website findmypast
Passengers and crew on the ill-fated Titanic ignored a number of maritime superstitions, according to family history website findmypast
Dr John Edward Simpson was an officer on board the Titanic
Undated Henry Aldridge and Son handout photo of members of the crew of the Titanic. A letter written by Chief Officer Henry Wilde (second from the left, front row, sat next to Capt E.J Smith), who was second in command to Captain E.J. Smith is going under the hammer at auction in Wiltshire. Photo: PA
The outside of the Titanic Belfast.
A woman looks at 3D projections of the inside of the Titanic.
Visitors stand at a replica of the titanic staircase.
The menu for the last lunch on board the doomed RMS Titanic which is expected to fetch up to £100,000 when it goes under the hammer at auction. Photo: PA
Undated family handout of a copy of a letter written by Dr John Edward Simpson as the family of the officer who chose to go down with the Titanic have appealed for help to return it to his home town. Photo: PA
Currency, part of the artifacts collection of the Titanic, is shown at a warehouse in Atlanta. Photo: AP
A bracelet from the RMS Titanic which was recovered from the ocean floor during an expedition to the site of the tragedy. Photo: AP

Ella Pickover

PASSENGERS and crew of the Titanic ignored a number of maritime superstitions when the ship made its ill-fated maiden voyage, new data analysis has found.

Sailing myths, including the negative presence of women, priests and barbers on board the ship, were ignored, according to family history website

Superstitious sailors would have been horrified to discover there were 353 female passengers, three barbers, four priests and a monk on board.

Website historian Debra Chatfield said: "The records indicate sailor superstitions were wholly ignored on the Titanic's doomed departure from Southampton.

"Throughout history sailors have been proverbially superstitious, but I bet few ever believed the 'unsinkable' Titanic would succumb to superstition.

"It leaves you wondering whether the cumulative effect of women, priests, dogs, barbers, flowers and red-heads on board - all commonly held superstitions among sailors - angered the sea so much it steered her towards her ill fate."

The website is showing the White Star Line officers' books and maritime birth, marriage and death records, alongside other documents from the ship, from next Tuesday.

April 15 will mark the 100th anniversary of the day that the cruiser sank in the north Atlantic following a collision with an iceberg.

Its sinking caused the death of more than 1,500 men, women and children, making it one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

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