Sinking of the Titanic and the Titan – coincidence?

Cruise History: The sinking of the actual RMS Titanic and the fictitious sinking of the Titan.  Was it coincidence?

Art doesn’t just imitate life — sometimes it anticipates it. Fourteen years before the RMS Titanic was built, the American Morgan Robertson wrote a novel called Futility or The Wreck of the Titan (1898) that prefigured the real ship’s destiny with remarkable precision.

The Titanic and the Titan were both triple-screwed British passenger liners with a capacity of 3,000 and a top speed of 24 knots.

Both were deemed unsinkable; both carried too few lifeboats.

And both sank in April in the North Atlantic after colliding with an iceberg on the forward starboard side.

Futility, 1898 Edition About the Titan

Morgan Robertson’s novel described the ship’s loss. It struck an iceberg and went down in April.

The Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912 and sank a little over two hours later at 2.20 a.m. on April 15, 1912. The novel was republished, after the Titanic sank, with the title Futility and the Wreck of the Titan. Some of the Titan’s statistics were changed.

John Rowland, Futility’s hero, is a disgraced former Royal Navy lieutenant, who’s a drunkard. After being dismissed from the Navy, he’s a deckhand on the Titan. Then ship hits an iceberg and sinks. There aren’t enough lifeboats. He saves a former lover’s daughter by jumping onto the iceberg with her. Rowland finds a lifeboat washed up on the iceberg and they’re rescued by a passing ship.

Comparing the 1898 Edition Titan with the RMS Titanic

Obviously, there’s striking similarity between the names. Another similarity is that the reprint of the original

edition was published in Mansfield, Ohio and the original publisher was M. F. Mansfield. The differences between the ships, for the most part, don’t seem to be that great.


Both collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic due to excessive speed and both ships had too few lifeboats
Both were launched in April and their disasters happened in the same month
Both were the largest ship afloat. The Titan was described as one of man’s greatest works. The Titanic was deemed unsinkable and a wonder of its era.
Both had a displacement of 45,000 tons
Both had three propellers and two masts


Titan sailed from New York to Liverpool; Titanic, Southampton to New York.
It was the Titan’s third voyage; Titanic’s first
Titan was 800 feet long, weighed 45,000 tons; Titanic, 880 feet long, weighed 46,328 tons
Titan had fifteen watertight compartments; Titanic, nine
Titan had 40,000 horsepower; Titanic, 45,000 horsepower
Titan’s speed, 25 knots; Titanic’s, 24 knots.
Titan and Titanic Coincidence or Synchronicity?

Coincidences are when events happen by chance, although it seems that they might have been prearranged.

Psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung coined the term, “synchronicity,” which is a connection of two or more psychological/psychic phenomena without causation. It’s experiencing two or more events that are causally unrelated happening together in a seemingly meaningful manner and unlikely to occur together by chance.

Some propose the incidents are held together by a higher power. Events may be grouped by both cause and meaning. Meaning is a complex mental process, involving conscious and subconscious influences. Every connection doesn’t need to have an explanation in terms of causation.

The question is did Robertson have subconscious precognition, knowledge of the future, when he wrote the book based on the sinking of the Titan or were all the parallels the result of mere chance?

You can order Futility from Amazon by clicking here.


About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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