One of the most famous cases of apparent premonition involves the sinking of the ocean liner Titanic. In 1898 an author named Morgan Robertson wrote a novel about an ocean liner named Titan that, on its maiden voyage one April night, strikes an iceberg while steaming at twenty-five knots in the northern Atlantic Ocean, then sinks with three thousand passengers aboard—even though people had thought it was unsinkable. Fourteen years later, RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank at 2:20 the following morning, resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.
Morgan Andrew Robertson (September 30, 1861–March 24, 1915) was a well-known American author of short stories and novels, and the possible inventor of the periscope. Nowadays he is best known for the short novel Futility, first published in 1898. This story features an enormous British passenger liner called the Titan, which, deemed to be unsinkable, carries insufficient lifeboats. On a voyage in the month of April, the Titan hits an iceberg and sinks in the North Atlantic with the loss of almost everyone on board. On April 14, 1912, the supposedly unsinkable ocean liner Titanic, on its maiden voyage, struck an iceberg while steaming at twentythree knots in the northern Atlantic Ocean, and on the morning of April 15 it sank, resulting in the deaths of over fifteen hundred people.
Other parallels between the events depicted in the novel and the actual event exist. For example, Robertson described the Titan as being 800 feet (244m) in length, with a tonnage of 75,000, three propellers, and twenty-four lifeboats; the Titanic was 882.5 feet (269m) in length, with a tonnage of 66,000, three propellers, and twenty lifeboats. Both ships were said to be the largest and most luxurious of their kind.
The similarities between the fictional sinking of the Titan and the real-life sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 attract attention even today although there are significant differences: for example, the fictional Titan capsized and sank almost immediately (rendering the number of lifeboats moot), and the Titan was on its third return trip from New York, not her maiden voyage to New York.
Skeptics say that such similarities were coincidental, but given their number and specificity, believers in extrasensory perception say that Robertson’s ideas for the novel had to have come from subconscious glimpses of the future.
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