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The Titanic Disaster (Hardback)

Omens, Mysteries and Misfortunes of the Doomed Liner

Maritime > Titanic Military > Frontline Books P&S History > By Century > 20th Century

By James W Bancroft
Frontline Books
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9781399048958
Published: 6th April 2023



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It was on Wednesday, 10 April 1912, that the imposing bulk of the RMS Titanic slipped her berth, and, to great fanfare, headed out into the Solent at the start of her maiden voyage.

By all accounts, the liner was at the time the largest man-made object ever to move on water. The space her decks created allowed her designers to introduce previously unseen levels of luxury. In first class, for example, there were many new features such as squash courts, a Turkish bath, a gymnasium, a barber shop and even the first swimming pool built on board a ship. There was also the bold claim by its builders that Titanic was ‘practically unsinkable’. Sadly, just four days later, this assertion was found wanting. At 23.40 hours on the evening of 14 April, Titanic struck an iceberg. In less than three hours she had slipped beneath the waves.

While the liner’s loss has been the subject of numerous films, documentaries and publications in the years that followed, in this book the author James W. Bancroft asks if the RMS Titanic had been doomed to a watery grave even before it sailed? Certainly, many people experienced feelings of foreboding about the ship, and there were many strange omens and unexplained events surrounding its construction and maiden voyage.

A novel written many years before Titanic was built mirrored almost exactly the details of the disaster, and the well-known spiritualist, W.T. Stead, wrote a story of a similar nature. As a passenger on the ship, he seemed to have accepted his fate and did not try to save himself. Even animals seem to have sensed danger, such as the dog which tried to stop its owner from travelling to board the vessel, and Titanic’s cat had kittens and was seen taking them all off the liner before it sailed. The voyage was fatefully delayed for three weeks, and at least fifty travellers had forebodings about the ‘Ghost Ship’, some of whom missed the sailing or refused to board.

Following years of research, James has uncovered some 100 fascinating stories concerning omens and premonitions of people who sailed – or in fact decided not to – on the ill-fated liner. This is the first time that all of these incidents have been brought together. Together they provide an unusual insight into the Titanic disaster.

This was an excellent book. I have already read several books about the Titanic disaster, but this is by far the best, with lots of detailed information.

NetGalley, Mike Michelsen

The Titanic Disaster Omens, Mysteries and Misfortunes of the Doomed Liner by James W. Bancroft is a very enjoyable book. I am really obsessed with anything and everything to do with the Titanic and I try to read every book I can on the subject. However, this does deter from the usual Titanic norm of reading about the passengers' experience of the sinking. It spends a great amount of detail talking about all the people who had dreams or psychic visions of the sinking before they even went on the trip. I was also pleasantly surprised and really interested in reading about the famous jewelry and historical artifacts that might have been on board the Titanic when she sank. The book does a terrific job explaining the history behind it and all the other artifacts on board the Titanic that might have played a part in the sinking. I would give this book a 4 out of 4 stars and would recommend it to anyone interested in reading about shipwrecks or the Titanic.

NetGalley, Marissa Brady

Titanic aficionados intrigued by something different ought to read this.

NetGalley, Brenda Carleton

This was a unique view on the subject of Titanic. I have not read any book that focus solely on the omens some passengers reported feeling beforehand. I found it quite fascinating. I also appreciated the extra information in the appendages, particularly the articles that had been published shortly after the disaster. Great read for the Titanic enthusiast.

NetGalley, Hanna Collins

As someone who loves stories about horrible omens and other supernatural occurrences that predict disaster, I was incredibly intrigued by this book and happy that my request had been approved.

I've read the entire thing in just a few days, and to me, this is a perfect example of a book that one might read on a rainy/snowy day when one wants to curl up under a blanket and immerse themselves in a mystery. While reading, I had almost the same feeling that I usually get when I read a crime/supernatural mystery set in an old hotel/sanatorium/hospital -- an enclosed space that has no escape, which, I suppose, Titanic was for all the people that were unfortunately on board of the ship during that voyage. And that feeling is a fantastic one.
With that being said, this book is mostly speculation (as the author himself openly admits), so it either has to be taken with a grain of salt or simply without thinking too hard about the possibility of everything described -- I suppose that depends on the reader and their preferences. Personally, I am not and have never been a sceptic, so I took everything I've read as if that was the absolute truth and had a great time.

This book also tells the readers about those passengers of the ship that survived the wreck, and I appreciated the level of dedication that the author had clearly put in, conducting interviews with families and telling the story of not only that voyage but the living breathing people that escaped a horrible fate. Now that it's been more than a hundred years, I feel like it's easy to forget the people that were on board and think of the Titanic as a story that everyone knows rather than a thing that actually happened and impacted hundreds of lives. Overall, I think this is a great book to read when you're looking for a bit of a mystery to keep your mind turning and want to impress your friends with new perspectives on an old story.

NetGalley, Freya Senkute

I've always been fascinated by the Titanic disaster and have read several books about it. The Titanic Disaster was different than any other of these books. It gave a unique perspective of some of the passengers who had alleged premonitions or omens about the Titanic. I really enjoyed the addition of newspaper clippings of the time.

It is obvious that the author has vast knowledge on the subject and I highly recommend.

NetGalley, Amberleigh Kirkland

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Parts of this book gave me chills reading it!!... Hearing the survivors descendants tell their stories was so interesting.

NetGalley, Stefanie Pierropoulos

This book is packed full of information on the Titanic and those who both survived and those who lost their lives. There are stories galore and plenty of technical information as well. This book was well researched.

NetGalley, Paula Sayers

Ok so I love anything Titanic related, I’m a big fan of anything nautical and I grew up with the 1997 film and had a massive crush on Leo… I mean, who didn’t right?!

I just think it’s fascinating yet heartbreaking what happened to the titanic
And reading this book the amount of omens and warnings people received before titanic set sail is astonishing. The amount of accidents during titanic build is disturbing.

This books goes through peoples accounts and lots of newspaper articles after the event. It’s an interesting read that held my interest and it’s my first non fiction read of the year.

Recommended for any Titanic geek!

NetGalley, Siân Squance

The Titanic Disaster Omens, Mysteries, and Misfortunes is an interesting read for those who are interested in omens and mysteries associated with the sinking of the Titanic.

This book cites numerous stories of premonitions of survivors, or people who felt a foreboding uneasiness about the trip and didn't embark - even a dog, no less. There is also some speculation of an Egyptian mummy's coffin lid being on board - and the associated curses that may have influenced the sinking of this magnificent ship. Also, some speculation of the Hope Diamond being on board, with its associated curses.

This book includes numerous reports from psychics and mediums about this madien voyage. There were also stories of sightings of the good captain who may have survived.

I did find the personal accounts of the survivors absolutely horrific. The freezing ocean, the fires, explosions the deaths - it truly is a horror story.

Even though this book focuses on topics I would not normally believe in (Omens etc), there is considerable information and stories here to keep those of us who are, fascinated.

NetGalley, Mark Porton

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The author has a great mind for detail and is widely respected for his prolific library on many historical events.

The focus of this particular book is the myths, legends, and especially omens surrounding the maiden voyage of the leviathan cruise ship Titanic. The author has done extensive research on people’s premonitions, dreams, psychic fortune-telling, and curses that have come to light.

While extremely interesting (and full of doom and gloom), I feel that a lot of these accounts may or may not be verifiable. Just as ephemeral as Titanic’s voyage, these stories may be taken with a grain of salt. I’m not saying that this is completely fiction, as quite a few of the stories can be proven, as there are survivor’s tales of their experience in the frigid water; plus the author gives a biography of many people mentioned in the book. Some went down with the ship, while others respected their unease and did not board the great ship. What I found most eerie were the number of stories written about a giant ocean liner and her tragic ending BEFORE Titanic sailed. Some of the ship’s names in these fictitious tales were unsettlingly similar to the doomed ship, such as the book entitled FUTILITY (authored by Morgan Andrew Robertson in 1898) about a fictitious ship named Titan. Incredibly enough, in this story, Titan hits an iceberg and doesn’t have sufficient lifeboats for the passengers. The shipwreck occurs in April and the Titan sinks 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland – both details mirroring Titanic’s imperiled voyage.

One of the more unsettling superstitions concerns the mummy case of the Egyptian High Priestess Amen-Ra. It was said that anyone who gazed into her face (which was painted onto a wooden “mummy-board” or inner coffin lid) would suffer agonizing consequences. Supposedly it was on board as Titanic set off on her voyage and was responsible for her accident and sinking.

This book is naturally heavy with facts and figures, along with conjectures and hearsay. I did learn a lot more about Titanic and her passengers, and of course, the omens were amazing and creepy. I am not a believer in psychic energy, but the author does a wonderful job of bringing everything together as the book progresses. Each chapter discusses these myths and truths from multiple angles, adding more layers to a tale that most of us are familiar with. Titanic was a legendary ocean liner, and she deserves all the attention she has been getting. This book will be a great addition to the library of the Titanic – obsessed readers. Whether or not you believe in all the myths put forth here doesn’t matter. You will be entertained, shocked, and fascinated as you read on.

May all the poor souls who perished rest in peace.

NetGalley, Kyle Wendy Skultety

If you are interested in the Titanic disaster take a look at this book. It is a different take and opens up many questions about what happened on that "Night to Remember."

NetGalley, Alan Albarran

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was an interesting read. The author weaves first-hand recants with newspaper clips to present a first-hand experience of what it was like being on the Titanic. This method makes gives the reader a personal revelation of what happened that night.

NetGalley, Lindell Long

“There are more strange events concerning RMS Titanic than any other ship in history, and the feelings of foreboding and bad omens associated with it suggest that fate had it doomed to a watery grave; the iceberg just being the weapon that sent it there. The story of RMS Titanic is shrouded in mystery and steeped in intrigue.”

I’d previously read James other book - Titanic ‘Iceberg Ahead’ and adored it! I was excited that he had written another book on the titanic.

This book involves research into myths, omens and premonitions of the people who sailed on the Titanic. From nightmares to seances, to the Hope Diamond and even Amen-Ra’s coffin lid.

I liked the take on this, it was interesting.

NetGalley, Georgi B

This book looks at the Titanic and its passengers. Readers are given individual stories' and I was shocked at how many had those in their lives or who went to psychics who were given premonitions that they would not survive the voyage or that the voyage was doomed. Most shook these premonitions off, as the Titanic was built to be unsinkable. They were confident, and ready to sail, not knowing that the Titanic would never make it to New York City. The Titanic was grand, big and luxurious. What could go wrong?

There were theories that there were doomed items on board - the hope diamond and an Egyptian artifact with a Mummy's curse. Was the ship cursed? Why so many premonitions?

We all know the story of the Titanic and have seen the movie. I have been fascinated with the story; I can't even imagine how full of fear everyone on board must have been. Marveling at those who choose to stay on board, the musicians who continued to play and those separated from their families. I can't even imagine.

The author did a great deal of research and spoke with family members of those who survived. The author read through newspaper clippings and reports of the Carpathia, the ship that picked up survivors.

This book was interesting and an unusual look at omens, premonitions and curses.

NetGalley, Debra Cohen

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this one. Its always interesting to get to look at Titanic from another angle.

NetGalley, Kathryn Tam

I found this to be a fascinatingly different kind of Titanic book. Focusing on stories and premonitions about the doomed liner, The Titanic Disaster gives readers a new point of view to consider; whether or not the sinking of the ship was predicted prior to its sailing.

Full of eye witness accounts, new articles, and omens that will make you wonder, this is a well researched addition to Titanic history.

NetGalley, Tatiana Stapleton

A non-fiction book about the famous Titanic, with a lot of new facts from survivors and newspapers. The book is well-researched.

NetGalley, Meg Gajda

A brilliant non fiction read for any fan of the titanic disaster, or any students studying the boat.

NetGalley, Stephanie Humphreys

A really great read. I love all things Titanic and this book is a great addition to the canon. It’s well researched and easy to read. I’d recommend it.

NetGalley, Kathryn Dodgson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I'm fascinated by anything Titanic. This book was perfect.

NetGalley, Kay ODell

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I always have had enjoyed reading books about the Titanic, it's a topic that I was invested in. I could tell that James W Bancroft does what I was hoping for from the description and you could tell that the author had a passion for the topic.

NetGalley, Kathryn McLeer

The story of the Titanic continues to fascinate. This book has some interesting theories and collection of intriguing myths and facts.

NetGalley, Karen Kenyon

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Once called the Ship of Dreams and labeled unsinkable, Titanic was a riveting piece of engineering. Her maiden voyage from England and Ireland would be the showstopper of the Atlantic, but the ship was also riddled with omens. People who were to board the day of its launching suddenly felt the need to either decide upon a longer stay or another passage on another ship.

Could even a novella by Morgan Robertson named The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility have predicted the sinking of the ship? The novel had been published fourteen years prior and the circumstances of its sinking were eerily similar to that of the RMS Titanic.

And what of the mummy of the priestess? Could she have been behind its sinking? It was supposed to be on board with its owner and it disappeared since then.

Titanic has always been a pop culture figure within maritime disasters. Stories and movies have been written about it and rumors of the past are still being whispered about the disaster.

This book gives us fifty different points of view from those who were survivors of the wreckage. They give us a look at the stories of their lives aboard the ship before and during the sinking. Who were these people? Why did they choose to sail aboard the ship?

And those that did not sail even though they did have tickets. Why did they decide not to go? What made them feel that there was something wrong with the ship? What kind of omens plagued them?

I have been fascinated with the Titanic ever since I was a kid. I loved finding books about the ship. Novels both nonfiction and fiction were gobbled up within hours and enjoyed immensely. There was a lot out there about the ship and a lot of information about both facts and those that were shrouded in embellishments and fiction.

Here our author goes beyond the means. He finds witness accounts and stories from newspapers of the sinking and he does his research of trying to separate fact from fiction. Real from fake. This book was a treasure trove of information that I did not know and I managed to gobble this book up within a short few hours. It is enjoyable. Gripping with heartbreaking accounts from those that survived and the loved ones they lost. Even the stories of those who members of the ship's staff were interesting and well-written. It was nice to know more about them and learn what they were like and their duties, giving humanity to each face including the captain.

I highly recommend this read. You should pick up this book and read about the Titanic with fresh, open eyes. This book will give it to you. Accounts that will tug at your heart. Curses and omens that will make you wonder if they had something to do with the sinking. And did their belief in it being unsinkable become its downfall?

Pick up this book and find out.

NetGalley, Susanna Bloom

About James W Bancroft

JAMES BANCROFT has produced more than 100 books and articles, the subjects of which reflect his varied interests. He has contributed a number of articles for The New Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and his book Rorke’s Drift: The Zulu War, 1879 has been re-printed seven times. His JWB Historical Library, compiled over four decades, is one of the largest private collections of its kind in the world. When he is not writing, James enjoys singing and playing and listening to music, and being with his growing family.

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Titanic: 'Iceberg Ahead' The Story of the Disaster By Some of those Who Were There (Paperback)

To have sailed on ‘the voyage of the century’ aboard White Star Line’s RMS Titanic – described at the time as ‘a floating palace’ – was like being one of the first passengers to fly on Concorde. On 10 April 1912, people from all walks of life began embarking on Titanic, then the largest ship afloat, for what was to be the trip of a lifetime on the ship’s maiden voyage across the north Atlantic. Many were looking forward to starting new lives in the United States. However, just before midnight on Sunday, 14 April 1912, Titanic’s crew began to send out distress signals stating,…

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