My Titanic Obsession

Those people who know me won’t be surprised by this blog. I’ve had a fascination with the Titanic since news broke in the 1980s that the ill-fated unsinkable ship had been found in pieces at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

Over the next 30 years, I’ve amassed books, articles, magazines, and even replica china from the First Class dining room. I’ve watched movies and documentaries—including the one with Kate and Leo. I’ve seen three exhibits and been a witness to the sounding of the ship’s whistle when it stopped in St. Paul in 1999.

Naturally, when I heard the news this week that a fire may have contributed to the ship’s demise I was intrigued. I surfed online articles for more details; there are dozens, some reputable news sources, some anything but.

I landed on an article dated January 5, 2017, in the Smithsonian Magazine so I figured this must be a legit claim. The hypothesis is a fire in the coal bunkers—a three-story-tall room that stored much of the coal that fueled the ship’s engines—may have been burning for three weeks prior to setting out on its maiden voyage. The fire was ignored for fear of bad press and the desire to keep the ship on schedule. Such a fire could have weakened the steel so that when the ship hit the iceberg on the starboard side, the steel crumpled.

titanic_leavingI looked closely at a vintage photo that for a telltale 30-foot-long black streak on the side of the ship. Yes, there’s a black streak.

Oh, oh. I feel it: The rebirth of my obsession! Time to get out my books to revisit and research the tragedy. Time to view the movies again. Time to surf the Web about this latest claim and the rebuttals that are already emerging. Time to mark my calendar for the Jan. 21 documentary, “Titanic: The New Evidence” on the Smithsonian Channel.

In other words, don’t disturb me that night!


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