Friday, April 12, 2013

Titanic ~ The Mummy's Curse, Premonitions & Other Odd Occurences

Posted by: Veronica Scott

Sunday the 14th of April will be the 101st anniversary of  Titanic striking an iceberg and sinking shortly after midnight the next day. I've always been fascinated by everything to do with this disaster. In fact, my award winning SF novel WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM is loosely based on Titanic, but set in the far future.

As with any major disaster involving great loss of life, there were many psychic foreshadowings, coincidences and inexplicable occurrences surrounding the sinking of the Titanic. I’m sharing a few of them here today and one more very hair raising, true tale tomorrow over on the Paranormal Romantics website. 

If you were about to board a ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean and you saw the ship’s cat carrying her new born kittens off the vessel, one by one down the gangplank, might you think twice about embarking yourself? I think I would! Yet when this happened in Southampton right before Titanic sailed, only one Irish sailor took heed of the omen and jumped ship himself. What did Jenny the Cat “know” that most of the passengers didn’t?

Fourteen people from one small Irish village were sailing Third Class on the ship, hoping for a better life in America, with more opportunity.  In the days leading up their journey to Queenstown (now Cobh) to meet Titanic, one of the girls, Bridgett Delia McDermott, went shopping for clothes, wanting a new hat in particular. Years later she told her family about an eerie and chilling encounter with a mysterious man in black on the evening before she departed for Queenstown. As the story goes, as she was in the village with a group of friends, she was suddenly tapped on the shoulder. Turning around, she saw small man she didn’t know,  dressed completely in black. He told her she was going on a long journey. He told her there would be a tragedy, but that she would be saved. As Delia turned to repeat his words to her friends, the little man disappeared and her companions said they hadn’t seen anyone.

Delia sailed on Titanic anyway and barely escaped in lifeboat, No. 13, by climbing down a rope and jumping the last 15’ into the boat. She had been safely in line for the boat but went back to her steerage cabin to retrieve the new hat! Eleven of her companions from the village died in the tragedy.

Would you sail on Titanic if for several nights you'd been dreaming of someone throwing cats from a two story window into freezing cold water? William T. Stead, a famous newspaper writer of the times, had that dream, told friends about it before he set sail on the doomed White Star liner. Furthermore, he’d published two pieces of fiction that gained eerie significance in light of his fate on the Titanic. In 1886, he wrote the story “How the Mail Steamer Went Down in Mid-Atlantic, by a Survivor” where a steamer collides with another ship, with high loss of life due to lack of lifeboats. Stead added “This is exactly what might take place and will take place if liners are sent to sea short of boats”. In 1892, Stead published a story called From the Old World to the New,  in which a  fictional ship Majestic rescues survivors of another ship that collided with an iceberg. Foreshadowing of his own death by drowning?

Another supposed supernatural tale of the Titanic that wasn’t true, but a hoax, and which also involved Mr. Stead, was the Curse of the Egyptian Mummy.  Was the cursed mummy of Princess “Amen-Ra”  from 900BC to blame for the disaster? Per the myth-debunking website Snopes, not only was there no mummy – cursed or otherwise – on board Titanic when she sailed, the mummy doesn’t even exist.

Mr. Stead and a friend developed this elaborate story of an evil mummy to boost newspaper circulation at some point in time before he sailed on Titanic.  Supposedly the Princess had been a tortured, unhappy soul and consequently her mummy created death and destruction wherever she was taken.  Mr. Stead claimed to have sneaked her aboard the Titanic. He spoke to some fellow passengers about his alleged “traveling companion”, the beautiful 2000 year old Egyptian princess in her sarcophagus.  Furthermor while on Titanic Stead deliberately broke a superstition of the sea by starting his recital of the mummy’s tale before midnight on April 12th and finishing it in the wee hours of April 13th. Of course the ship struck the ice berg on the 14th.

He did have a kernel of truth at the heart of his hoax, because there is a wooden, painted sarcophagus lid in the British Museum, excavated from the tomb of a high born woman. Sadly her name is unknown. She may or may not have been a priestess or a princess but it has been verified this coffin cover never left the Museum in  1912 and is still  there. Wooden hands were affixed to the coffin lid as if she’s reaching out, which is spooky! And at least one person who studied her and wrote about her died at a very young age so she is known as the “Unlucky Mummy.”

<=Photo: English: Cover of 1909 Pearson's Magazine featuring the story of the Unlucky Mummy (British Museum ref AE 22542).  {{PD-US}} – published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the US

I'm doing a Titanic and WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM themed giveaway on my blog, including a reproduction Third Class mug and an actual (but tiny) piece of coal salvaged from the wreck in modern time.
Please feel free to hop on over and leave a comment on my blog for a chance to win.


  1. Loved learning more about the mummy's curse. My birthday is April 15, so growing up (and when we would learn about such things in school), I always joked it was a day of infamy. The day Abraham Lincoln died (he was shot on the 14th), the day the Titanic actually sank (it hit the iceberg on the 14th), and tax day. You gotta watch out for April 14. Bad things start then and finish on the 15th! ;)

    1. Wow, I never knew so many things happened on April 15th!

  2. Wow, I hadn't heard of these stories before. Very interesting. I certainly wouldn't have climbed aboard that ship if I'd seen that momma cat.


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