Here’s one for fans of prophetic writings. Today’s the birthday, in 1861, of Morgan Robertson, whose 1898 novel foretold in uncanny detail the sinking of the Titanic. In his book ~ originally titled Futility ~ the ocean liner was named the Titan.
- Both ships sink on an April night in the North Atlantic, each after striking an iceberg.
- Titan is 800 feet long, the Titanic was only 83 feet longer.
- Titan weighs 45,000 tons, Titanic 46,328.
- Both are filled with the cream of high society from either side of the Atlantic.
- Both carry too few lifeboats. And in each case, the loss of life is appalling.
Whatever fame or notoriety accrued to Robertson for his prescient novel, which was republished in the wake of Titanic’s sinking in April 1912 (and retitled The Wreck of the Titan), it apparently wasn’t enough to overcome his inner torment. Robertson is believed to have committed suicide in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, hotel room in 1915, although an accidental overdose of the dubious over-the-counter medication protiodide is occasionally given as the cause of death.Robertson also demonstrated his knack for forecasting events in a collection of short stories published in 1914. The book includes “Beyond the Spectrum,” which describes a future war between the United States and Japan, which is ignited by a Japanese surprise attack on American shipping, but not Pearl Harbor.