Lauren Reid Headshot

Major historic events are almost always surrounded by conspiracy theories. While I agree most are harmless and fun to entertain, there are few that I just can’t jump on board with. I’ve tried to be open minded enough to consider these few, but I simply can’t, there’s just no way. One of these topics is the Titanic — specifically the theories that the Titanic never sank, sank on purpose or didn’t really exist.

The theory that the Titanic never sank stems from the idea that it’s sinking was an act of insurance fraud. It’s believed that the Titanic was switched with another ship known as the R.M.S. Olympic. The R.M.S. Olympic happened to be a ship that needed repairs around the time the Titanic was to set sail. It’s thought that the R.M.S. Olympic was deemed unrepairable, so they switched it with the Titanic. When the “Titanic” set sail and ultimately sank, the result would be ditching the ship permanently and collecting a large insurance claim — of course, with the expense of human lives. All the while the real Titanic set sail on the other ship’s course.

I think this theory is bogus for numerous reasons, but one is because it’s been proven that the Titanic’s insurance wouldn’t have be enough to cover that of the R.M.S. Olympic. So that simply just wouldn’t make sense to do. I also want to believe that mankind isn’t cruel enough to do such a thing and cost so many people their lives on purpose, let alone affect thousands of people’s lives through those losses.

The theory that the Titanic sank on purpose is centralized around a guy named J.P. Morgan. It’s believed that Morgan, a millionaire banker, purposely planned the disaster to essentially get rid of other millionaire bankers — his competition. If this is true, then Morgan attained his goal because the four other millionaire bankers did perish on board. Morgan originally planned to sail the Titanic with his rivals, but at the last minute decided not to board the ship.

My biggest issue with this theory is that there is zero explanation for how Morgan caused a gigantic ship to steer into an iceberg. The only structure the theory has is that Morgan had rivals on the ship and decided not to go seconds before the ship set sail. That’s it. There’s nothing that could be considered evidence. There’s no “how.” In my opinion this theory has the most holes in it.

Lastly, the theory that the Titanic never actually existed. The entire thing is believed to be a hoax. It’s thought that the Titanic disaster was used to distract citizens from governmental issues. The only back-up this theory touches on is that the media, journalists and reporters alike, had an intense relationship with the government at this time. Supposedly, the media was closely regulated and discussed with the CIA.

I genuinely find these conspiracy theories to be inconsiderate to those families that were affected by the tragedy that occurred. There were 2,240 passengers aboard the ship and 1,500 lost their lives that early morning. Not to mention the survivors of the historic event. They were witnesses and were probably traumatized beyond belief.

Rumor has it ... The Titanic really did sink at 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912. Rest in peace to those 1,500 passengers.

Lauren Reid is a senior at UT this year majoring in journalism. She can be reached at lreid9@vols.utk.edu.

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