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Robertson, Morgan Andrew - The Wreck of the Titan described by Greenhouse

Identifier

024892

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

HERBERT B. GREENHOUSE was born in Chicago, educated at Northwestern University and the University of Southern California, and served in the Army during World War II. He worked as an advertising copywriter, a playwright for stage, radio, and television, and was also a pianist and composer.

An avid investigator of psychic phenomena, Mr. Greenhouse was a member of the American Society for Psychical Research and participated in many ESP laboratory experiments. He was also the author of In Defense of GhostsThoughts of the Imitation of Christ, and How to Double Your Vocabulary.

He lived in New Jersey and had a retreat in the Berkshires.

A description of the experience

Premonitions: A leap in to the future – Herbert Greenhouse [1971]

It was the year 1898. In a studio room on 24th Street  in New York City, a man named Morgan Robertson was sitting on a straight-backed chair, staring at a typewriter on the table in front of him. Robertson, who had spent a good part of his life as a sailor, was a writer of stories about the sea. He already had several books to his credit, but now, for some reason, the words would not flow.

Robertson thought he knew what the trouble was. He was not yet in "the mood." An uneducated man, he had always astounded others and delighted himself with his tales of ships and the men who sailed on them, written with a power of description that made the reader feel the salt air and hear the roar of surging waves. But every time he sat down at the typewriter, it was as though he had never written a word before. It took hours, sometimes days, before the words would come. Finally "the mood" would creep over him, he would drift off into a trance, and soon the typewriter keys would be clicking away under his fingers.

Morgan looked around the room, which was fixed up like a ship's cabin, and thought about his life as a sailor.

Directly ahead of him the window had been converted into a porthole, while in one corner there was a life preserver and in the other a ship's wheel. On his left was a bunkbed with a ship's bell on either side of it, and on his right a small bureau holding a compass and a ship's log. The table that supported Robertson's portable typewriter was actually a bathtub with a wooden board on top of it. Knotted ropes hung from the wall, and overhead nautical lights shone down on the room.

Robertson leaned back in his chair and stared at the ceiling lights. He was far out at sea now and he could hear the restless churning of the waves. As if on film a scene began to move in his mind, showing a broad expanse of water with the setting sun at the horizon. He felt the cold April air of the mid-Atlantic ocean, and he heard the warning sound of foghorns in the distance. Now, as he sank more deeply into his trance, he saw a ship appear in the fog. It was moving very fast, too fast, at a speed of twenty-three knots.

It was a beauty of a boat, a luxury liner more than 800 feet long, the largest he had ever seen, with three propellers and a horsepower he reckoned at 75,000-top speed 25 knots. In his fantasy the ship came closer, and through the mist he saw people moving about on the long, broad decks -well over 2,000 persons, more than had ever sailed on one ship.

The liner raced by and on her side he could see these words in bold letters: THE TITAN. Another word came to him-"Unsinkable.. unsinkable.. ," Fearfully he counted the lifeboats hanging in the davits. There were twenty-four, far too few for the number of passengers on board. And just ahead, barely visible in the thick fog, part of an iceberg loomed above the surface of the water.

Morgan Robertson shook himself and began to type.

The words came freely now, as if written by another hand:

"She was the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men . . . spacious cabins . . . decks like broad promenades . . . Unsinkable, indestructible, she carried as few boats as would satisfy the laws. . . .

"seventy-five thousand tons-deadweight-rushing through the fog at the rate of fifty feet a second . . . hurled itself at an iceberg . . . nearly 3,000 human voices, raised in agonized screams , . .”

Bear in mind that Robertson wrote The Wreck of the Titan in 1898. A real ship, the Titanic, was not built until 1911. It was also the "largest craft afloat" and it made its first and only voyage in 1912-with between 2,000 and 3,000 passengers.....................

Meanwhile, work had begun on the Titanic. This was to be the finest liner in the world, 882 feet in length (Robertson's Titan was 800 feet long), with a displacement tonnage of 66,000 (almost equal to the 70,000 of the Titan).

The ship would be capable of the incredible speed of 25 knots (equal to that of the Titan), and would have a capacity of nearly 3,000 passengers (the number carried by the Titan). And there was an ominous note in one of its proud boasts-the Titanic would have watertight compartments and would be ‘unsinkable’...............

 

The source of the experience

Robertson, Morgan Andrew

Concepts, symbols and science items

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Commonsteps

References