Helen Loraine Allison was two years old when The RMS Titanic struck an iceberg on April 15, 1912. As the ship began to sink, Loraine’s parents, Bess and Hudson, could not locate their infant son or his nurse. They refused to leave the ship without their son, however; Loraine, Bess, and Hudson were last seen standing together on the ship’s promenade deck.
Although Trevor was eventually rescued, Loraine, Bess, and Hudson were presumed dead.
In 1940, a woman named Helen “Loraine” Kramer appeared on a television program claiming she was actually Loraine Allison. Kramer said she was rescued and taken to England by a man who called himself “Mr. Hyde.” Kramer said she later discovered Mr. Hyde was actually Thomas Andrews, who designed and helped build the ship. Andrews was also presumed dead after the ship sank.
As reported by News.Com.AU, the Allison family was hesitant to believe Loraine actually survived. However, they offered to meet with the mysterious woman. Kramer was adamant that was truly Loraine Allison, but she never followed through with meeting the family.
David Allison said his immediate family never truly believed Kramer’s story, and that she caused them a great deal of distress:
“… the stress it caused was real. It forced my ancestors to relive painful memories described to me as immeasurable sorrow and unending grief.”
Kramer eventually stopped contacting the Allison family and she passed away in 1992. However, 20 years later her granddaughter picked up where she left off.
Debrina Woods said she has proof her grandmother’s claims are true. She said she has several suitcases full of documents, photographs, and letters which prove Kramer was Loraine Allison. She said the documents were authenticated by a museum and she posted a photo of the documents on her personal website.
Despite Woods’ claims, many people have a hard time believing the story. A group of skeptics eventually formed the The Loraine Allison Identification Project in an attempt to debunk Kramer and Woods’ claims.
The group eventually arranged DNA testing, using samples from the Kramer and Allison families. The testing revealed no link between the two families.
Although the scientific evidence is quite clear, Woods refuses to acknowledge the results:
“We regret that many will be confused by the information that is making the rounds now in the press and other media … and that we feel has been irresponsibly released for sensation value. Be that as it may, we WILL be forth-coming with our own HEADLINES once everything has been recorded for print and distribution.”
The DNA evidence is in, but it looks like the Loraine Allison controversy is far from over.
[Image via Wikimedia]