A combination of dogs, priests, ginger people and barbers caused the sinking of the Titanic.
At least, that was the theory when the ‘unsinkable’ ship sunk when it hit an iceberg on April 12, 1912. With the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster on Thursday, White Star Line officers’ books, passenger lists and maritime birth, marriage and death records have been made available online for the first time.
These new documents reveal how the superstitious crew were anticipating disaster as soon as ginger-haired passengers walked up the gangplanks of the huge liner. According to seafaring legend, red hair tempts fate. The same can also be said of priests, dogs and barbers. Yes, we can probably put that silly iceberg theory to bed once and for all.
One of the so-called ‘harbingers of doom’ at the time was Violet Jessop. Jessop was the ship’s on-board nurse, and boasted a head of thick red hair with a central parting, as was the style at the time.
Debra Chatfield of online history service FindMyPast told the Metro:
“Throughout history sailors have been superstitious but I bet few ever believed the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic would succumb. It leaves you wondering whether the cumulative effect of priests, dogs, barbers and redheads on board angered the sea so much it steered her towards her fate.”
Well, er, it doesn’t actually make you wonder that, Debra. And besides, Jessop survived the Titanic’s demise (she lived to be a grand old age of 83, passing away in 1971), as did (spoiler) KATE WINSLET. So there.