The Titanic and the Curse of the Mummy!
Speaking against the society in admitting evidence of communications from the dead, Stead drew, before the members of the Cosmos Club in 1909, a graphic, imaginary picture of himself, shipwrecked and drowning in the sea and calling frantically for help. He imagined that instead of throwing him a rope the rescuers would shout back: "Who are you? What is your name? 'I am Stead! W. T. Stead! I am drowning here in the sea. Throw me the rope. Be quick!' But instead of throwing me the rope they continue to shout back: 'How do we know you are Stead? Where were you born? Tell us the name of your grandmother.' "
Stead had also written on the dangers of icebergs and the inadequacy of the number of lifeboat places on transatlantic liners, link here:
Stead's involvement with the highest politics of his age has already been discussed on this blog during the past week, whether or not it was his association with Rhodes, and disputations over world governance and the founding forces behind Round Table, read here, that put him on board the fated ship, we, the general public, will probably never know.For the 1893 Christmas issue of Review of Reviews, Stead wrote a story entitled "From the Old World to the New," a fiction concerning the dangers of icebergs in the Atlantic Ocean. The story is set on a ship named the Majestic with Captain Smith as commander. Reportedly, this is the same Captain Smith who 21 years later goes down with the Titanic. The narrative pictures the sinking of the liner and depicts the Atlantic Ocean as a grave.
Another theory exists which concerns Stead's links to spritualism and takes us into the realms of Egyptology and the possibly cursed relics of Mummies, however, which is the topic for this posting on the eve of the fateful wreck.
An idea of the importance of Ancient Egypt in the Victorian era is best illustrated for me by the fact that the famed Entente Cordiale between Britain and France initially concerned itself mostly with the division of power in North Africa, with much emphasis on responsibility for Egyptian antiquities, see here. (Note the importance attached to the position of a French savant in the very first article!)
There is, of course, a mass of information available on the internet about Stead and his supposed telling of the tale of the Mummy's curse, at dinner on the last evening of the Titanic's maiden voyage, one such is here, another here.
I will leave others to surf and draw their own conclusions, while quoting this small but telling passage taken from one of his last letters, which seems strangely relevant to our world of today, from here:
"The general feeling of unrest that is surging over the world just now is profoundly disquieting some minds."