Contact Us

Did Author Morgan Robertson Predict the Sinking of the Titanic in His Book, ‘Futility’?

Central Press, Getty Images

You know the story: a supposedly unsinkable ship hits an iceberg and meets a tragic end, killing most of the passengers on board. But it wasn’t the the Titanic — it was actually a fictional ship called the Titan, written about in a book published 14 years before the famed Titanic set sail on its doomed voyage.

In ‘Futility,’ an 1898 novella by American writer Morgan Robertson, the Titan is described as “the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men … in her construction and maintenance were involved every science, profession, and trade known to civilization” — words similar to those used to tout the Titanic in 1912.

So was Robertson prophetic? Probably not, says Titanic scholar Paul Heyer, a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“He was an experienced seaman, and he saw ships as getting very large and the possible danger that one of these behemoths would hit an iceberg,” Heyer said, adding that Robertson’s knowledge of ship-building trends and his understanding of transatlantic travel likely helped fuel his story about a naval catastrophe.

‘Futility,’ though, wasn’t terribly well-written, so it didn’t get much attention until after the Titanic sank. When that happened, Heyer said, people began approaching Robertson and asking if he was psychic.

“No,” the author reportedly replied. “I know what I’m writing about, that’s all.”

[Associated Press]

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for TSM Interactive quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!