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F. P. Dorchak

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Ice and Death - R.M.S. Titanic
11/25/2007 8:22:44 AM

Last week we visited one of the five traveling Titanic exhibits, and it was nothing short of moving. It hits you on so many levels, but on every level: tragic. An oceanliner--the largest of its day, one blatantly declared unsinkable--strikes an iceberg, breaks apart, and spirals and twists its way two-and-a-half-miles below the frigid surface of the North Atlantic to plow into a cold, dark, and desolate watery grave.

Shoes found down there--laced all the way up. Think about that.

Undamaged stained-glass windows.

A cup still upright on a bathroom stand.

Rows of chinaware neatly stacked in the unlit silt, as if placed on a display shelf.

An actual chunk of the behemoth’s mighty armor: a piece of the hull.

Jewelry, diaries, toothbrushes, and more. Everything everyone one of us would have used had we lived in 1912. Had we gone down with the epic oceanliner on April 15, 1912. I love contrasts, and you don’t get much more contrasting than with the Titanic. Something meant to sail the ocean blue now sunk in ocean dark. None of these people ever thought they would find themselves offloaded into a cold, deep ocean. None of those people looking to their toothbrushes ever thought, “Gee, this is the last time I’ll ever see or use this. Next time it’s ever seen will be at the bottom of the Atlantic, buried in memories and silt.” The items themselves, if they were to ever carry a thought, were all probably thinking: “Wonderful. Juuust wonderful....”

Then to have items pulled BACK up and into the light of day! To SEE what is WHERE down there! To learn what happened after the sinking! To actually TOUCH of piece of the ship (a piece of hull was out expressly for that purpose)! To see...REMAINS of the once great ship....

Haunting. Ghostly. Unnerving.

Every artifact we saw had been two-and-a-half miles at the bottom of the ocean. Never expecting to ever see the light of day again. To be slowly eaten away by microorganisms. Even the ship itself is slowly being eaten away. It is all being consumed by Life. Life that fills every nook and cranny of the planet in places we wouldn’t even think Life should exist. The R.M.S. Titanic still has a few years to go, but probably won’t make it another 100 years. But to look at...to IMAGINE...those who’d walked its decks....

When we entered our exhibit, we were all given fake White Star Line boarding passes, with a real passenger’s name and what information there was about him or her, including where that passenger fit on the ship: 1st, 2nd, 3rd class; their cabin (if known); any background. Mine was one Mr. Johan H. Nysveen, 61. Originally from Oyer, Norway, but who had come over to America and lived and worked in Grand Forks, ND (a place, incidentally, I’ve lived nearby myself--I’d lived north of there 90 minutes), for 27 years. Mr. Nysveen, however, had returned to Norway to remarry and was returning to North Dakota one last time to “finish his business there,” my boarding pass said, before returning to his wife in Norway. Everyone had one of these cards. And throughout the exhibit were actors taking on roles of some of those who’d been on the Titanic. There were also pictures of some of these people, with tantalizing tidbits...all the time, all of us wondering...did “my” person--ME--make it?

Mine did not. Mr. Johan H. Nysveen, died along with 1500 others (the actual number seems unknown).

Yes, this made the exhibit just a touch more personal for all of us. There was such joy and fun in my wife and mother-in-law’s voices when they declared at the end of the exhibit that THEY had made it. Such sadness when I told them I...had not.

That was the point.

We also watched the IMAX Ghosts of The Abyss (was my second time seeing it), and it just made things even more poignant. Seeing what’s left of the great ocean liner in its sad, deteriorating, state, but the most haunting scenes were those which overlaid scenes of people (from movies or otherwise) walking the decaying decks and halls. The most heartrending moment for me was when they showed the movie version of the sinking and then had all the actual pictures of those lost fly out from the viewer and into the sinking scene of the ship. Powerful, affecting, upsetting.

I’d read that the Titanic’s sinking was more than a physical tragedy in that it also heralded the end of an era. A way of life and thinking. That, among other things, Man, in all its period pomposity, could not after all Triumph Nature with its intellect, could not master it. That basically, we had been slapped back down, put in our place. What a rough lesson to learn--and have we really even learned it? We’re always trying newer, bigger, faster, which is not always a bad thing, but I think it all comes down to INTENT. And we have not been without our own “Titanics” (Challenger...Columbia...). Not getting into the Zen aspects of death and dying, it is interesting when these tragedies occur and how. No one will ever know all the intricacies of what happened except for those few intimately involved, and sometimes it’s just plain old “We just hadn’t even thought about it,” but when you push the envelope...sometimes, it pushes back. Growth usually does not come without its share of pain.

And now for a plot twist: The Wreck of the Titan, or Futility, by Morgan Robertson, wrote about a large ship, called The Titan. And that it had hit an iceberg. The specifics of the story differ slightly, but the ships were almost identical in size, displacement, etc. When did Mr. Robertson write this book?

1898.

This book can currently be found at Buccaneer Books, 4460 Depot Lane, Cutchogue, New York, 11935. I have a link to it, below.

Additionally (and I am updating this blog after-the-fact, because one of my brothers just pointed this out to me), according Snopes.com (see link, below), there was a silent 1911 movie playing the night the Titanic struck an iceberg. A 53-minute silent movie, by D. W. Griffith. It’s name?

The Poseidon Adventure.

Read the write-up at Snopes.com, below. I do not remember anything mentioned about this (or Robertson's story) in the exhibit, nor in reading about the Titanic, but admittedly, it has been a while since I researched Titanic material. Some things just weren’t meant to be...and the hints were there--just ignored.

Go see the exhibit. Go see that IMAX movie. It’ll make you think.

Post Script: Antarctic, November 23, 2007, approximately 10 p.m., ET.

The Canadian cruise ship, The Explorer, struck submerged ice and sank, while making a circuit of Antarctica’s South Shetland islands. It didn’t hit an “iceberg,” per se, but a piece of ice that was merely submerged. There was no loss of life. See link, below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Titanic

http://www.rmstitanic.net/

http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/

http://www.buccaneerbooks.com/

http://www.snopes.com/lost/poseidon.htm

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/americas/11/23/antarctica.ship/index.html

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving--and had something to be thankful about.


Frank


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More Blogs by F. P. Dorchak
• My Blog Has Moved.... - Sunday, August 23, 2009
• Skeptic, Debunker, or Open-minded? - Saturday, August 15, 2009
• Julie & Julia - A Reduction - Tuesday, August 11, 2009
• So, Just What Is It About... - Monday, August 10, 2009
• Past Life - Sunday, August 02, 2009
• Interview With a Non-Vampire, by Wendy Burt-Thomas - Thursday, July 30, 2009
• Twisting In The Wind - Writing Outside The Box - Wednesday, July 29, 2009
• Tick, Tick, Tick, Tock - Part II - Sunday, July 26, 2009
• Tick, Tick, Tick, Tock.... - Friday, July 24, 2009
• The Need For Sleep--Overrated? - Monday, July 13, 2009
• 2009 Roswell UFO Festival - Sunday, June 28, 2009
• Guerilla Drive-Ins! - Monday, June 15, 2009
• Soul Survivor - Wednesday, June 10, 2009
• Inside The Writer’s Mind - Tuesday, June 09, 2009
• The Wrestler - Saturday, May 30, 2009
• Rob Butts: A Retrospect - Friday, May 29, 2009
• Think Good Thoughts? - Friday, May 22, 2009
• The Case For Reincarnation - Friday, May 08, 2009
• Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2009 - Outstanding! - Tuesday, April 28, 2009
• Exopolitics--We Are Not Alone? - Tuesday, April 21, 2009
• Upcoming Pikes Peak Writers Conference (PPWC) 2009! - Friday, April 17, 2009
• The Last Man On The Moon - A Review - Friday, March 27, 2009
• Jeff Peckman and the Metaphysical Aspects of UFOs - Saturday, March 14, 2009
• Antigravity, Subquantum Kinetics, UFOs, and the New World Order - Thursday, February 26, 2009
• Says it all.... - Tuesday, January 13, 2009
• Marley & Me - Saturday, January 10, 2009
• The Day The Earth Stood Still - Tuesday, December 23, 2008
• If We Live Again.... - Saturday, December 20, 2008
• I Found an Agent! - Saturday, December 06, 2008
• Happy Hallowe’en! - Friday, October 31, 2008
• The Roswell Legacy - Jesse Marcel, Jr., MD - Monday, October 20, 2008
• Code Enforcer—The Movie - Tuesday, October 14, 2008
• Nervous Energy and Superpowers! - Friday, October 10, 2008
• Rustling Leaves, Whispering Souls, and Gardens of Stone - Friday, October 03, 2008
• Revisiting Old Ghosts - Wednesday, October 01, 2008
• Commercial V. Literary -- Taking The Zen Approach - Saturday, August 09, 2008
• More Talk Of Extraterrestrial Cover-ups - Friday, July 25, 2008
• Larry King - Are Aliens Watching Us...? - Saturday, July 19, 2008
• William Shatner - Up Till Now Autobiography - Sunday, July 13, 2008
• Penmen! Laugh at their Surreal Ingenuity! - Friday, July 04, 2008
• Roswell - 61 Years Ago and Counting.... - Wednesday, July 02, 2008
• 61st Anniversary of the Kenneth Arnold 1947 “Saucer” Sightings - Tuesday, June 24, 2008
• Cells Phones Tracked in the Name Of Science - Wednesday, June 04, 2008
• In Memoriam: Robert F. Butts, Passed Away at 88 - Sunday, June 01, 2008
• Some People’s Kids - Alien or Otherwise - Fake Romanek YouTube Alien Video - Saturday, May 31, 2008
• Excuse Me, There’s and Alien At My Window - The Romanek/Peckman Alien Video - Friday, May 30, 2008
• Jeff Peckman and Extraterrestrial Proof Tomorrow - Thursday, May 29, 2008
• New Twilight Zone Graphic Novels! - Saturday, May 24, 2008
• The Black Hole Blues*! - Thursday, May 22, 2008
• United Kingdom Releasing UFO Files To Public - Saturday, May 17, 2008
• Vatican Validating Extraterrestrials?! - Wednesday, May 14, 2008
• Denver Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission, Part Deux - Friday, May 09, 2008
• The Supernatural and All Things Weird - Tuesday, May 06, 2008
• A Denver Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission - Saturday, May 03, 2008
• Pikes Peak Writers Conference (PPWC) 2008 - Monday, April 28, 2008
• The World's Greatest Writer! - Saturday, March 08, 2008
• The Brief History of the Dead - Sunday, February 17, 2008
• In Memoriam - Rod Serling - Sunday, December 30, 2007
• The Meaning of Christmas? - Friday, December 21, 2007
• Tell It Like It Is - Harlan Ellison - Saturday, December 08, 2007
•  Ice and Death - R.M.S. Titanic - Sunday, November 25, 2007  

• The Amazing and Mysterious Blue Cloud - Saturday, November 17, 2007
• Amazon Novel Contest and UFOs - Tuesday, November 13, 2007
• The Disclosure Project: UFO Press Release Monday - Saturday, November 10, 2007
• Think Differently - Friday, November 09, 2007
• Dreams and...Reality? - Saturday, November 03, 2007
• Sleepwalkers MotionTomes(TM) Podcast! - Tuesday, October 30, 2007
• Do You Believe? - Sunday, October 28, 2007
• Cool Hallowe’en Links! - Saturday, October 27, 2007
• Face Your Fears! - Friday, October 26, 2007
• Who's Afraid of a Couple Ghosties.... - Thursday, October 25, 2007
• Age Old Issues - Saturday, October 20, 2007
• Reverse Engineering Aliens - Sunday, October 14, 2007
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• Amazon.com Contest! - Wednesday, October 03, 2007
• The Art of Killing - Sunday, September 30, 2007
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• Church and Steak - Saturday, September 01, 2007
• China Bans Reincarnation! - Friday, August 31, 2007
• Culture of Fear?! - Friday, August 24, 2007
• Here’s A Thought - Wednesday, August 22, 2007
• Walk Like An Egyptian.... - Thursday, August 16, 2007
• Same Old Story - Sunday, August 05, 2007
• Decrypting The Paranormal - Friday, August 03, 2007
• Let’s Get Paranormal! - Saturday, July 28, 2007
• Movie Night! - Friday, July 20, 2007
• Night of the Living Dead [Genre] - Saturday, July 14, 2007
• UFOs and Larry King Live! - Friday, July 13, 2007
• Roswell - Sunday, July 08, 2007
• Picking at Scabs - Saturday, June 30, 2007
• Hamstrung - Friday, June 29, 2007
• Circular File - Monday, June 25, 2007
• Can I Take Your Pulse? - Friday, June 15, 2007
• Write and Wrong - Part II - Tuesday, June 12, 2007
• Write And Wrong - Part I - Sunday, June 10, 2007
• For Whom The Bell Tolls - Friday, June 01, 2007
• It’s All In My Head - Friday, May 25, 2007
• The Sky Is Falling! - Saturday, May 19, 2007
• Responsibility - Tuesday, May 15, 2007
• Sloggin On! - Friday, May 11, 2007
• You Want It You Got It - Tuesday, May 08, 2007
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• Wind Instruments at PPWC 2007. - Saturday, April 28, 2007
• Writers, and Agents, and Editors, Oh My! - Saturday, April 14, 2007
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