Legends of Ghost Sightings Abound — a Look Into Haunting History of the Titanic


Oct. 5 2023, Published 2:21 p.m. ET

Titanic in black and white
Source: Getty Images

The Titanic as it looked in 1912 prior to its maiden voyage.

The Gist:

  • The Titanic was a massive luxury liner that sank in 1912 en route from England to New York City.
  • Since the maritime disaster, numerous accounts of ghost sightings have surfaced.
  • Ghost orbs near the wreckage and ghost sightings of Captain Smith are among the most common haunted Titanic stories.
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The supposedly "unsinkable" Titanic, as most of us know, sank after a collision with an iceberg in April of 1912 while on its maiden voyage. The tragic sinking and deaths of approximately 1,500 people on board have sparked fascination, numerous accounts of ghost sightings, and the idea that the Titanic wreckage and museum could be haunted.

Titanic: 100 Year Obsession museum display.
Source: Getty Images

A special exhibit at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C. focused on the Titanic.

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Is the Titanic wreckage haunted?

When asked whether the Titanic is haunted, it raises the question of whether you mean the actual wreckage of the ship off the Newfoundland coast or other places associated with the ill-fated voyage. For those who believe in supernatural things like ghosts and hauntings, the Titanic's underwater wreckage is certainly a prime spot for them to happen.

According to the website Boroughs of the Dead, ships passing by the site have reported seeing orbs, or "little balls of light-energy signifying supernatural presence." Further evidence of haunted wreckage is the strange SOS messages received by submarines in the Titanic's area, along with other strange interferences without an identifiable source.

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Although these ghostly sightings and happenings can't be proven scientifically, plenty of people are believers in the spirit world and in phenomena like glowing orbs to show something is present that can't be explained. In addition to the wreckage of the actual Titanic, the 'Titan' submersible that imploded in June 2023 offers a new spin on the old tragedy, which will likely spawn new accounts of hauntings.

Modern building of Titanic Museum next to a crane.
Source: K. Mitch Hodge/Unsplash

The Titanic Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland is not said to be haunted.

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Is the Titanic Museum haunted?

Multiple museums are dedicated to the Titanic, its passengers, and the mistakes that led to its early demise. Zac Bagans and the Ghost Adventures crew investigated claims of haunting at the Titanic Museum in Branson, Mo., where some employees said they believed the spirits of the ship's dead were present at this museum.

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According to Titanic Universe, the Jane Street Hotel in New York City has haunted Titanic ties. Survivors of the tragedy stayed at this hotel, then called the American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors’ Home and Institute, after their rescue and during an inquiry into what happened. Some guests of the hotel since then have claimed to hear wails and moans, see transparent figures, and notice cold spots in the building.

Other reported haunted activity centers around Captain Edward J. Smith, who perished with his ship. Per US Ghost Adventures, his childhood home in the British town Stoke-on-Trent has been the site of chills and apparitions, even one of a man in a naval uniform.

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Black and white photo of purser Hugh McElroy and Capt. Smith on the Titanic
Source: Getty Images

Purser Hugh Walter McElroy and Captain Edward J. Smith aboard the Titanic during the run from Southampton to Queenstown, England. Captain Smith is one of the most commonly sighted Titanic ghosts.

And per Boroughs of the Dead, Captain Smith allegedly took a tour of a ship with Second Officer Leonard Bishop of the SS Winterhaven in 1977. Bishop said the man had a British accent and that something was odd about him, and a few years later, when he saw a photo of Captain Smith, he identified him as the man who toured his ship.

You'll believe in ghosts and hauntings if you want to believe in them, regardless of whether there is documented evidence. Whether or not the Titanic's haunting rumors are true, it's certainly a fascinating part of history.

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