By Ron Schneider, firstname.lastname@example.org, for ‘Titanic, the Exhibition’
Knowing that I had been an Actor/Guide for six years at Orlando’s ‘Titanic, the Experience’, Mr. Koster wrote me recently asking if I had any stories about the famous ship and and its ghosts and supernatural phenomena.
By way of an answer, I sent him the following script that I had written for a proposed Titanic Ghost Tour to be conducted after hours in the darkened attraction.
This particular version was never presented as-is, and was liberally padded and rewritten on-the-fly by the host. But I’m still pretty proud of it and I want to thank Rich for this opportunity to put it up here so you can enjoy it.
P.S. — Some of what follows may be hard to swallow, but for every story there is either real proof or at least one author or personal acquaintance who will swear it’s true (Keeping in mind that there was more than one practical joker working with me on ‘The Ship’… Hiya, Joe!).
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Fourth Draft Tour Script
Titanic Ghost Tour
(The Guide is dressed in MOD-style. Titanic nametag, radio on hip, professional demeanor.)
(If the outside entertainment is too loud, take this inside Ismay’s Office.)
Good evening, and welcome to the Titanic Ghost Tour.
My name’s Mike , and I’m a supervisor at the Exhibition. Our daylight tour covers construction of the ship, the lifeboats, the legends… If you’ve never been, come back another time for that.
Tonight, I’LL be your guide for something ‘different’. Of the thousands who sailed on Titanic, only 3 are around today. Tonight belongs to the rest. Many are represented inside by letters, photographs, private effects. And a few, we believe, are hanging about in a more — personal sense. I’ll share stories of manifestations, show you photographic evidence, and you’ll hear some of the truly bizarre tales surrounding the classic story.
While you’re inside we ask that there be no eating, drinking, smoking or suddenly screaming “BOO!”… Leave that to me. If you have a cell phone or beeper I’m going to ask you to take it out right now and turn the ringer OFF; set it on stun. And take all the pictures you want, but I advise against getting so wrapped up in your camera that you miss the stories you’ve paid to hear.
(Step to the podium and VERY OBVIOUSLY prepare to push the ‘Doors Open’ button)
Now — step through the HAUNTED DOORS!
(Take a moment to arrange the Guests so that all can see and hear.)
Raise your hand if you’re a believer…
(Judging their reaction)
That’s about average. Here’s a story you might NOT believe…
An immense, opulent and ‘practically unsinkable’ British steamship departs on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City in the month of April. She has over 2,000 people aboard, she’s over 800 feet long, and she’s powered by a unique triple-screw system capable of 45,000 horsepower and speeds up to 25 knots. She never makes it to New York, for in the middle of the North Atlantic she strikes an iceberg and goes to the bottom, the majority of those aboard lost due to an appalling lack of lifeboats.
Now here’s the part you won’t believe. The name of the ship was the Titan… and it never happened.
What I described was a work of fiction; a novel called ‘Futility’, written by retired Merchant Marine officer Morgan Robertson and published in 1898… Fourteen years before Titanic sailed, nine years before she was even dreamt of.
Mr. Robertson claimed the story came to him — complete — during one long session of automatic writing… That’s where the person doing the writing has no idea what they’ve written until they stop writing and read what they wrote. He couldn’t explain it. I’m not going to try.
There was a copy of that book in the First Class Lending Library of Titanic when she sailed on her maiden voyage.
The more you read up on us, folks, the more stories like that you’ll run into.
Tonight will be a blend of historical fact and the paranormal. To our usual study of historical records, we’ve added the experiences of our employees and in-depth research conducted by the Central Florida Ghost Society. Remote cameras and motion detectors were set up. Investigators monitored the remotes while others roamed with other cameras. These meters (refer to visual aid) recorded XXXXX. Then, for independent verification, North Florida Paranormal Research Incorporated conducted a second investigation. Their conclusion: (with pride) we warrant “further investigation”!
For that reason, you might want to gather evidence of your own. You’ll have a chance to nose around, ask questions… Take all the pictures you want (not the ones off the walls). Only then, when you’ve considered your own findings, can you decide: Are the spirits of those who sailed on TITANIC still with us today? Or have you just blown $18 bucks?
(If possible, Guests pass into Shipyard without watching Ismay’s video.)
Welcome to Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast, Ireland on May 31st, 1911… Launching day for the 401. You see, it’s considered bad luck to refer to a ship by her proper name before she’s launched and in the water. Until that time she’s referred to only by her keel number, and this is (indicate ’401′ carved into the screw) the four-hundred-and-first keel to be laid here at Harland & Wolff. But when she hit the water she got her name — Titanic.
In our day this part of the world will be known as Northern Ireland… and a hotbed of religious strife and controversy. Protests over British Rule and violence between Protestants and Catholics have kept this area in the headlines up to our present day.
These conflicts are said to have tainted the very construction of Titanic. One oft-told story claims that she was cursed by her hull number, 3909 04.
As you see, when the numbers are written (rather eccentrically) and reversed as in a mirror, they spell out ‘No Pope’. This was supposed to have infuriated Harland & Wolff’s mostly Catholic work force. However the workers were principally Protestant, not Catholic… and her hull number was actually 131428, which, when reversed, spells out 824131. That’s not going to infuriate anyone.
Where do such stories come from? From people overwhelmed with grief. If we can point to a cause, no matter how superstitious or far-fetched, it helps to relieve our feelings of helplessness.
Were lives lost in her construction? Yes. Some sources put the number at 2… others say 17. No one knows for sure and it’s certain no one ever will. On the other hand, Danny and Hugh are the names that have been given to the two ghosts that populate the Belfast shipyards to this day.
Another legend claims one unfortunate man was trapped between the steel plates of her double bottom. Again we’ll never know, but it’s more likely that folks are confusing Titanic with the steamship Great Eastern, built in 1857 and scrapped 31 years later, whereupon the skeleton of a shipyard worker was indeed found trapped within her double hull.
(Displaying the photograph of the Shipyard anomaly.)
Possibly a Harland & Wolff craftsmen is with us today… This photo from the investigation contains this (pointing) anomaly that suggests spirit activity in this very room.
Speaking of photographs, here are some shipyard workers in the graving dock, attaching Titanic’s rudder and triple screws. Apparently the photographer was unhappy with the position of this man here (pointing). We’re told he scratched out the figure to better balance the photo. But if that’s true, why can we still see the background and this image of a hand? Take a look, then join me in the next room.
Harland & Wolff
What is a ‘photographic anomaly’? You can see some here…
(Display montage of spirit orbs, NOT from the Exhibition.)
These are often called ‘Spirit Orbs’. Spirits are believed to be souls who have passed but not yet crossed to the next level. All of us are Spirits, dwelling — temporarily — within physical bodies. While our bodies function, they emit a measurable electrical charge. Einstein taught us that energy cannot be destroyed; only transferred. Spirits are believed to be that energy, transformed into a sort of mist, called ectoplasm. When the Spirit is mobile it forms a ball of energy that we call an ‘orb’.
They are seen most commonly with the use of a digital camera. On standard film, a picture is formed by a chemical reaction caused by visible light striking the emulsion. In digital imaging, light is reflected onto a light-sensing integrated circuit, whose sensitivity reaches into the infrared spectrum, invisible to the naked eye. These electronic signals are then processed into a digital image.
(Display examples of false Spirit Orbs.)
As you might guess, not all photographed orbs are true anomalies. Some can be rain or dust or a simple reflection. Orbs tend to be more solid and round… which is why the documentation of conditions is so important in spirit investigation.
Everyone who knows the story and gazes at this wall (indicate) has a strong reaction to this man, J. Bruce Ismay, Chairman of the Board of the White Star Line. He reduced the number of lifeboats from the suggested 64 to 20, then got away safely in one of those boats. As if to punctuate those feelings –
(Display picture of Ismay portrait with orb.)
– this image was captured during our investigation. Probably not Mr. Ismay himself… More likely one of his billions of ‘fans’.
Any questions before we continue?
Sailing day in Southampton. Crew and Third Class board from the dock, while First Class passengers board via the gangway (indicate above).
More than a few lucky people avoided boarding altogether, thanks to the warnings of friends and family. Some made it as far as the dock, only to be turned back by a ‘hunch’ or a bad omen. And a few never rested on the ship, never slept because of an unnamable dread that hung over them until the events of that night.
Stephen Jenkin had been visiting his parents in Cornwall and was set to return to America on another ship, but the coal strike occasioned his transfer to Titanic. Upon arriving in Southampton and seeing the new ship, he grew so worried he raced back to his parents’ home to leave safely with them his watch and valuables. They proved little comfort to his grieving mother.
More than a few others had similar strong misgivings upon seeing the ship or hearing that friends had booked passage for the maiden voyage. “I told you so,” got quite a workout in the weeks to follow.
(Optional:) I have a theory about that. I believe that every time a bus pulls out, every time a tenor goes for that high note, every time a duck takes flight, everyone looking on says, “He’ll never make it!” Most of the time, you never hear from those people. But if the bus runs late or the tenor’s flat or the duck drowns, they’re front and center, cheering, “I told you so!”
As the ship sailed from England, an enthusiastic crowd watching on the Isle of Wight suddenly heard Blanche Marshall cry out, “That ship is going to sink before it reaches America!” Her husband, Jack, tried to shut her up, but she wouldn’t stop. “Do something, you fools! I see hundreds of people struggling in the water… Are you all so blind that you’re going to let them drown?”
Three years later, Mrs. Marshall and her husband were booked on the Lusitania, when she insisted their reservations be changed because the ship, “… will be torpedoed and sunk by the Germans”. They switched their tickets to an earlier sailing and then, on the date of their original booking, the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the Germans. And finally…
Ever get the feeling you were being watched? One of our investigators reported feeling she was being watched from that gangway (indicate above). She also made this recording which features the sound of footsteps and what could be a strange sounding voice.
What did YOU hear? Any questions before we board? Anyone want to change their ticket?
Life on Board
(Lighting is subdued and standing cases are covered.)
You might think, “We’re on board now, things will calm down a bit.” No such luck.
After Titanic leaves Cherbourg, the crew begins to hear roosters crowing below decks, a sure sign of impending doom for a ship at sea.
While taking on passengers at Queenstown, a totally black figure appears atop the fourth funnel, glaring down at the folks coming out on the tenders.
And the ship is gradually developing a slight list to one side… Especially noticeable to those who sail with any regularity.
Actually, Mrs. White, here (indicate on wall), is bringing those chickens home to her farm in New Jersey as a noisy souvenir of her French vacation.
And the mysterious black figure that appears off the coast of Ireland is a stoker, one of the men who shovel coal into the boilers. Covered with coal dust, he decided to get a breath of fresh air and climbed up a ladder inside the dummy fourth funnel (indicate on model).
And the ship’s growing list is caused by efforts to extinguish a fire in coal bin #10 (indicate on cutaway graphic), accidentally sparked while taking on coal in Southampton. Normally the trimmers work in those bins in 120 degree heat, keeping the coal reserves level to keep the ship on an even keel; but now they’re digging in and using coal from bin #10 as quickly as possible to get to that smoldering fire.
If you’ve done any reading on Titanic you may have encountered ‘The Curse of the Mummy’. There was no mummy on Titanic, but there was a remarkable gentleman, William Thomas Stead. British author, religious leader, social crusader and amateur spiritualist, he also had a hell of a sense of humor. On the night of the disaster, attending a party the millionaires were throwing in the Captain’s honor, he told the story of ‘The Curse of the Mummy’. “Anyone who comes in contact with the Mummy suffers a horrible death!” Well, the mummy he was referring to was in the British Museum; it’s there tonight. Mr. Stead didn’t make it that night, but “The Curse of the Mummy” has lingered as an urban legend ever since.
There was also an Egyptian carving aboard, called an Ushabti, which Molly Brown carried for luck in a lifeboat. She presented it to the captain of the Carpathia as a way of thanking him for saving her life. Today that carving is 2,700 years old. (As you cross to the case) It was aboard Titanic… it escaped in a lifeboat… and it’s under this sheet (unveil the case).
Have you any questions about anything so far?
(Encourage reactions, any questions about the ship or the investigative process. If/when there are no more questions, lead Guests over to the Parlor Suite.)
The tools hanging by that fireplace swing around for no reason. Last month an actor was in here alone, thinking about the new ghost tour, in fact. The shovel started banging against the wall.
One actress is fond of sitting alone on this couch between tours, waiting for the next group to come along. She claims that one night she felt a shadow pass over her. Another time she clearly saw a small red rubber ball roll out from behind this case (Point to the spot as if at the ball as it rolls). She was going over to investigate, when a child’s hand reached out and retrieved the toy (Mime picking up the ball). When she got there, she found nothing.
Another employee encountered a ghostly child in this area. A young girl in period dress, playing with the skirt of a visitor; the skirt was actually moving! Not one to fear spirits, she admonished the little girl ghost to behave herself around the Guests. We’ll learn more about her later .
(Lead Guests over to deck chair.)
Yet another employee, vacuuming after hours, felt like she was being watched. Then she noticed a middle-aged man wearing a floppy hat reclining on the deck chair in the case. She yanked the cord out of the wall and, clutching her vacuum, fled the room.
I suggest we do likewise.
(Lead Guests toward the Verandah Café; stop just inside so when they turn around they’ll all have a clear view of the empty Parlor Suite behind them.)
In this room, the evening manager was walking alone when he heard himself being paged; and we have no paging system. “Mark… “ The female voice sounded both close and distant and had a slight echo. Calling upon his managerial instincts, he turned around and hurried in the opposite direction, back toward the Stateroom (Point back toward the Parlor Suite, so Guests see the empty room from a distance; continue softly). There he heard the chiding sounds of laughter. Two men and two women could be heard chuckling in that empty room, and he felt like he had just become the object of a paranormal practical joke.
(While the Guests are turned away, crank the volume on the radio, wait a beat after you finish talking, then press the static button.)
Oops! Sorry about that. This way, please…
(Lead Guests into… )
Her first week as a guide, and the young actress was still nervous, handling the new role and all the information. Guests gathered around the staircase, as we have… She started her presentation… And after a minute, they all became aware of a soft thumping… almost like footsteps… coming from the stairs. It got louder.
The actress turned white, and hurried out through the crowd and around that corner (briefly indicate door to hallway). Some of the Guests, mildly freaked, followed her, struck by her obviously real reaction. Those who remained in here got another surprise — when two other actors stepped out from under the stairs, giggling. Just ‘Welcoming the New Kid’.
Those who live and work around the story have a unique sense of humor.
As we said, Spirits are energy; and energy attracts energy. Reports of poltergeists often involve electrical appliances, strange blackouts and static. In Downtown Orlando there’s a building with a haunted elevator; car moves on its’ own, doors open with no one around. But Spirits are also attracted to emotional energy.
And this room is swimming in it. Imagine:
This building is filled with artifacts and the possessions of people who lost their families or died, suddenly and horribly, on – that – night. If there is an afterlife, can there be any doubt that these people have a few things to say? So we’ve got grief.
Then there’s YOU. Why are you here? Maybe it was a movie you saw, or a documentary or a book report you did in grade school, You know, this place was NEVER supposed to be here this long. We thought we’d last a year after the film came out. But the story never dies. It stays with you and then people like you — or someone traveling with you tonight – makes a point of coming here. To grief, we add (gesture toward the Guests) morbid curiosity.
Finally, there’s the actors. These people are passionate fans of the story, some are like a walking web site about Titanic. They use that passion in their work, which is to stand here and bring the passengers and crew vividly to life. Sometimes 20 shows a day. ‘Shoveling Emotional Coal’.
So that’s grief, morbid curiosity and passion. If you need more energy than that, consider this: It’s the Grand Staircase, for crying out loud. ‘Big Time Movie Star’ and universally-known ‘Heart of the Ship’.
So you’d expect a lot of Spirit Activity here. And there have been several manifestations; people have remarked about a heavy atmosphere, wet footprints on the floor, one fellow even heard that fake clock striking the hour… and — yes — footsteps. Now, in light of what we know about our actors’ sense of humor, I’m more than a little skeptical about sightings at the Staircase. But…
On the occasion of the 90th anniversary, we held a special memorial service. I was snapping pictures as the cast gathered on the staircase for a commemorative portrait. Here’s the picture they took.
(Unveil regular portrait.)
Here’s the digital picture I took.
(Unveil side view with Spirit Orb.)
You’ll notice it almost appears everyone’s eyes… their energy… is focused on that one point in space.
(As you move through the crowd toward Hallway:)
You’re welcome to come back here after the tour and look around, but right now we’re moving on. By the way, if you believe cold is a manifestation of the supernatural…
(Turn and look back at the Guests.)
It’s time to bundle up.
(Step around the corner and out of sight.)
Scotland Road & Cargo
(Lead the group nonstop through these rooms, walking slow enough that the majority of the group stays immediately behind you and well within earshot. Toss off the following lines as you move. The effect should be a rapid descent into the ship, accompanied by the drop in temperature and a few casual observations.)
(In Hallway) Actors and others passing through this section have occasionally noticed the odor of seawater. One performer heard approaching footsteps… then watched as strands of her long blonde hair drifted up to hover in front of her, as if being examined by an invisible hand.
(In Cargo, next to the dishes) A Manager on Duty walked in here to find a woman wearing a dress of the period standing in front of this crate. Not all of her, you understand… Just from the knees up. She nodded to him and vanished into the wall.
(The room is preset with a small photograph of William Thomas Stead, autographed would be nice, in the far corner with a strong light on it.
As the Guests enter, keep up a running dialogue. Direct them to line up in front of the Marconi wall. Invite those who wish to sit on the floor. This will help get them settled quickly and keep anyone from waddling over to the ice wall. When all are seated:)
During one tour, two actors were in here improvising and breaking each other up. When they tried to start the presentation, they were still joking and giggling.
(Walk over to Marconi table)
You might think that inappropriate. So did the Marconi. Now there was no one near this table and there’s no way to control this key remotely. Yet, (start tapping wildly on the telegraph, as you shout to be heard over the noise) the performers found themselves drowned out by the tapping and beeping of the Marconi system. An actor ran over, put his hand on the key and… (stop tapping and lower your voice) Everything stopped.
He walked back across the room. and made a joke about the man in this picture, Marconi operator Harold Bride… (Start tapping again and raise your voice) It started again! Now everyone’s freaked. The actor considers the situation and announces, “Guess it’s time to get serious!” (stop tapping and lower your voice) The noise stopped, and no one laughed.
(Return to the front of the group, with the ice behind you.)
So much has been written and filmed about the iceberg and the lookouts and the watertight doors… What we have to imagine for ourselves is that moment before — When it was ‘just another transatlantic cruise’, and the people aboard were taking tomorrow for granted.
We are accustomed to miracles. Imagine man at the dawn of the machine age seeing a horseless carriage for the first time, rolling down a mud road at 5 miles an hour. He’s thinking the man driving has got to be suicidal. Now, without the intervening 100 years, show him today’s interstate highway system, with multiple lines of cars going 65 miles an hour at 2 second intervals! He’d demand to know, “How is this possible?!”
Of course the answer is time… and technology… and familiarity. These things breed a casual disrespect for the possible consequence of our actions. Which brings us back to Mr. Stead.
You’ll remember William Thomas Stead; he was the ‘remarkable gent’ who told the tale of The Curse of the Mummy. And you remember Morgan Robertson, the man who wrote a novel about the sinking 14 years before it happened. Well, he had nothing on William Stead.
In 1886, Mr. Stead wrote a piece for the Pall Mall Gazette, titled How the Mail Steamer Went Down in Mid-Atlantic, by a Survivor. It’s the story of one steamship that collides with another and the crew and passengers needlessly killed due to a lack of lifeboats. At the end of the piece, he wrote: ‘This is exactly what will take place if the liners are sent to the sea short of boats.’ That was 26 years before Titanic.
6 years after that, Mr. Stead wrote From The Old World To The New. This story starts as an account of a transatlantic cruise aboard the White Star steamship Majestic, under the command of Captain Edward John Smith. Things take a bizarre turn when a clairvoyant passenger senses the presence of two survivors from the wreck of the Ann and Jane, which had sunk after striking an iceberg days before. The passenger convinces Capt. Smith to alter course, and – sure enough –they find two survivors on an iceberg nearly frozen to death.
With all this running through his head for all those years, why did William Thomas Stead decide to get on this ship? I asked one of our actors that question. This is the way he put it on his tour as Mr. Stead:
(Referring to a piece of typewritten script.)
The fact is I’d been invited by your American president to speak at a peace conference to be held at Carnegie Hall in New York City. But as the date of my sailing approached, and I heard of the doubts and misgivings of friends and others in England regarding the safety of this new ship, I decided to travel alone, leaving my wife, my daughter, my work… my world.
But it wasn’t my world. Not anymore. I was born and thrived in the glory of the Victorian era. A time of human progress, when women, children and men of every class were cherished, elevated… Even those of different politics, races and faiths.
Then Victoria dies, and with her so much that I loved and lived for. The industrial age arrives with a bright certainty that the exploitation of technology… and our fellow man… can conquer distance and time and nature and God. Like I said, not my world.
If you need more proof, the ship’s first officer, Mr. Murdoch, in charge of loading the boats on the starboard side, carries a gun in his pocket to insure ‘orderly behavior’. And he’ll have to use it.
So I decided to sail alone.
I’d long suspected — hoped, actually — that, as my life was spent serving the ‘Senior Partner’, my passing would also serve His purpose; that I could make a point or teach an important lesson to those who would carry on after. I can think of no greater lesson than the value of human life and safety.
(Move toward the picture of Mr. Stead.)
Everyone join me along this wall. (quick pause till they start to move) As you follow me out onto the deck, trail your hand across the ice, and know that the water that night was 4 degrees colder than this.
(Definitely take control of the crowd in here. Move little people in front of the big people before starting. Array the Guests so you have space to play in the center and you can see every face clearly.)
In here, actors have heard phantom footsteps, even heard water hitting the deck, like someone wringing out a mop. A young man in an officer’s uniform appeared standing there (point suddenly at a specific spot where an impressionable Guest is standing; react naturally to their reaction)… there at the railing, then faded from sight.
It’s after 2:00 am on the promenade deck of Titanic. Several hundred feet in (point) that direction people cling to the stern for their lives. Hundreds of miles beyond that, a little girl named Lizzie clings to life, slowly dying of consumption in Kirkcudbright, Scotland. She has no relatives, no neighbors to speak of. With no one else available, Salvation Army Captain W. Rex Snowden is stationed at her bedside on what amounts to a deathwatch. Lizzie, tossing all night, drenched in sweat, suddenly asks him, “Can’t you see that big ship sinking in the water?” Snowden assures her it’s a bad dream, but she persists, “Look at all those people drowning. Someone called Wally is playing a fiddle and coming to you.” Finally the little girl calms, slips into a coma and dies.
Captain Snowden later said, “I heard the latch turn in the door and felt a presence enter the room. Some hours later, the whole world was startled by the tragedy of Titanic. Among those drowned was Wally Hartley, its’ bandmaster, whom I knew well as a boy. I had no knowledge of his going to sea or having anything to do with any ship.”
At an even greater distance… 23 years after Titanic… Seaman William Reeves is standing watch on a tramp steamer crossing with coal from Newcastle, England to Canada. He finds himself right here, in this patch of the North Atlantic, on a cold April night, no wind, no moon, nothing to see but stars.
Now, Mr. Reeves is not the panicky type. He’s been at sea almost continuously for the past 5 years, serving on so many ships that he’s long ago given up trying to remember the name of the ship he’s on at any given moment. Bundled up and doubled-over, trying to stay warm, Mr. Reeves turns toward a bulkhead and sees a life ring, like (point) this one, only this had the name of the ship on it: Titanian.
Mr. Reeves thinks of us. (Turning toward the view from the rail) He turns to admire the flat calm of the sea, just as it was on that morning in April, 1912 — and he recognizes the coincidence. And thoughts of coincidence bring to mind something his father had told him when he was a boy: that the date of young William’s birth, April 15th, 1912, was also the date Titanic sank.
He scans the horizon, sees nothing but a little mist. And it occurs to him that the lookouts aboard Titanic had seen this very same view minutes before they struck. Without another thought, Reeves turns toward the bridge and shouts, “Danger ahead!” The man at the helm cuts the engine and, as the Titanian drifts to a stop, there appears a large blue iceberg dead ahead, near invisible in that still water.
If they hadn’t stopped at that moment, they would’ve hit her sure. More amazingly, sunrise revealed the Titanian was surrounded by ice. They sat there for 9 days, waiting for an icebreaker to reach them from Newfoundland.
It’s time to discover YOUR fate. Follow me to our Memorial Wall, folks, and bring your tickets.
(Lead group out of Starry Night, past the Life Jacket and spread them out in front of the Memorial Wall.)
On these four panels you’ll find the name of every person on the ship that night, listed in alphabetical order by their last names. (pointing) First class, second class, third class and crew. That ticket you’re holding has one of these names on it. We’re going to take a break here for about ten minutes to give you a chance to find your name on the wall. If it’s up there in solid print (point at ‘SAVED’), you survived; if it’s in hollow print (point at ‘LOST’), you did not.
After you’ve done that, head around the corner into the artifact room, look around a bit and we’ll wrap things up (with more surprises) in 10 minutes.
(An easel displays well-lit photos of spirit orbs taken in this last area of the tour.
After most of the Guests have congregated in Underwater:)
In this room, you’ll find items recovered from the wreck and ocean floor. Over the years, we’ve played host to many different collections, and found that the level of spirit activity varies with each new exhibit.
One vacationing South Carolina psychic, looking at a recovered wall fixture from third class said she saw a young man with dark hair who had smashed his head into that fixture, preferring to die that way than to drown below decks. Next to a porcelain handle, she claimed to see the little girl whose hand was the last to touch it.
Other psychics describe meeting a ‘dark spirit’ in here. Female visitors have commented on a strange attraction to this trunk (indicate), found floating in the water in the days following the disaster. Actors hurrying on set suddenly feel the need to dodge an invisible presence. One has seen a man with sunken eyes and pale blue skin, both in here and through an outside window.
One sensitive young lady used to greet an autographed picture of William Thomas Stead every day with, “Good Morning, Mr. Stead.” One day, he returned her greeting, appearing to her in this room wearing a red vest and bow tie. He said only, “Good Morning,” and “Thank you.”
That same lady told me, “The ghosts love the actors.” (I hope they like the management.)
You’re welcome to come back through here in a few minutes, but right now I’m going to ask you to join me around the corner. As we pass through this next room please notice that man on the wall.
(Lead group out of underwater, indicating the portrait of Father Browne as you pass. Stop the group when they are arrayed throughout the Father Browne Gallery.)
Father Browne, a popular cleric and experienced photographer, is heading to America with the rest. On his second day out, he receives a Marconi message from his superior, the Bishop, ordering him to disembark at Queenstown and come home. Because he followed orders, we’ve got these. His photos… these photos of those two days… are the only record we have of life aboard Titanic.
All of us at Titanic are grateful to Orlando Hauntings for their help in researching and creating this tour. They present ‘The Original Ghost Tour of Historic Downtown Orlando’ every Saturday night, and invite everyone — believers and skeptics — to attend free meetings of the Central Florida Ghost Society, held on the last Monday of each month. Details are available in our gift shop. (Surprise, there’s a gift shop. Didn’t have to be psychic to see that coming… )
Beyond the doors at the top of this ramp (indicate), you will find that shop. Folks in there have seen a spectral woman in a long dark dress, figures floating in their peripheral vision, dark eyes peering out from a display case. Lights in there tend to pop and blink out. Merchandise falls off the shelves for no apparent reason.
Most of this activity is attributed to Catherine Johnston. Seven years old when she and her family were lost on Titanic, she’s a playful spirit, Catherine likes to make noise until her presence is acknowledged. Though she occasionally throws things around to startle us, we believe she’s happy, reunited with the dog she left behind when she sailed. We dedicate this tour to her memory.
Goodnight, Catherine… and to all of you, thanks for remembering. We hope your travels — and your lives — are safe and warm and happy.