Bringing the Titanic back to life was the Worth Public Library on April 15 with a program called, The Haunted Titanic, with local historian Bob Trzeciak. (Photo by Kelly White)

Bringing the Titanic back to life was the Worth Public Library on April 15 with a program called, The Haunted Titanic, with local historian Bob Trzeciak. (Photo by Kelly White)

Titanic memories haunt Worth Library

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By Kelly White

This year marks the 112th anniversary of the Titanic’s fateful ship crossing.

Bringing the ship back to life was the Worth Public Library on April 15 with a program called, The Haunted Titanic, with local historian Bob Trzeciak, who walked patrons through the history, the lasting impact, and why it has remained a fascination for all of those 112 years.

The event was free and open to the public at the library, 6917 W. 111th St.

“It’s hard to nail my favorite part about the Titanic to just one thing but the fact that what could go wrong did,” Trzeciak, of Alsip and Paranormal Radio Activity, said. “Very unfortunate circumstances.”

Trzeciak was introduced to paranormal findings by brother, Ray Trzeciak, who while attending college at Governors State University, introduced Trzeciak to parapsychology, the study of mental phenomena that are excluded from conventional scientific psychology. He showed Trzeciak parapsychology textbooks and information on findings.

Trzeciak went on to trade school after graduating from Moraine Valley in the 1970s, but his love for the paranormal never died. He continued to study the supernatural in his free time and would visit cemeteries, find records at local libraries, visit police stations and talk to eye witnesses who claimed to have had paranormal experiences.

He said the Titanic is particularly haunted and his interest in the vessel sparked in childhood.

“When I was a kid, the old movie I watched called, ‘A Night to Remember’ and the book by the same name captivated me and left me wanting to know and to understand more,” Trzeciak said.

The RMS Titanic was a British passenger and mail carrying ocean liner, operated by the White Star Line, that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912, as a result of striking an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City.

Of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, about 1,500 died, making it the deadliest sinking of a single ship up to that time.

“Some of the Titanic’s hauntings are fact and some are fiction,” Trzeciak said.

Trzeciak discussed how the Titanic was equipped with 16 lifeboat davits, each capable of lowering three lifeboats, for a total of 48 boats. Despite this capacity of 48, the ship was only equipped with a total of 20 lifeboats. Fourteen were regular lifeboats, two were cutter lifeboats, and four were collapsible and proved difficult to launch while she was sinking. Together, the 20 lifeboats could hold 1,178 people—about half the number of passengers on board, and one-third of the number of passengers the ship could have carried at full capacity.

Only 333 bodies of Titanic victims were recovered, which amounted to one in five of the over 1,500 victims. Some bodies sank with the ship while currents quickly dispersed bodies and wreckage across hundreds of miles, making them difficult to recover.

About two-thirds of the bodies were identified. Unidentified victims were buried with simple numbers based on the order in which their bodies were discovered.

A possible reason that so few of the bodies were found could be because one of the last search ships reported that life jackets supporting bodies were coming apart and releasing bodies to sink, Trzeciak said.

A common trend Trzeciak found was a high suicide rate among survivors.

“I think if you did survive something like this, it would haunt you for the rest of your life,” Trzeciak said.

The disaster drew public attention, spurred major changes in nautical safety regulations, and inspired many artistic works.

“Everyone seems fascinated by the unsinkable ship that sunk,” Audrey Dambek, Programming Coordinator at the Worth Public Library, said. “All those souls lost at sea. I think we feel for all the people that were on the ship. No matter what class they were on the ship, once in the lifeboat, everyone was equal.”

Dambek was responsible for organizing Trzeciak’s presentation at the library.

“There are so many stories about the passengers on the night the ship sank,” Dambek said. “Some of the stories of those who survived and went on to live a normal life and the others who perished and should be remembered.”

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