025 | Mourning
Our world is full of the unexplainable, and if history is an open book, all of these amazing tales right there on display just waiting for us to explore. Welcome. The cabinet of curiosities. Few rulers stick out from the pages of history, like Queen Victoria. She was almost larger than life so much so that the time period she lived in took on her own name, the Victorian era and what time it was during her sixty two year reign. The world changed dramatically. The British empire expanded around the globe and the modern constitutional monarchy. As we know it today took shape and matured the world saw the first powered flights, the invention of the telephone and went from paintings and horsedrawn carriages to photography and automobiles. Queen Victoria impacted Europe in a very particular way to she and Prince. Albert had nine children and between them were forty, two grandchildren, and that family tree spread wide today. Five European countries have monarchs that are descended from Victoria, including Queen Elizabeth. The second clearly, she left her Mark on the world. Victoria and Albert's were a beloved couple, and it was hard to blame the public for that Prince. Albert was a man that leaned toward the progressive side of the political scale. He helped influence reforms in the areas of welfare, slavery and education along with the ever expanding world of manufacturing. And of course, what Royal family would be complete without multiple palatial homes to live in. There was Kensington of course, and everyone knows Buckingham Palace, but an eighteen fifty one. The Queen added one more house to that list down on the northern tip of the isle of white, the called it, the Osborne house, and it served as a summer home. But some are turned to winter eighteen sixty two at the age of just forty two Prince Albert died, leaving Victoria all alone. What happened over the next four decades has sometimes been described as the birth of a culture of death. She wore the black of mourning for the rest of her life and made sure that the servants never stop taking care of Albert's daily needs. Even though he was no longer alive or even in the house. Win her children, eventually married each of them posed for wedding photographs that included a bust of Albert's. She never slept in a bed that didn't have a photo of him beside it and kept the plaster cast of his hand so that she could hold it. In fact, when she passed away in nineteen. Oh one that hand was placed inside her coffin. It's fair to say that Albert's death altered her completely and not in a healthy way. The most interesting of session of her later years though, was not discovered until after her death when Osborne house fell into the hands of her son and heir King Edward, the seventh, he explored the areas of the house that had been off limits to anyone other than his mother and they're behind locked doors. You found an unusual display. Hundreds of photographs that cover generations of people. Victoria had known portrait's of people who had been important to her right there in the house where she can visit whenever she wanted despite the fact that these photographs spent decades and each one show the face of different friend or family member. There was one common feature tying them altogether. None of the subjects where alive Queen Victoria's Secret gallery was a morbid tour of the most haunting and final moments of each person's life. Their funeral. This episode was made possible by audible, what I'm not busy writing. I'm reading and I do all of my reading through the power of audio road tripping running yard work. All of it is a perfect companion to a great audiobook. And that's why I've been an audible member for the past decade. Audible contents includes an unmatched selection of audiobooks. Original audio shows news comedy and more from the leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters entertainers and newspaper publishers, and it's not a rental service. You own the books you buy and can listen to them on all your devices. Membership includes one monthly credit, exclusive sales and thirty percent off all regularly priced audiobooks. Each credit is good for any audio book in the store, regardless of its price and credits roll over if you get busy in forget to use them. And if you don't like an audio book, you can swap out for a new one. No questions asked start your new membership with one of my own bizarre historical books. The second book in my World War series called wicked. Bortles is available right now on audible, and audible is offering listeners a free audiobook with thirty day trial membership. Just go to audible dot com. Slash curiosities and browse the unmatched selection of audiobook programs, download a title for free and Ben start listening. It's that easy, audible dot com. Slash curiosities or text the word curiosities to five hundred five hundred to get started today. That's audible dot com. Slash curiosities. Transatlantic ocean liners have been around since the early nineteenth century back in those days, they were powered by steam. It was the steamship s s savannah that made the first powered Atlantic crossing in eighteen nineteen reaching Liverpool in just twenty seven days trouble was they only use the steam engine Ford about seventy two hours managing the majority of crossing with their sales in eighteen thirty three, the Royal Edward us deem power for seventy five percent of their crossing. But it wasn't until four years later when the SS serious tried to top the record, they made the crossing in just eighteen days which was amazing. But the used up all of their coal in the process. In fact, they ran out before they reached New York and had to break up wood and furniture to burn to keep the engine running. All of these were relatively small ships. They carry passengers just not. A lot of them. But as the decades ticked by everything, advanced, the engines, the passenger capacity, even the communication technology by the eighteen seventies companies like the white star line were building, massive ocean liners. That's about the time when crossing the ocean became a luxury trip to those first white star liners were decked out with first class cabins running water, electricity, you name it. And yet while there was a lot of promise and hope for these growing palaces of the waves, there was also a lot of risk. Oceans were unpredictable and temperamental after all a lot could go wrong. Somewhere along the way they built the big one. I'm going to give you some numbers so you can put it into perspective. This ship was eight hundred feet long and had a displacement of forty, five thousand tonnes. Those who bragged about her said that she was unsuitable and I get the hint behind a claim like that. It's meant to give future passengers ease of mind, but it certainly smacks of hubris doesn't it? I mean, no ship is truly unsinkable. Maybe because of oversight or perhaps because of that grand claim of unsinkable nece builders didn't outfit the ship with enough light boats, and that's the sort of thing you do if you want to tempt fate, isn't it? So it's going to come as no surprise when I inform you that this unsinkable ship didn't survive her maiden voyage on a cold April night about four hundred miles off the coast of Newfoundland. The ship was cruising through the dark. It lands it waters at about twenty five knots when it struck an iceberg, the massive block of ice tore a hole in the side of the ship, and then the unthinkable happened to the unsinkable. It sank. The loss of life was devastating, perhaps made even more painful in light of that prideful claim about the ship safety. That wasn't the most surprising thing about this nautical tragedy. No, that mantle falls to one other piece of information that will pardon the pun sink, your expectations. You see, this event never happened in real life. That is because this ocean liner was nothing more than the setting for novella written by an American author named Morgan Robertson, which probably fooled. You didn't it because you assuming I was talking about the Titanic this entire time, you know the unsinkable ocean liner that struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sunk to the bottom of the ocean in April of nineteen twelve. Nope, knife old you with a bit of fiction, but there's more and it's less funny than it is bizarre because you need to know to other things about Robertson's. Fictional ocean liner. I it was named the titan crazy right second though. And most amazingly of all his story was published in eighteen ninety eight fourteen years before the tragedy of the real ship called the Titanic. I know it's cliche, but every now and then even the worst cliche proves itself. True. Sometimes life really does imitate art. I hope you've enjoyed today's guided tour of the cabinet of curiosities, subscribe for free on apple podcasts or learn more about the show by visiting curiosities podcast dot com. The show was created by me, Aaron, minke, and partnership with how stuff works. I make another award-winning show called Lor, which is podcast book series and television show, and you can learn all about it over at the world of Lor dot com. And until next time stay curious.