Judge Approves Plan to Retrieve Titanic Telegraph, But What About Its Ghosts?

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A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that a salvage company specializing in artifacts from the Titanic can retrieve a telegraph machine that broadcasted calls from the ship as it sank. My question is: What about retrieving some of those ghosts?


The Guardian reports that the voyage is hotly contested by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They argue that the telegraph, thought to be in a deck house near the ship’s grand staircase, will likely be surrounded by “the mortal remains of more than 1,500 people.” Which is to say, this ship is extremely haunted, please leave it alone. But the judge ruled that the telegraph is historically important enough to retrieve, though the NOAA says it’s violating federal law.

The company wants to exhibit the telegraph with stories of the men who wrote out the distress calls to nearby ships. But I don’t think this will be a successful mission unless the salvage company offers something in return to the Titanic. If you want something from the Titanic, you should probably make peace which whatever is still occupying it.



In case there’s any confusion: there are no bodies visibly left on or around Titanic. There are suggestions via pairs of shoes or bits of leather clothing placed in a particular way, but no bones, skulls, flesh, etc. When they say “remains of 1500 bodies” they mean that it’s a graveyard absent of those bodies.

I have mixed feelings about the artifact hunters as they’ve pulled up many items and have displayed them in a for profit manner or they go into the private collections of the rich, never to be seen again. The people who care the most about Titanic want it left alone.

But what is the meaningful difference between archaeology and grave robbing? Is it simply time?