Ghost of A Titanic Construction Worker?

Richyboyo

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#1
I read a letter in the August 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine referring to an article in the April edition of the same magazine (which I haven`t yet seen) which stated that in the April issue there was a photo of several workers building the Titanic standing in a line (this would be in Belfast),one of which worker`s body was apparently translucent,the features in the particular factory being partly visible through his body!Not having seen the photo I cannot comment further,but has anyone seen this photo?The editor of the National Geographic replied that the semi-transparent body image was due to printing issues in whatever newspaper had published the image presumably in 1912. Does anyone have any further info?Sorry to be so vague.
 

DrPaulLee

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#2

Frideswide

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#3
Interesting idea, to scratch someone out for that reason.

I can't agree with the National Geographic Editor that it was down to a printing problem.

Neat find @Richyboyo !
 

DrPaulLee

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#6
I don't know. I've been scratching my head to see if I can think of any others. Some other Titanic people say it was commonplace but I doubt this. If it has been done, for instance in family portraits, its been done very subtly and artfully, and not messily scratched out.
 

EnolaGaia

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#7
I don't think anything's been scratched out, and it's nothing more than a simulacrum. More specifically, it appears to me to be an area of rough metal similar to the surface texture seen elsewhere in the same photo (e.g., look at the rudder).

This photo was taken relatively early in the ship's assembly, when the hull was still un-prepped and unpainted. This raw (or perhaps merely primered) state of the metal is consistent with there being much left to do in this area of the hull.

The outboard propeller shaft isn't even in its final position, and its enclosing streamlined shroud (nacelle, whatever ... ) has yet to be constructed or installed.

Here's a photo (from the port side) illustrating the eventual final configuration and appearance of that area following final assembly and surface treatment / painting.

rq2Akve.jpg
 

PeteS

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#10
Have to say I'm not wholly sure on this one. The texture is not the same as on the rudder if it is a section of rough casting on the plates. The section under the prop shaft looks remarkably like the shape of the legs of the chap standing on the left (as you look at the image). There seems to be no other similar rough casting on the other hull plates in the photo and the image to me seems to be standing proud of the hull. Think I'm more inclined to believe that someone tried to remove the chap from the photo. Don't think there is any mystery though.
 

EnolaGaia

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#11
My spider sense has been vaguely tingling since I first saw this thread, and I now know why ...

The photo alluded to by Richyboyo in post #1 isn't the same photo DrPaulLee linked to in post #2.

Here is the photo that appeared in the April 2012 National Geographic issue, which more obviously fits Richyboyo's description from memory. I found it on Reddit.

m9qblhpd2ll21.jpg
 

DrPaulLee

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#13
One little problem - those two photos posted above aren't the Titanic. They're her sister, the Olympic. The photo I linked to is the only one that we know of showing the rear portion of the Titanic ie the stern frame showing the wing screw assembly) prior to the discovery of the wreck.
 

EnolaGaia

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#14
Now back to the photo DrPaulLee referenced.

The photo at the link seemed to have been tweaked - specifically, the contrast seemed 'way too high for a glass plate photo nice enough to have been from a museum archive. As a result, I went searching for the most 'original' (online; digital) version of the photo I could find.

The (most) 'original' online specimen is the version of this photo from the National Museum Northern Ireland's own website - the full-sized digital copy in their Harland Wolff collection:

http://live-nmni-bespoke.cloud.contensis.com/ciim-media/892/568/media_892568.jpg
 

EnolaGaia

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#16
One little problem - those two photos posted above aren't the Titanic. They're her sister, the Olympic. The photo I linked to is the only one that we know of showing the Titanic and it's screw(s) prior to the discovery of the wreck.
Just so we're clear about this ... Are you saying the photo that appeared in the April 2012 magazine (cf. post #11) is of the Olympic rather than the Titanic?

There are multiple photos of the Titanic's propellers during and after construction in the Harland and Wolff Collection set at the NMNI site.

The photo to which you linked is Catalogue Number HOYFM.HW.H1557 at NMNI, and its description is as follows:

Photograph, Harland and Wolff glass plate negative. subject : Fitting starboard tail shaft prior to launch. Ship No: 401. Name: Titanic. Type: Passenger Ship. Tonnage: 46328. Launch; 31 May 1911. Delivery: 2 April 1912. Owner: Oceanic Steam Navigation Company (White Star Line)
 

EnolaGaia

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#19
And that looks even more like someone has been scratched out.
You're right ... The more / most 'original' digital photo far more clearly portrays a full human figure that's been obscured / removed from the final edition of the photo. Furthermore, it shows that the figure is / was in front of the propeller shaft - something that's not discernible in the high-contrast version to which you linked.

(And because of this I retract my plate roughness / simulacrum guess.)

However ... This figure isn't 'scratched out' - it's been blurred by daubing in the darkroom or afterward - probably by a liquid solvent on a swab or brush. If you look closely you can make out the sinuous patterns of strokes associated with the action. Scratching leaves much more ragged / jagged remnants.

If you look above and to the right of the rightmost man you'll see a set of smears or abrasions that extend across both hull plates behind and shaft bearing in the foreground. I strongly suspect these are abrasions caused by the arm of whoever was daubing the mystery figure out of the scene.

This 'most original' version also shows that the missing figure's left hand and lowermost pants legs and shoes don't seem to have been touched / daubed at all. On the other hand, they're much less clearly defined and less contrast-y than other visible elements - suggesting they could be remnants of a possibly inadvertent double exposure.

It would be an odd ghost whose fuzzy versus more 'solid' aspects were strictly delimited by, or correlated with the borders of, surrounding objects.

Another odd bit is that there seems to be a pretty clearly demarcated vertical line serving as the boundary of the daubed / still-visible area beneath the shaft. It's enough to make me wonder whether part of the modification to this photo involved overlaying or inserting a piece from another shot of the same posed scene (e.g., one in which an additional worker had been added or one of the visible ones had been posed in a difference place).

The mystery figure is taller than the one man standing in front of the shaft to the left, so I don't think it represents a second exposure of him in a similar pose at a different position. The figure's height is, however, a close match to the rightmost guy standing behind the shaft.

It seems to me there's plenty of reason to believe this photo was significantly manipulated in the darkroom.
 
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Richyboyo

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#20
Thanks all for your replies ,I think on balance I can`t report this as a genuine ghost story in the next edition of my magazine about anomalies called `Flying Snake`
 

Naughty_Felid

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#21
Thanks all for your replies ,I think on balance I can`t report this as a genuine ghost story in the next edition of my magazine about anomalies called `Flying Snake`
Cool - I'll review your magazine in my hosiery and reptile based magazine called "Trouser Snake".

Seriously so where do we get your magazine Richy?
 

Richyboyo

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#22
I can send you a copy of issue no 14 the current number in about 2 weeks as I am currently getting some copies printed at the printer,if you send me your address to [email protected] and send £3.99 to that same account email on pay pal,i`ll pop one in the post for you,all back numbers also available. The web site Cosmic Polymath also has more info,see here https://www.cosmicpolymath.com/blog
 
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