On April 15, 1912, the R.M.S. Titanic had its infamous mid-ocean encounter with a large iceberg — more than 1,500 people died as the "unsinkable" ship went down, and the modern fascination with epic disasters was born, says Seth Borenstein at the Associated Press. So naturally, the approaching 100th anniversary of the sinking has "magnified" the fascination. Here, seven ways the historically (or morbidly) inclined plan to celebrate the centennial of the Titanic's doomed maiden voyage:
1. Dining like doomed upper-crust passengers
Several restaurants nationwide are offering multicourse dinners based on menus from the Titanic's first-class dining room. At the Houston eatery Cullen's, for example, you can enjoy a four-hour, 10-course Titanic Experience dinner in a special room attached to the restaurant's ceiling. Enjoying the last supper of the ship's doomed 1 percenters isn't cheap — $12,000 for you and 11 of your closest friends — but it does include a historically accurate taste of Armagnac brandy from the year 1900. What's missing, says Doug Barry at Jezebel, is "a bucket of extra cold glacial water with which to douse diners in between their eighth and ninth courses, just to remind them how macabre a Titanic-themed dinner is."
2. Releasing a celestially accurate, 3-D cut of Titanic, the movie
Director James Cameron is marking the disaster by re-releasing his 1998 blockbuster film in 3-D — with one minor contextual change. After years of chiding from astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cameron modified the night sky that appears above the sinking ship to accurately reflect where the stars were at 4:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912. What bothered Tyson, he says, is that Cameron claimed the film was scientifically accurate, but the star placement was wrong and "lazy!" Bravo, but it would've been nice if Tyson had petitioned to have Celine Dion's "overplayed" song "My Heart Will Go On" removed from the movie, says Andrew Liszewiski at Gizmodo. "You dropped the ball on that one, Dr. Tyson."
3. Drinking Titanic-themed cocktails
In 1912, Manhattan's Jane Hotel opened its doors to surviving Titanic crew members to receive clothing and care. Until April 18, you can stop by the hotel's ballroom for two Titanic-themed cocktails, the bourbon-based "Unsinkable Molly Brown" (named after an American human-rights activist who survived the voyage) and the champagne-centered "ST-705," for the ship's 705 surviving passengers. Another hotel, the St. Regis Atlanta, is breaking out 100 bottles of Heidsieck champagne — the label served on the Titanic — in honor of the St. Regis' founder, John Jacob Astor IV, who died on the ship.
4. Reliving the terror via Twitter
On March 10, the History Press started tweeting about events aboard the ship as they unfolded in real-time 100 years ago. So far, the @TitanicRealTime account has graced Twitter with mundane details about the Titanic — example: "#crew I can't believe the length of A Deck, the Promenade Deck — 546ft from one end to the other. Incredible." However, once the ship "sets sail" on April 10, "expect action-filled tweets leading up the Titanic's infamous encounter with an iceberg," says Jeremy Cabalona at Mashable.
5. Retracing the Titanic's route at sea
If reading about the disaster in 140-character blasts isn't enough, British travel agency Miles Morgan Travel is offering two Titanic Memorial Cruises, one eight-day voyage that leaves from New York City on April 10 and a 12-night cruise that leaves Southampton, England — the Titanic's departure point — on April 8. The Southampton cruise ship will trace the Titanic's route (hopefully with a happier ending), and both ships will converge on the place where the Titanic went down, to hold a memorial service at 2:20 a.m. on April 15.
6. Auctioning off high-priced Titanic memorabilia and artifacts
Guernsey's auction house in New York City is selling a bundle of 5,500 artifacts from the Titanic on April 11. By court order, the winner will have to maintain and display the goods to the public. No such restrictions apply to a whole bunch of other Titanic memorabilia being auctioned off worldwide, including a $200 million bracelet with the name Amy spelled out in diamonds, a Titanic life jacket for $119,000, and a $150,000 lunch menu from the day before the wreck.
7. Holding Titanic séances
In Indianapolis, radio hosts Rachel E. Weinrich and Gregg Cable are doing a special live version of their BangaRang show on April 14, including a special centennial séance to commune with those who died when the Titanic sank. Others will try to channel spirits from salvaged Titanic items that are displayed at traveling exhibits. "There is a lot of energy and some spirits attached to the artifacts," says Nellie Kampmann at the Paranormal Research Society.