When Neil and Louise Bronner sank more than $55,000 into a two-bedroom property in the British town of Stoke-on-Trent, they knew the house had a unique connection to history: It was the boyhood home of Edward John Smith, the Titanic's captain who died with roughly 1,500 others when the ship struck an iceberg in 1912.
The couple rented the property for a decade and now they want to ship out. The Bonners are hoping to get the equivalent of $126,000 for it, but have the problem of scaring up a buyer who isn't spooked by the fact that Smith's spirit still haunts the place.
"We've heard of things going bump in the night from other tenants," Neill Bonner told the Daily Mail. "Some have said they felt a really cold chill passing over them -- as cold as an iceberg."
The house has suffered other coincidences similar to the disaster, albeit on a smaller scale, the owners said. About five years ago, a young couple flooded the kitchen.
"[The couple] stacked all the dishes in the sink after a party and they went away for the weekend but left the taps on," Bonner told the Daily Mail. "We had a phone call from them on the Monday morning sheepishly saying 'we've flooded the kitchen.' I definitely had that sinking feeling when they started to explain, but at least it is all water-tight now."
Louise Bonner, 60, says the 100th anniversary this week of the tragic voyage has increased awareness of the house. But they haven't been flooded with offers.
"Since it went on the market it’s already triggered some interest," she told the Express and Star. "One of those has included someone on the phone from a Titanic museum in Germany.”
Smith is believed to have lived in the house with his parents for more than 10 years before heading off to sea when he was 13.
By age 25, he was qualified to captain a ship and had a successful naval career before making the Titanic voyage at the age of 62.
"It's hard to understand what motivated him to go to sea," Louise Bonner told the website This Is Staffordshire. "He came from a typical working class potteries family and he went on to achieve so much.
"His name is known across the world and the interest in the Titanic is never ending," she went on. "Many people ask whether Captain Smith was to blame for the disaster, but a lot of things conspired against that ship. He wasn't at the helm at the time and the ship had been badly designed without the proper buoyancy because they wanted to make more space for first class passengers."
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