James Cameron was poisoned on the set of Titanic: this crime has never been solved

James Cameron was poisoned on the set of Titanic: this crime has never been solved
James Cameron was poisoned on the set of Titanic: this crime has never been solved

Culture news James Cameron was poisoned on the set of Titanic: this crime has never been solved

Published on 05/18/2024 at 10:30

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This is one of the most astonishing mysteries of Titanic: on the set of the film, more than 80 people, including James Cameron, were drugged without their knowledge and ended up in hospital. Almost thirty years later, this crime remains unsolved, but there could soon be a turning point.

If Titanic has now entered the annals, it is because it has long held the record for the greatest success in the history of cinema at the global box office with more than 2.2 billion dollars generated across the world. Finally, James Cameron, its director, subsequently dethroned himself with Avatar in 2009 and its 2.9 billion dollars as well as its sequel Avatar: The Way of Water and its 2.3 billion. But beyond these qualities in terms of entertainment, what makes Titanic so fascinating today is also a fairly astonishing story.

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A shoot that goes wrong!

To put things in context, we have to go back to 1996, while Titanic was being filmed in Nova Scotia. One day, as production progresses, 80 people including James Cameron and Bill Paxton, who plays Brock Lovett in the “contemporary” part of the film, end up in hospital because of their strange behavior. For example, we can note that the director started shouting “There’s something inside me, take it out!” while the rest of the team started to do the caterpillar (yes, yes the dance) around him.

To understand this completely crazy attitude, the hospital services start doing tests and realize that all these people have PCP in their blood. This is phencyclidine, a type of synthetic drug originally used as an anesthetic in the 1950s before being discontinued due to the problems it caused… including patient agitation. These are exactly the syndromes we find here, but it is surprising to see it on such a scale. So, what happened ?

Who drugged James Cameron and Bill Paxton?

For the Halifax police, the answer is simple: the food in the canteen where his 80 people ate was poisoned with PCP. Except that in 1999, the file was closed without knowing who could be the culprit behind it all. In the short ten-page police report, there are passages of testimony that have been censored, so that we still do not know the whole truth at this time.

At the time, all eyes were on the head of the catering company, except that the latter blamed everything on the cinema world by saying that they were the ones who brought back this “psychedelic shit”. For James Cameron, it might have been someone who wanted to get the deli in trouble because the director rejects all responsibility:

Of course, the basic theory was that I was such a psychopath that the perpetrator was trying to get revenge on me, but I reject that theory out of hand for obvious reasons.

In any case, it is possible that we will soon have the end to this story. Recently, Tricia Ralph, Halifax’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, has called on police to make official any information they have about the incident. If law enforcement agrees, then one of cinema’s biggest mysteries could be revealed by mid-May!

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