A look back at DEATH IN THE ICE: THE MYSTERY OF THE FRANKLIN EXPEDITION
If, last year, you watched the first season of AMC’s The Terror, then you have an idea of what this post is about: an exhibit about the mysterious fate of 1845’s vanished Franklin Expedition, the most infamous of Britain’s attempts to find the Northwest Passage.
For those of you who don’t know, the NP was a fabled shortcut from Europe to Asia—something, if found, that would’ve saved time and money, as the current trade routes took months (and, initially, in the fifteenth century, the over-land routes were controlled by the Ottoman Empire).
There were several attempts to find the NP, and ultimately, it wasn’t navigated until 1906. While the passage had been found, the fact that the Franklin Expedition—which consisted of 129 men on The Terror and The Erebus—haunted generations of researchers and explorers.
In 2014 and 2016, Parks Canada discovered The Erebus and The Terror, respectively—and it was the body of Inuit traditional knowledge, which had been passed down for decades, that defined the search area and eventually resulted in success.
Although researchers have a much better picture of how the tragedy unfolded, the solving of the mystery—of what actually happened during those frightening and arduous three years—is still underway. Now that the wrecks have been found, there is even more evidence to be studied (prior to this groundbreaking discovery, there had been some artifacts and three graves discovered on Beechey Island).
In the meantime, however, some of the artifacts have been curated and can be seen in various museums and collections. Recently, the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut hosted DEATH IN THE ICE: THE MYSTERY OF THE FRANKLIN EXPEDITION.
I was fortunate enough to visit (since scary sea mysteries have long been a part of my childhood thanks to my dad, this was a MUST SEE no matter what I had to do to get there). The exhibit was open this past winter.
I’ve included some resources for further reading on the Franklin Expedition. If you are a big reader, there are many well-written books on the subject. I’ve listed one here I read that I liked, but don’t be shy about searching through the list of titles online for more.
Parks Canada: The Franklin Expedition https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/culture/franklin
National Geographic: “How the Discovery of Two Lost Ships Solved an Arctic Mystery,” by Simon Worrall, April 16, 2017
Horror Fuel: “All That’s Left: The Only Remains of the Franklin’s Lost Expedition,” by Daniel S. Liuzzi, January 21, 2018 http://horrorfuel.com/2018/01/21/thats-left-remains-franklins-lost-expedition/
Amusing Planet: “Beechey Island and Franklin’s Lost Expedition,” by Kaushik https://www.amusingplanet.com/2018/04/beechey-island-and-franklins-lost.html
Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition, by Paul Watson https://www.amazon.com/dp/0393249387/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_Hq4cDbEPYKTB4
Death in the Ice: The Mystery of the Franklin Expedition (Souvenir Catalogue series), by Karen Ryan
This is a catalogue of the artifacts in the Death in the Ice exhibit, which was at the Anchorage museum before arriving at Mystic. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0660078813/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_da5cDbB8GYF8T
Buried in Ice: The Franklin Expedition (1988) https://youtu.be/41ajloClO7U
Timeline: The Search for the Northwest Passage https://youtu.be/M1I79u5Y9n4
Revealed: Franklin’s Lost Expedition (2005) https://youtu.be/Wg9Z3EyJ5DU
Secret History: The Hunt for the Arctic Ghost Ship (2015) https://youtu.be/CAQusg8U4EQ
I’ll answer this question before it’s asked: AMC’s The Terror is based on Dan Simmons’ novel of the same name, which I found disappointing on a number of levels. I recommend spending ten hours on the series instead.
AMC’s The Terror
On Demand on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B07BDQK1VV/ref=cm_sw_em_r_pv_wb_9oh0UgMilOViM
Posted on July 7, 2019, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff and tagged a history of THE TERROR in Connecticut, AMC’s THE TERROR, books about the Franklin Expedition, Ice Ghosts, Mystic Seaport, seaport museums, the bell from the Erebus, THE EREBUS, the Franklin Expedition, THE TERROR, were there any artifacts pulled up from THE TERROR or THE EREBUS. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.