The True Story Behind the Upcoming AMC Series ‘The Terror’ Will Chill You to the Bone

AMC’s new show is The Terror ,and it tells the true story of the British Royal Navy’s expedition going into uncharted territory in the Northwest Passage. The two ships, HMS Terror and HMS Erebus, ended up being abandoned in the Victoria Strait, and the crew met a tragic fate. Many of their remains weren’t found, despite search parties.

Although the wreck was in 1848, people are still asking to this day what exactly happened and where the crew went. There has been some evidence found giving some clues to the mystery. There have even been stories passed down for generations that led to some real answers.

It will be interesting to find out how the Ridley Scott-produced series will bring all of these things together to tell the story. But how have experts, authors, and more been approaching these questions in real life?

We decided to find out. Here are seven things to know about the true story that will chill you to the bone.

1. HMS Terror and HMS Erebus have been found, but there is no sign of Sir John Franklin

Sir John Franklin in 'Terror'.

What ever happened to him? | AMC

In September 2016, Parks Canada confirmed HMS Terror was found off the shores of Nunavut’s King William Island, according to CBC News. It was described to be in “pristine condition” with the cabins and gallery windows intact. The ship was examined through diving. It was also noticed that the hatches were closed and partitions were in place so there was a good possibility that things could have been preserved.

HMS Erebus was previously found in 2014. It was believed that  Sir John Franklin died on the ship, but he was not found.

There are all kinds of suggestions that he may have been buried on shore, perhaps buried at sea, or perhaps he is still on the ship somewhere,” explained Ryan Harris, a senior underwater archeologist with Parks Canada to CBC News. “Hopefully, archeological investigations will be able to identify the answer to that question in the years to come.”

Next: This creepy dead man myth is believed to be about HMS Erebus. 

2. An Inuit oral history about a smiling dead man is believed to be linked to HMS Erebus

An illustration of the Erebus.

Here’s what history tells us. | CambridgeBayWeather via Wikicommons

Some Inuit oral history includes a story of a large wooden ship sinking in the same area where HMS Erebus was eventually found, according to The Guardian.

The story also described a large dead man being found in a dark room of the ship with a smile on his face. That smile could be caused by scurvy, according to experts.

Next: A man believed he took a picture with a ship mast, which led to the discovery of HMS Terror.

3. HMS Terror was seen by a hunter in Terror Bay before the evidence went missing

Two ships seen close to each other in 'The Terror'.

A hunter once took a photograph of a mysterious mast. | AMC

An eerie encounter by Sammy Kogvik eventually led to the shipwreck discovery. He claimed he was on a lake with a fellow hunter when they saw a piece of wood sticking out of Terror Bay that looked like a ship mast. He took a picture with it, but the camera went missing so he kept this to himself thinking this meant a bad omen.

This story eventually got out, and it was used as a lead to find HMS Terror.

Next: How the ships are located is suspicious.

4. There are a lot of questions surrounding what happened to the crew

A group of men sitting inside a room in the ship.

A terrifying mystery | AMC

There were 129 men that went on the expedition, but not a lot of remains were found to figure out what actually came of them. Some believe they had a brutal death march out in the Arctic. Some believe that some had enough energy to try and sail home.

There have also been theories of scurvy and lead poisioning being causes of death among the crew. However, missing medical records can’t prove that and the remains that were found discourage the theory of their health leading to their death, according to the Independent.

Next: There is a theory that the wrecked ships were somehow moved.

5. There is a question of if HMS Terror has been moved

A man in a suit is elevated to the ship.

The sunken ship was found. But researchers still have questions. | AMC

HMS Terror was found 100 kilometers north of the other ship, which is odd. “The two ships are almost on the same line of longitude,” explained Russell Potter the author of Finding Franklin, The Untold Story of a 165-Year Search. “Wxactly north and south of one another, so that’s also something we’re just starting to soak in….”

Potter then added, “Two ships we thought might have been parted by some distance — yet they’re not that far apart, as it turns out.” There was a previous record of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror being trapped in ice in 1846, then left near the island in Victoria Strait two years later. So how it is now in Terror Bay is a big question.

“I guess the major takeaway of Terror being in Terror Bay is that, unless you believe in fairies, somebody must have gone back after the 1848 abandonment to get her there,” said Dave Woodman author of Unravelling the Franklin Mystery: Inuit Testimony.

Next: They also don’t know the timing of this strange occurrence.

6. There is also the question of when they were possibly moved

Two men standing on a ship.

Will we learn the answer? | AMC

Besides how, there is also a question of when the ships were moved. “We don’t have a clear chronology. We know where the ships are. We don’t know when they arrived where they did,” said Potter, according to CBC News.

Next: There is a theory that the crew wasn’t done with this ship.

7. There is a new theory that the crew reboarded HMS Erebus

Crew members on ice.

The series is based on the fascinating true story. | AMC

Given the location of HMS Erebus, there are new theories on what happened. “Given the location of the find [in Terror Bay] and the state of the wreck,” Jim Balsillie said, according to The Guardian. “It’s almost certain that HMS Terror was operationally closed down by the remaining crew who then re-boarded HMS Erebus and sailed south where they met their ultimate tragic fate.”

Follow Nicole Weaver on Twitter @nikkibernice.

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