The Terror

In 1812, a 300 ton bombing vessel constructed by the Royal English Navy set off for war service against the United States. It was involved in numerous attacks against the yanks, one of which being the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814. An attack which inspired one Francis Scott Key to write a particularly notable little ditty called the Star Spangled Banner

The ship featured in service in various battles for the next few years. In 1845, The Terror set out on a voyage to the Arctic. The captain and crew aimed to venture into the Northwest Passage, an area that had been vaguely charted but never visited prior.

In wintry August 1845, The Terror and an accompanying ship, The Erebus, were last seen entering Baffin Bay, and then mysteriously disappeared. A series of expeditions were conducted up until 1866, when the twenty-year old corpses of the crew were found nearby. Autopsies of the crew members revealed that their canned rations may have been tainted by lead, and also that some crew members may have resorted to cannibalism in their final days.

To this day, the remains of The Terror and The Erebus have not been found.

Author Dan Simmons blends this mystery with the unworldly in his 2007 Historical Fiction novel, The Terror.

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