The Real-Life Terror Behind THE TERROR

Sure, we all know the new AMC series THE TERROR, based on the novel by Dan Simmons, is based on actual historical events. The title of the show, and the novel before it, carries a clever double-meaning. The HMS TERROR was the name of one of the two ships that comprised the doomed Franklin Expedition, sent off in search of the fabled Northwest Passage in 1845. (The other was the HMS EREBUS.) It also refers to the monster that menaces the icebound sailors, the fiendish TUUNBAQ. But even without the monster, the real-life tale of the two ships is fascinating, and terrifying, enough in its own right.

When the TERROR and the EREBUS were located in 2016 and 2014, respectively, they were some considerable distance from the site where they were abandoned in 1848. (They were also underwater. Of the two, the TERROR is better preserved.) They were, however, still mysteriously close together. Freaky.

No one knows what happened to the 128 men who were onboard, other than that they died; this latter is a reasonably safe conclusion. Inuit legends say that a hunting party boarded the ships many years after the Franklin crew had departed, finding bodies still in their bunks. But the fates of those crewmen who were able to walk away from the ships will likely forever remain a mystery.

By The Evil Cheezman

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (,, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at


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