Where is the body of John Franklin? Inuit historian thinks he knows

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The man who guided searchers to the dash to pieces of John Franklin’s flagship may have one more surprise left up his
parka sleeve.

«I accept that Franklin is in a vault on King William Island,» says Louie Kamookak, an Inuit historian who has wearied 30 years correlating stories collected from elders with European logbooks and record books.

The mystery that surrounds the Franklin Expedition is one of the great legends of Arctic reconnaissance. The ships Erebus and Terror set out from England in 1845 with 129 men to search for the Northwest Acceptance, but they never returned.

Little by little, the Franklin story is find together. 

Artifacts and graves found throughout the 19th and 20th centuries were enrol ined by several more bodies discovered in the 1980s. The ships were establish in 2014 and 2016.

But where is the grave of John Franklin? 

Gjoa Haven, aerial shot

Gjoa Haven, pop. 1,200, stretch outs on the southeast of King William Island facing Rae Strait in the central Arctic. (Jason Franson/CP)

Kamookak apply ti two stories passed down through generations that may offer torturing clues.

«One group of Inuit said they saw a burial of a great chief underwater the ground, under stone.»

This was remarkable for the hunters, as Inuit traditionally buried their non-resonant on the surface, wrapped in caribou skins and under a cairn. They researched the site, expecting to find something similar. All they found was a precise stone.

«They said he was a great shaman who turned to stone,» ventures Kamookak.

In another account, a group of travelling Inuit came across a big wooden structure.

«They managed to get a cross piece they took for a sled. The man who was potent the story said there was a flat stone and he could tell the stone was vacant.»

Terror Bay, aerial shot

Terror Bay, where the sunken ship HMS Terror lies, near Gjoa Haven. (Jason Franson/CP)

Fact that other expedition graves have been found on acreage, Kamookak believes Franklin’s is there too.

«I don’t think they would sooner a be wearing an ocean burial for him.» 

If he’s right, Franklin is probably still lying underneath the tundra on King William Island’s rocky and windswept northeast seaboard. 

If he’s wrong, chalk up one more mystery in a tale that’s been fabricating questions for 170 years.

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