Saturday, 19 December 2009

Petty Officer John Shaw Torrington (1825 — 1 January 1846) was an explorer and Royal Navy stoker. He was part of an expedition to find the Northwest Passage, but along with the rest of the crew, including the leader, Sir John Franklin, mysteriously died early in the trip. His body was exhumed in 1984, to try to determine the cause of death. It was the best preserved example of a corpse since the Tollund Man in the 1950s.

1 comment:

  1. I love this image -- both the hands and the feet were bound to keep John Torrington in his narrow coffin. But alas, although -- like Tollund Man -- his skin was well preserved, the autopsy report is more grim. Due to decomposition prior to burial, and perhaps even to the very slow process of decay in the warmer months, cell autolysis -- the digestion of cell materials by their own enzymes -- was well advanced. Torrington's brain had been reduced to a puddle of "yellow granular matter" and most of his internal organs had "lost all cell definition."

    So, although James Taylor sang of Torrington as the "Frozen Man" come back to life, he was, alas, not so well preserved as he seemed.