John Torrington Mummy
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) John Torrington
Age 20
Sex Male
Height 5 ft 4 in
Culture North American
Date(s) 1825 - 1 January 1846
Current Location
Location Beechey Island
Catalog #


John Torrington was part of Sir John Franklin's final expedition of the arctic. He had set sailed on the HMS Terror which had a fatal ending. There is no knowledge or recollection of who he was prior to death yet in fact, became famous after death. 138 years later, anthropologist Owen Beattie had led an expedition to exhume any bodies that were found on these grounds and was amazed to find Torrington's body perfectly preserved.


While searching the grounds, scientists came across a difficult situation since the ground was completely frozen. This became difficult to release the coffin from its grounds as it had been frozen to the ground. This slowed down the process but was then eventually able to open the coffin of Torrington.

Torrington was naturally mummified as his limbs were tied with linen strips. He was still dressed in a grey button up and his toes and hands were perfectly preserved and bound by cloth straps. Torrington's face was also covered with fabric. However, when uncovered, it was found that Torrington was starring back at the scientists with his eyes open.


The team of scientists and anthropologists determined that Torrington was 5ft 4inches and weighed 88 pounds.


A complete autopsy was performed on Torrington's body and it was noted that he had suffered from extreme malnutrition when heading towards his final days. Since Torrington's body was so thin and fragile, as well as the absence of calluses on his hands, had implied that he was ill prior to his death. Bone and tissue samples were taken and had confirmed that a fatal dose of lead was found in his system. This came to a conclusion that the entire crew of the HMS Terror had suffered from lead poisoning due to a result of a lack of canned food supply.

References Edit

  1. Ponic, J. (2016, June 10). John Torrington: The Frozen Mummy of the Franklin Expedition. Retrieved November 19, 2017, from