One of the most contentious aspects of the Franklin Expedition was the possible resort to cannibalism by members of this party. In Britain the evidence of cannibalism first appeared in the 1854 assertions of Dr. John Rae, based on Inuit testimony. Victorian sensibilities were offended by Rae's revelations, and no one was more offended than Lady Franklin, who refused to acknowledge even the possibility of such dire happenings during her husband's voyage. The famed novelist Charles Dickens weighed into the debate with a series of articles in his journal Household Words.

In the 1860s, Charles Francis Hall interviewed various Inuit informants, including two individuals whose observations supported Rae's allegations suggestive of cannibalism among Franklin's party. Representatives of the British Navy responded that if there was indeed evidence of cannibalism "the natives were probably the operators."

Another view of the mystery came in 1992 from archaeologist Anne Keenleyside and her team who examined about 400 bones of Franklin expedition members at a site on the western shores of King William Island that presumably corresponded to F.L. McClintock's "boat place."

Taking into account the full set of evidence, what is the solution to the mystery of whether the Franklin Expedition members were driven to cannibalism?

Sunken ship