33 Years After A Mission To The North Pole Failed, A Long-lost Journal Revealed The Explorers’ Fate

Trudging across an uninhabited island in the Arctic Circle, a couple of seal hunters make a macabre discovery: the remains of three people. Alongside them lay the deceased’s sparse belongings and the remnants of a camp. It didn’t take the hunters long to realize that they had found a long-lost team of explorers.

Believe it or not, as late as the 1890s, the center of the Arctic was somewhere that, despite numerous attempts, no one had ever reached. Back then, many an adventurer wanted to be the first to stand at the top of the world. Attempts to successfully navigate to the North Pole, though, had generally been taken by dog-pulled sled or through icy waters on a boat. And every single one failed.

Many expeditions failed due to the area’s crushing ice floes or came undone in berg-filled seas. Some were stuck on the ice for many months they were rescued; some never made it back. Searching for the North Pole, then, was a dangerous business.

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These repeated failures posed an intriguing dilemma for the curious. If the sea is impassable and the ice too unpredictable, how best to get to the Pole? Step forward Salomon August Andrée. A Swedish engineer, Andrée felt that he’d hit upon the perfect solution…

Born in 1854 Andrée originally came from the town of Grenna in Sweden. Reportedly an intelligent child, he went on to study at the country’s Royal Institute of Technology. Eventually, he would work for the Patent Office’s Technical Department as an engineer. But, at some point, possibly after a trip to America, the Swede had a notion: the best way to traverse the Arctic without having to worry about all that pesky ice was to use a balloon.

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Now, by balloon, the engineer didn’t mean jumping into the basket of a hot air balloon and floating all the way to the North Pole. Rather, he had in mind a rigid balloon, filled with hydrogen.

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Such an undertaking, though, required two things: a team and a lot of money. Determined to see his idea to fruition, Andrée set about choosing two basket-mates and securing funding. The former took the shape of Nils Strindberg and Knut Fraenkel. The latter was supplied by Alfred Nobel, he of the eponymous prizes, and the Swedish king, Oscar II.

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The balloon, ordered by Andrée and christened The Eagle, was made in Paris. Composed of lacquered strips of silk, it weighed more than a ton and stood at nearly 100 feet tall. The engineer even had a special house built for it on Danes Island, the launch location in Svalbard, Norway.

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With the expedition planned and the balloon in place, Andrée, Strindberg and Fraenkel took off on July 11, 1897. In the engineer’s estimation, the trip should last six days in total. Unsure whether they would land in Alaska or Asia, he expected to have flown over the Pole within two days. Despite the positive predictions, though, nobody would ever see the trio alive again.

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For the next 33 years, the world wondered what had become of the Andrée expedition. Then, in 1930 a vessel carrying seal hunters and scientists made a gruesome discovery on White Island. They had stumbled upon human remains, tattered clothes and what was left of a camp. The engineer and his basket-mates had finally been found. But that wasn’t all that was discovered at the site.

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Incredibly, despite the Arctic conditions, some journals, diaries and film canisters had survived the decades. And their contents told of the final months of Andrée, Fraenkel and Strindberg. In addition, the frozen film, preserved by the cans, produced almost 100 images of their ill-fated expedition.

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Taken together, the photos and written words tell the story of four hellish months stranded in the Arctic. It seems the journey, beset by bad luck from the start, only became worse. The balloon, according to the journals, flew well for the first few days. But fog soon closed in. Aside from an open flame, fog is a hydrogen balloon’s greatest enemy. And as the weather worsened, The Eagle came crashing down…

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The team survived the somewhat bumpy landing and set about readying themselves for an over-land trip. Each man had a sled, crammed with supplies, including a canvas boat, and weighing around 450 pounds. They then set off in search of the nearest outpost. With the ice constantly and imperceptibly moving, however, they were soon off course.

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And it wasn’t just the creeping ice floes that caused problems. Dragging heavy sledges across the ice and carefully moving from piece to piece was incredibly hard going. In fact, around three weeks after the crash, Andrée noted in his journal, “We can surmount neither the current nor the ice.”

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By mid-September of 1897, winter had begun to close in, and the trio were no nearer to the Pole, never mind home. Hope was in sight, though, as White Island had appeared before them. The men hoped the ice would take them close enough to reach it and began to build an igloo for shelter. Construction took more than a week. Just days after moving in, however, the trio were forced to abandon it when the ice beneath the shelter split apart.

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While constructing a second shelter, it seems the men finally spotted some solid ground that they could reach. They immediately moved everything on to White Island, with Andrée naming the new, and as it turned out final, camp Mina Andrée’s Place, after his mother.

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Whatever the comparative luxury of sleeping on “fast land,” as Andrée referred to it, the men were still stranded in the Arctic. With winter fully upon them, their last journal entry was dated October 8, 1897. And with it, the trio left one last mystery for the world to unravel.

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Although the diaries and film canisters were relatively well preserved, the men’s bodies weren’t so lucky. What little remained of them left few clues as to the cause of the explorers’ deaths. In addition, nothing in the journals or photographs suggests that any of them were particularly unwell or unhappy. So, what finally killed the men who’d survived in the Arctic for so long?

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The prevailing theory is that the Arctic winter, combined with deep levels of exhaustion, got them in the end. Despite their scientific preparations, Andrée and his basket-mates had been woefully unprepared for a land-based journey. From a lack of proper clothing, to their fitness levels and the fact that none of them had ever been to the Arctic before, the journey was, perhaps, doomed from the start.

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History, for a while at least, judged Andrée a hero for his Arctic undertaking. More recently, though, the Swede has been accused of causing the needless deaths of his companions. Whatever the truth, the men in the balloon have at least found a lasting place in history.

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Despite the freezing temperatures and unforgivingly barren landscape, exploring Antarctica is, thankfully, much easier than it was back in the late seventeenth century. But some people have reason to believe that earthlings aren’t the only ones wanting to see what the continent has to offer. When internet researchers spotted a strange alleged object laying on the ice, their thoughts turned to visitors from another world.

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Somewhere in the remote wilds of Antarctica, a strange apparent object is spotted seemingly abandoned on the frozen floor. So, using satellite technology, enthusiasts thousands of miles away speculate on its mysterious origins. But is the phenomenon evidence of visitors from outer space, or is something more mundane responsible?

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Ever since humankind first began looking to the stars, we have dreamed about alien civilizations that might exist in the farthest reaches of the universe. And as time has passed, our obsession has grown from science fiction into a genuine search for extraterrestrial life.

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Today, scientists around the world conduct experiments designed to communicate with potential civilizations on distant planets. And with radio telescopes scanning the skies, some nations have spent millions sending probes and messages out past our solar system and into the great unknown.

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At the same time, there also exist a very different collection of individuals investigating the possibilities of alien life. In private residences across the globe, a core group of enthusiasts dedicate their lives to finding proof that we are not alone. Often convinced that evidence of extraterrestrials is being deliberately kept from the public, these devotees are determined to reveal what they perceive to be the truth.

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One such set of individuals is known as Secureteam – a United States-based research group that claims to work to expose a government cover-up surrounding extraterrestrial life. To that end, members of the group have released dozens of videos on their YouTube channel, each detailing their forays into the unexplained.

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More than 1.3 million people currently subscribe to Secureteam10 for regular updates of weird news from around the world. And on March 3, 2018, viewers were treated to a particularly shocking video. Apparently, researchers scanning Google Earth had spotted something mysterious on South Georgia Island – a remote, sparsely populated area of Antarctica close to the southern tip of Argentina.

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Narrated by a man known only as Tyler, the video focuses in on a strip of mountainous land cut off from the Antarctic by the freezing Atlantic Ocean. There, eagle-eyed researchers had spotted a strange apparent object resting on the surface of the ice. So, could the unidentified mass be alien in origin?

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In the video, Tyler spells out the details of the discovery. “It appears to me at least to be some sort of massive, elongated or cigar-shaped object that at some point, and we don’t know when, came to a screeching halt in the snow, leaving behind it almost a 1,000-meter-long trail,” he explains.

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And that wasn’t all. After following the trail left behind by the alleged object, researchers discovered an area of mountainside that appeared to have suffered some kind of damage. What’s more, it looked as if the supposed object had traveled in a straight line from that location in a manner perhaps more typically associated with an artificial object than any kind of natural phenomenon.

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Had the apparent object fallen out of the sky, crashed into the mountainside and skidded to a dramatic halt? Well, Taylor certainly seems to think so, and in the video he presents what appears to be some convincing evidence. For example, a close-up reveals a strangely angular nature to the bizarre discovery.

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“We can see on top of it we have a lot of rigid and sharp ends, also casting shadows over to the side,” Taylor explains. “Even the shadows themselves at their longest, specifically this one at the end, measure around 12 meters long.” The tracks were also estimated to be about 30 feet wide.

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So what exactly had Secureteam discovered buried under the ice? Over the course of the video, Taylor outlines a number of theories. In one, he posits that the assumed object is of aerial origin, stranded in Antarctica after a crash. In another hypothesis, he suggests that the alleged object may have actually burst out of the mountain itself – perhaps after having been buried there by persons unknown.

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Interestingly, the researchers have been unable to determine whether or not the supposed object was permanently abandoned on the Antarctic ice. In fact, because the image is the result of a single satellite snapping pictures as it orbits the Earth, it’s impossible to tell if the anomaly was captured mid-movement or after it had apparently ground to a halt.

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Either way, it isn’t the first time that strange goings-on in Antarctica have been attributed to visitors from another world. Back in April 2018 a writer for the website UFO Sightings Hotspot claimed to have seen something unusual off the coast of the frozen continent. Allegedly, it was an iceberg with so many strange features that it might not have been natural at all.

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According to the writer, the discovery did not line up with any of the usual geological classifications associated with icebergs. Moreover, old satellite images of the area showed that the feature was a relatively recent addition to the landscape. “This object is really peculiar,” the article claimed, “and looks like a vessel disguised as an iceberg.”

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Meanwhile, in February 2018 researchers at Secureteam had made another strange discovery in Antarctica. Apparently, they had used a commercially available heat map to identify an area of unexplained activity in a remote part of the continent. And if the research group are to be believed, the anomaly could be proof of a secret underground base.

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According to some conspiracy theorists, Antarctica is something of a hotspot for these supposed secret bases. Why? Because it provides an area away from prying eyes where, it’s suggested, the government can carry out all manner of nefarious deeds – including dealing with alien technology and crashed UFOs. But is there any truth to these claims?

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Unsurprisingly, to date the United States government has always denied having engaged in any secret dealings with visitors from other worlds. But of course, that hasn’t stopped internet theorists from continuing to speculate – and easy access to satellite footage from around the world has seemed to further feed their imaginations.

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So, what is really shown in Secureteam’s video of the strange apparent object and its trail across the ice? Although UFO enthusiasts seem keen to deem the phenomenon alien in origin, others have been quick to suggest a more prosaic explanation. In fact, one commenter – who claims to have formerly been a photographer at a nearby research station – attributes the anomaly to nothing more than a quirk of the local geology.

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As the user explains in the comments section of the video, “I can confirm 100 percent that what you see in the image is just the result of a glacial slide. Sorry.” However, that doesn’t seem to have dented the popularity of the video, which has racked up some 2,300,000 views to date. And while the vid is unlikely to convince any skeptics, it’s enough to keep many dreaming that the truth really is out there.

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