The search had captured the popular imagination, and the public still held out hope that the ships were in safe harbor, so Rae's bad news did not sit well. But there was one industry that was fully prepared to spread the news: the publishers of "penny dreadfuls." These inexpensive little publications reveled in the sensational and rushed to print the details they could glean from more respectable sources--sources that cost more and appealed to a different social stratum. The Dreadful Fate of Sir J. Franklin (London: Saunders, Bros, 185_) describes the "melancholy termination" of Franklin's expedition. Included was this quote from Rae's official report:
From the mutilated state of many of the corpses and the contents of the kettles, it is evident that our wretched countrymen had been driven to the last resource--cannibalism--as a means of prolonging existence."Just what the medium begged for. To read the sad tidings, ask for Stef G660.D72.