The Nameless Horror



On July 11th 1897, the Swedish aeronaut Salomon August Andrée (seated above) lead an expedition to reach the North Pole by hydrogen balloon.

Along with his companions - photographer Knut Fraenkel and engineer Nils Strindberg (to his right and further right respectively - Andrée’s balloon - The Örnen (Eagle) ascended from a specially built base on Danskøn (“Danes Island”, in the Svalbard archipelago). The balloon quickly disappeared from view. And forever.

The bodies of the three explorers were discovered 33 years later, along with their journals and photographic negatives.

The photographs can be viewed here, and a fascinating article about the “archaeology” of them can be found here

Although the full contents of Andrée and Strindberg’s journal writings have never been released by the Swedish government, apparently genuine portions of entries were adapted into a song cycle by the composer Dominick Argento. A fascinating analysis of this can be found here.

Some extracts follow.

(photo via the Grenna/Andrée Museum)