The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil's Triangle or Hurricane Alley, is a loosely-defined region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Most reputable sources dismiss the idea that there is any mystery. The vicinity of the Bermuda Triangle is amongst the most heavily traveled shipping lanes in the world, with ships frequently crossing through it for ports in the Americas, Europe and the Caribbean islands. Cruise ships and pleasure craft regularly sail through the region, and commercial and private aircraft routinely fly over it.
Popular culture has attributed various disappearances to the paranormal or activity by extraterrestrial beings. Documented evidence indicates that a significant percentage of the incidents were spurious, inaccurately reported, or embellished by later authors.
One version of the Bermuda Triangle area
In 1964, Vincent Gaddis wrote in the pulp magazine Argosy of the boundaries of the Bermuda Triangle, giving its vertices as Miami; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Bermuda. Subsequent writers did not necessarily follow this definition. Some writers gave different boundaries and vertices to the triangle, with the total area varying from 1,300,000 to 3,900,000 km2 (500,000 to 1,510,000 sq mi). "Indeed, some writers even stretch it as far as the Irish coast." Consequently, the determination of which accidents occurred inside the triangle depends on which writer reported them.
The earliest suggestion of unusual disappearances in the Bermuda area appeared in a September 17, 1950, article published in The Miami Herald (Associated Press) by Edward Van Winkle Jones. Two years later, Fate magazine published "Sea Mystery at Our Back Door", a short article by George X. Sand covering the loss of several planes and ships, including the loss of Flight 19, a group of five US Navy Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers on a training mission. Sand's article was the first to lay out the now-familiar triangular area where the losses took place. Flight 19 alone would be covered again in the April 1962 issue of American Legion magazine. In it, author Allan W. Eckert wrote that the flight leader had been heard saying, "We are entering white water, nothing seems right. We don't know where we are, the water is green, no white." He also wrote that officials at the Navy board of inquiry stated that the planes "flew off to Mars." Sand's article was the first to suggest a supernatural element to the Flight 19 incident. In the February 1964 issue of Argosy, Vincent Gaddis' article "The Deadly Bermuda Triangle" argued that Flight 19 and other disappearances were part of a pattern of strange events in the region. The next year, Gaddis expanded this article into a book, Invisible Horizons.
Others would follow with their own works, elaborating on Gaddis' ideas: John Wallace Spencer (Limbo of the Lost, 1969, repr. 1973); Charles Berlitz (The Bermuda Triangle, 1974); Richard Winer (The Devil's Triangle, 1974), and many others, all keeping to some of the same supernatural elements outlined by Eckert.
Lawrence David Kusche, author of The Bermuda Triangle Mystery: Solved (1975) argued that many claims of Gaddis and subsequent writers were often exaggerated, dubious or unverifiable. Kusche's research revealed a number of inaccuracies and inconsistencies between Berlitz's accounts and statements from eyewitnesses, participants, and others involved in the initial incidents. Kusche noted cases where pertinent information went unreported, such as the disappearance of round-the-world yachtsman Donald Crowhurst, which Berlitz had presented as a mystery, despite clear evidence to the contrary. Another example was the ore-carrier recounted by Berlitz as lost without trace three days out of an Atlantic port when it had been lost three days out of a port with the same name in the Pacific Ocean. Kusche also argued that a large percentage of the incidents that sparked allegations of the Triangle's mysterious influence actually occurred well outside it. Often his research was simple: he would review period newspapers of the dates of reported incidents and find reports on possibly relevant events like unusual weather, that were never mentioned in the disappearance stories.
Kusche concluded that:
When the UK Channel 4 television program The Bermuda Triangle (1992) was being produced by John Simmons of Geofilms for the Equinox series, the marine insurance market Lloyd's of London was asked if an unusually large number of ships had sunk in the Bermuda Triangle area. Lloyd's determined that large numbers of ships had not sunk there. Lloyd's does not charge higher rates for passing through this area. United States Coast Guard records confirm their conclusion. In fact, the number of supposed disappearances is relatively insignificant considering the number of ships and aircraft that pass through on a regular basis.
The Coast Guard is also officially skeptical of the Triangle, noting that they collect and publish, through their inquiries, much documentation contradicting many of the incidents written about by the Triangle authors. In one such incident involving the 1972 explosion and sinking of the tanker V. A. Fogg, the Coast Guard photographed the wreck and recovered several bodies, in contrast with one Triangle author's claim that all the bodies had vanished, with the exception of the captain, who was found sitting in his cabin at his desk, clutching a coffee cup. In addition, V. A. Fogg sank off the coast of Texas, nowhere near the commonly accepted boundaries of the Triangle.
The NOVA/Horizon episode The Case of the Bermuda Triangle, aired on June 27, 1976, was highly critical, stating that "When we've gone back to the original sources or the people involved, the mystery evaporates. Science does not have to answer questions about the Triangle because those questions are not valid in the first place ... Ships and planes behave in the Triangle the same way they behave everywhere else in the world."
Skeptical researchers, such as Ernest Taves and Barry Singer, have noted how mysteries and the paranormal are very popular and profitable. This has led to the production of vast amounts of material on topics such as the Bermuda Triangle. They were able to show that some of the pro-paranormal material is often misleading or inaccurate, but its producers continue to market it. Accordingly, they have claimed that the market is biased in favor of books, TV specials, and other media that support the Triangle mystery, and against well-researched material if it espouses a skeptical viewpoint.
Persons accepting the Bermuda Triangle as a real phenomenon have offered a number of explanatory approaches.
Triangle writers have used a number of supernatural concepts to explain the events. One explanation pins the blame on leftover technology from the mythical lost continent of Atlantis. Sometimes connected to the Atlantis story is the submerged rock formation known as the Bimini Road off the island of Bimini in the Bahamas, which is in the Triangle by some definitions. Followers of the purported psychic Edgar Cayce take his prediction that evidence of Atlantis would be found in 1968, as referring to the discovery of the Bimini Road. Believers describe the formation as a road, wall, or other structure, but the Bimini Road is of natural origin.
Other writers attribute the events to UFOs. This idea was used by Steven Spielberg for his science fiction film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which features the lost Flight 19 aircrews as alien abductees.
A paranormal explanation in the 2005 three-part US-British-German science fiction miniseries The Triangle, says the triangle is a wormhole.
Compass problems are one of the cited phrases in many Triangle incidents. While some have theorized that unusual local magnetic anomalies may exist in the area, such anomalies have not been found. Compasses have natural magnetic variations in relation to the magnetic poles, a fact which navigators have known for centuries. Magnetic (compass) north and geographic (true) north are exactly the same only for a small number of places – for example, as of 2000, in the United States, only those places on a line running from Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico. But the public may not be as informed, and think there is something mysterious about a compass "changing" across an area as large as the Triangle, which it naturally will.
The Gulf Stream is a major surface current, primarily driven by thermohaline circulation that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and then flows through the Straits of Florida into the North Atlantic. In essence, it is a river within an ocean, and, like a river, it can and does carry floating objects. It has a maximum surface velocity of about 2 m/s (6.6 ft/s). A small plane making a water landing or a boat having engine trouble can be carried away from its reported position by the current.
One of the most cited explanations in official inquiries as to the loss of any aircraft or vessel is human error. Human stubbornness may have caused businessman Harvey Conover to lose his sailing yacht, Revonoc, as he sailed into the teeth of a storm south of Florida on January 1, 1958.
Hurricanes are powerful storms that form in tropical waters and have historically cost thousands of lives and caused billions of dollars in damage. The sinking of Francisco de Bobadilla's Spanish fleet in 1502 was the first recorded instance of a destructive hurricane. These storms have in the past caused a number of incidents related to the Triangle.
A powerful downdraft of cold air was suspected to be a cause in the sinking of Pride of Baltimore on May 14, 1986. The crew of the sunken vessel noted the wind suddenly shifted and increased velocity from 32 km/h (20 mph) to 97–145 km/h (60–90 mph). A National Hurricane Center satellite specialist, James Lushine, stated "during very unstable weather conditions the downburst of cold air from aloft can hit the surface like a bomb, exploding outward like a giant squall line of wind and water." A similar event occurred to Concordia in 2010, off the coast of Brazil. Scientists are currently investigating whether "hexagonal" clouds may be the source of these up-to-170 mph (270 km/h) "air bombs".
An explanation for some of the disappearances has focused on the presence of large fields of methane hydrates (a form of natural gas) on the continental shelves. Laboratory experiments carried out in Australia have proven that bubbles can, indeed, sink a scale model ship by decreasing the density of the water; any wreckage consequently rising to the surface would be rapidly dispersed by the Gulf Stream. It has been hypothesized that periodic methane eruptions (sometimes called "mud volcanoes") may produce regions of frothy water that are no longer capable of providing adequate buoyancy for ships. If this were the case, such an area forming around a ship could cause it to sink very rapidly and without warning.
Publications by the USGS describe large stores of undersea hydrates worldwide, including the Blake Ridge area, off the coast of the southeastern United States. However, according to the USGS, no large releases of gas hydrates are believed to have occurred in the Bermuda Triangle for the past 15,000 years.
The Ellen Austin supposedly came across a derelict ship, placed on board it a prize crew, and attempted to sail in tandem with it to New York in 1881. According to the stories, the derelict disappeared; others elaborating further that the derelict reappeared minus the prize crew, and then disappeared again with a second prize crew on board. A check from Lloyd's of London records proved the existence of Meta, built in 1854, and that in 1880, Meta was renamed Ellen Austin. There are no casualty listings for this vessel, or any vessel at that time, that would suggest a large number of missing men were placed on board a derelict that later disappeared.
The incident resulting in the single largest loss of life in the history of the US Navy not related to combat occurred when the collier Cyclops, carrying a full load of manganese ore and with one engine out of action, went missing without a trace with a crew of 309 sometime after March 4, 1918, after departing the island of Barbados. Although there is no strong evidence for any single theory, many independent theories exist, some blaming storms, some capsizing, and some suggesting that wartime enemy activity was to blame for the loss. In addition, two of Cyclops's sister ships, Proteus and Nereus were subsequently lost in the North Atlantic during World War II. Both ships were transporting heavy loads of metallic ore similar to that which was loaded on Cyclops during her fatal voyage. In all three cases structural failure due to overloading with a much denser cargo than designed is considered the most likely cause of sinking.
A five-masted schooner built in 1919, Carroll A. Deering was found hard aground and abandoned at Diamond Shoals, near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on January 31, 1921. Rumors and more at the time indicated Deering was a victim of piracy, possibly connected with the illegal rum-running trade during Prohibition, and possibly involving another ship, Hewitt, which disappeared at roughly the same time. Just hours later, an unknown steamer sailed near the lightship along the track of Deering, and ignored all signals from the lightship. It is speculated that Hewitt may have been this mystery ship, and possibly involved in Deering's crew disappearance.
Flight 19 was a training flight of five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers that disappeared on December 5, 1945, while over the Atlantic. The squadron's flight plan was scheduled to take them due east from Fort Lauderdale for 141 mi (227 km), north for 73 mi (117 km), and then back over a final 140-mile (230-kilometre) leg to complete the exercise. The flight never returned to base. The disappearance is attributed by Navy investigators to navigational error leading to the aircraft running out of fuel.
One of the search and rescue aircraft deployed to look for them, a PBM Mariner with a 13-man crew, also disappeared. A tanker off the coast of Florida reported seeing an explosion and observing a widespread oil slick when fruitlessly searching for survivors. The weather was becoming stormy by the end of the incident. According to contemporaneous sources the Mariner had a history of explosions due to vapour leaks when heavily loaded with fuel, as it might have been for a potentially long search-and-rescue operation.
G-AHNP Star Tiger disappeared on January 30, 1948, on a flight from the Azores to Bermuda; G-AGRE Star Ariel disappeared on January 17, 1949, on a flight from Bermuda to Kingston, Jamaica. Both were Avro Tudor IV passenger aircraft operated by British South American Airways. Both planes were operating at the very limits of their range and the slightest error or fault in the equipment could keep them from reaching the small island.
On December 28, 1948, a Douglas DC-3 aircraft, number NC16002, disappeared while on a flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Miami. No trace of the aircraft, or the 32 people on board, was ever found. A Civil Aeronautics Board investigation found there was insufficient information available on which to determine probable cause of the disappearance.
A pleasure yacht was found adrift in the Atlantic south of Bermuda on September 26, 1955; it is usually stated in the stories (Berlitz, Winer) that the crew vanished while the yacht survived being at sea during three hurricanes. The 1955 Atlantic hurricane season shows Hurricane Ione passing nearby between 14 and 18 September, with Bermuda being affected by winds of almost gale force. In his second book on the Bermuda Triangle, Winer quoted from a letter he had received from Mr J.E. Challenor of Barbados:
On the morning of September 22, Connemara IV was lying to a heavy mooring in the open roadstead of Carlisle Bay. Because of the approaching hurricane, the owner strengthened the mooring ropes and put out two additional anchors. There was little else he could do, as the exposed mooring was the only available anchorage. ... In Carlisle Bay, the sea in the wake of Hurricane Janet was awe-inspiring and dangerous. The owner of Connemara IV observed that she had disappeared. An investigation revealed that she had dragged her moorings and gone to sea.
On August 28, 1963, a pair of US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft collided and crashed into the Atlantic 300 miles west of Bermuda . Some writers  say that while the two aircraft did collide there were two distinct crash sites, separated by over 160 miles (260 km) of water. However, Kusche's research showed that the unclassified version of the Air Force investigation report revealed that the debris field defining the second "crash site" was examined by a search and rescue ship, and found to be a mass of seaweed and driftwood tangled in an old buoy.
The incidents cited above, apart from the official documentation, come from the following works. Some incidents mentioned as having taken place within the Triangle are found only in these sources:
ProQuest has newspaper source material for many incidents, archived in Portable Document Format (PDF). The newspapers include The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlanta Constitution. To access this website, registration is required, usually through a library connected to a college or university.
USS Cyclops (AC-4)
Carroll A. Deering
Star Tiger and Star Ariel
DC-3 Airliner NC16002 disappearance
Harvey Conover and Revonoc
B-52 Bomber (Pogo 22)
Charter vessel Sno'Boy
SS Marine Sulphur Queen
SS Sylvia L. Ossa
The following websites have either online material that supports the popular version of the Bermuda Triangle, or documents published from official sources as part of hearings or inquiries, such as those conducted by the United States Navy or United States Coast Guard. Copies of some inquiries are not online and may have to be ordered; for example, the losses of Flight 19 or USS Cyclops can be ordered direct from the United States Naval Historical Center.
Most of the works listed here are largely out of print. Copies may be obtained at your local library, or purchased used at bookstores, or through eBay or Amazon.com. These books are often the only source material for some of the incidents that have taken place within the Triangle.
Airport '77 is a 1977 American air disaster film and the third installment of the Airport franchise. The film stars a number of veteran actors including Jack Lemmon, James Stewart, Joseph Cotten, Olivia de Havilland, and Brenda Vaccaro as well as the return of George Kennedy from the two previous Airport films. It is directed by Jerry Jameson, produced by Jennings Lang and William Frye with a screenplay by Michael Scheff and David Spector.The plot concerns a private Boeing 747 packed with VIPs and priceless art that is hijacked before crashing into the ocean in the Bermuda Triangle, prompting the survivors to undertake a desperate struggle for survival.Despite mixed critical reviews, Airport '77 was a box-office hit with earnings of $30 million; making the film the 19th-highest-grossing picture of 1977. It was nominated for two Academy Awards.Bermuda Triangle (Buckethead album)
Bermuda Triangle is the eighth studio album by Buckethead. The album is primarily an electronica-based collaboration with Extrakd, who also produced and mixed the album.The album has been described as an "instrumental underground hip-hop/electro-funk fantasia" and "snippets of blazing metal, washes of delayed patterns, relaxed lines matched with stuttering drums, and vice versa", dealing with several Bermuda Triangle incidents and other sea/sailor related themes.
The album was recorded on a portable multi-track recorder.Bermuda Triangle (Sea World)
The Bermuda Triangle was a themed indoor flume ride at the Sea World amusement park on the Gold Coast, Australia. In 2013, the ride was replaced by Storm Coaster, a Mack Rides water coaster.
The Sea World ride has a replica (named Bermuda Triangle: Alien Encounter) that still operates in Movie Park Germany to this day.Bermuda Triangle (song)
"Bermuda Triangle" is a song by Barry Manilow, from his album Barry. Released as a single in 1981, it reached number 15 in the UK Singles Chart, number 16 in Germany and number 23 in Ireland.
The song features tonicizations, the cycle of fifths and a brief modulation to the tonic minor, which represents Manilow 'losing his woman'.Bermuda Triangle Band
Bermuda Triangle Band's wild psychedelic and delicately nuanced electric autoharp and transcendental vocals grew out of the late 1960s folk rock scene. With an independent attitude, eccentric style and highly unusual instrument lineup, the group was unprecedented. Psychedelic rock autoharp was then-unknown, and at the time there were very few women playing bass guitar. Since the formation of the band in 1967, its only constant members have been Roger Penney and Wendy Penney.Flight 19
Flight 19 was the designation of a group of five Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers that disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle on December 5, 1945, after losing contact during a United States Navy overwater navigation training flight from Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale, Florida. All 14 airmen on the flight were lost, as were all 13 crew members of a Martin PBM Mariner flying boat that subsequently launched from Naval Air Station Banana River to search for Flight 19. The PBM aircraft was known to accumulate flammable gasoline vapors in its bilges, and professional investigators have assumed that the PBM most likely exploded in mid-air while searching for the flight. Navy investigators could not determine the exact cause of the loss of Flight 19.Larry Kusche
Lawrence David Kusche (born November 1, 1940) is an American author, research librarian, and pilot. He investigated unexplained disappearances and other unusual events related to the Bermuda Triangle to answer queries he was getting as a research librarian, and ended up writing a book debunking most of the mysteries touted by other writers about that location.Lego Aqua Raiders
Aqua Raiders was one of the Lego Group's new themes for 2007. The setting is in the Bermuda Triangle. A group of divers go down with high tech submarines and other equipment to look for lost treasure and shipwrecks.List of Bermuda Triangle incidents
This is a list of incidents attributed in popular culture to the Bermuda Triangle Or Devil's TriangleLost Voyage
Lost Voyage is a 2001 supernatural thriller directed, edited and co-written by Christian McIntire that debuted as a Sci Fi Pictures TV-movie on the Sci Fi Channel.Plastic Letters
Plastic Letters is the second studio album by American rock band Blondie, released in December 1977 on Chrysalis Records.SS Cotopaxi
SS Cotopaxi was a tramp steamer named after the Cotopaxi stratovolcano. She vanished in December 1925, while en route from Charleston, South Carolina, United States, to Havana, Cuba, with all hands.SS Marine Sulphur Queen
SS Marine Sulphur Queen, a T2 tanker converted to carry molten sulphur, noted for its disappearance in 1963 near the southern coast of Florida, taking the lives of 39 crewmen.
In the investigation, the Coast Guard determined that the ship was unsafe and not seaworthy, and never should have sailed. The final report suggested four causes of the disaster, all due to poor design and maintenance of the ship. The loss of the ship was the subject of lengthy litigation between the owner and families of the missing men.
Despite the clear cause of the disaster, an inaccurate and incomplete version of the ship's disappearance is often used to justify Bermuda Triangle conspiracies.Sargasso Sea
The Sargasso Sea () is a region of the North Atlantic Ocean bounded by four currents forming an ocean gyre. Unlike all other regions called seas, it has no land boundaries. It is distinguished from other parts of the Atlantic Ocean by its characteristic brown Sargassum seaweed and often calm blue water.The sea is bounded on the west by the Gulf Stream, on the north by the North Atlantic Current, on the east by the Canary Current, and on the south by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current, a clockwise-circulating system of ocean currents termed the North Atlantic Gyre. It lies between 70° and 40° W, and 20° to 35° N, and is approximately 1,100 km wide by 3,200 km long (700 by 2,000 statute miles). Bermuda is near the western fringes of the sea.All the currents deposit the marine plants and refuse they carry into this sea, yet the ocean water in the Sargasso Sea is distinctive for its deep blue color and exceptional clarity, with underwater visibility of up to 61 m (200 ft). It is also a body of water that has captured the public imagination, and so is seen in a wide variety of literary and artistic works and in popular culture.Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!
Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy! is a 2006 direct-to-DVD animated comedy mystery adventure film, based upon the Scooby-Doo Saturday morning cartoons. It was released on September 19, 2006, and it was produced by Warner Bros. Animation, though it featured a logo for and copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons at the end. It features the Mystery, Inc. gang travelling to the Bermuda Triangle on an eerie cruise, with ghosts, pirates, and monsters.The Bermuda Triangle (film)
The Bermuda Triangles (Spanish: El Triángulo diabólico de las Bermudas, Italian: Il triangolo delle Bermude, also known as The Secrets of the Bermuda Triangle and Devil's Triangle of Bermuda) is a 1978 Mexican-Italian science fiction horror film written and directed by René Cardona Jr..The Land That Time Forgot (2009 film)
The Land That Time Forgot (promotionally titled Edgar Rice Burrough's The Land That Time Forgot, release in other countries as Dinosaur Island) is a 2009 science fiction film by independent American film studio The Asylum. The film is an adaptation of the 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs novel of the same name, and a re-make of the 1975 film starring Doug McClure.The Triangle (miniseries)
The Triangle is a three-part US-British-German science fiction miniseries concerning the Bermuda Triangle, which first aired on Sci-Fi Channel in the US December 5–7, 2005. It was written by Dean Devlin, Bryan Singer and Rockne S. O'Bannon, directed by Craig R. Baxley, and produced by special effects experts Volker Engel and Marc Weigert, together with Kelly Van Horn, for Devlin's and Singer's production companies Electric Entertainment and Bad Hat Harry Productions, the BBC, and Engel's and Weigert's production company Uncharted Territory.
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