The Bermuda Triangle, located within the North Atlantic Ocean and bounded by Puerto Rico, Miami, and Bermuda, is a region covering more than 1,500,000 sq miles often associated with unexplained occurrences and disappearances . This infamous area of ocean is thought to have mysteriously and inexplicably claimed numerous ships and planes, their crews never to be heard from again. Presently, more than 50 ships and 20 planes have mysteriously disappeared within this region, from as far back as the mid-19th century.
There has been a general trend and certain commonalities in the string of events which have often occurred within the triangle. Some of them including:
- Otherwise-pristine ships found floating within the triangle, or on the ocean floor, without their crews
- Entire ships and airplanes entering the triangle and disappearing leaving behind no traces or debris
- Sightings of mysterious yellow fogs and strange objects near the region
- Strange entities reportedly seen underwater
- Malfunctioning of various electrical equipment and tracking devices such as compasses, radios etc.
As a result of these occurrences various theories have been put forward to explain these phenomena. Some theories are linked to other conspiracies and other topics such as aliens, hostile nationals, supernatural entities and even the US government. However no one theory for the disappearances has been generally accepted. Also travel through the triangle has not been noticeably affected (Britannica, inc, Benton, Britannica, inc, Britannica, & inc, 1974).
Known also as the "Deadly Triangle", the Bermuda Triangle rose to infamy in 1945 with the strange disappearance of 5 bomber airplanes and a rescue squad in 1945.The 5 Avenger Torpedo Bombers from Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station, Florida, were on a routine flight when it is reported that they had radioed in stating that they were lost in supposedly "perfectly clear weather" (the event was later immortalized in Close Encounters of the Third Kind where it was suggested the planes were abducted by UFOs). A fictionalized radio call from one of the pilots records the pilot saying, "We don’t know which way is west. Everything is wrong … strange … We can’t be sure of any direction. Even the ocean doesn’t look as it should." [Kurland, Michael & Robertson, Linda, 2000, pp. 18]The call, although documented in many books, has no apparent record in the investigative report [Kurland, Michael & Robertson, Linda, 2000, pp. 18-20]. Later no contact could be made with these 5 Bomber airplanes. Although a rescue mission was sent out to find these bombers, the rescue mission also turned up missing leading to a large spread search for these planes which proved top be futile. Following this event the disappearance of the Scorpion, a U.S. nuclear submarine, in May 1968, was another notable event. The Scorpion was thought to be lost until months later, the submarine was found and recovered on the ocean floor. The submarine showed no evidence of a calamity and did not present any reasonable explanation for the disappearance and disaster (Britannica, inc, Benton, Britannica, inc, Britannica, & inc, 1974).The mystery around the Triangle stems back to Christopher Columbus though, who noted the appearance of strange animals around the area (which is quite plausible as he had never seen Caribbean wildlife before). In the 1960s and 1970s with books such as The Bermuda Triange by Charles Berlitz and Limbo of the Lost by John Spencer along numerous articles discussing the topic, the theories behind the Deadly Triangle's strange occurrences began to take shape.
Theories and Analysis
The U.S. Government once again is entrapped in a conspiracy theory. With a base, Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center or AUTEC, on Andros' Island in the middle of the area known as the Bermuda Triangle, theorists believe that the U.S. government are in cahoots with extraterrestrials and are using the area as a "testing ground for reverse-engineered alien technology." Known as the "Underwater Area 51," the elusive nature of the base and the inability of citizens to film or visit the facility (although many government facilities enact the standards) stem the beliefs that government secret projects (time vortices, etc.) are being taken place in the mysterious area, usually at the expense of innocent citizens and bystanders. Conspiracists ignore or dismiss the facts that the government uses the facility for submarine, sonar, and weaponry testing and that the location was chosen for its proximity to the Tongue of the Ocean, a "unique deep-water basin."
Some conspiracy theorists believe that the Bermuda Triangle is truly a portal between two dimensions, a sort of gateway from the human world and the alien world. Theorists state that the Bermuda Triangle is not unique in its portal-like qualities, and that the area is one of many throughout the world and universe in which aliens can traverse between dimensions and galaxies. The portal has a time period for its uses though. Only active during an "in-phase" where the area is "constantly in motion," the Bermuda Triangle supposedly only serves its purpose 25 times a year for 28 minutes. The time period is not supported by any evidence or data from known disappearances and occurrences of the Triangle. UFO sightings are also above average in this part of the world, but the extra claims could be easily traced to the hype of the area.
First purported by a psychic, Edgar Cayce, many theorists have taken to idea that the cause of the suspicious activity in the Deadly Triangle is that Atlantis lies beneath the Caribbean waters. Cayce claimed in the early 1900s that he was a reincarnated Atlantean, as were many others. Stating that he could "see the future and to communicate with long-dead spirits from the past," Cayce proposed that Atlantis is located somewhere near the island of Bimini, and that Atlanteans had gleaned energy for themselves with "fire crystals," whose malfunction resulted in the loss of Atlantis. Cayce made several predictions in his time (some surrounding 2012) including one where he prophesied that "elements of Atlantis would rise in 1968 and 1969." Bimini Road, an underwater stone structure along the coast of Bimini, was discovered in 1968 substantiating his claim at Atlantis and leading skeptics to believe the Road is a part of the lost Atlantis. Due to recent scientific study and archeological findings in 2005, Bimini Road is now known to be a "breakwater forming an ancient harbor," disputing both conspiracy theories and geological theories about the building up of limestone (the full report of the findings can be found at http://www.mysterious-america.net/biminihoax.html). More theories began to form though after a scuba diver, Dr. Ray Brown, supposedly found a well-lit "room" underwater that was clean from any algae or coral near the Bahamas. On further inspection, Brown declared that he found a mysterious rod and red gem with a plate bearing "a pair of carved metal bronze-colored hands, life-sized, which appeared blackened and burnt, as if having been subjected to tremendous heat." He somehow separated the gem and rod from its place and immediately left the room, professing that as he made his exit he "felt an unseen presence and heard a voice telling him never to return." The gem, though, was never thoroughly investigated by officials or experts as Brown kept it a secret until a 1975 psychic convention. The crystal rarely is seen or shown, and its validity as a true crystal and/or artifact has still not been confirmed.
Curse of Ancient Souls
In Healing the Haunted, a book by Dr. Kenneth McAll, another unusual theory is proposed for the strange activities and disappearances of the Bermuda Triangle. McAll claims that the Triangle is cursed by ancient slaves' souls, thrown overboard during the journey to the Americas (some captains would claim the loss of slaves to insurance companies after throwing them overboard themselves).
Started by the accounts of Bruce Gernon Jr. and his journey via plane through the notorious area in 1970, a new speculative theory has been proposed and introduced to conspiracy theorists. An electronic fog, a "tunnel-shaped vortex" that Gernon claims that he and his father's aircraft encountered, is supposed to be a fog that inhibits visibility and even causes the malfunction of electronic and magnetic equipment. The memories of Gernon claim that a "cloud continued to grow and another cloud began to form behind them... creating a complete ring around the aircraft" Gernon and his father were the only witnesses to this apparent phenomenon though, as no other account has been taken or found. The fog apparently sped the aircraft forty minutes faster to Miami Beach and blocked all vision of a horizon or sky. Gernon claims to have experienced the same occurrence while flying in 1996; no one has substantiated the accounts. The fog is postulated by conspiracists to be either a time vortex or interference by alien technology.
Ideas revolving around sea monsters, including one about a giant squid, have been in long time circulation concerning the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle.
Natural Cause Theories
- Although not as interesting or captivating as the supernatural theories, most of the disappearances can be summed up to losses due to severe weather. One of the most infamous Bermuda Triangle cases, the disappearance of the USS Cyclops, is now agreed by both experts and the Navy itself as being due to an unexpected storm. Most of the myth of the "Deadly Triangle" simply comes from misinformation. Some of the ships and aircraft that were lost to the Triangle actually disappeared in an area completely different than the Caribbean hub, and many of the reports of clear skies and seas were entirely false for the area. With modern technology and satellite navigation, the "without a trace" legend of the Bermuda Triangle has even disappeared; most of the mysterious cases disappeared in the 20th century. The Triangle is located directly in the middle of an area known for hurricanes and deadly storms as "warm and cold air masses collide over the ocean." Storms and even an occasional rogue wave are most likely causes behind the myth, along with environmental features unique to the area.
Unique Environmental Features
- The Bermuda Triangle is only one of two places on the globe where compasses point toward true north (instead of magnetic north). The variation that occurs because of this on compasses could easily account for loss at sea or navigational error if the variation is not taken into account. The "Deadly Triangle's" magnetic counterpart, the "Devil's Sea" near Japan, also is known for mysterious disappearances.
- Traveling above a methane rich seabed (such as that below the area of the Bermuda Triangle) can be a dangerous task for sailors, no matter how experienced. Deposits of methane hydrates can cause an event known as the Methane Bubbling Effect, a disastrous scenario when a pocket of methane gas is disrupted (possibly by anchor dropping or by other natural causes like seismic activities or underwater landslides) and the gas bubbles to the surface of the water, creating a suction that can sink ships easily and even "burn prettily if it's hit by lightning." Ships are unable to properly stay afloat or function when sitting atop a mix of water and methane bubbles. The methane gas theory can also be stretched to encompass the loss of aircraft over the area. Some experts postulate that a plume of methane gas rising quickly the surface could cause an explosion for an aircraft.
The Gulf Stream
- The Bermuda Triangle is situated in the Gulf Stream, a flow of current that runs from the Eastern boundary of the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Europe. Currents within the Gulf Stream have been reported up to a constant speed of four and a half miles per hour. These high speed currents could quickly carry a stationary vessel, such as one with engine trouble, many miles from its originally recorded position. If the vessel is carried far enough away and in the right conditions, it would appear to have disappeared, thus leading many to believe that the Bermuda Triangle claimed another vessel.
The movie was called Pirates of the Caribbean after all. Simply, piracy could have been easily one of the main causes for the disappearances of ships and their on-board treasures (especially when pirates had the veil of myths and conspiracy theories to hide under).
The Bermuda Triangle - A Hoax
One of the most infamous conspiracy theories and myths of today, the Bermuda Triangle is what most experts agree to be "a 'manufactured mystery.'" The Triangle mystery was built upon recording of recording of strange disappearances and/or occurrences in the Caribbean area, especially the writings by the authors Rupert Gould and Vincent Gaddis. Sadly, proper investigative reporting seems to be ignored in the articles and books of all every conspiracy writer of the Bermuda Triangle. One of the popular incidents of the Triangle, the encounters and experiences of the Ellen Austin, was a pivotal focus on Larry Kusche, author of The Bermuda Triangle Mystery - Solved. Kusche's novel is a skeptic's guide to the myth and also a exceptional example of the ability of proper investigation to show the shoddy framework of "poor, hasty research, and hasty credibility" on which many conspiracy theories stand. Ellen Austin was, according to the original popular myth (of Gaddis), British ship that encountered an unmanned ship in 1881 in the mid-Atlantic, manned the ship with a prize crew, became separated with the derelict in a mysterious fog, and found the ship a few days later with the stranger ship once again abandoned. The article recapping this story by Gaddis is cited time after time by Triangle writers, yet none seem to notice that there is documentation to serve as evidence for Gaddis' claims. Fictionalization and fact change occur rampantly in the story as it is reused, and no evidence is found to support any further claims about the Ellen Austin. Kusche claims that in his extensive research, the only information found about the ship was just that it existed - not any conclusive data to point to where the ship's destination was or any of the mysterious fiction that so many have taken for fact. As it "is impossible to 'prove a negative' and show that a false story did not occur," the Ellen Austin incident is still a reoccurring standard for Triangle believers although there is no evidence that supports any of the authors' claims. This style of poor research and fictionalization is the make-up of almost all the Bermuda Triangle mysteries. Kusche also found that "many of the losses that are credited to the Triangle actually occurred as far away as Ireland, Newfoundland, Africa, and in the Pacific Ocean." Despite the stories given, the weather has often been a major factor in the incidents that did actually occur in the area. As Kusche states, the Bermuda Triangle, one of the most infamous mysteries of modern time, is no more than "the story...perpetuated by writers and filmmakers who have made advantageous use of careless research, misconceptions, faulty reasoning, technical errors, and sensationalism."
According to Bryan Hunt, creator of the conspiratorial investigatory podcast Skeptoid, the spur of incidents produced by the Bermuda Triangle is no different from other accidents which have occurred over several years in other regions across the ocean. According to him, the explanation for the seemingly bizarre disappearances is that planes crash and ships sink. The Coast Guard along with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has kept an account of all such incidents with formal inquiry and investigation. These reports outline the actual causes of these disappearances and the ones which have not produced any evidence are still investigated into. But the fact that certain incidents does not come along with a reasonable explanation is not only limited to the area of the Bermuda Triangle. Yet the media focuses on incidents which occur within this region alone. In fact the area of the originally plotted out Bermuda Triangle has increased over the years so as to accommodate and include the areas where incidents have taken place and ever since there has not been any particular borders associated with the Triangle. Incidents which occur farther away from the Triangle are also attributed to the Bermuda Triangle, thus proving the fact that the Bermuda Triangle is a hoax which has been propagated by the media. Also the fact that the usage of sea or air routes which cross the Bermuda Triangle's premise are still being used as opposed to being redirected or blocked reveals that the Bermuda Triangle as such is not seen as a threat of any kind (Britannica, inc, Benton, Britannica, inc, Britannica, & inc, 1974). If at all the Bermuda Triangle posed certain dangers to travelers, it seems to only act at certain rare occasions and then seems to go into a hiatus. One must acknowledge the fact that the Bermuda triangle is not the only regions where accidents occur nor does it occur at a higher rate. Record from Lloyd's of London, the largest insurer of shipping traffic, show no such trend.
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- Bimini Hoax
- National Geographic Documentary
- Podcast by Dunning, 2009, on Light Therapy, the Bermuda Triangle, and Isaac Newton