The area is one of the most heavily-sailed shipping lanes in the world, with ships crossing through it daily for ports in the Americas, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands. Cruise ships are also plentiful, and pleasure craft regularly go back and forth between Florida and the islands. It is also a heavily flown route for commercial and private aircraft heading towards Florida, the Caribbean, and South America from points north.
The Gulf Stream ocean current flows through the Triangle after leaving the Gulf of Mexico; its current of five to six knots may have played a part in a number of disappearances. Sudden storms can and do appear, and in the summer to late fall hurricanes strike the area. The combination of heavy maritime traffic and tempestuous weather makes it inevitable that vessels could founder in storms and be lost without a trace - especially before improved telecommunications, radar, and satellite technology arrived late in the 20th century.
- The land was first seen by a sailor (Rodrigo de Triana), although the Admiral at ten o'clock that evening standing on the quarter-deck saw a light, but so small a body that he could not affirm it to be land; calling to Pero Gutierrez, groom of the King's wardrobe, he told him he saw a light, and bid him look that way, which he did and saw it; he did the same to Rodrigo Sanchez of Segovia, whom the King and Queen had sent with the squadron as comptroller, but he was unable to see it from his situation. The Admiral again perceived it once or twice, appearing like the light of a wax candle moving up and down, which some thought an indication of land. But the Admiral held it for certain that land was near...
The first article of any kind in which the legend of the Triangle began appeared in newspapers by E.V.W. Jones on September 16, 1950, through the Associated Press.
Two years later, Fate magazine published "Sea Mystery At Our Back Door", a short article by George X. Sand in the October 1952 issue covering the loss of several planes and ships, including the loss of Flight 19, a group of five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger 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 in the April 1962 issue of American Legion Magazine.
The article was titled "The Lost Patrol", by Allen W. Eckert, and in his story it was claimed 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." It was also claimed that officials at the Navy board of inquiry stated that the planes "flew off to Mars." "The Lost Patrol" was the first to connect the supernatural to Flight 19, but it would take another author, Vincent Gaddis, writing in the February 1964 Argosy Magazine to take Flight 19 together with other mysterious disappearances and place it under the umbrella of a new catchy name: "The Deadly Bermuda Triangle"; he would build on that article with a more detailed book, Invisible Horizons, the next year. Others would follow with their own works: John Wallace Spencer (Limbo of the Lost,1969); 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.
Another example was the ore-carrier Berlitz recounted 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 which have sparked the Triangle's mysterious influence actually occurred well outside it. Often his research was surprisingly simple: he would go over period newspapers and see items like weather reports that were never mentioned in the stories.
Kusche came to several conclusions:
- The number of ships and aircraft reported missing in the area was not significantly greater, proportionally speaking, than in any other part of the ocean. In an area frequented by tropical storms, the number of disappearances that did occur were, for the most part, neither disproportionate, unlikely, nor mysterious; furthermore, Berlitz and other writers would often fail to mention such storms. The numbers themselves had been exaggerated by sloppy research. A boat listed as missing would be reported, but its eventual (if belated) return to port may not be reported. Some disappearances had in fact, never happened. One plane crash was said to have taken place in 1937 off Daytona Beach, Florida, in front of hundreds of witnesses; a check of the local papers revealed nothing.
- The Legend of the Bermuda Triangle is a manufactured mystery ... perpetuated by writers who either purposely or unknowingly made use of misconceptions, faulty reasoning, and sensationalism.
Methane gas can also crash planes. The less dense air causes planes to lose lift. Also, the altimeter of planes (the instrument that measures the altitude) functions on the density of air. Because methane is less dense, the altimeter assumes the plane is climbing. Planes at night or in the clouds, where they can't see the ground, assume that they are climbing and dive, causing them to crash. Also, methane in the engine throws off the mix of fuel and air. Aircraft engines burn hydrocarbons (gasoline or jet fuel) with oxygen provided by the air. When the ambient oxygen levels drop, combustion can stop, and the engine stalls. All of these effects of methane gas have been shown experimentally.
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.
A white paper was published in 1981 by the United States Geological Survey about the appearance of hydrates in the Blake Ridge area, off the southeastern United States coast. However, according to a USGS web page, no large releases of gas hydrates are believed to have occurred in the Bermuda Triangle for the past 15,000 years.
Research has shown that freak waves up to 30 m (100 feet) tall, capable of sinking the largest ships within moments, can and do happen. Although these are very rare, in some areas ocean currents mean they happen more often than the norm. Such waves have now been hypothesized as a cause for many unexplained shipping losses over the years.
The book was a best seller, and many interested readers offered theories to explain the nature of the disappearances. The list includes natural storms, transportation by extraterrestrial technology, high-traffic volumes (and correspondingly high accident rates), a "temporal hole," the lost Atlantis empire from the bottom of the ocean, and other natural and supernatural causes.
The Triangle's location in the Caribbean makes it subject to unpredictable weather patterns. This takes us to Earth changes and the excalation of intense hurricanes in 2005 with more to come in the years ahead.
These weather extremes prey on inexperienced navigators and smaller boats and planes. Water spouts, sudden electrical and thunder storms, and the like, can cause havoc in the area. The Gulf Stream can also be brutal in that region and perhaps has swept away evidence of natural disasters.
Piracy, as defined by the taking of a ship or small boat on the high seas, is an act which continues to this day. While piracy for cargo theft is more common in the western Pacific and Indian oceans, drug smugglers do steal pleasure boats for smuggling operations, and may have been involved in crew and yacht disappearances in the Caribbean. Historically famous pirates of the Caribbean (where piracy was common from about 1560 to the 1760s) include Edward Teach (Blackbeard) and Jean Lafitte. Lafitte is sometimes said to be a Triangle victim himself.
Another form of pirate operated on dry land. Bankers or wreckers would shine a light on shore to misdirect ships, which would then founder on the shore; the wreckers would then help themselves to the cargo. It is possible that these wreckers also killed any crew who protested. Nags Head, North Carolina, was named for the wreckers' practice of hanging a lantern on the head of a hobbled horse as it walked along the beach.
Other writers attribute the events to UFOs. This idea was used by Steven Spielberg for his film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which features the lost Flight 19 as alien abductees.
Charles Berlitz, grandson of a distinguished linguist and author of various additional books on anomalous phenomena, has kept in line with this extraordinary explanation, and attributed the losses in the Triangle to anomalous or unexplained forces.
While the basic facts of this version of the story are essentially accurate, some important details are missing. The weather was becoming stormy by the end of the incident; only Taylor had any significant flying time, but he was not familiar with the south Florida area and had a history of getting lost in flight, having done so three times during World War II, and being forced to ditch his planes twice into the water; and naval reports and written recordings of the conversations between Taylor and the other pilots of Flight 19 do not indicate magnetic problems.
On December 5th, 1945, five Avenger torpedo bombers lifted into the air from the Navel Air Station at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at 2:10 in the afternoon. It was a routine practice mission and the flight was composed of all students except for the Commander, a Lt. Charles Taylor.
The mission called for Taylor and his group of 13 men to fly due east 56 miles to Hens and Chicken Shoals to conduct practice bombing runs. When they had completed that objective, the flight plan called for them to fly an additional 67 miles east, then turn north for 73 miles and finally straight back to base, a distance of 120 miles. This course would take them on a triangular path over the sea.
About an hour and a half after the flight had left, a Lt. Robert Cox picked up a radio transmission from Taylor. Taylor indicated that his compasses were not working, but he believed himself to be somewhere over the Florida Keys (the Keys are a long chain of islands south of the Florida mainland). Cox urged him to fly north, toward Miami, if Taylor was sure the flight was over the Keys.
Planes today have a number of ways that they can check their current position including listening to a set of GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) in orbit around the Earth. It is almost impossible for a pilot to get lost if he has the right equipment and uses it properly.
In 1945, though, planes flying over water had to depend on knowing their starting point, how long and fast they had flown, and in what direction. If a pilot made a mistake with any of these figures, he was lost. Over the ocean there were no landmarks to set him right.
Apparently Taylor had become confused at some point in the flight. He was an experienced pilot, but hadn't spent a lot of time flying east toward the Bahamas which was where he was going on that day. For some reason Taylor apparently thought the flight had started out in the wrong direction and had headed south toward the Florida Keys, instead of east. This thought was to color his decisions throughout the rest of the flight with deadly results.
The more Taylor took his flight north to try to get out of the Keys, the further out to sea the Avengers actually traveled. As time went on, snatches of transmissions were picked up on the mainland indicating the other Flight 19 pilots were trying to get Taylor to change course. "If we would just fly west," one student told another, "we would get home." He was right.
By 4:45 P.M. it was obvious to the people on the ground that Taylor was hopelessly lost. He was urged to turn control of the flight over to one of his students, but apparently he didn't. As it grew dark, communications deteriorated. From the few words that did get through it was apparent Taylor was still flying north and east, the wrong directions.
At 5:50 P.M. the ComGulf Sea Frontier Evaluation Center managed get a fix on Flight 19's weakening signals. It was apparently east of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. By then communications were so poor that this information could not be passed to the lost planes.
At 6:20 a Dumbo Flying Boat was dispatched to try and find Flight 19 and guide it back. Within the hour two more planes, Martin Mariners, joined the search. Hope was rapidly fading for Flight 19 by then. The weather was getting rough and the Avengers were very low on fuel.
The two Martin Mariners were supposed to rendezvous at the search zone. The second one, designated Training 49, never showed up.
The last transmission from Flight 19 was heard at 7:04 P.M. Planes searched the area through the night and the next day. There was no sign of the Avengers.
What happened to the missing Martin Mariner? The crew of the SS Gaines Mill observed an explosion over the water shortly after the Mariner had taken off. They headed toward the site and there they saw what looked like oil and airplane debris floating on the surface. None of it was recovered because of the bad weather, but there seems little doubt this was the remains of the Mariner. The plane had a reputation as being a 'flying bomb' which would burst into flame from even a single, small spark. Speculation is that one of 22 men on board, unaware that the unpressurized cabin contained gas fumes, lit a cigarette, causing the explosion.
So how did this tragedy turn into a Bermuda Triangle mystery? The Navy's original investigation concluded the accident had been caused by Taylor's confusion. Taylor's mother refused to accept that and finally got the Navy to change the report to read that the disaster was for "causes or reasons unknown." This may have spared the woman's feelings, but blurred the actual facts.
The saga of Flight 19 is probably the most repeated story about the Bermuda Triangle. The planes, and their pilots, even found their way into the science fiction film classic, 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind.'
Where is Flight 19 now? In 1991 five Avengers were found in 600 feet of water off the coast of Florida by the salvage ship Deep Sea. Examination of the planes showed that they were not Flight 19, however, so the final resting place of the planes, and their crews is still the Bermuda Triangle's secret.
The plane's remains were discovered at the melt end of a glacier, suggesting that either the crew did not pay attention to their instruments, suffered an instrument failure or did not allow for headwind effects from the jetstream on the way to Santiago when it hit a mountain peak, with the resulting avalanche burying the remains and incorporating it into the glacier. However, this is mere speculation with regard to the Star Tiger and Star Ariel, pending the recovery of the aircraft. It should be noted that the Star Tiger was flying at a height of just 2,000 feet (610 m), which would have meant that if the plane was forced down, there would have been no time to send out a distress message. It is also far too low for the jetstream or any other high-altitude wind to have any effect.
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 in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard photographed the wreck and recovered several bodies despite one Triangle author stating 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 (Limbo of the Lost by John Wallace Spencer, 1973 edition).
The NOVA / Horizon episode The Case of the Bermuda Triangle (June 27, 2006) 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 not accurate, but its producers continue to market it. They have therefore claimed that the market is biased in favour of books, TV specials, et cetera. which support the Triangle mystery and against well-researched material if it espouses a skeptical viewpoint.
Finally, if the Triangle is assumed to cross land, such as parts of Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, or Bermuda itself, there is no evidence for the disappearance of any land-based vehicles or persons. Located inside the Triangle, Freeport operates a major shipyard, an airport which yearly handles 50,000 flights and is visited by over a million tourists annually.
Bermuda Triangle Wikipedia
List of Bermuda Triangle Incidents Wikipedia
Contrary to several claims, neither the Devil's Sea nor the Bermuda Triangle is located on the agonic line, where the magnetic north equals the geographic north. The magnetic declination in this area is about 6 degrees. As is the case with all things mysterious, there are many theories regarding the Devil's Sea. One of the most prominent is that there is a large amount of volcanic activity around the area, and an underwater volcano could obliterate a ship without a trace.
Christopher Columbus wrote in his diary about this sea. In fact, it so fooled his crew that it almost led them to mutiny. There exists the possibility exists of never leaving this legendary sea, he wrote. Another fascinating feature he noted is its ability to draw things in from all over the Atlantic. Some even claim it to be the "catch-basin" of the Atlantic.
Columbus' crew was greatly disappointed when seaweed and land birds were sighted, but after a few days no land was to be seen. Soon after, Columbus wrote, My compass acts strangely. I will not report this to my crew because of their deep superstitions about the area. Days later, Columbus saw a large meteor fall from the sky. He wrote, A large ball of light has fallen from the sky. It is unsure whether he mentions this occurrence in awe, because of its great size, or in fright. Later on their journey, in that area, Columbus and several of his crew members sighted unexplained dancing lights on the horizon. They wandered around for over a week before finally sighting land.
There are numerous stories of the supposed appearance of strange creatures, unexplained vanishings, time standing still, slowing to a crawl, or speeding up, or other weird happenings.
One well-documented and well-known case includes that of Captain George R. Donner, who commanded the Great Lakes freighter O.M. McFarland. While on a journey back from Erie, Pennsylvania after picking up 9,800 tons of coal, the ship made course westward through the lakes. It was slow going due to late-spring ice floes, but the ship was making steady progress toward its destination, Port Washington, Wisconsin, when Donner disappeared.
On the night of April 28, 1937, the captain took to his cabin, with instructions to be awakened as the ship drew near to port. About three hours later, with Port Washington growing close, the second mate appeared at the captain's cabin, prepared to awake him, but found no one. He and the crew searched the ship, but the captain was nowhere to be seen. The mate reported that the cabin door was locked from the inside, adding to the mystery of the triangle. Reportedly, the ship was in the dead center of the triangle when the captain disappeared.
Another disappearance took place on June 23, 1950, and involved a Northwest Airlines DC-4 aircraft carrying fifty-five passengers and three crew members. This flight 2501 had departed from New York City and was due to land at Minneapolis. The last radio contact recorded with the plane was that it was 3,500 feet over Battle Creek, Michigan and was going to change its course to a northwesterly path over Lake Michigan, due to bad weather near Chicago. After this, the plane was never seen again, nor were the occupants. Even after an extensive search by the Coast Guard, only a blanket with the airline's logo was found. Once again, the aircraft was in the center of the supposed triangle when it disappeared.
Edgar Cayce said that the Bahama Banks were the last part of Atlantis to sink, and the last place where these glorious advanced electromagnetic machines went below the ocean. He prophezied that elements of Atlantis would rise in 1968 and 1969. The Bimini Wall or Road was discovered off the coast of Bimini in 1968.
The electromagnetic anomalies in the area, Childress states, are linked to advanced technologies under the water in the Bermuda Triangle that are still active. This goes to ancient mysteries, and perhaps ancient astronauts, about powerful Atlantean crystal technology developed being buried beneath the ocean floor when Atlantis sank into the sea due to cataclysmic events over 10,000 years ago.
This theory takes the viewer to the events of the Philadelphia Experiment in 1943 - rips in space-time in the Atlantic region - government secret projects and more.
USO's - Unidentified Submerged Objects
Dr. Ray Brown's Alleged Subterranean Crystal Pyramid Experience