The Bermuda Triangle is a mythical section of the Atlantic Ocean roughly bounded by Miami, Bermuda and Puerto Rico where dozens of ships and airplanes have disappeared. Unexplained circumstances surround some of these accidents, including one in which the pilots of a squadron of U.S. Navy bombers became disoriented while flying over the area; the planes were never found. Other boats and planes have seemingly vanished from the area in good weather without even radioing distress messages. But although myriad fanciful theories have been proposed regarding the Bermuda Triangle, none of them prove that mysterious disappearances occur more frequently there than in other well-traveled sections of the ocean. In fact, people navigate the area every day without incident.
Legend of the Bermuda Triangle
The area referred to as the Bermuda Triangle, or Devil’s Triangle, covers about 500,000 square miles of ocean off the southeastern tip of Florida. When Christopher Columbus sailed through the area on his first voyage to the New World, he reported that a great flame of fire (probably a meteor) crashed into the sea one night and that a strange light appeared in the distance a few weeks later. He also wrote about erratic compass readings, perhaps because at that time a sliver of the Bermuda Triangle was one of the few places on Earth where true north and magnetic north lined up.
Did you know? After gaining widespread fame as the first person to sail solo around the globe, Joshua Slocum disappeared on a 1909 voyage from Martha’s Vineyard to South America. Though it’s unclear exactly what happened, many sources later attributed his death to the Bermuda Triangle.
William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest,” which some scholars claim was based on a real-life Bermuda shipwreck, may have enhanced the area’s aura of mystery. Nonetheless, reports of unexplained disappearances did not really capture the public’s attention until the 20th century. An especially infamous tragedy occurred in March 1918 when the USS Cyclops, a 542-foot-long Navy cargo ship with over 300 men and 10,000 tons of manganese ore onboard, sank somewhere between Barbados and the Chesapeake Bay. The Cyclops never sent out an SOS distress call despite being equipped to do so, and an extensive search found no wreckage. “Only God and the sea know what happened to the great ship,” U.S. President Woodrow Wilson later said. In 1941 two of the Cyclops’ sister ships similarly vanished without a trace along nearly the same route.
A pattern allegedly began forming in which vessels traversing the Bermuda Triangle would either disappear or be found abandoned. Then, in December 1945, five Navy bombers carrying 14 men took off from a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, airfield in order to conduct practice bombing runs over some nearby shoals. But with his compasses apparently malfunctioning, the leader of the mission, known as Flight 19, got severely lost. All five planes flew aimlessly until they ran low on fuel and were forced to ditch at sea. That same day, a rescue plane and its 13-man crew also disappeared. After a massive weeks-long search failed to turn up any evidence, the official Navy report declared that it was “as if they had flown to Mars.”
Bermuda Triangle Theories and Counter-Theories
By the time author Vincent Gaddis coined the phrase “Bermuda Triangle” in a 1964 magazine article, additional mysterious accidents had occurred in the area, including three passenger planes that went down despite having just sent “all’s well” messages. Charles Berlitz, whose grandfather founded the Berlitz language schools, stoked the legend even further in 1974 with a sensational bestseller about the legend. Since then, scores of fellow paranormal writers have blamed the triangle’s supposed lethalness on everything from aliens, Atlantis and sea monsters to time warps and reverse gravity fields, whereas more scientifically minded theorists have pointed to magnetic anomalies, waterspouts or huge eruptions of methane gas from the ocean floor.
In all probability, however, there is no single theory that solves the mystery. As one skeptic put it, trying to find a common cause for every Bermuda Triangle disappearance is no more logical than trying to find a common cause for every automobile accident in Arizona. Moreover, although storms, reefs and the Gulf Stream can cause navigational challenges there, maritime insurance leader Lloyd’s of London does not recognize the Bermuda Triangle as an especially hazardous place. Neither does the U.S. Coast Guard, which says: “In a review of many aircraft and vessel losses in the area over the years, there has been nothing discovered that would indicate that casualties were the result of anything other than physical causes. No extraordinary factors have ever been identified.”
Location of the Bermuda Triangle
Vincent Hayes Gaddis invented the name ‘Bermuda Triangle’.
The American author, Vincent Hayes Gaddis, invented the name ‘ Bermuda Triangle’ and first used it on the cover article in the February 1964 issue of Argosy magazine. He publicized several stories of paranormal and peculiar phenomena in the Bermuda Triangle.
Stories about the Bermuda Triangle began in the time of Christopher Columbus.
These are Bermuda Triangle facts that started it all. Some people believe that stories about the mysterious events in the Bermuda Triangle began with Italian colonizer Christopher Columbus. Based on his accounts, on October 8, 1492, Columbus looked at his compass. He noticed that it gave unusual readings. The compass did not point in the magnetic north, a point on the Earth’s surface where its magnetic field points directly downwards.
Edward Van Winkle Jones was one of the first to write about the Bermuda Triangle.
The journalist Edward Van Winkle Jones was one of the first to document the disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle in a 1950 article in The Miami Herald. He reported the disappearance of ships and planes in the area, including five US Navy torpedo bombers that vanished on December 5, 1945, as he said: “they were swallowed without a trace.”
George Sand wrote about the loss of several planes and ships in the Bermuda Triangle.
The French romantic writer George Sand wrote a short article, “Sea Mystery at Our Back Door,” published in Fate magazine (a US magazine about paranormal phenomena). It covered the loss of ships and planes in the Bermuda Triangle, including Flight 19.
Flight 19 was the code name for Five Grumman Avenger bomber planes that took off from the naval base in Florida on December 15, 1945, but never returned. Sand’s article was one of the first to lay out the triangular area where the disappearance took place, and also one of the first to suggest the supernatural element to the incident.
Flight 19 disappeared in Bermuda Triangle on December 5, 1945.
Flight 19 was a group of five TBM-type aircraft or military aircraft that disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle on December 5, 1945. They lost contact with the United States Navy while having their routine navigation and combat exercise. All crew members were never found again. The navy investigators could not identify the real cause of the loss of Flight 19.
Cyclops was one of the biggest ships that disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.
Cyclops was approximately 550 feet long with more than 300 crew and about 11,000 tons or 9,979,032.1 kilograms of manganese aboard. Since 1910, the ship had been sailing the Baltic Sea, Caribbean, and Mexico, assisting the shipping of coal around the world, and helping refugees. Cyclops also became a naval asset, transporting coal to fuel other ships and troops.
Cyclops vanished in the Bermuda Triangle without a trace.
While returning from a voyage to Brazil, the Cyclops vanished in Bermuda Triangle in early March 1918. The ship sank in somewhere between the area of the Chesapeake Bay and Barbados. Despite being equipped to send an SOS distress call or Save Our Ship signal, it did not do so. Even after a thorough search, there was no discovery of the ship’s remains. Interestingly, after more than 100 years now, its fate remains unknown.
The loss of Star Tiger aircraft was also one unsolved incident in the Bermuda Triangle.
British South American Airways, an airline in the United Kingdom, owned and operated the Star Tiger. It is a passenger aircraft that disappeared in the North Atlantic ocean without a trace when it was between Santa Maria in the Azores and Bermuda on January 30, 1948. The loss of the aircraft added to the mysterious nature of the Bermuda Triangle.
The disappearance of Douglas DC 3 occurred on December 28, 1948.
Douglas DC 3 is a propeller-driven aircraft and one of the most reliable aircraft designed and built in the 1940s. However, it was no match for the supernatural. The Douglas DC 3 disappeared as it was passing through the Bermuda Triangle on December 28, 1948, on its flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami, Florida. The aircraft contained three crew members and 29 passengers. The official investigation could not determine the probable cause of the loss and remains unsolved.
A cabin cruiser named ‘Witchcraft’ disappeared in Bermuda Triangle in 1967.
‘Witchcraft’ was a 23-foot luxury yacht that left Miami. Onboard was Captain Dan Burack and his friend, Father Patrick Horgan. After reaching the shore, the captain called the coast guard stating that their ship hit something, but there was no considerable damage.
The coast guard set off immediately to help or tow the ‘Witchcraft.’ However, upon reaching the location, there were no signs of any ship being stranded or any evidence of it ever being there. What’s more intriguing is that the yacht has numerous life-saving devices including life jackets, lifeboats, flares, distress signal devices, but none of them were used – the ship disappeared without a trace.
The mystery of Carroll A. Deering is one of the most famous incidents in maritime history.
Carroll A. Deering was a huge cargo ship. It measured 255 feet long, 44 feet wide, and weighed 1,879 tons. The owner named the ship after his son. It was built in Bath, Maine for commercial use. Carroll A. Deering has been in service for just one year before the mysterious incident happened in Bermuda Triangle.
Carroll A. Deering is famous for being a ‘Ghost Ship’.
On January 31, 1921, a surfer found Deering wrecked on Diamond Shoals off Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, and all of its crew was gone. Reportedly, two days before the discovery of the ship, a crew member yelled that the ship had lost its anchor and continued sailing on. To this day, speculation on the disappearance of all the crew members continues. There’s still no clear explanation for the incident.
Methane hydrates could be one cause of the disappearance of ships in the Bermuda Triangle.
Some researchers believe that the presence of methane hydrates, (a form of natural gas), in the ocean could be one cause of the disappearances. Some laboratory experiments proved that bubbles could sink a ship by decreasing water density. Moreover, some studies also show that periodic methane eruption may create bubbling water which cannot provide buoyancy.
Waterspouts or tornadoes could also be one reason for the mysterious disappearances.
Several waterspouts or tornadoes occur in the Bermuda Triangle, and during this phenomenon, water from the ocean rises hundreds or even thousands of feet from the air. In addition to tornadoes, strong water current moving along the edge of the Bermuda Triangle can easily overturn a ship. These waves can be hundreds of feet high and could knock out planes that fly close to the water.
A magnetic phenomenon in Bermuda Triangle could also cause disappearances.
As mentioned above, Bermuda Triangle is one of the places on earth where compasses point towards the true north, (the geographic North Pole), instead of pointing to the magnetic north, (the shifting magnetic North Pole). Some theories suggest that this phenomenon is why some captains and pilots complain about compasses not working properly and going in the wrong direction.
Some theories suggest that the Bermuda Triangle is a portal for aliens.
According to other wild theories, some writers say that UFOs could be one reason for the disappearance of ships and planes in the Bermuda Triangle. They say that the area is an alien portal, which aliens use to travel to and from their home planet. Moreover, Bermuda Triangle is like a gathering station for aliens, a place where they abduct people, ships, and planes for research.
Some sci-fi enthusiasts believe that Bermuda Triangle is a ‘wormhole’.
Some science fiction enthusiasts believe that the Bermuda Triangle is a ‘wormhole,’ or like a time machine, it connects two points in space-time. Though wormholes haven’t proven to exist, some people could not avoid associating them with the mysterious disappearance of ships and planes in the Bermuda Triangle.
Human error can be a common scenario in the Bermuda Triangle.
One of the most common explanations for the unusual disappearance of planes and ships in the Bermuda Triangle is human error. The area has several islands that are difficult to distinguish from another, which may be confusing. Disorientation or confusion of pilots and captains may result in a deadly situation, like running out of fuel before reaching the shore.
Strange clouds form above the Bermuda Triangle.
Some meteorologists studied the Bermuda Triangle to find the real reason behind all these mysterious stories. They used satellite imagery and saw hexagonal-shaped clouds forming above the Bermuda Triangle. According to meteorologists, these cloud configurations could be the cause of some of the mysteries plaguing the Bermuda Triangle.
They’re formed by microbursts, blasts of air that come from the bottom of the clouds and hit the ocean, and they create waves that can sometimes be very big once they begin to interact with one another. Meteorologists say these formations have the power to bring down planes and ships. They can reach 170 mph, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane.
The number of disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle is not that significant despite its fame.
Interestingly, the percentage of disappearance in the Bermuda Triangle is not that significant despite its reputation. In other words, every incident that happens there between now and then was highlighted so much due to its history.