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Posted on Sunday, December 28 - 2003

user posted imageCharles Frambach Berlitz, 90, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, an author of several popular books on unexplained phenomena, died December 18, 2003, at University Hospital in Tamarac..A great linguist in his own right, born of a family responsible for a worldwide consortium of language schools, Charles Berlitz is to be credited with internationally popularizing the phenomena known today as "The Bermuda Triangle," due in large part to a book he wrote thirty years ago.Berlitz became interested in mysteries in advance of his authorship of The Bermuda Triangle, however. During visits to Florida (before he and his wife moved there in the 1980s), Berlitz began looking into local phenomena. His first book onwonders would be The Mystery of Atlantis (NY: Grosset and Dunlap, 1969).

This work gave broad attention to Edgar Cayce's prediction that part of the lost continent of Atlantis would come from the sea near Bimini in the late 1960's. Berlitz used as his main source and later collaborator Dr. Mason Valentine, who first reported the mysterious "Bimini Wall," and advanced them as evidence of Atlantis. In 1970, Berlitz's book Mysteries from Forgotten Worlds was penned during the ancient astronauts mania, and covered some of the same topics as Erich von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods. However, as opposed to blaming outer space visitors for constructing the Bimini Island ruins, Easter Island statures, the Great Pyramid, the Nazca lines, and other such monuments, as von Daniken had, Berlitz theorized these structures were theremnants of lost civilizations.Berlitz's book The Bermuda Triangle was published in 1974 by Doubleday, and enjoyed an extremely popular following. Berlitz's retelling of the accounts of plane and ship disappearances specific to an area roughly between Florida and Bermuda captivated readers. Although book reviewers would take Berlitz to task for sensationalizing the vanishings, sales were never diminished by the critiques. Berlitz's The Bermuda Triangle sold 5,000,000 hardbound editions around the world, in many languages. Later paperbacks would sell more copies.

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