On 5 December 1945, disaster was about to strike the personnel of Fort Lauderdale in Florida. That afternoon five torpedo-bombers took off on a routine training flight. Soon, things began to go wrong.The flight leader reported equipment malfunctions, gyro-compasses went crazy, and he lost his horizon. Finally, he reported that he was lost. This happened just off the Florida coast and, as the day progressed, the weather worsened rapidly. Two hours later, the aircraft disappeared and were never seen again. No bodies were found and no wreckage spotted.In isolation, the tragedy was not unprecedented. Disorientation is easy to achieve over water and, if lost, it is easy to fly untilyour fuel runs out, simply falling from the sky.
The lack of evidence of a crash was unusual but, again, it has happened before.
But what do
we make of a sixth plane - part of the search and rescue operation -
blowing up less than half an hour after take-off, with total loss of
A Catalogue of Disaster
The above is one of the
major episodes of what has become known as the Bermuda Triangle. Others
include the loss of two aircraft in 1948, taking sixty lives. In 1950 a
freighter disappeared with all hands. 1963 saw a triple tragedy with
the loss of another freighter and three large aircraft.
Indeed, if you add up the
minor incidents as well you come up with a continuous list of
mysterious disappearances of over 140 ships and planes and a thousand
lives. Thegreatest tragedy happened in March 1918. Sailing from
Barbados to Norfolk, Virginia, the US Navy Supply Vessel Cyclops
disappeared without trace, taking three hundred lives.
The Bermuda Triangle
stretches from Bermuda to Cuba, and along the US coast from Miami to
New York. Sceptics would argue there is no mystery as traffic is so
dense that disasters are inevitable. But a whole industry of the
fantastic has been built up to explain such disappearances.
Vincent Gaddis blamed a space-time continuum touching our dimension at this point.
Charles Berlitz put it down
to UFO activity and time warps. A Dr Kenneth McCall postulated the
tormented souls of black slaves thrown overboard to be cursing the area.
Ivan Sanderson suggesteda
everyone knows of the Bermuda Triangle, that mysterious area in the Atlantic
where ships and planes have been disappearing without a trace. All manner of
bizarre occurrences have been reported there, from magnetic anomalies to freak
storms and waves, to the complete cessation of all electrical activity. On
almost the exact opposite side of the planet, in the Pacific Ocean off the coast
of Japan, there is a similar, though less widely known, mystery of the sea. The
Japanese call it the Ma-no Umi: the Sea of the Devil, but it is also known as
the Dragon's Triangle or Dragon Sea. The area has been designated a "Danger
Zone" by the Japanese government, and even the United States Air Force has
expressed concern over aircraft disappearances there.
... the Dragon Triangle in the Western
Pacific forms a generally triangular pattern. It follows a line from western
Japan north of Tokyo to a point in the Pacific at approximately latitude 145
degrees east. It then turns west-southwest past the Ogasawara Shinto (the Bonin
Islands) and then down to Guam and Yap, west to Taiwan and then returns
north-northeast back to Japan, near the measuring point of Nojima Zaki on the
Bay of Tokyo. - Charles Berlitz, describing the location of the Dragon's
Triangle. With his 1989 book The Dragon's Triangle, acclaimed linguist and
author Charles Berlitz seeks to present a definitive guide to the Dragon
Triangle. He begins by describing the area in general terms and noting some of
the strange phenomena found there: mysterious lights, unexplained
disappearances, sudden fogs and storms, and so forth. He makes the inevitable
comparison to the Bermuda Triangle off the coast of Florida, a theme to which he
returns throughout the book. The two areas are on opposite sides of the Earth in
both longitude and latitude, and both are located on the eastern edges of
continental shelves, where the ocean floor drops off into deep trenches where
strong currents sweep over actively volcanic areas...
In 1975 a librarian by the name of Larry Kusche published a book entitled The
Bermuda Triangle Mystery-Solved. In the book Kusche revealed that many of the
strange accidents and disappearances reported in the Bermuda Triangle were not
so "paranormal" after all. In many accounts, he discovered that when a writer
had noted that a ship went down in calm waters, a raging storm had caused the
ship to sink, or when other ships were reported to have mysteriously vanished,
their remains had been found and the cause of the disaster explained. Of course, Kusche's theories have been debated and although others have
claimed to solve the mysterious accidents and disappearances in the Bermuda
Triangle, it can still to this day comfortably fit into the realm of unsolved
The Bermuda Triangle or "devil's triangle" is an imaginary triangle
stretching from Norfolk to the island of Bermuda and back to Puerto Rico . The
term "Bermuda Triangle" was first used in an article written for Argosy magazine
in 1964. The author claimed that in this strange expanse of sea a number of
planes and ships had disappeared without explanation. Although it was the first
time the term was used, the mystery of the triangle was already known. Actually,
as early as 1492, Christopher Columbus reported that while he sailed through the
area, his compass went haywire and he spotted a ball of fire in the sky. This
could easily be explained away as a meteor and the trouble with his compass as a
discrepancy between true north and magnetic north that exists in the triangle. Another famous encounter is the discovery of the abandoned ship Mary Celeste
in 1892. There was no sign of the captain, his family, and the eight crew
members or what happened to them. Save for one lifeboat, all the supplies had
been left on the ship. It appeared that they had abandoned ship quickly, but
why? And the most famous of all strange occurences in the triangle: the
disappearance of the five navy avenger bombers of Flight 19, is to this day
blamed on the deadly triangle...
The Bermuda Triangle (a.k.a. the Devil's Triangle) is a triangular area in the Atlantic
Ocean bounded roughly at its points by Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. Legend has it that
many people, ships and planes have mysteriously vanished in this area. How many have
mysteriously disappeared depends on who is doing the locating and the counting. The size
of the triangle varies from 500,000 square miles to three times that size, depending on
the imagination of the author. (Some include the Azores, the Gulf of Mexico, and the West
Indies in the "triangle.") Some trace the mystery back to the time of Columbus.
Even so, estimates range from about 200 to no more than 1,000 incidents in the past 500
years. Howard Rosenberg claims
that in 1973 the U.S. Coast Guard answered more than 8,000 distress calls in the area and
that more than 50 ships and 20 planes have gone down in the Bermuda
Triangle within the last century.
Many theories have been given to explain the extraordinary mystery of these missing
ships and planes. Evil
extraterrestrials, residue crystals from Atlantis, evil humans with anti-gravity devices
or other weird technologies, and vile vortices from the fourth dimension
are favorites among fantasy writers. Strange magnetic fields and oceanic flatulence (methane gas from
the bottom of the ocean) are favorites among the technically-minded. Weather
(thunderstorms, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, high waves, currents, etc.) bad luck,
pirates, explosive cargoes, incompetent navigators, and other natural and human causes are
favorites among skeptical investigators. There are some skeptics who argue that the facts do not support the
legend, that there is no mystery to be solved, and nothing that needs
explaining.The number of
wrecks in this area is not extraordinary, given its size, location
and the amount of traffic it receives. Many of the ships and planes that
have been identified as having disappeared mysteriously in the Bermuda
Triangle were not in the Bermuda Triangle at all...