The Media Blitz
The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil’s Triangle and Hoodoo Sea, birthed its legend on September 09, 1950 in a strange Associated Press dispatch. E.V.W. Jones penned an article on a strange anomaly he had stumbled across. It seemed as if a unusual number of planes and ships had been disappearing in the ocean between Florida and Bermuda.
Two years later, in 1952, Fate magazine published an article, Sea Mystery at Our Back Door, by George X. Sand who wrote of a “series of strange marine disappearances, each leaving no trace whatsoever, that have taken place in the past few years in a watery triangle bounded roughly by Florida, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico”.
In 1974, Charles Berlitz published his infamous book, The Bermuda Triangle. Although some discount the book as sensationalism (in some instances it is indeed extreme and full of inaccuracies), it sold thousands of copies and put the Bermuda Triangle squarely in the minds of people around the world.
Over 200 separate mysterious disappearances have been attributed to the Devil’s Triangle, including massive vessels such as the USS Cyclops and the SS Marine Sulphur Queen.
Christopher Columbus’ logs
In 1492, Christopher Columbus made several interesting recordings in his log during his journey through the Devil’s Triangle. He told of strange magnetic deviances in his navigation instruments. Strange lights were seen on the distant horizon and in the sky. He even recorded in his log a “great flame of fire” that crashed into the ocean.
The Mary Celeste
A legendary mysterious event occurred inside the Triangle in 1872. The Mary Celeste had departed on November 7, 1872 for Genoa. On December 4, 1872, the crew of the Dei Gratia spotted the vessel and noted the ship was sailing very erratically. When they turned and approached the ship they were astonished to find it completely empty. The lifeboat was missing even though the ship appeared to be in perfect condition.
The USS Cyclops
Around March 1, 1918, the US Navy’s USS Cyclops departed the island of Barbados carrying a crew of 309. Three days later, the ship and crew vanished without a trace. It was the largest loss of life in the history of the US Navy. Two of Cyclop’s sister ships, the Proteus and Nereus, subsequently went missing in the same area.
The Carroll A. Deering
In 1921, a five-masted schooner, the Carroll A. Deering, with a crew of 12 men, set sail for Hampton Roads. On January 28 a lighthouse keeper spotted the ship and noticed its crew milling around on the deck. Three days later, on January 31, 1921, the Carroll A. was found abandoned near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The kitchen and dining area had foodstuffs prepared for the crew’s next meal but no trace of its crew could be found. At roughly the same time, the SS Hewitt, a steel-hulled freighter, disappeared in the same area.
The disappearance of Flight 19 ranks at the very top of Bermuda Triangle lore. On December 5, 1945, five Navy Avengers vanished while on a routine training mission over the Atlantic. Patrol leader Lt. Charles Taylor (an experienced pilot who was familiar with the area) had radioed Florida with the bizarre message:
“Control tower this is an emergency. We seem to be off course. We seem to be lost. We can’t make out where we are.”. When told to head due west they replied “Everything looks wrong, even the ocean looks strange“.
A Navy search was initiated that lasted for weeks. From the onset, it was apparent the search was in trouble. A Martin Mariner blew up 23 minutes into its flight and during the search, a PBM Mariner with a 13-man crew vanished. No trace was ever found of the aircraft or crew.
On December 27, 1948, a commercial flight carrying 32 people traveling from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami, Florida, met a similar fate. The Douglas DC-3 numbered NC-16002, radioed Miami that they were 50 miles out and ready to receive landing instructions. Miami radioed back the instructions and awaited a reply of confirmation. None was ever received. After 3 hours, a search and rescue team was sent out to find the missing aircraft. In calm seas and clear weather, no trace was found of the craft or its passengers.
Some of the more esoteric theories include alien abductions, time warps, strange magnetic fields, and black holes. Some have even theorized that the ancient city of Atlantis existed in this area (Edgar Cayce gave a reading in 1932 that placed the city of Atlantis precisely in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle) and that leftover technology from the mythical advanced civilization somehow affects modern transportation vessels.
Debunkers have been quick to offer rational explanations for all the mysterious events. Two items met the public’s eye during 1975 that served to demystify the Bermuda Triangle mystery for many people. In 1975, The Bermuda Triangle Mystery – Solved was published. In this book, Larry Kusche set out to disprove prior theories by offering common, everyday explanations for these unusual events including bad weather and monster waves. He also proposed logical explanations for the events. For instance, could the flame of fire that Columbus saw been a more sensible meteor? How about the fact that the Flight 19 patrol leader’s craft had a malfunctioning compass? Could Lt. Charles Taylor simply missed Florida and sailed his crew straight off into the Gulf of Mexico never to be seen again? Could the extreme depths of the Atlantic (the deepest Ocean in the world) or its strong current explain the lack of physical evidence being found after these disasters? Or do marine disasters that occur in other parts of the world simply merit less media attention that the legendary Devil’s Triangle?
To many though, these explanations are mere shots-in-the-dark, and attempt to explain an area on earth that behaves as if it is a living organism, devouring ships, planes, and people at will.
August 2, 2018 – Scientist propose Bermuda Triangle disappearances due to huge, rogue waves
In early August 2018, BBC aired a three-part series about the Bermuda Triangle. In it, UK scientists proposed the missing vessels could have been overcome by giant and unexpected “rogue waves”. This theory is not new and has been proposed as far back as the 1970’s. This of course, would only apply to ships and not the many aircraft that have disappeared over the area.