Ships, airplanes, helicopters and men – they have all been sucked into the Bermuda Triangle at some point of time or the other. None of them have ever returned. It is impossible to provide details of the first such disappearance because of erratic record keeping over the years, but it was the U.S. Navy that first brought the Bermuda Triangle mystery into the limelight.
On 5 December 1945, five Avenger torpedo bombers of the US Navy took off from Fort Lauderdale on a routine training flight over the Atlantic. They did not return. A large Mariner flying boat sent to search for the missing aircraft also failed to return. No trace has ever been found of the six planes or the 27-crew members. As a result of this incident, it was discovered that quite a few ships and aircraft had also been lost, apparently without explanation in the triangular area off the south-east coast of the United States bounded by Bermuda, Puerto-Rico and Florida.
Every investigator worth his salt has postulated a number of theories that attempt to satisfactorily explain the mysterious happenings at the Bermuda triangle. Some of the more bizarre explanations include extra-terrestrials, the presence of a huge magnet, the position of the moon, sudden appearing of giant waves, time/space warps, electrostatic charges, and the return of the inhabitants of the lost city Atlanta. There have been innumerable books that have been written regarding the unusual phenomenon which take place in this area.
One of the problems faced by those documenting the missing ships and aircrafts is the fact that there is lack of reliable data. Insurance companies seldom insure smaller aircrafts and ships. This area comes under the aegis of the U.S. Navy but the US Coast Guard SAR (Search and Rescue) publishes yearly statistics for calls of assistance, causes of accidents, weather, deaths, and conditions. But missing vessels are not included. However it is generally believed that around 20 aircrafts and 50 vessels have gone missing over the years. In 1492, shortly after leaving the Canary Islands, Christopher Columbus recorded in his ship’s log that he and his crew had observed a large ball of fire fall into the sea and that the ship’s compass showed erratic readings while in the Sargasso Sea and Triangle.
One of the more credible theories seems to belong to Dr Richard McIver, who centers his explanation on the presence of methane hydrate. Methane hydrate was first encountered in the 1920s and 1930s in the early days of the American and Soviet gas industries. Natural gases (a mixture of flammable gases found in the Earth’s crust, methane, ethane, butane and propane) were being piped across the Atlantic but occasionally the pipes would become mysteriously plugged up.
All gases except for helium, hydrogen and neon can form hydrates if enough gas and water are present, if the pressure is high enough and if the temperature is low enough. These conditions can be found naturally occurring on earth, and methane hydrate has been found to exist in huge quantities in many parts of the sea floor and is concentrated in some places on continental slopes such as the Bermuda Triangle. The structure of the molecule of methane hydrate is such that it facilitates the capturing of a large amount of gas. If this were to break-up, then even a small area could cause a large gas release.
Sediment piles on continental slopes have the tendency to accumulate on the slopes of the edge of continental plates. But it is unstable and can tumble down. When this happens, it can cause the removal of the hydrate layer, releasing the methane gas trapped below. Methane gas bubbling up through the sea will cause an area of decreased density; ships will lie lower in the water and will be swamped by the least wave; also methane gas when mixed with air in the correct proportions is highly explosive. This could account for the mysterious disappearances of both ships and aircraft.
All this activity on the sea bed occurs at the edges of tectonic plates, where there is constant activity as a result of the pressures beneath the earth’s crust; any wreckage sinking to the bottom would be lost forever beneath the moving plates.
The latest myth that is doing the rounds is that there have been disappearances in the Indian and Pacific oceans, this means that the Bermuda Triangle is widening in scope.
List Of Lost Vessels
A fairly extensive list of lost vessels is the following (in chronological order):
SEA VESSEL INFO DATE LOCATION The Sea Venture, sailing ship 1609 Right off Bermuda Its rescue boat 1609 Right off Bermuda Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe’s three accompanying galleons 1750 North Carolina coast Patriot, packet ship carrying aaron Burr’s daughter 1812 In Gulf Stream Wasp, US warship 1814 Off coast of S. Carolina Rosalie, a French vessel 1840 Found derelict, sails set, cargo intact, all crew missing Mary Celeste 1872 British Frigate “Atalanta”, 290 aboard 1880 Vanished pressumambly near Bermuda German Bark “Freya” 1902 Found after leaving Cuba, listing badly, partly dismasted, anchor dangling, crew missing The Spray, sloop 1909 The Cyclops, USN fuel ship 1918 On way from Barbados to Norfolk, Va “Raifucu Maru”, Japanese freighter 1924 Radioed for help but was never found S.S. “Cotopaxi” 1925 Vanished en route from Charleston to Havana Porta Noca, passenger ship 1926 Took off from Isle of Pines near Cuba “Stavenger” freighter with crew of 43 1931 No trace was ever found. Last message received from Cat Island Two masted “John and Mary” 1932 Found floating but abandoned 50 miles south of Bermuda, sails furled, hull freshly painted. “Anglo-Australian”, freighter with crew of 39 1938 Last message from near Azores Yacht “Gloria Colite” 1940 Abandoned, everything in order Cuban freighter “Rubicon” 1944 No crew on board except a dog. Yacht “Connemara IV” 1955 Intact but no crew Sandra, freighter 1957 Out from Savannah Renovoc, yacht 1958 Took off from Key West “Marine Sulphur Queen”, 425 foot freighter 1963 Vanished, no message sent, no debris found The Enchantress 1965 50 miles southwest of Charleston, S. Carolina Witchcraft 1967 Off Miami Scorpion, nuclear powered sub 1968 Off the Azores “Milton Iatrides”, freighter 1970 No trace was ever found “Anita” 20,000 ton freighter with crew of 32 1973 No trace was ever found AIRCRAFT INFO DATE LOCATION Flight 19, 5 avenger bombers 1945 Coming back from Bimini Martin Mariner, PBM flying boat in search 1945 From Patrick AFB Star Tiger, commercial airliner 1948 En route from Azores to Bermuda DC-3 charter flight 1949 US Army C-54 1947 100 miles off Bermuda Star Ariel, commercial airliner 1950 En route to Kingston Globemaster March 1950 en route to Ireland York Transport (British) Feb. 2, 1952 en route to Jamaica, 39 on board 1954 Super Constellation (Navy) Oct. 30, 1954 42 on board Navy Martin patrol seaplane P5M Nov. 9, 1956 near Bermuda Air Force Tanker, KB-50 Jan. 8, 1962 Langley field VA to Azores Air Force Tender 1962 En route Va. to Azores Private plane 1962 Off Nassau C-119 Flying Boxcar June 5, 1965 ten aboard U.S. Superfortress 1962 – 1975 British Army Transport 1962 – 1975 Two US Navy Patrol planes 1962 – 1975
Theories & Explanations
There are more theories concerning the Bermuda Triangle than there are people in the world (more or less). None the less I am going to attempt to tackle the grand task of gathering a collection of them.
Realistic Theories (Debunking The Myth)
Larry Kusche’s Research
In 1975 a librarian at Arizona State University, named Larry Kusche, decided to investigate the claims made by these articles and books. What he found he published in his own book entitled The Bermuda Triangle Mystery-Solved. Kusche had carefully dug into records other writers had neglected. He found that many of the strange accidents were not so strange after all. Often a triangle writer had noted a ship or plane had disappeared in “calms seas” when the record showed a raging storm had been in progress. Others said ships had “mysteriously vanished” when their remains had actually been found and the cause of their sinking explained.
More significantly a check of Lloyd’s of London’s accident records by the editor of Fate in 1975 showed that the triangle was a no more dangerous part of the ocean than any other. U.S. Coast Guard records confirmed this and since that time no good arguments have ever been made to refute those statistics. So the Bermuda Triangle mystery disappeared, in the same way many of its supposed victims had vanished.
Which North Is North?
A few hazards in the area of the Bermuda Triangle do contribute to the accidents that do occur in the wide swath of sea. The first is the lack of magnetic declination near 80° west (just off the coast of Miami). This agonic line is one of two points on the earth’s surface where compasses point directly to the North Pole, versus to the Magnetic North Pole elsewhere on the planet. The change in declination can make compass navigation difficult.
There have been reports of pilots saying that they were confused as to direction. A typical example is the reply from Lt. Charles Taylor on Flight 19 when he was asked by the radio tower as to his position. His reply was “We are not sure… We seem to be lost..”, then a few minutes later “We cannot be sure which way is west… everything is wrong… strange… we cannot be sure of any direction.” Or could this simply be a disorientation in a man’s own mind? Hard to say.
The Bermuda Triangle is re-known for it’s tricky waters.
Specifically, there is a large area of very little wind that in the days of sailing ships this area was feared with good reason. Ships were often becalmed in these waters for long periods. Drinking water supplies got lower and lower as the crews waited for a wind to allow them to sail out of the sea with its large clumps of seaweed. As drinking water dwindled, ships carrying horses sometimes had to throw them overboard as they died of thirst, sometimes while the horses were still alive. Because of this, the large calm area north of 30° became known as the Horse Latitudes. Superstitious sailors used to believe that the ghosts of sailors, ships and even horses haunted these waters.
As you go east out of the Sargasso Sea and the Horse Latitudes, things don’t necessarily get better. The waters off the eastern coast of the U.S. are in the middle of hurricane alley and before electronic communication, hurricanes and smaller storms blew in without warning.
More recently, inexperienced pleasure boaters and aviators are common in the area of the triangle and the U.S. Coast Guard receives many distress calls from stranded seamen. They travel too far from the coast and often have an insufficient supply of fuel or knowledge of the swiftly moving Gulf Stream current.
This is a theory proposed by the US Navy (or so I am told). The investigation centers on the possibility of electro-magnetic gravitational and atmospheric disturbances that might be possible for disintegrating craft.
The Lost Patrol reported seeing a large ball of fire in the skies. Could 5 planes collide and then joined by a sixth? The investigation believes that the fireball was could have been created by the impact of the patrol and it’s rescue ship with a disintegrating electro-magnetic force.
The Twisting Sucker
A certain psychic named Ed Snedeker has his own theory. He believes that our atmosphere are filled with tunnels that are invisible to the human eye but they do exist. He has seen them physically and says they look like tornado funnels. These funnels have sucked in the aircraft, the ships and of course, the people. These funnels move in from North to South finally let go of their prey in the Atlantic Ocean or in the beyond! Snedeker also says he has talked with them (specifically an RAF pilot).
Anyone who has seen the twilight zone will feel right at home with Snedeker’s theory but frankly twisting tornado funnels sucking up airplanes is a little far stretched.
I have been e-mailed by a variety of believers saying that the Bermuda Triangle is nothing more than a gateway to hell. While they actually manage to support this theory with pseud-logical claims based on the writings of the Bible, I think I’ll stick to my scepticism. The reason for this is that the Bible is highly alegorical and often wrong or at least very confused about things. Suposing, just for the sake of argument that Hell is in the Bermuda Triangle then it would mean that it’s an actual geographic place. Logically, Heaven would also be a specific geographic place. But the Garden Of Eden is giving explicitly in the Genesis, and is found to be in no particular place at all. Since Heaven is not a place in the material world, and assuming that Heaven and Hell do indeed exist, then we can safely assume that Hell isn’t either.
This is interesting theory vaguely based on “real” physics.
Lobsang Rampa believes that the ships and planes have mysteriously traveled from this world to world of anti-matter. Everyone and indeed everything has a counterpart in this anti-matter world. He explains that the disappearances occur due to a “split” in one world coming close with a “split” in the other world. So the ship or plane travel in a way. “Jump” from this world to the next. Anti-matter theories could have some truth in them as our scientists have lately discovered a hole of what appears to be anti-matter in our solar system (I’m not sure if this is true or not. I just read it in a magazine). Now, in case you didn’t know if you meet your anti-self and you shake hands you will both disappear in a white (I presume) flash of energy.