The Bermuda Triangle
Christopher Columbus watched his compass spin in odd and nonsensical directions as the ocean bobbed his vessel to and fro. Days after noting this in his journal, he also recorded the falling of a large “ball of fire” into the ocean. As he cruised the Caribbean, his crew reported several instances of dancing lights on the horizon, yet no land was sighted for over a week.
In his autobiography, Charles Lindbergh wrote of his non-stop flight from Havana to St. Louis where he tells of his magnetic compass rotating wildly and his earth-inductor compass needle becoming erratic.
The Bermuda Triangle (or The Devil’s Triangle) is a triangle whose three angles cross Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Miami. The term was coined by Vincent Geddis (possibly Gaddis) in 1964 in an article for Agosy Magazine, and made famous by the book titled The Bermuda Triangle, by Charles Berlitz in 1974, which eventually went on to sell over 20 million copies.
Over the decades the triangle has become famous for gobbling up planes and boats without a trace. Most times there is no distress signal given before the disappearance. These vehicles just vanish, usually in perfectly calm seas and in balmy weather.
Flight 19 has to be the most well known incident involving the Bermuda Triangle. On 5 December 1945, five Navy Avenger Torpedo bombers left Ft. Lauderdale on a training mission. The seas were moderate to rough, with a few rain showers. Visibility was unlimited, except in the showers, where it was 6-8 miles. The winds were at 20 knots, gusting to 31 knots. The conditions were considered average for a training flight.
At 0400 Ft. Lauderdale received a radio transmission from Flight 19, reporting that their compasses were “malfunctioning” and that their instructor “seemed to be lost.” There were no subsequent transmissions and Flight 19 was never found. Contradictory reports say the crew of Flight 19 never reported any anomalous compass readings, yet the final report states “cause unknown” as to why this flight disappeared.
A search and rescue operation was dispatched for Flight 19, a mariner aircraft with a 13 man crew. It too was never heard from again. A tanker off the coast of Florida later reported seeing an explosion about the same time the mariner was on patrol.
Almost 25 years to the day later, Bruce Gernon (an experienced pilot) and his father took off for Miami Beach. Shortly after take off, they noticed a cloud in front of them that grew big enough to threaten to engulf them. Gernon increased speed, only to find a similar cloud formation in front of him. The clouds rapidly formed a donut shape, essentially trapping the pair and forming a tunnel that Gernon approximated at a mile wide and 10 miles long. Gernon sped towards the end of the tunnel, which showed clear blue sky, but their escape hole was quickly closing in on itself. During this 20 seconds they were in the tunnel, they report a feeling of “weightlessness and an increased forward momentum”. Just as they exited the tunnel, the opening collapsed behind them and all electronic and magnetic equipment began to malfunction.
Gernon then radioed Miami to say he was about 45 minutes southeast of Bimini, but the controller replied he was unable to get Gernon on radar. Gernon noticed the atmosphere was different than when they went into the tunnel. They seemed to be in a white hazy fog. Again, the controller radioed them, stating he had found them on radar; they were directly over Miami Beach flying West. Knowing this was impossible, Gernon looked at his watch. Only 34 minutes has elapsed since take off. This made their Miami location impossible. Suddenly, the fog began to break up in what Gernon described as an “electrical way”. Long horizontal lines appeared in the fog on both sides of the aircraft and they could see blue sky between them. These slits of blue continued to expand and eventually joined together. Within seconds all the slits had joined, the fog was gone and there was nothing bur blue sky…and Miami Beach below them. It had taken them 47 minutes to make a 75 minute flight. They had covered 250 miles in a little over a half an hour.
Whether or not this story is factual, we will never know, but a book has been published and TLC did a special on the incident. I include it here because this story incorporates almost all the different occurrences that are reported by Triangle survivors. Compass and instrument failure or strange behavior, a sense of disorientation, weightlessness, or other strange physical feelings, electricity, and unnatural cloud formations. What it does not mention is a boiling, churning or unreal looking ocean. Also not mentioned is a storm or large waves, the two most used explanations by science.
And the explanations are many. From underwater alien bases to time-space portals to it being a gravitational pull from the lost city of Atlantis, hidden in the triangle’s depths. Science has even come up with an explaination or two. The first of these is that there is no phenomenon to explain. This theory states that the number of missing craft in the triangle is no greater than any other point on earth, that the bermuda area just has gotten more press. Indeed, there is another deadly triangle off the coast of Japan that boasts an extraordinary number of mysterious disappearances as well. This does make sense, considering the climate in the triangle, which is conducive to pop-up storms and possibly rogue waves. The second, and most popular theory among scientists, is the methane gas explanation. Greatly simplified, this theory states that huge pockets of methane gas, formed from millennium of rotted sea life, are hidden beneath the ocean’s sands and occasionally erupt (possibly triggered by small earthquakes) creating a bubbling, boiling sea. This bubbling gas creates areas of decreased density, causing the boats to float lower and lower in the water, eventually to sink. Even aircraft can be affected by these gas releases. The gas mixes with the atmosphere and changes the gas to oxygen ratio going into the aircrafts’ engines, causing them to stall mid-flight and crash due to lack of sufficient oxygen levels.
So are there aliens under the ocean stealing our crafts, do these people disappear into other dimensions through wormholes? Does methane gas fell our planes and ships, or is there nothing here to see at all, simply another urban myth blown out of proportion by a magazine article written almost half a century ago? There is no simple answer. On one hand, it is difficult to dismiss all the witnesses to strange phenomenon in the triangle. Many, even most of these people are experienced pilots and seamen and have stellar reputations. Many are even of the Coast Guard. On the other hand, statistically, there really are no more unexplained disappearances in this area than in any area with similar weather and climate conditions. So the mystery continues.