Bermuda Triangle History
The Bermuda Triangle, Origins
also known as the Devil's
Triangle, is a region in the Borders of the Bermuda The earliest allegation of unusual disappearances in the
western part of the North Triangle Bermuda area appeared in a September 16, 1950 Associated
Atlantic Ocean in which a Press article by E.V.W. Jones. Two years later, Fate
number of aircraft and Classification 
magazine published "Sea Mystery At Our Back Door", a
surface vessels are alleged Paranormal short article by George X. Sand covering the loss of several
to have mysteriously places planes and ships, including the loss of Flight 19, a group of
disappeared in a manner five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger bombers on a training mission.
that cannot be explained Description Sand's article was the first to lay out the now-familiar
by human error, piracy, Also triangular area where the losses took place. Flight 19 alone
equipment failure, or Devil's Triangle
known as: would be covered in the April 1962 issue of American Legion
natural disasters. Popular Magazine. It was claimed that the flight leader had been
culture has attributed International
heard saying "We are entering white water, nothing seems
these disappearances to Country: waters, The
right. We don't know where we are, the water is green, no
the paranormal, a Bahamas
white." It was also claimed that officials at the Navy board of
suspension of the laws of Status: Urban legend inquiry stated that the planes "flew off to Mars." Sand's
physics, or activity by article was the first to suggest a supernatural element to the
extraterrestrial beings. Flight 19 incident. In the February 1964 issue of Argosy,
Vincent Gaddis's article "The Deadly Bermuda Triangle"
A substantial body of documentation reveals, however, that a argued that Flight 19 and other disappearances were part of a
significant portion of the allegedly mysterious incidents have pattern of strange events in the region. The next year,
been inaccurately reported or embellished by later authors, Gaddis explanded this article into a book, Invisible Horizons.
and numerous official agencies have stated that the number
and nature of disappearances in the region is similar to any Others would follow with their own works, elaborating on
other area of ocean. Gaddis's ideas: John Wallace Spencer (Limbo of the Lost,
1969, repr. 1973); Charles Berlitz (The Bermuda Triangle,
The Triangle area 1974); Richard Winer (The Devil's Triangle, 1974), and
many others, all keeping to some of the same supernatural
The area of the Triangle elements outlined by Eckert.
varies by author
The boundaries of the
triangle cover the Straits Lawrence David Kusche, a research librarian from Arizona
of Florida, the Bahamas State University and author of The Bermuda Triangle Mystery:
and the entire Caribbean island area and the Atlantic east to Solved (1975) argued that many claims of Gaddis and
the Azores; others add to it the Gulf of Mexico. The more subsequent writers were often exaggerated, dubious or
familiar triangular boundary in most written works has as its unverifiable. Kusche's research revealed a number of
points somewhere on the Atlantic coast of Miami, San Juan, inaccuracies and inconsistencies between Berlitz's accounts
Puerto Rico; and the mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda, with and statements from eyewitnesses, participants, and others
most of the accidents concentrated along the southern involved in the initial incidents. Kusche noted cases where
boundary around the Bahamas and the Florida Straits. pertinent information went unreported, such as the
disappearance of round-the-world yachtsman Donald
The area is one of the most heavily-sailed shipping lanes in Crowhurst, which Berlitz had presented as a mystery, despite
the world, with ships crossing through it daily for ports in the clear evidence to the contrary. Another example was the ore-
Americas, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands. Cruise ships are carrier recounted by Berlitz as lost without trace three days
also plentiful, and pleasure craft regularly go back and forth out of an Atlantic port when it had been lost three days out
between Florida and the islands. It is also a heavily flown of a port with the same name in the Pacific Ocean. Kusche
route for commercial and private aircraft heading towards also argued that a large percentage of the incidents which
Florida, the Caribbean, and South America from points north. have sparked the Triangle's mysterious influence actually
occurred well outside it. Often his research was simple: he
would go over period newspapers of the dates of reported
incidents and find reports on possibly relevant events like
unusual weather, that were never mentioned in the
Kusche concluded that: the Triangle the same way they behave everywhere else in
The number of ships and aircraft reported missing in
the area was not significantly greater, proportionally Skeptical researchers, such as Ernest Taves and Barry
speaking, than in any other part of the ocean. Singer, have noted how mysteries and the paranormal are
In an area frequented by tropical storms, the very popular and profitable. This has led to the production of
number of disappearances that did occur were, for vast amounts of material on topics such as the Bermuda
the most part, neither disproportionate, unlikely, nor Triangle. They were able to show that some of the pro-
mysterious; furthermore, Berlitz and other writers paranormal material is often misleading or inaccurate, but its
would often fail to mention such storms. producers continue to market it. Accordingly, they have
The numbers themselves had been exaggerated by claimed that the market is biased in favour of books, TV
sloppy research. A boat listed as missing would be specials, etc. which support the Triangle mystery, and against
reported, but its eventual (if belated) return to port well-researched material if it espouses a skeptical viewpoint.
may not have been reported.
Some disappearances had in fact, never happened. Finally, if the Triangle is assumed to cross land, such as parts
One plane crash was said to have taken place in of Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, or Bermuda itself, there is no
1937 off Daytona Beach, Florida, in front of evidence for the disappearance of any land-based vehicles or
hundreds of witnesses; a check of the local papers persons. The city of Freeport, located inside the
revealed nothing. Triangle, operates a major shipyard and an airport which
The Legend of the Bermuda Triangle is a annually handles 50,000 flights, and is visited by over a
manufactured mystery, perpetuated by writers who million tourists a year.
either purposely or unknowingly made use of
misconceptions, faulty reasoning, and Supernatural explanations
Triangle writers have used a number of supernatural
Further responses concepts to explain the events. One explanation pins the
blame on leftover technology from the mythical lost
When the UK Channel 4 television program "The Bermuda continent of Atlantis. Sometimes connected to the Atlantis
Triangle" (c. 1992) was being produced by John Simmons of story is the submerged rock formation known as the Bimini
Geofilms for the Equinox Programme, the marine insurer Road off the island of Bimini in the Bahamas, which is in the
Lloyd's of London was asked if an unusually large number of Triangle by some definitions. Followers of the purported
ships had sunk in the Bermuda Triangle area. Lloyd's of psychic Edgar Cayce take his prediction that evidence of
London determined that large numbers of ships had not sunk Atlantis would be found in 1968 as referring to the discovery
there. of the Bimini Road. Believers describe the formation as a
road, wall, or other structure, though geologists consider it to
United States Coast Guard records confirm their conclusion. be of natural origin.
In fact, the number of supposed disappearances is relatively
insignificant considering the number of ships and aircraft Other writers attribute the events to UFOs. This idea was
which pass through on a regular basis. used by Steven Spielberg for his science fiction film Close
Encounters of the Third Kind, which features the lost Flight 19
The Coast Guard is also officially skeptical of the Triangle, as alien abductees.
noting that they collect and publish, through their inquiries,
much documentation contradicting many of the incidents Charles Berlitz, grandson of a distinguished linguist and
written about by the Triangle authors. In one such incident author of various additional books on anomalous
involving the 1972 explosion and sinking of the tanker SS V. A. phenomena, has kept in line with this extraordinary
Fogg in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard photographed explanation, and attributed the losses in the Triangle to
the wreck and recovered several bodies, in contrast with anomalous or unexplained forces.
one Triangle author's claim that all the bodies had vanished,
with the exception of the captain, who was found sitting in Natural explanations
his cabin at his desk, clutching a coffee cup.
The NOVA / Horizon episode The Case of the Bermuda
Triangle (1976-06-27) was highly critical, stating that "When Compass problems are one of the cited phrases in many
we've gone back to the original sources or the people Triangle incidents. While some have theorized that unusual
involved, the mystery evaporates. Science does not have to 
local magnetic anomalies may exist in the area, such
answer questions about the Triangle because those questions anomalies have not been shown to exist. Compasses have
are not valid in the first place. ... Ships and planes behave in natural magnetic variations in relation to the Magnetic poles.
For example, in the United States the only places where mistakes resulting in catastrophe, and losses within the
magnetic (compass) north and geographic (true) north are Bermuda Triangle are no exception. For example, the Coast
exactly the same are on a line running from Wisconsin to the Guard cited a lack of proper training for the cleaning of
Gulf of Mexico. Navigators have known this for centuries. But volatile benzene residue as a reason for the loss of the tanker
the public may not be as informed, and think there is SS V. A. Fogg in 1972 . Human stubbornness may
something mysterious about a compass "changing" across an have caused businessman Harvey Conover to lose his sailing
area as large as the Triangle, which it naturally will. yacht, the Revonoc, as he sailed into the teeth of a storm
south of Florida on January 1, 1958. Many losses remain
Deliberate acts of destruction inconclusive owing to the lack of wreckage which could be
studied, a fact cited on many official reports.
Deliberate acts of destruction can fall into two categories:
acts of war, and acts of piracy. Records in enemy files have Hurricanes
been checked for numerous losses; while many sinkings have
been attributed to surface raiders or submarines during the Hurricanes are powerful storms which are spawned in
World Wars and documented in the various command log tropical waters, and have historically been responsible for
books, many others which have been suspected as falling in thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars in damage. The
that category have not been proven. It is suspected that the sinking of Francisco de Bobadilla's Spanish fleet in 1502 was
loss of USS Cyclops in 1918, as well as her sister ships Proteus the first recorded instance of a destructive hurricane. These
and Nereus in World War II, were attributed to submarines, storms have in the past caused a number of incidents related
but no such link has been found in the German records. to the Triangle.
Piracy, as defined by the taking of a ship or small boat on the Methane hydrates
high seas, is an act which continues to this day. While piracy
for cargo theft is more common in the western Pacific and Main article: Methane clathrate
Indian oceans, drug smugglers do steal pleasure boats for
smuggling operations, and may have been involved in crew Worldwide distribution of
and yacht disappearances in the Caribbean. Piracy in the confirmed or inferred
Caribbean was common from about 1560 to the 1760s, and offshore gas hydrate-bearing
famous pirates included Edward Teach (Blackbeard) and Jean sediments, 1996.
 Source: USGS
An explanation for some of the disappearances has focused
False-color image of the Gulf on the presence of vast fields of methane hydrates (a form of
Stream flowing north through natural gas) on the continental shelves. Laboratory
the western Atlantic Ocean. experiments carried out in Australia have proven that
(NASA) bubbles can, indeed, sink a scale model ship by decreasing
the density of the water; any wreckage consequently rising
to the surface would be rapidly dispersed by the Gulf Stream.
It has been hypothesized that periodic methane eruptions
(sometimes called "mud volcanoes") may produce regions of
frothy water that are no longer capable of providing
adequate buoyancy for ships. If this were the case, such an
Gulf Stream area forming around a ship could cause it to sink very rapidly
and without warning.
The Gulf Stream is an ocean current that originates in the Gulf
of Mexico, and then through the Straits of Florida, into the Publications by the USGS describe large stores of undersea
North Atlantic. In essence, it is a river within an ocean, and hydrates worldwide, including the Blake Ridge area, off the
like a river, it can and does carry floating objects. It has a 
southeastern United States coast. However, according to
surface velocity of up to about 2.5 metres per second another of their papers, no large releases of gas hydrates are
(5.6 mph). A small plane making a water landing or a boat believed to have occurred in the Bermuda Triangle for the
having engine trouble can be carried away from its reported 
past 15,000 years.
position by the current.
It should also be noted that other areas of undersea methane
Human error hydrates are not reported to give rise to similar incidents as
the Bermuda Triangle, also that bubbles of underwater gas
One of the most cited explanations in official inquiries as to would not account for aircraft disappearances.
the loss of any aircraft or vessel is human error. Whether
deliberate or accidental, humans have been known to make Rogue waves
In various oceans around the world, rogue waves have caused many of the "facts" about this incident were actually about
ships to sink and oil platforms to topple. These waves the Marie Celeste, the fictional ship from Arthur Conan
are considered to be a mystery and until recently were Doyle's short story "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement" (based
believed to be a myth. However, rogue waves don't on the real Mary Celeste incident, but fictionalised).
account for the missing aircraft.
The Ellen Austin supposedly came across a derelict ship,
Main article: List of Bermuda Triangle incidents placed on board a prize crew, and attempted to sail with it to
New York in 1881. According to the stories, the derelict
Flight 19 disappeared; others elaborating further that the derelict
reappeared minus the prize crew, then disappeared again
US Navy TBF Grumman Avenger flight, with a second prize crew on board. A check from Lloyd's of
similar to Flight 19. This photo had London records proved the existence of the Meta, built in
been used by various Triangle authors 1854 and that in 1880 the Meta was renamed Ellen Austin.
to illustrate Flight 19 itself. (US Navy) There are no casualty listings for this vessel, or any vessel at
that time, that would suggest a large number of missing men
were placed on board a derelict which later disappeared.
Flight 19 was a training flight of TBM
Avenger bombers that went missing
on December 5, 1945 while over the USS Cyclops
Atlantic. The squadron's flight path
was scheduled to take them due east for 120 miles, north for The incident resulting in the single largest loss of life in the
73 miles, and then back over a final 120-mile leg that would history of the US Navy not related to combat occurred when
return them to the naval base, but they never returned. The USS Cyclops, under the command of Lt Cdr G. W. Worley,
impression is given that the flight encountered unusual went missing without a trace with a crew of 309 sometime
phenomena and anomalous compass readings, and that the after March 4, 1918, after departing the island of Barbados.
flight took place on a calm day under the supervision of an Although there is no strong evidence for any single theory,
experienced pilot, Lt. Charles Carroll Taylor. Adding to the many independent theories exist, some blaming storms,
intrigue is that the Navy's report of the accident was ascribed some capsizing, and some suggesting that wartime enemy
to "causes or reasons unknown." It is believed that Taylor's activity was to blame for the loss.
mother wanted to save her son's reputation, so she made
them write "reasons unknown" when actually Taylor was Theodosia Burr Alston
50 km NW from where he thought he was.
Theodosia Burr Alston was the daughter of former United
Adding to the mystery, a search and rescue Mariner aircraft States Vice President Aaron Burr. Her disappearance has
with a 13-man crew was dispatched to aid the missing been cited at least once in relation to the Triangle. She was
squadron, but the Mariner itself was never heard from again. a passenger on board the Patriot, which sailed from
Later, there was a report from a tanker cruising off the coast Charleston, South Carolina to New York City on December 30,
of Florida of a visible explosion at about the time the Mariner 1812, and was never heard from again. The planned route is
would have been on patrol. well outside all but the most extended versions of the
Bermuda Triangle. Both piracy and the War of 1812 have
While the basic facts of this version of the story are been posited as explanations, as well as a theory placing her
essentially accurate, some important details are missing. The in Texas, well outside the Triangle.
weather was becoming stormy by the end of the incident,
and naval reports and written recordings of the conversations Spray
between Taylor and the other pilots of Flight 19 do not
indicate magnetic problems. S.V. Spray was a derelict fishing boat refitted as an ocean
cruiser by Joshua Slocum and used by him to complete the
Mary Celeste first ever single-handed circumnavigation of the world,
between 1895 and 1898.
The mysterious abandonment in 1872 of the 282-ton
brigantine Mary Celeste is often but inaccurately connected In 1909, Slocum set sail from Vineyard Haven bound for
to the Triangle, the ship having been abandoned off the coast Venezuela. Neither he nor Spray were ever seen again.
of Portugal. The event is possibly confused with the loss of a
ship with a similar name, the Mari Celeste, a 207-ton paddle There is no evidence they were in the Bermuda Triangle when
steamer which hit a reef and quickly sank off the coast of they disappeared, nor is there any evidence of paranormal
Bermuda on September 13, 1864. Kusche noted that
activity. The boat was considered in poor condition and a KC-135 Stratotankers
hard boat to handle that Slocum's skill usually overcame.
On August 28, 1963 a pair of U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker
Schooner Carroll A. aircraft collided and crashed into the Atlantic. The Triangle version
(Winer, Berlitz, Gaddis ) of this story specifies that they did
Deering, as seen from
collide and crash, but there were two distinct crash sites, separated
the Cape Lookout 
by over 160 miles (260 km) of water. However, Kusche's research
lightship on January 29, showed that the unclassified version of the Air Force investigation
1921, two days before report stated that the debris field defining the second "crash site"
she was found deserted was examined by a search and rescue ship, and found to be a mass
in North Carolina. (US of seaweed and driftwood tangled in an old buoy.
SS Marine Sulphur Queen
Carroll A. Deering
SS Marine Sulphur Queen, a T2 tanker converted from oil to sulfur
A five-masted schooner built in 1919, the Carroll A. Deering carrier, was last heard from on February 4, 1963 with a crew of 39
near the Florida Keys. Marine Sulphur Queen was the first vessel
was found hard aground and abandoned at Diamond Shoals, 
mentioned in Vincent Gaddis' 1964 Argosy Magazine article, but
near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on January 31, 1921.
he left it as having "sailed into the unknown", despite the Coast
Rumors and more at the time indicated the Deering was a Guard report which not only documented the ship's badly-
victim of piracy, possibly connected with the illegal rum- maintained history, but declared that it was an unseaworthy vessel
running trade during Prohibition, and possibly involving that should never have gone to sea.
another ship, S.S. Hewitt, which disappeared at roughly the
same time. Just hours later, an unknown steamer sailed near Raifuku Maru
the lightship along the track of the Deering, and ignored all
signals from the lightship. It is speculated that the Hewitt may One of the more famous incidents in the Triangle took place in 1921
have been this mystery ship, and possibly involved in the (some say a few years later), when the Japanese vessel Raifuku
Deering crew's disappearance. Maru (sometimes misidentified as Raikuke Maru) went down with
all hands after sending a distress signal which allegedly said "Danger
Douglas DC-3 like dagger now. Come quick!", or "It's like a dagger, come quick!"
This has led writers to speculate on what the "dagger" was, with a
waterspout being the likely candidate (Winer). In reality the ship was
On December 28, 1948, a Douglas DC-3 aircraft, number nowhere near the Triangle, nor was the word "dagger" a part of the
NC16002, disappeared while on a flight from San Juan, Puerto ship's distress call ("Now very danger. Come quick."); having left
Rico, to Miami. No trace of the aircraft or the 32 people Boston for Hamburg, Germany, on April 21, 1925, she got caught in a
onboard was ever found. From the documentation compiled severe storm and sank in the North Atlantic with all hands while
by the Civil Aeronautics Board investigation, a possible key to another ship, RMS Homeric, attempted an unsuccessful rescue.
the plane's disappearance was found, but barely touched
upon by the Triangle writers: the plane's batteries were Connemara IV
inspected and found to be low on charge, but ordered back
into the plane without a recharge by the pilot while in San A pleasure yacht found adrift in the Atlantic south of Bermuda on
Juan. Whether or not this led to complete electrical failure September 26, 1955; it is usually stated in the stories (Berlitz,
will never be known. However, since piston-engined aircraft Winer ) that the crew vanished while the yacht survived being
at sea during three hurricanes. The 1955 Atlantic hurricane season
rely upon magnetos to provide spark to their cylinders rather
lists only one storm coming near Bermuda towards the end of
than a battery powered ignition coil system, this theory is not
 August, hurricane "Edith"; of the others, "Flora" was too far to the
strongly convincing. east, and "Katie" arrived after the yacht was recovered. It was
confirmed that the Connemara IV was empty and in port when
Star Tiger and Star Ariel "Edith" may have caused the yacht to slip her moorings and drift out
G-AHNP Star Tiger disappeared on January 30, 1948 on a
flight from the Azores to Bermuda; G-AGRE Star Ariel Carolyn Cascio
disappeared on January 17, 1949, on a flight from Bermuda to
Kingston, Jamaica. Both were Avro Tudor IV passenger A Cessna piloted by Carolyn Cascio, on June 7, 1964, with one
aircraft operated by British South American Airways. Both passenger, attempted to travel from Nassau, Bahamas to Cocburn,
Grand Turk Island. The plane was witnessed by many air traffic
planes were operating at the very limits of their range and
controllers in Cockburn's airport to circle the island for 30 minutes,
the slightest error or fault in the equipment could keep them
after which, it flew away apparently for another island. All attempts
from reaching the small island. One plane was not heard from from the ground to raise Cascio on the radio failed.
long before it would have entered the Triangle.