Bermuda Triangle – Facts and Myths
Bermuda Triangle is a strange triangular area on the Atlantic ocean where many ships sailing through it or planes flying over it have apparently disappeared without a trace. In few of such cases where wrecks could be found, the crew had vanished. And such incidents have been happening since centuries.
More than 1,000 ships and planes have disappeared in the triangle area over the past five centuries and such mysterious incidents on the Atlantic continue to take place even at present days.
So getting excited already? Well, the facts however are quite far from what is generally known or believed to be true. Many stories and myths have been created by writers through sheer imagination which they used rampantly to draw publicity to their books. In many cases, the facts got blurred. Many theories, controversies and counter arguments have come up over the years challenging the mysteries that created fear psychosis among people since ages.
So what is the fact? Is it at all true? Partially true? Or all nonsense? Let’s dig deeper to understand that while keeping in mind that far too many incidents have taken place in this area for it to be ignored.
It all started by authors who were novel writers, and the mystery was initially perpetuated by them. But don’t jump into a conclusion yet. While we all know that novel writers are good in wild imaginations, but many of these writers were actually popular and well respected authors of their times.
The abnormalities on the sea was first noted in 1950 by Edward Jones in the daily newspaper Miami Herald published in Florida. However the mystery started catching wide-scale attention in 1952 when George Sand wrote in Fate magazine about incidents like Flight-19, a training flight of five torpedo bomber planes, all of which went missing during a routine training session in 1945 and never returned.
Subsequently several authors wrote about various other mysterious incidents in the triangle area. While some of such reports were dubious or without much substance, several incidents had actually occurred and remained unexplained. The words around the mystery started spreading fast, and soon Bermuda Triangle was a reality, at least in the minds of millions all over the world.
Visit History of Bermuda Triangle to know more about its genesis.
Where is Bermuda Triangle?
By the simplest of all definitions, Bermuda Triangle is located off the South-Eastern coast of the United States and forms a triangular zone in the Atlantic Ocean. The three corners of the triangle are: Miami (in Florida); San Juan (in Puerto Rico); and Bermuda (a north-Atlantic island on which it has been so named). The American author Vincent Gaddis was the first to define this boundary in 1964 in an issue of the magazine named Argosy and called the area ‘The Deadly Bermuda Triangle’.
However over the years, several other authors kept extending the area beyond its original boundary because they seemed to identify mysterious incidents in nearby areas as well.
Visit Triangle Location & Map
to get details about the area, how it is actually laid out on the Atlantic, understand if it actually has a map to identify the location (i.e. latitude / longitude), and whether you will ever know when you are entering the dreaded area as you take a cruise or flight.
Below are some amazing stories of planes and ships that disappeared or met with ill fate while crossing the triangle area. As you visit the links, you will also see my findings behind such great mysteries of all times. In most cases I have discussed and explained the possible causes, in some cases I have also given excerpts from official reports that were produced by US Navy, US Air Force or US Coast Guards after completing the search operations. And in several cases, I have given updates on further findings.
The Avenger planes of Flight-19 took off from the U.S Naval Base of Florida for a routine training session on an afternoon of December 1945, but strangely this time they never returned.
PBM Martin Mariner
When all hopes for the above Flight-19 planes were quickly fading, two Martin Mariner planes (flying boats) were sent by US Navy to search them out. After extensive search, one of them returned, but the other didn’t and disappeared forever.
Tudor Star Tiger
Star Tiger, a Tudor Mark-IV aircraft disappeared from the radar while flying over Bermuda Triangle and shortly before it was about to land at the Bermuda airport.
The aircraft disappeared when it was only 50 miles south of Florida and about to land in Miami.
A Super Constellation Naval Airliner disappeared in October 1954.
Apparently it seemed to be a sudden thunderstorm that had disintegrated the plane. But there was much more to the story of Skymaster.
Mary Celeste: The Ghost Ship
Known as one of the ghost ships of Bermuda Triangle, Mary Celeste had many misadventures even before her mystery voyage in 1872. But this time, although the ship could be salvaged, none on board could ever be traced.
Carroll A. Deering
This is another ghost ship of Bermuda triangle which created one of the biggest maritime mysteries of all times. While returning from Rio de Janeiro of Brazil to Portland in Maine in January 1921, it was found abandoned and derelict at Diamond Shoals, off Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. But all the 11 crewmen including the captain were missing. They vanished for ever and never to be found again.
Marine Sulphur Queen
This 524-foot carrier of molten sulphur started sail on Feb 2, 1963 from Beaumont, Texas with 39 crew. It was reported lost in Florida Straits on February 4, and lost for ever.
The Ellen Austin, an American schooner, met with another ship in Bermuda Triangle. The other ship was moving in full speed but strangely had nobody on board.
Disappearance of the carrier ship in Bermuda Triangle has been one of the greatest mysteries of the sea. The Cargo ship was scheduled to reach Baltimore on March 13, 1918, but it never did.
List of all major Incidents
The above are only few cases of disappearances. There are many more.
Theories explaining the mysteries
So what caused the ships and aircraft to disappear mysteriously? There have been many research and explorations done to uncover the mystery. There is no single theory that can explain all the incidents of disappearances. The ships and aircraft could have been victims of different circumstances, and things would have happened quickly and unexpectedly. While many theories have come up from researchers and scientists trying to explain the various incidents, here are few of the most popular ones:
It’s a strange ocean area that has no shores and bounded only by water currents on all sides. Many ships passing through it have been stranded and made motionless. Many were found derelict and without a soul… Know how Sargasso sea became a deadly trap for boats
A strange thick cloud appears from nowhere and engulfs a ship or a plane. Instruments begin to malfunction, and finally the ship or the aircraft vanishes without a trace..
Hexagonal Cloud & Air Bombs
From satellite images Meteorologists have recently discovered strange hexagonal clouds that are capable of blasting winds to the ocean below at huge speeds. And such wind storms on the ocean can create waves as high as 45-feet. Planes and ships under such cloud can sink in no time.
All Major Theories
There are many other theories that try to solve or explain the mysteries of Bermuda Triangle and try to identify factors causing such incidents. Visit Theories of Bermuda Triangle
to know about them all.
Conclusion – The Facts & Myths
Since a magazine first coined the phrase ‘Bermuda Triangle’ in early 1950s, the mystery has continued to attract attention. When repeated mysterious incidents of such large scale take place in the same area, it’s quite understandable that it would spread like fire, draw large interests among people across various interest levels including researchers, scientists, critics and of course the general mass, and eventually take a mammoth shape over time. Indeed Bermuda Triangle has become a living legend. But what is the real truth behind all this?
First, there is no denying that many of the incidents reported on Bermuda Triangle have actually taken place. Because a plane or ship not returning or reaching its destination is clearly recorded with official agencies concerned including US Navy, US Coast Guard etc. And there have been hundreds of such incidents. In few cases oil leakage, floats or wrecks could be found while in others, there were no trace of anything…. this is a fact.
So the question is not about whether the incidents took place at all or not. It’s about how they took place. This is where explanations start getting blurred, as sometimes facts get mixed up with speculations, even with imaginations.
However there are certain facts which are clear and beyond anybody’s doubts.
One such known fact is about the water area around the island Bermuda which forms one corner of the triangle. Bermuda island is located about 650 miles off the east coast of the US. It is known that over 300 shipwrecks lie on the seafloor surrounding Bermuda that includes prominent ones like The Constellation, The Cristobal Colon, The Mary Celestia, Montana, Xingda and lot more, many of which have now become popular scuba diving sites. If you are interested to know about these wrecks and the stories behind them, read Shipwrecks around the islands of Bermuda
So what could be the cause behind so many ships finding their graveyard around Bermuda island? The reason is simple… In fact about 200 square miles of water area surrounding Bermuda is full of dangerous underwater reefs. These reefs had created severe hazards when the pilots had to mainly depend on compass and charts to navigate ships. The reefs rising from the bottom of the sea and remaining hidden below the water surface tore apart the hulls of numerous ships that passed over them. These days however with advanced GPS system, pilots can easily navigate around hidden reefs and such accidents haven’t taken place for long many years since the invention of GPS.
Here is one more… Scientists have found some unusual geological formations on the seafloor within the Bermuda Triangle area. The ocean floor at some places suddenly drop to huge depths. In fact, some locations within the triangle have deepest trenches in the whole of Atlantic. And within this area many vessels were seemingly lost.
Another strange natural phenomena is the whirlpools with strong tidal currents that are found in the waters of Bahamas (a cluster of over 700 islands, islets and cays) that lie near the western corner of Bermuda Triangle and about 50 miles off the coast of Florida. These are formed due to the large underwater caves known as Blue Holes and have the potential of sucking in a ship that pass over them.
So at this point it is fair to say that many disappearances in the triangle are real… while some have probable explanations and some do not. However there are still some questions that spring up. For example… are there any other ocean areas on earth where similar such incidents take place? Are the numbers of such incidents similar or even more than Bermuda Triangle? So if the numbers are similar or more, are such incidents actually normal on any ocean routes?
Let’s explore this, because this can throw some lights on whether we are believing something imaginary or real when it comes to speculation….
Larry Kusche, a librarian in Arizona State University was a big critic of Bermuda Triangle and made a deep research into the incidents and finally published his book ‘The Bermuda Triangle Mystery: Solved’ in 1975. Most of his research was based on referring newspapers of the times that reported the incidents, checking out the meteorological (weather) reports of the days the incidents took place.
He concluded that the total number of such incidents in the triangle area is nothing unusual in a place where tropical cyclones or hurricanes are quite common. His study also showed that number of incidents in Bermuda Triangle is not significantly more compared to several other ocean areas.
Kusche further clarified that several authors wrongly reported some of the incidents and created juicy stories out of them. He pointed out a case where an author misreported a ship disappearing three days after it left a port in Atlantic while the fact was the ship actually left a port of the same name from Pacific ocean which was over 3,000 miles away.
In another case Kusche showed that an author described a ship getting lost in calm sea while the meteorological report showed a strong cyclone was passing by.
Now read this… Lloyd’s is a London based insurance body and active in marine insurance market since long. They insure ships on voyage. When Lloyd’s was asked by a UK television channel if they noted unusual number of ships sinking or getting lost in Bermuda Triangle, they answered ‘NO’. They further confirmed that they do not even charge higher insurance rates for ships passing through Bermuda Triangle area because they consider it safe.
The US Coast Guard also supported Lloyd’s observation that the number of reported missing cases in Bermuda Triangle is nothing unusual.
Here is one more… A study conducted in 2013 for WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) reported the 10 most accident prone ocean areas in the world for shipping. And that does not include Bermuda Triangle. In fact based on accidents recorded, the most dangerous water areas are South China Sea, the Mediterranean and the North Sea.
Now the food for thought… So does it all mean the notion of Bermuda Triangle being dreaded is baseless? Is it all hunky-dory out there?
Well, there are several questions which still need to be answered before we can come to that conclusion, if at all. Hundreds of ships and planes were actually lost in that area, and many such cases are not yet explained with evidence. It is a fact that authors fanned the fire to take commercial advantage of the situation. But it is hard to believe that a legend of such gigantic nature is just a baseless myth that continues to engulf the world for so many decades. Despite thorough and sustained investigations, numerous incidents continue to baffle the investigators.
It is well known that marine and airway channels across Bermuda Triangle are some of the busiest and most commercially used routes in the world. They are used extensively by numerous cruise lines and airlines connecting The USA, Europe, Caribbean islands, Bermuda, South America and even Africa.
Think of what may happen to billions of dollars of thriving international business and its impact on economy if the area gets to be known as dreaded? Will anybody want such flourishing economy to get jeopardized by officially calling out the area as dangerous?
Many conflicting possibilities exist to keep the Bermuda Triangle mystery alive. But that does not deter anybody these days to visit the Island of Bermuda (one corner of the triangle) which is one of the top island destinations in the world with lovely pink sandy beaches and lovelier people. Millions of tourists visit Bermuda by cruise ships and airplanes crossing the triangle area and return safe and hearty.
But, what about safety within Bermuda island itself? If you plan to visit the island or want to know about safety issues in Bermuda, if there are any, suggest you read Is Bermuda Safe?
Raj is an avid traveler and a full-time travel blogger. He has traveled to numerous countries across the world and loves to keep travelling. His mission here is to help viewers like you visiting Bermuda or seeking insights into related matters with the most comprehensive content compared to any other online resources. Since years now he has been helping countless viewers by posting quality articles on this website, answering questions and sharing experiences. Launched in 2008, this website is Bermuda’s leading source of online information since many years.