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It has been said that the Bermuda Triangle has caused the unexplained disappearance of countless ships and aircraft over the years. For decades, scientists and navigators the world over have speculated as to whether the Bermuda Triangle is haunted, cursed, or a sign of the paranormal.
While the legend of the Bermuda Triangle certainly makes for a good story, there is little evidence that there is anything abnormal about the region. Rather, tall tales and hoaxes about the Bermuda Triangle have caught on to the point where they are now accepted as truth. In reality, the Bermuda Triangle is a placid body of water that is safely traversed by thousands of vehicles a day.
Want to find out the truth about the Bermuda Triangle? Want to separate fact from fiction? If so, read on and discover why this spooky Atlantic region has been the subject of so much controversy.
The Legend of the Bermuda Triangle
According to an investigative report by the History Channel, the Bermuda Triangle (also known as the “Devil’s Triangle”) has been the subject of speculation since the first voyages of Christopher Columbus in the 1400s. When Columbus first sailed through this area, he noted that a great flame flew from the sky and into the sea, which caused strange lights to appear weeks later.
That was not all that Columbus reported about his travels in the area. He also wrote extensively about how his compasses could not be read accurately when he sailed near Bermuda Island. This caused the Triangle to quickly garner a reputation as a spooky and dangerous place for seafarers.
Europeans began to speculate as to whether the area was haunted. In fact, some even argue that William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” is a dramatized version of a real shipwreck in the Bermuda Triangle. Before long, Europeans spread the legend of the Bermuda Triangle like wildfire.
Where Is It?
The Bermuda Triangle is a loosely-defined territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Triangle occupies roughly 500,000 square miles. Its vertices are approximately the southern tip of Florida, the island of Bermuda, and the northern coast of Puerto Rico. If you were to look at a Bermuda Triangle map, you would notice that it forms an equilateral triangle over the ocean.
The official boundaries of the triangle are unknown. However, many writers and theorists assume that the cities of Miami, San Juan, and Hamilton are the three endpoints of the Bermuda Triangle.
In popular culture, the legend of the Bermuda Triangle has been widely discussed since the early 20th century. The Triangle, as a subject of legend and mythology, likely peaked sometime around the middle of the century before modern scientists started researching it in earnest.
The U.S.S. Cyclops
It is likely that the modern legend began after the sinking of the U.S.S. Cyclops in March 1918. The Cyclops was a major Proteus-class cargo ship operated by the U.S. Navy during World War I. Its crew of 306 were lost after it vanished in the Bermuda Triangle without a trace. To this day, there is no confirmed explanation for its disappearance.
Flight 19 was a training mission for a fleet of U.S. Navy Avenger bombers. It occurred on December 5, 1945, when they departed from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. On that fateful day, the aircraft never returned to base. There is still no official word as to why the aircraft disappeared, and why no distress call was made.
The Flight 19 Rescue Mission
The most interesting aspect of the Flight 19 mystery is the fact that one of the search and rescue aircraft that set out to find them also disappeared. A PBM Mariner, with a crew of 13 men, went missing while searching for Flight 19 off the coast of Florida. Although some speculate that the plane crashed in stormy weather, there is no official explanation.
Star Ariel and Star Tiger
In January 1948, two aircraft disappeared during a flight from Kingston, Jamaica to the island of Bermuda. Both planes were passenger aircraft owned by the British South American Airways. It is rumored that both planes overshot their estimated range, and fan out of fuel over the open waters.
In the 1950s, a small yacht washed up on the shores of Bermuda. Named the Connemara IV, the pleasure craft was completely abandoned by its crew, who were never discovered. However, the 1955 hurricane season was particularly rough, and it is likely that the passengers were thrown overboard after encountering a strong storm.
The Twin Stratotankers
In the early 1960s, two KC-135 Stratotankers crashed after colliding with one another. This occurred in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle region. This was thought to be a near-impossible accident as both planes were operated by the U.S. Air Force and were equipped with industry-best equipment to detect oncoming aircraft.
The Fishing Boys
More recently, an incident in July 2015 saw the tragic disappearance of two 14-year-old boys while sailing in the Bermuda Triangle. The boys, both Americans, were sailing from Jupiter, Florida to the Bahamas for a fishing trip. A massive search and rescue effort by the U.S. Coast Guard failed to find them. However, their abandoned boat washed up in Bermuda a year later.
The SS El Faro
In autumn 2015, an American merchant cargo ship by the name of SS El Faro sank to the bottom of the Bermuda Triangle. Later search efforts discovered the ship had sunk over 15,000 feet to the ocean floor. Officially, the tragedy was blamed on El Faro’s captain who wrongly assumed that his vessel could withstand the effects of Hurricane Joaquin.
Fact or Fiction
Modern science has been able to take a critical approach to the legend of the Bermuda Triangle. While there was once probable cause to be wary of the region, all of the evidence today points to the fact that it is safe.
Bestselling authors Lawrence “Larry” Kusche has written at length about how many of the Bermuda Triangle stories are exaggerated or unverified. While working as a librarian at Arizona State University, he conducted independent research after several library guests asked about the mystery of the Triangle.
His research led him to the conclusion that nearly all the reported incidents were likely caused by inclement weather or pilot error. According to Kusche, there is no evidence to suggest that anything paranormal has occurred in the Bermuda Triangle. Kusche later published several books on the subject, with the most famous being “The Bermuda Triangle Mystery – Solved”.
The Kruszelnicki Studies
An Australian research team led by scientist Karl Kruszelnicki found that human error accounted for all of the major Bermuda Triangle disappearances. His research took into account the fact that the Triangle is known to host hazardous weather conditions during storm seasons. Before the widespread use of radar, bad weather could sneak up on unsuspecting seafarers.
Mr. Kruszelnicki’s research has found that the Triangle does not host any more disappearances or crashes than any other region where poor weather is found. His research also points to the fact that first-hand accounts also discredit some of the incidents’ mythological aspects. For example, there are eyewitnesses who have openly declared that they saw ships and aircraft explode due to collisions in the Triangle.
Physicist Helen Czerski was featured in Business Insider to address rumors that methane bubbles on the floor of the Bermuda Triangle were responsible for the disappearances. However, her research found that this theory was wrong. In her bestselling book “Storm in a Teacup” she explains how bubbles of this nature are a physical impossibility.
In fact, a report by Lloyd’s of London found that, since 1975, the Bermuda Triangle has seen equal or fewer aircraft crashes than any other part of the North Atlantic Ocean. These findings are considered scientifically sound. For many, this has led to the opinion that there is nothing unusual about the incidents that occurred in the infamous Triangle.
Despite its bad reputation, the Bermuda Triangle is reasonably safe for travelers and pilots. However, it is in an area of the ocean that is naturally prone to tropical storms and cyclones, so pilots should always be careful navigating the Triangle during hurricane seasons.
There is no evidence that there is anything supernatural or magical about the Bermuda Triangle. While there are eerie reports of missing ships, these reports all occurred before the advent of modern location-tracking technology. In those days, it was common for ships and planes to occasionally go missing when traversing harsh waters or skies.
In truth, you have no more reason to be afraid of the Bermuda Triangle than you do the Boogeyman or the Loch Ness Monster. So, fly your hearts out…if you dare.