The Bermuda Triangle

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Kaylyn Vaughan

English 1103

Prof. Presnell

1 November, 2013

The Bermuda Triangle
Everyone has heard of the Bermuda Triangle and its name even strikes fear in those who have heard the stories of the area. You won’t find its boundaries or points on any maps and you might not even know when you’ve entered the Triangle. However, the Bermuda Triangle is a very real place where numerous planes and ships have disappeared without an explanation. I have always heard the legends of the triangle, but I have never understood why these disappearances kept happening.

Why is it so famous?

Figure : The three points to the triangle are Bermuda; Miami, Florida; and San Juan, Puerto Rico
According to Lee Ann Obringer, a contributor to informative website, HowStuffWorks, “scientists have documented deviations from the norm in the area and have found some interesting formations on the seafloor within the Bermuda Triangle’s boundaries.” The area is thought to have received its name from having one of its points located in Bermuda. While reading an article on the Bermuda Triangle on HowStuffWorks, I found that Lee Ann Obringer also states that “Bermuda was once known as the ‘Isle of Devils’” hence, the reason why some refer to the Bermuda Triangle as the Devil’s Triangle. There are three points that make up the triangle, Bermuda; Miami, Florida; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Triangle is famous for having an unusually high number of disappearances of planes and ships in the area. Surprisingly, I found that the Navy does not acknowledge the Bermuda Triangle as a real place, and does not consider there to be an unusual amount of disappearances in this area. To me, this was very surprising because the first well known disappearance in the Triangle involved five navy warplanes. I found that the Navy does not consider the Bermuda Triangle to be a real place in an attempt to cover up what happened and try and make people forget all about it. The Triangle gained a reputation when writer George X. Sand wrote an article for Fate magazine in 1952. The article was titled “Sea Mystery at our Back Door” and was all about the strange disappearances that had been happening in the area as well as giving the area its boundaries. As more and more people started to pay attention to the amount of ships and planes lost at sea, the Bermuda Triangle’s reputation began to grow and in a 1964 edition of Argosy Magazine, the triangle was coined its name in an article “The Deadly Bermuda Triangle”. The Triangle gained fame and mystery from all of these articles and publications that were being produced and also from a few famous planes and ships that disappeared without a trace.

Figure : Newspaper article released a few days after the disappearance occurred.
Those who were lost at sea

Figure : This shows the course that Flight 19 took vs. where Pilot Taylor thought they were located.
The first major disappearance in the Bermuda Triangle that I found was the disappearance of five large US Navy Avengers on December 5th, 1945. The flight was named Flight 19 and according to Gian J. Quasar, creator of, the flight is said to be “the beginning, the anchor point, the most astounding occurrence in the Bermuda Triangle.” Fourteen members of the flight left their station, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on what was going to be their final qualifying flight over water. The BBC did a documentary on the Bermuda Triangle and investigated some of the disappearances and theories. According to the documentary done by the BBC, “the flight would take them east to the Bahamas, and then back again in just over two and a half hours” (BBC). After departing and flying for some time, lead pilot, Charles C. Taylor, became severely disoriented (he suffered from spacial disorientation, says the documentary done by the BBC) and did not believe they were on the intended course. He continued to disregard the operations coming over their radio because he felt they were incorrect.

After losing contact with Flight 19 over radio, the naval base sent a plane out in search of the area. However, the seaplane never located Flight 19 because it exploded soon after takeoff and crashed into the sea. Flight 19 never returned to the Navy base, and was never heard from again. I discovered that there have been no physical traces of Flight 19 since the disappearance. I agree with the theory that they eventually ran out of fuel and crashed into the deep, treacherous Atlantic Ocean because it is the most logical explanation to what happened. They became disoriented and lost, and flew around until they eventually ran out of fuel, it just makes sense. However, others believe that some other force was to blame for their mysterious disappearance.

Figure : S.S. Marine Sulphur Queen
Another major disappearance in the Bermuda Triangle was the S.S. Marine Sulphur

Queen. In Lee Ann Obringer’s article about the Bermuda Triangle, she says “The S.S. Marine Sulphur Queen was a tanker and was bound for Norfolk, Virginia from Beaumont, Texas carrying 15,000 tons of molten sulphur in heated tanks. Its last communication took place on Feb. 3, 1963, when its captain radioed a routine position report. The message placed her near Key West in the Florida Straits. She never reached Virginia.” Search teams were sent out to find the ship, but only recovered eight life jackets (with rips thought to be from sharks), five life rings, one shirt, two pieces of board with the name of the ship, and various other floating artifacts. Leaking sulphur is thought to be the culprit of the disappearance because the leaking sulphur may have caused an explosion. Also, the crew members would have been poisoned from the sulphur and would not have been able to make a distress call. Obringer also states that “officers on a Honduran banana boat reported to the Coast Guard that their freighter ran into a strong, acrid odor 15 miles off Cape San Antonia, the western tip of Cuba, just before dawn on February 3.”

Out of the ordinary

There are many theories as to why ships and planes have disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle. Some are logical and some, are rather farfetched. The farfetched theories are what gave the Bermuda Triangle such a mysterious reputation and are what make people scared to cross this stretch of the Atlantic Ocean.

One farfetched theory that I found in Lee Ann Obringer’s article on the Bermuda Triangle is that the disappearances are due to aliens and Atlantis. It is thought that the pyramids and gems that have been found in the area where Atlantis was thought to be, are what causes navigational confusion and compass mishaps. It is also believed that these things also could cause ships to disintegrate all together. Some of the ruins of the lost civilization of Atlantis have been found around epicenters of electromagnetic anomalies which is why Atlantis is credited with some compass abnormalities. Also, some believe that aliens and UFO’s are to blame for the disappearances. Some believe that aliens interfere with technology on planes and ships and cause problems with navigation. Also, it is believed that some planes and ships have been caught in a portal and end up trapped in between dimensions when traveling in the Bermuda Triangle.

Another theory is one of electromagnetic fog. Obringer also tell the story of this mysterious fog that was experienced by Bruce Gernon and his father as they were flying to Bimini. They saw a strange white fog over the Miami shore. When the two flew over the fog, it engulfed them and they had no way out. They said that the fog formed into a tunnel and as they flew through it all of their navigational instruments began going crazy and their compass even spun counterclockwise! Air Traffic Control was unable to locate their plane and they had no clue where they were. After emerging from the fog, the pair found themselves way off track from their intended course. Other pilots have experienced this fog and it is thought to be the culprit of many lost planes. However, many records that I found online state that this phenomenon is not real, and I believe it was story that was made up to cover up a navigational error.

One very popular theory is that compasses malfunction when traveling through the Bermuda Triangle. It is said that the Bermuda Triangle is one of the only places in the world where compasses tend to point to true north rather than magnetic north. Although the Navy says this is not true, many captains of ships say they have experienced this phenomenon when traveling the area. The compass malfunction causes ships to travel off course and often they get lost at sea.
Plausible Theories

There are numerous theories that seem to be farfetched about the disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, however, I found that there are some very logical theories that outweigh the farfetched ones. One is that the weather patterns are very unpredictable and the dramatic topography of the ocean floor is a major factor in being able to locate ship wrecks in the area. The weather in this area is famous for having unexpected storms that are often not detected by weather satellites or radars. These storms come about very quickly and are often extremely intense and unpredictable. Waterspouts (tornados at sea that pull water from the ocean surface thousands of feet into the sky) are also a weather factor that could destroy a plane or ship with ease. Freak waves up to 100 feet high and underwater earthquakes also play a role in the unpredictable weather patterns in the Bermuda Triangle. Also, the topography of the Bermuda Triangle “goes from a gently sloping continental shelf to an extremely deep drop-off” (Obringer). Some of the deepest trenches in the world are located in this area and ships or planes that wreck at sea are often never recovered because they fall into these trenches. This is a big reason so many planes and ships disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle. Random storms would come about and the pilot or captain would become disoriented and eventually crash or sink. If it were up to me, I would rather travel a much calmer sea than travel the unpredictable sea of the Bermuda Triangle!

Figure : An example of a hole opening up in the ocean and engulfing a passing by ship.
Another theory about the disappearances is farfetched but logical at the same time. The theory/legend is that a black hole opens up in the sea and swallows the ship in the area leaving no trace that it was ever there. There are large concentrations of methane gas trapped in the ocean floor in the area of the Bermuda Triangle. When the methane gas is released from the floor, the gas erupts on the surface without warning. If a ship was passing by when this happened, the ship would sink. This is because when the gas reaches the surface, the water becomes less dense and is no longer able to hold the ship up. The ship could easily sink and be covered up by sediment on the ocean floor.

Modern day Pirates are also credited with the disappearance of many ships in the Bermuda Triangle. Pirates often rob ships, and either take the crew members hostage or kill them then sink the ship after taking all valuables

No Longer a Mystery

The Bermuda Triangle is still an eerie place to think about or even travel through due to all of the legends, myths, and disappearances. However, I believe that there is no longer any mystery to the disappearances that occurred in this area. There is a logical reason that each one of the planes and ships crashed or sank in the Triangle. Even though there are logical theories to each disappearance, I believe that people continue to believe the farfetched theories in order to keep the legend of the mysterious Bermuda Triangle alive. Just like legends of Big Foot, or the Loch Ness Monster, there are reasonable explanations, but people continue to believe there is something out there and continue to pass stories of them to generations below them. This shows that we are people that thrive on fictional stories because it makes us excited and catches our attention more than the logical explanations of things do. We are a generation that thrives on investigating the unknown and discovering new things every day.

The Bermuda Triangle is now a frequently traveled area and there are no more occurrences of crashes or sinking’s in this part of the ocean than in other parts around the world. Although it is a treacherous stretch of ocean, it is fairly safe and no more risky than traveling anywhere else. The legend of the Bermuda Triangle will likely go on until the end of time and there will likely be more farfetched as well as logical theories developed. The question is, what will you believe?

Works Cited

Obringer, Lee Ann. “How the Bermuda Triangle Works.” Howstuffworks Web. 21 Oct 2013.

Quasar, Gian. “The Bermuda Triangle.” Bermuda Triangle Database Web. 24 Oct 2013.

Wilcox, John. “Bermuda Triangle Secrets Revealed.” Youtube. Youtube, 19 Apr. 1996. Web. 24 Oct. 2013

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