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Bermuda Triangle
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Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle is an area in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida where numerous ships and aircraft have vanished. Also known as the Devil's Triangle, it is bounded at its points by Melbourne (Florida), Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. Legend has it that many ships and planes have vanished mysteriously in this area. However, the facts do not support the legend. In short, there is no mystery to be solved and nothing which needs explaining.  Many of the ships and planes which have been identified as having disappeared mysteriously in the Bermuda Triangle were not in the Bermuda Triangle at all. Storms are common in the region, but investigations to date have not produced scientific evidence of any unusual phenomena involved in the disappearances. Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that the number of accidents in this area is extraordinary given the large amount of traffic it receives. Thus, any explanation, including so-called scientific ones in terms of methane gas being released from the ocean floor, are not needed.

The modern legend of the Bermuda Triangle began soon after five Navy planes [Flight 19] vanished on a training mission during a severe storm in 1945. The planes have not been discovered, though they were thought to have been found by divers not far off the Atlantic coast. However,  a check of the tail numbers and serial numbers determined these were different planes. The most logical theory is that lead pilot Lt. Charles Taylorís compass failed. The trainees' planes were not equipped with working navigational instruments. The group was disoriented and simply, though tragically, ran out of fuel. No mysterious forces were likely to have been involved other than the mysterious force of gravity on  planes with no fuel. It is true that one of the rescue planes blew up shortly after take-off, but this was likely due to a faulty gas tank rather than to any mysterious forces.

The mass media has published many uncritical accounts of the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, but no one has done more to create this myth than Charles Berlitz, who had a bestseller on the subject in 1974. (Berlitz did not invent the name; that was done by V. Gaddis in a 1964 issue of "Argosy," a magazine devoted to fiction.) One of his major critics, Larry Kushe, claims that "If Berlitz were to report that a boat were red, the chance of it being some other color is almost a certainty." After examining the 400+ page official report of the Navy Board of Investigation of the disappearance of the Navy planes in 1945, Kushe found that the Board wasn't baffled at all by the incident and did not mention alleged radio transmissions cited by Berlitz in his book. According to Kushe, what isn't misinterpreted by Berlitz is fabricated.

Links

A Brief History of the Devil's Triangle by D. Trull

  • The Bermuda Triangle
  • U.S. Navy page on the Bermuda Triangle
  • The Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved Oceanic flatulence is blowing up ships and taking down planes!
  • The Bermuda Triangle by James Knickelbein
  • Kushe, Larry. The Bermuda Triangle Mystery--Solved (New York: Warner Books, 1975).

    Randi, James. Flim-Flam! Psychics, Esp, Unicorns, and Other Delusions (Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books,1982), ch. 3. $15.16