(From: Investigator 128, 2009 September)
High on the list of
the world's mysteries is the enigmatic Bermuda Triangle, an area of the
Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea between
Foremost in the line of investigators and researchers into the mysterious disappearances is Charles Berlitz, author of two best selling books, The Bermuda Triangle (1974), and Without a Trace (1978), in which he offers explanations and describes in great detail many of the puzzles surrounding craft that simply disappeared from the face of the sea, were found abandoned, or came to grief for no apparent reason.
Berlitz found that the rate of disappearances in or close to the Bermuda Triangle was greater than any other similar sized area of ocean anywhere in the world; that the weather was generally excellent at the time of the disappearances; that ships and planes rarely gave any hint of trouble prior to vanishing and that despite intensive air and sea rescue operations, no traces were ever found to explain the losses.
In Without a Trace, Berlitz lists 143 disappearances in the triangle (from 1800 to 1976), including vessels varying in size from speedboats through freighters to passenger ships, and 35 aircraft ranging from light planes to passenger aircraft. Among them, the well publicized disappearance of 5 TBM Avenger torpedo bombers (Flight 19), on December 5, 1945. Berlitz asserts that an average of 50 ships and 25 airplanes are gobbled up in the Triangle every year, most of them in the months of December to February. His descriptions of the last moments of some of the victims have led to all sorts of intriguing speculations to account for the losses, ranging from malfunctioning compasses caused by mysterious magnetic anomalies to abductions by UFOs.
Journalistic licence has contributed greatly to the establishment of the "mystery", take for example this description in respect of the Sandra that appeared in a Fate magazine in 1952.
"The Sandra was a
square‑cut tramp steamer, decorated here and there with rust spots
her 350‑foot length. Radio equipped and loaded with 350 tons of
insecticide, she leisurely thumped her way south in the heavily
coastal shipping lanes off
The next morning they were all gone. Neither the ship nor the crew were ever seen again. They had silently vanished during the night under a starlit sky. No clue to help solve this baffling mystery has been found to this very day."
On September 15,
1989, Australian round the world solo flyer Gabby Kennard set out from
On closer examination of the facts, is there really anything mysterious about this particular area? The answer is a resounding NO. The so called mystery is a fabrication and undoubtedly much of the credit for promoting the non-mystery of the Bermuda Triangle must go to Charles Berlitz and others, whose books on the subject are replete with factual errors, technical mistakes and omissions. Berlitz' innuendoes in particular lead the reader to draw false conclusions from the evidence presented among which are suggestions of strange forces that affect radios and compasses, atmospheric aberrations, time warps, abduction by UFOs, mysterious rays emanating from the mythical lost continent of Atlantis, magnetic and gravitational anomalies and reverse gravity fields.
Typical of the
glaring inaccuracies is the inclusion of the Mary Celeste,
as having been abandoned in the Triangle in 1872,
despite the fact that she was found near the Azores on the other side
Contrary to these
assertions, Charles Cazeau and Stuart
Scott in their
book, Exploring the Unknown, show
that given the total number of losses around the coast of the
The propensity to believe that the Bermuda Triangle presents a greater danger to ships is evidently not shared by Lloyds of London. While they put a premium on insurance for vessels in the Persian Gulf during the 1992 confrontation, they do not deem it necessary for vessels plying those mysterious Caribbean waters, nor in the Sea of Japan which boasts of just as many ‘strange’ disappearances in an area of similar size.
In would not be unreasonable to suggest that journalistic licence has been abused by Berlitz and others in their accounts of the Triangle and this is made abundantly clear in a thoroughly researched book by Larry Kusche, The Bermuda Triangle Mystery - Solved (1986), in which he investigates each and every claim made in respect of the disappearances, and exposes the inaccuracies and faulty logic which have contributed to creating a fictional scenario accepted by many as fact.
Berlitz, Charles. 1978. Without a Trace.
Grant, John. 1988. Great
Gerrand J. 1982. "The Valentich Mystery." the Skeptic, 2(l):12‑13 and 2(2):3‑4.
Killey, K. and Lester, G.
1980. The Devil's Meridian. Lester‑Townsend
Kusche, Larry. 1986. The
Randi, James. 1986. Flim‑Flam. Prometheus
Winer, Richard. 1975. The Devil's Triangle. Bantam Books.