on the list
of the world’s mysteries is the enigmatic Bermuda Triangle, an area of
the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea between Bermuda, Florida and
Puerto Rico, where over the centuries hundreds of ships, planes and
people are alleged to have disappeared without a trace.
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.
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.
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.
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:
was a square cut tramp steamer, decorated here and there with rust
spots along her 350 foot length. Radio equipped and loaded with 350
tons of insecticide, she leisurely thumped her way south in the heavily
travelled coastal shipping lanes off Florida in June 1950. The crewmen
who had finished mess, drifted to the aft deck to smoke and reflect
upon the setting sun and what the morrow may bring. Through the
tropical dusk that shrouded the peaceful Florida coast they watched the
friendly blinking beacon at St. Augustine.”
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
1989, Australian round the world solo flyer Gabby Kennard set out from
Miami for Barbados flying through the infamous Triangle and although
she reported that she was terrified when her radio went dead for a
period of thirty minutes, she came to no harm.
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
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 of the Atlantic! The claims
associated with disappearances in the Triangle are that the number of
disappearances is abnormally high, that the weather at the time of
disappearance was excellent, few of the ships and planes gave any hint
of trouble before they went missing, that there are forces within the
Triangle which cause equipment to malfunction, and that no traces are
ever found to explain the losses.
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 United States, those lost in the Bermuda Triangle are
proportionately no more than would be expected. Of the losses claimed
by Berlitz to have occurred within the Triangle only sixty three per
cent actually did. In forty seven per cent of cases, traces of wreckage
were found. Of the remainder it is more than likely that the flotsam
and jetsam was dispersed by storms. While in nearly every part of the
world compasses are subject to magnetic variations, navigators (in pre
satellite days) had tables to calculate the corrections required, there
is nothing mysterious or supernatural about a perfectly natural
phenomenon. Today of course, with satellite navigation and other
electronic aids, it’s almost impossible to disappear without a trace.
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.
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
1978. Without a Trace. Granada Publishing.
___________ 1974. The
Bermuda Triangle. Avon Books NY.
Grant, John. 1988. Great
Mysteries. New Burlington Books.
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
1986. The Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved. Prometheus
Books, Buffalo, New York.
1986. Flim Flam. Prometheus Books. Buffalo. NY.
1975. The Devil’s Triangle. Bantam Books.
Edwards, A Skeptic's Guide to the New Age]