The Infamous Bermuda Triangle; Theories to Unravel the Mystery
As popular in cartoons as it is to scientists, the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle (also known as the “Devil’s Triangle” or “Hurricane Alley”) has been the subject of both entertainment and profound fear. Covering a triangular area of approximately 500,000 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean, the Bermuda Triangle sits off the coast of Florida, with its corners found at Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. At least 75 planes and hundreds of ships have entered this infamous Atlantic region and never emerged, yet no one knows why.
Over the centuries, numerous legends have been told about the region, and countless theories have been postulated — ranging from disturbing weather patterns to paranormal events — but none have, thus far, been confirmed as fact. Backed by modern technology and the experiences of their predecessors, scientists and explorers hone theories, both old and new, to answer the nagging question: What accounts for these mysterious Bermuda Triangle disappearances?
History of the Devil’s Triangle
Legends of the Bermuda Triangle can be traced back as far as Christopher Columbus’s first expedition to the New World. In one instance, Columbus noted a giant flame that plummeted into the sea; a few weeks later, he noted that a strange light appeared far into the distance. Not long after, Shakespeare wrote his play, “The Tempest,” which many believe to be based on an actual shipwreck within the Bermuda Triangle.
But it wasn’t until the 20th century that the mystery began to garner more attention, especially due to the number of Bermuda Triangle accounts that surfaced. The incident that seems to have tipped the scales occurred in 1918. That year, the U.S.S. Cyclops, a vessel carrying 309 sailors, not only disappeared without a trace, but was said to have disappeared without any plausible reason. No storms had been reported the day the 540-foot-long cargo ship vanished and there were no records of the crew radioing in distress. Sounds familiar doesn't it?
As it was still months before the end of World War I, there was some speculation as to whether German U-boats destroyed the vessel. But there was no evidence of such an attack. Even if that story did check out, there is nothing to explain the other 74 disappearances that followed — including the 2015 disappearance of El Faro, another cargo ship with a crew of 33.
Bermuda Triangle Theories
Some investigators claim the lost city of Atlantis lies within the confines of the Bermuda Triangle, sunken but still very much present on the ocean floor. While many theories revolve around the existence of Atlantis itself — and how the civilization functioned — many believe the ancient civilization was home to numerous advanced technologies. It has been suggested that certain devices, whatever these may be, are somehow still active and powerful enough to take down ships and aircraft entering into this mysterious vortex in the Atlantic.
Hexagonal Cloud Formation
Meteorologists recently posed a new theory involving the formation of gigantic hexagonal clouds, which create 170mph “air bombs.” Big Think explains, “By studying imagery from a NASA satellite, the scientists concluded that some of these clouds reach 20 to 55 miles across. Waves inside these wind monsters can reach as high as 45 feet. What’s more – the clouds have straight edges.” Not only would these clouds be capable of swatting a plane out of the sky, but they could also create colossal waves to sink ships in a single gulp.
One of the Bermuda Triangle’s survivors, pilot Bruce Gernon, presented his theory on the phenomenon through what he calls an “Electronic Fog.” In 1970, he was flying with two passengers when his aircraft was swallowed up by two massive, ominous clouds that formed a vortex and spiraled. Gernon found that his navigational devices were malfunctioning and that they were not perceivable on radar. When they emerged, they found their trip had only taken them 35 minutes, rather than the 75 minutes it should have, and he concluded that his aircraft had somehow been pushed forward in time.
Oceanographers have recently circled back to an old theory, that vanishing ships and planes can be attributed to rogue waves. These are monstrous walls of water that are prone to emerging suddenly — anywhere that storms from all directions can converge. According to LiveScience, “If each wave can reach over 30 feet (10 meters) tall, occasionally they can coincide at the right moment and create a rogue, or ‘freak,’ wave that can be over 100 feet (30 m) high.” Such waves can easily overtake ships — especially larger ships, which have a higher likelihood of capsizing and even snapping in two.
For decades, UFOs have been spotted and recorded in the Bermuda Triangle and off the coast of Florida. Military pilots have reported seeing mysterious objects that could reach “hypersonic speeds,” five times the speed of sound, and maneuver in ways that are beyond the capability of advanced military aircraft.
With this sort of technology, any human-made aircraft would be defenseless in a confrontation with UFOs over the waters of the Atlantic. The New York Times reported, “In late 2014, a Super Hornet pilot had a near collision with one of the objects… Some of the incidents were videotaped, including one taken by a plane’s camera in early 2015 that shows an object zooming over the ocean waves as pilots question what they are watching.”
Theories surrounding the Bermuda Triangle are seemingly inexhaustible, and official explanations usually fail to cover all the bases or they leave out important information, such as the plethora of UFOs reports in the area. And while some claim the eerie occurrences are nothing short of fictitious, sailors and pilots alike often think twice before charting routes through these waters that are said to be haunted by thousands of lost souls.
In the final analysis, a mystery as old and alarming as the Devil’s Triangle demands the kind of investigation that has yet to be made by any government thus far. Incomplete or terse explanations about the disappearances of ships and planes in the area are, in the least, perpetually unsatisfying to the most curious.
Unsolved: The Mysterious Disappearance of Santiago Flight 513
On September 4, 1954, Santiago Airlines Flight 513 departed from Aachen, West Germany, destined for Porto Alegre, Brazil. The flight should have taken around 18 hours.
Instead, it took 35 years. On October 12, 1989, without any contact with air traffic controllers, Santiago Flight 513 was spotted circling the Porto Alegre airport, where it eventually made a successful landing.
Another of Several Unsolved Aviation Mysteries
It’s not unheard of for planes to disappear, though there’s usually evidence of what probably happens during those events to indicate that the plane has crashed — debris, luggage, or, at a minimum, records of the pilot radioing for help…
Then there are those aircraft that set off, traveling from point A to point B, and are never heard from again, with nothing left behind, no reports of distress — not even poor weather conditions to pin the blame on. These stories, though puzzling and eerie, have occurred often enough to have attracted the expertise of scientists and meteorologists (along with other theorists), looking for a pattern among the disappearances. Perhaps the most famous of these incidences are tales from the Bermuda Triangle, the legendary vortex where aircraft and ships just seem to vanish without a trace.
It was thought that Santiago Flight 513 would go the way of the unexplained vanishing aircraft — after all, no one expects an airplane to finally land after 35 years missing. And it, too, disappeared without a trace, devoid of any communication with airport bases, and showing no signs of distress.