It is a region shrouded in mystery. For years, the Bermuda Triangle has captured the imaginations of many, largely due to a number of unexplained disappearances of ships and planes in the region. Explanations for these vanishing vessels range from the scientific, to the paranormal. So what is the real story behind this mysterious place? Where is the Bermuda Triangle, and what exactly is it?
It’s time to cast your preconceived notions aside, and take a dive into the Triangle.
Where is the Bermuda Triangle?
The boundaries of the Bermuda Triangle vary, but are most commonly considered to be the section of the Atlantic Ocean bounded by Miami, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda. These points can all be connected on a map to form a triangle.
The Bermuda Triangle is a well-traversed region. It is among the most heavily traveled shipping lanes in the world, as ships routinely cross through to port in the Americas, Europe, and Caribbean islands. It is also a common destination for cruise ships and other boats, as well as commercial and private aircraft that fly over it.
Over the years, it has gained a reputation as a section of ocean that many ships don’t successfully navigate. Many have asserted that a number of these vessels have disappeared under mysterious circumstances, though most reputable sources dismiss the idea that there is any mystery.
How did the Bermuda Triangle gain this notoriety?
History of the Triangle
One of the earliest unusual occurrences in the Bermuda Triangle came way back in 1492, when Christopher Columbus and company were journeying across the Atlantic. Near what is now the Bahamas, some crew members reported seeing a fireball crash into the sea. Columbus recorded this incident in his logbook.
The fireball was not, however, the start of a long history of odd happenings. In fact, references to unusual disappearances in the Bermuda area didn’t start to pop up until the mid 20th century, fueled largely by the loss of Flight 19, a group of five US Navy torpedo bombers on a training mission in the area (you might remember seeing them during a scene in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind).
The term “Bermuda Triangle” was coined in 1964 by Vincent Gaddis, a writer for the pulp magazine Argosy. Gaddis, considered a “crackpot” by many, argued that other disappearances in the area were part of a larger pattern of strange events. He defined the borders we typically associate with the Bermuda Triangle today.
Soon after, other authors would elaborate on the ideas of Gaddis, and create their own works. One such book was The Bermuda Triangle, written by Charles Berlitz in 1974. The book became a best-seller, and helped popularize the idea of mysterious and unknown forces wreaking havoc in the Bermuda Triangle.
Explanations For Disappearances
The majority of people that navigate through the Bermuda Triangle do so without incident. In fact, there is no real evidence to suggest that the Bermuda Triangle has a higher frequency of disappearances than other well-traveled sections of the ocean. However, given its reputation, many are quick to offer explanations anytime a ship or aircraft has gone missing in the region.
Let’s start with some of the more outlandish:
- Alien abduction
- Influence of the lost continent of Atlantis
- Strange vortices that send objects to other dimensions
Some explanations are based more in science, but teeter into the pseudoscientific realm, as they lack concrete scientific evidence:
- Electromagnetic anomalies
- Hexagonal clouds
- Methane eruptions from continental shelves
At the end of the day though, environmental factors are the most likely causes of the disappearances in this region. Each year, we hear about massive hurricanes sweeping through the Atlantic. Many of these hurricanes and tropical storms pass right through the Bermuda Triangle. We benefit from pretty accurate weather forecasting today, but sailors of the past weren’t afforded such early notice of dangerous storms.
Also, the Gulf Stream, a warm and rapid flowing ocean current, can cause quick changes in weather throughout the Caribbean. When you add the fact that a number of large islands in the Caribbean Sea create many areas of shallow water, it is no wonder that navigating this region can be tricky.
When bad weather and human error are involved, the ocean can be a very dangerous place. And this is true all over the world, not just in the Bermuda Triangle.