The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil’s Triangle, is an undefined region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The triangle does not exist according to the US Navy and the name is not recognized by the US Board on Geographic Names.Popular culture has attributed various disappearances to the paranormal or activity byextraterrestrial beings. Documented evidence indicates that a significant percentage of the incidents were spurious, inaccurately reported, or embellished by later authors.Contrary to popular belief, insurance companies do not charge higher premiums for shipping in this area.
The first written boundaries date from a 1964 issue of pulp magazine Argosy, where the triangle’s three vertices are in Miami, Florida peninsula; in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and in the mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda.But subsequent writers didn’t follow this definition.Every writer gives different boundaries and vertices to the triangle, with the total area varying from 500,000 to 1.5 million square miles.Consequently, the determination of which accidents have occurred inside the triangle depends on which writer reports them. TheUnited States Board on Geographic Names does not recognize this name, and it’s not delimited in any map drawn by US government agencies.
The area is one of the most heavily traveled shipping lanes in the world, with ships crossing through it daily for ports in the Americas,Europe, and the Caribbean Islands. Cruise ships are also plentiful, and pleasure craft regularly go back and forth between Florida and the islands. It is also a heavily flown route for commercial and private aircraft heading towards Florida, the Caribbean, and South America from points north.
The earliest allegation of unusual disappearances in the Bermuda area appeared in a September 16, 1950 Associated Press article by Edward Van Winkle Jones. Two years later, Fate magazine published “Sea Mystery at Our Back Door”, a short article by George X. Sand covering the loss of several planes and ships, including the loss of Flight 19, a group of five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger bombers on a training mission. Sand’s article was the first to lay out the now-familiar triangular area where the losses took place. Flight 19 alone would be covered again in the April 1962 issue of American Legion magazine. It was claimed[by whom?] that the flight leader had been heard saying, “We are entering white water, nothing seems right. We don’t know where we are, the water is green, no white.” It was also claimed that officials at the Navy board of inquiry stated that the planes “flew off to Mars.” Sand’s article was the first to suggest a supernatural element to the Flight 19 incident. In the February 1964 issue of Argosy, Vincent Gaddis’s article “The Deadly Bermuda Triangle” argued that Flight 19 and other disappearances were part of a pattern of strange events in the region. The next year, Gaddis expanded this article into a book, Invisible Horizons.
Others would follow with their own works, elaborating on Gaddis’ ideas: John Wallace Spencer (Limbo of the Lost, 1969, repr. 1973);Charles Berlitz (The Bermuda Triangle, 1974); Richard Winer (The Devil’s Triangle, 1974),and many others, all keeping to some of the same supernatural elements outlined by Eckert.
When the UK Channel 4 television program The Bermuda Triangle (1992) was being produced by John Simmons of Geofilms for theEquinox series, the marine insurance market Lloyd’s of London was asked if an unusually large number of ships had sunk in the Bermuda Triangle area. Lloyd’s of London determined that large numbers of ships had not sunk there. Lloyd’s does not charge higher rates for passing through this area.
United States Coast Guard records confirm their conclusion. In fact, the number of supposed disappearances is relatively insignificant considering the number of ships and aircraft that pass through on a regular basis.
The Coast Guard is also officially skeptical of the Triangle, noting that they collect and publish, through their inquiries, much documentation contradicting many of the incidents written about by the Triangle authors. In one such incident involving the 1972 explosion and sinking of the tanker SS V. A. Fogg, the Coast Guard photographed the wreck and recovered several bodies, in contrast with one Triangle author’s claim that all the bodies had vanished, with the exception of the captain, who was found sitting in his cabin at his desk, clutching a coffee cup. In addition, V. A. Fogg sank off the coast of Texas, nowhere near the commonly accepted boundaries of the Triangle.
The NOVA/Horizon episode The Case of the Bermuda Triangle, aired on June 27, 1976, was highly critical, stating that “When we’ve gone back to the original sources or the people involved, the mystery evaporates. Science does not have to answer questions about the Triangle because those questions are not valid in the first place… Ships and planes behave in the Triangle the same way they behave everywhere else in the world.”