The Bermuda Triangle, sometimes known as the “Devil’s Triangle”, is a triangular area of the north-western Atlantic Ocean bounded by Bermuda, Puerto Rico and a point near Melbourne, Florida, where famously numerous ships and aircraft have mysteriously disappeared throughout the ages. Since records began in 1851, it is estimated that an amazing 8,127 people have been lost in the Bermuda Triangle. However, perhaps the most intriguing and famous disappearance of all, occurred just after WWII on December 5, 1945, when an entire squadron of aircraft vanished without trace and no clue as to what happened to them. Of course, this was the infamous Flight 19, which, more than any other case, brought the triangle into popular consciousness, sparking all kinds of explanations. The strangest and most interesting being the theory that they were abducted by aliens who have a base somewhere in the triangle, interesting because the alien/UFO theory was popularized by Stephen Spielberg in his 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
While there could be a rational explanation for the disappearance of Flight 19, it is worth remembering that Lt. Charles Taylor was exonerated in 1947 by the Board for Correction of Naval Records, at the request of his mother, in regard for “responsibility for loss of lives and naval aircraft” and that the conclusion of the US Navy’s report was changed to “cause unknown”.
The earliest suggestion that Flight 19 was anything other than just an accident, that this author has seen, came in the form of a “Letter to the editor” from one “Edward R. Walker of Colorado” in the August, 1946 issue of Amazing Stories magazine. The letter shows that almost immediately after the disappearance of Flight 19, people were already beginning to speculate that the incident was more than just the result of pilot error due to poor weather. In his letter Walker writes:
“A couple months ago I read another AP dispatch about SIX NAVY PLANES disappearing ALL AT ONE TIME off the coast of Florida. Hundreds of hours were spent searching for a trace of them but none was found. Wish I had cut this out for you also, but you can verify that yourself. This is one of the strangest happenings that I have ever heard of in my lifetime. Even if they had flown over a carpet on anti-aircraft fire one or two would have gotten through. As I remember the article it wasn’t even storming.”
In his response to Walker’s letter the editor, Ray Palmer, who went on to become the editor of Fate magazine, not only agreed that something unexplained had happened to Flight 19 but also all but accused the US Navy of a cover-up:
“About those Navy planes, now you’ve got something! As we remember it, search planes also failed to come back. Not a sign, not a message, just instant disappearance. And no fuss about it since, just official forgetfulness. Your EDITOR would like to KNOW what happened , because it wasn’t anything ordinary.”
In his book Berlitz also considered more esoteric and paranormal possibilities to explain the disappearances inside the triangle, including chapters on space and time warps, energy devices left behind from an advanced lost civilization, as well as extraterrestrials and even cryptoterrestrials:
“Lacking a logical and readily acceptable explanation, independent researchers concerned with the disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle have gone even further afield — some to explanations based on exceptions to natural law, others to suggestions of interdimensional changeover through a passageway equivalent to a “hole in the sky” (which aircraft can enter but not leave), others believe the disappearances are engineered by entities from inner or outer space, while still others offer theories offer a theory or combinations of theories that the phenomenon may be essentially caused by still functioning man-made power complexes belonging to a science considerably older than and very different to ours.”
According to most triangle researchers, Christopher Columbus was probably the first person to document allegedly strange phenomena in the area. On October 11, 1492, the eve of discovering the New World, Columbus reports that he and his crew observed a mysterious light moving strangely up and down in the evening sky, appearing and quickly disappearing several times that night. Columbus wrote in his log that:
“The land was first seen by a sailor called Rodrigo de Triana, although the Admiral at ten o’clock that evening standing on the quarter-deck saw a light, but so small a body that he could not affirm it to be land; calling to Pero Gutierrez, groom of the King’s wardrobe, he told him he saw a light, and bid him look that way, which he did and saw it; he did the same to Rodrigo Sanchez of Segovia, whom the King and Queen had sent with the squadron as comptroller, but he was unable to see it from his situation. The Admiral again perceived it once or twice, appearing like the light of a wax candle moving up and down, which some thought an indication of land. But the Admiral held it for certain that land was near…”
Whatever Columbus and his crew saw that historic night is probably impossible to know for sure now. In that limited sense, at least, the odd light is a true UFO in that it will probably always be unidentified. Perhaps more interesting, though, are the bizarre compass readings Columbus also recorded in the triangle.
Today, the triangle is supposedly one of only two places in the world, the other being the Dragon’s Sea in the Pacific, in which there is an unusual level of magnetic interference that can adversely affect compass readings. Whether paranormal or not, this magnetic interference is definitely interesting. Many have speculated that UFOs may be using some form of electromagnetic propulsion. Perhaps there could be a link of some kind between the magnetic interference, UFO sightings and the mysterious disappearances in the triangle?
Doctor Who fans will remember “The Sea Devils” a classic 1972 Jon Pertwee story written by Malcolm Hulke, the plot of which is very reminiscent of the triangle mystery. The story involves the Third Doctor and his companion Joe Grant investigating the mysterious disappearance of ships off the English South Coast and the discovery that an ancient race of amphibious reptiles, operating from a deep underwater base are responsible.
Science fiction is filled with interesting storylines that parallel mysteries like the Bermuda Triangle, but is it possible that there really could be another civilization, of any kind, sharing the planet with us, living beneath the waves in seclusion?
Amazingly, it is true that we actually know more about the surface of the Moon than we do about the bottom of our own oceans. In theory, at least, it is possible that anything could be down there hidden beneath the depths. What more, making things more interesting, about half of all UFO sightings are said to take place near large bodies of water.
In Invisible Residents: The Reality of Underwater UFOs (1970), renowned zoologist, Ivan T. Sanderson hypothesized that an advanced aquatic non-human civilization may have evolved right here on the Earth. This parallel, aquatic civilization could be twice as old as mankind, Sanderson proposes, and may well have developed space flight long before us. Sanderson even goes as far as suggesting that such a civilization could be behind many of the mysterious disappearances in the triangle as well as UFO sightings. Interestingly, more recently Sanderson’s ideas have been echoed somewhat in Mac Tonnies’ last book before his untimely passing in 2009 The Cryptoterrestrials. The year before his death, I had the privilege of interviewing Tonnies about his cryptoterrestrial hypothesis that we are sharing this world with another indigenous intelligent species:
“I’m fascinated by accounts of apparent UFO occupants and have been rethinking who or what we might be dealing with. I’m of the opinion that the extraterrestrial interpretation is incomplete. Could we be interacting with indigenous humanoids? That’s the question I’m posing in the book I’m writing. Time will tell if it.”
While the ETH or extraterrestrial hypothesis has become synonymous with the UFO phenomenon in popular culture, many serious UFO researchers give the cryptoterrestrial hypothesis equal kudos. In 2009 in an interview for my Sci-Fi Worlds blog, I asked former MoD UFO investigator Nick Pope about Doctor Who’s Sea Devils and what he thought about the possibility that we humans are sharing the planet with another intelligent Earth species: “Well, I hope these monsters are brought back at some stage! I reference the cryptoterrestrial hypothesis a fair bit in my first sci-fi novel, Operation Thunder Child. There are plenty of USO (Unidentified Submerged Object) reports and many UFO sightings where an object is seen over water, so who knows? I’m not hugely attracted to the cryptoterrestrial hypothesis, but I certainly can’t rule it out. And as the saying goes, we arguably know less about the deep ocean than we do about the Moon or Mars.”
Richard Freeman, who is a researcher for the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ), the only full time scientific organisation dedicated to the study of unknown species of animals, went also agreed that extraterrestrial hypothesis needed to be considered when I interviewed him in 2009: “I have never bought the extraterrestrial hypothesis. The so-called ‘aliens’ are generally too humanoid looking to have evolved on another biosphere. If ‘alien’ encounters are objective events, and that’s a big if, I think the creatures are coming through time or dimensions rather than from outer space. There seems to be a strange analogue with fairy lore as well.”
Another possibility, of course, could be that the planet has somehow been covertly colonized by an extraterrestrial civilization from another solar system. In Unearthly Disclosure (2000), best selling author Timothy Good disclosed information given to him by “a senior reporter in Washington, DC,” who, in turn, received it from “a senior US Air Force officer”, about the existence of extraterrestrial bases on the Earth, including . Good writes: “According to the officer, aliens have been coming to Earth for a very long time. Following the Second World War, they began to establish permanent bases here, in Australia, the Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean, the Soviet Union and in the United States.”
If extraterrestrials are really coming to Earth from another solar system, it would probably make sense that they would establish such bases to save them continually making the long voyage back and forth home. Also, the reference to the Caribbean is intriguing because that is where part of the Bermuda Triangle is located.
However, whether from this world or another, where better to build an impenetrable, covert base than beneath the oceans of the world. The Bermuda Triangle, in particular, might also make a good location for such a base because of the volcanic activity there, which could be used to generate geothermal electricity as a power source.
The biggest problem with the alien base theory, of course, is like the wreckage of the missing planes and ships, why hasn’t it been found by the many detailed searches inside the triangle? Perhaps instead of a base, the Bermuda Triangle is the location of a “wormhole” to another world.
In his book another possibility Berlitz considered was that there could be a “vortex” or “portal” somewhere in the triangle which aliens from another planet or dimension are using as a bridge or gateway to Earth. An outrageous theory back in 1974 when The Bermuda Triangle was first published.
Today, however, serious scientists regularly discuss the possibility of other dimensions and “wormholes” in books and on scientific documentaries for TV. In the bestselling book Hyperspace Michio Kaku refers to Flight 19 and the Bermuda Triangle:
“Ever since Flight 19, a group of U.S. military torpedo bombers, vanished in the Caribbean 30 years ago, mystery writers too have used higher dimensions as a convenient solution to the puzzle of the Bermuda Triangle, or Devil’s Triangle. Some have conjectured that airplanes and ships disappearing in the Bermuda Triangle actually entered some sort of passageway to another world.”
The internationally acclaimed physicist also explains in his book how such a “passageway” could work. Comparing space travellers to flatworms living on an apple, Kaku writes:
“It’s obvious to these worms that their world, which they call Appleworld, is flat and two dimensional, like themselves. One worm, however, named Columbus, is obsessed by the notion that Appleworld is somehow finite and curved in something he calls the third demission. He even invents two new words, up and down, to describe motion in this invisible third dimension … By burrowing into the apple, he can carve a tunnel, creating a convenient shortcut to distant lands. These tunnels, which considerably reduce the time and discomfort of a long journey, he calls wormholes. They demonstrate that the shortest path between two points is not necessary a straight line, as he’s been taught, but a wormhole.”
Perhaps the disappearance of Flight 19 and other planes and ships inside Bermuda Triangle can be explained away by more mundane explanations, such as intense weather conditions and human error, but until we more fully explore the bottom of the world’s oceans we have no way of knowing for sure what could be down there.