Term Paper: Bermuda Triangle

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Bermuda Triangle - also sometimes called the "Devil's Triangle" - has been the topic of controversy for many years. The name "Bermuda Triangle" was given to this area - a roughly shaped imaginary triangle between Florida, San Juan (Puerto Rico) and the Bahamas - by writer Vincent H. Gaddis in 1964. Gaddis published an article in Argosy magazine claiming that the Bermuda Triangle (BT) had "destroyed hundreds of ships and planes without a trace."

But is this vast area of ocean really haunted by some cosmic force, some as-yet unknown natural phenomenon, that pulls planes out of the sky and sinks ships without leaving a trace? Or is it just a place in the ocean given to sudden violent storms, rough seas, and erratic wind conditions? Or is it something else? There aren't many answers available from the literature, but this paper will present available evidence and one possible explanation for the phenomenon. It would seem from the research that there are in fact a number of incidents in the Bermuda Triangle that simply cannot be explained, and need to be looked into further by experts in the field. I believe something is going on out there that is as yet not explained, but I can't say what that is.

LITERATURE REVIEW: It seems worthy to review of some of the claims about unusual events linked to the BT in terms of providing needed background. According to the Encyclopedia of the Unusual & Unexplained (EUU) strange events in the BT date back to the days of Christopher Columbus. In his first voyage from Europe to the New World, it has been reported that Columbus' compass readings "were askew" within the area now known as the BT. Also, Columbus and his crew were supposedly "confused by shallow areas of sea with no land nearby."

Gaddis went on to turn his article into a book, Invisible Horizons: True Mysteries of the Sea in 1965. In Gaddis' book, according to EUU, he provided in-depth detail about nine incidents that remained mysteries at that time. When the National Geographic magazine carried a story about Gaddis' book, many newspapers began running stories about the triangle. Several things followed Gaddis' book that brought continuing attention to the triangle. A book called Limbo of the Lost (by John Wallace Spencer) came out in 1969 and a film documentary, the Devil's Triangle was released in 1971. The biggest splash made by a book was the book called the Bermuda Triangle by Charles Berlitz, which became a best seller in 1974. The EUU claims that shortly thereafter, "some of [Berlitz's] sensationalized claims were quickly proved inaccurate."

The EUU publication mentions that the "most notorious" of all the so-called disappearances associated with the BT was a training squadron (Flight 19) of five U.S. Navy torpedo bombers in December 1945. The squadron left Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with 14 crewmembers and after radioing in distress messages, it disappeared. Confounding the mystery was the fact that a seaplane that was sent to locate the squadron "also vanished," according to the story in EUU. There are some explanations for this incident, mainly that the patrol leader on Flight 19 was feeling ill that day, and all other crewmen were trainees. So there was a lack of experience, and an ill leader involved. When visibility became problematic because of a storm that suddenly swept into the area, the leader failed to switch to emergency frequency, and there was a lot of confusion as to where they actually were.

Meanwhile, Vincent H. Gaddis, who coined the phrase Bermuda Triangle, lists a number of interesting disappearances related to the BT, wrote in his Argosy article that the 254-foot vessel Marine Sulphur Queen launched its "final voyage" (out of Beaumont Texas) on the 2nd of February 1963. It was bound for Norfolk Virginia with a load of molten sulphur. The ship's last message was radioed on February 3rd; it was near the Dry Tortugas. But nothing after that. On February 6 the ship was overdue, and planes searched the area while Coast Guard cutters patrolled on the sea. Nothing was ever found.

Another puzzling event (on August 28, 1963) was the disappearance of two KC-135 four-engine strato-tanker jets. The two jets left Homestead Air Force Base on… [END OF PREVIEW]

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