Section (A)
The Bermuda Triangle Phenomenon
At 2 PM on December 5, 1945, five Navy aircraft took off in perfect flying weather from a naval airinstallation in southeastern Florida, on a routine training mission over the Atlantic Ocean. Less thantwo hours later, the flight commander radioed that he was "completely lost". Then there was silence. Arescue plane was sent to search for the missing aircraft, and it, too, disappeared without trace. Despiteone of history's most extensive search efforts, involving more than 300 planes and dozens of ships, theNavy found nothing, not even an oil stain floating on the water.
This is just one of the many frightening stories told of "the Bermuda Triangle";, a mysterious area ofthe Atlantic Ocean roughly stretching southwest from Bermuda to the Florida coast and down toPuerto Rico. Among sailors, it is known as "the Graveyard of the Atlantic"; because of the strangeweather found there. During the past 30 years, the triangle has claimed the lives of some 1,000 sailorsand pilots. When he entered this stretch of the Atlantic, Christopher Columbus noted curious glowingstreaks of "white water". These mysterious patches of light are still visible today and so bright thatthey have been seen from U.S. spacecraft in orbit around the earth.
The triangle has aroused considerable public interest through three best-selling books, a televisionshow and a special exhibition. None of these investigations has produced convincing answers to themystery of the triangle, but there is no shortage of interesting theories. Some scientists and popularauthors go so far as to suggest that the triangle is a place where beings from outer space hunt humanspecimens for their "zoos".
Whatever the truth may be, planes and ships regularly disappear in the triangle. On July 3, 1947, aU.S. Army airplane disappeared 100 miles off Bermuda without broadcasting any word of difficulty. Animmediate search over 100,000 square miles of sea failed to turn up a single piece of the missing plane.
On January 30, 1948, a British airliner vanished over the triangle with 31 passengers and crew aboard.
A year later, the missing airliner's sister plane disappeared. Seventy-two search planes, plus dozens ofships, failed to turn up any sign of the missing aircraft.
One of the largest ships claimed by the mysterious triangle was a 500-foot coal ship thatdisappeared on March 4, 1918. Investigations revealed no evidence of bad weather, no messages forhelp, no wreckage and no sign of the 309 men aboard. Stranger yet are the numerous "ghost" shipsthat have been found floating crewless within the triangle. On one weird occasion in 1881, the cargosteamer Ellen Austin discovered a small sailing ship, sails waving uselessly in the wind. A look throughthe captain's telescope showed no one on deck. The boat had a full cargo of timber, but there was nosign of human life. The captain of the Ellen Austin installed a new crew to sail it, but two days later,during a rough storm, the two ships temporarily lost sight of each other. When the captain againboarded the boat, he found his crew had disappeared. After a second crew was assigned, the ship wasagain lost in a fog bank. This time, no trace of the boat — or the crew — was ever found.
Officially, the U.S. Navy does not recognize the triangle as a danger zone and is convinced that "themajority of disappearances in the triangle can be attributed to the unique features of the area'senvironment." These include the swift Gulf Stream current, the unexplored submerged valleys of theAtlantic and the often violent weather within the mystery zone. Then too, the triangle is one of onlytwo places on earth where a compass needle points to true north rather than magnetic north, causingproblems in navigation. "There are mysterious and strange things going on out there," admits RichardWiner, author of The Devil's Triangle, a book that has sold 500,000 copies since its publication threemonths ago. "But I believe that all the answers lie in human error, mechanical problems, strangeatmospheric events, or unusual magnetic phenomenon."On the contrary, officials of another government bureau report, "no reasonable explanation to datehas been made for the vanishings." Because of these uncertainties, private investigators have soughtmore fantastic explanations. One author argues that beings from outer space have established a highlyadvanced civilization in the unexplored depths of the Atlantic inside the triangle. There, he believes,most of the missing vessels — and their crews — may still be on display for study by these higherintelligences. "It sounds weird," the author admits, "until you realize that it's the only explanation thatcovers all the facts."These and other theories are all examined in Charles Berlitz's current volume The BermudaTriangle. A man with an interest in Atlantis, the legendary lost island, Berlitz expands upon the theorythat a giant solar crystal, which once was the power generator for Atlantis, lies on the ocean floor. Fromtime to time, according to his theory, passing ships and planes set off the crystal, which confuses theirinstruments and sucks them into the ocean.
To test such theories, an institute is planning to take 300 psychics and scientists on a cruise into thetriangle. The researchers hope to make contact with whatever "higher intelligence" may lie under thesea.