|Here's a joke reference with an audience of one. I should offer prizes|
Okay, so you're probably going to want a more detailed explanation than "it's bollocks" so I suppose I'd better write some more. Although the story of the Bermuda Triangle is quite interesting, the story of the story of the Bermuda Triangle (if you see what I mean) is much more fascinating. Wait - Charles Berlitz, the language course guy? Yeah, that one. I'll come back to him later.
|Various Triangle boundaries - otherwise known as "desperately trying to get the data to fit the theory"|
In 1950, an AP press report on ships and aircraft lost in the area mentioned in passing the suggestion that the disappearances might be due to a mysterious cause. As one of the busiest shipping areas in the world, the amount of ships lost wasn't unusual and the AP report wasn't really taken up anywhere else. In 1952 an article in Fate magazine (a long-lived magazine about paranormal phenomena) entitled "Sea Mystery at Our Back Door" detailed the loss of several ships and planes in the area and made mention of the loss of Flight 19, which would go on to be one of the archetypal cases of mysterious loss in the area.
|TBM Avengers - picture by Anynobody|
The article in Fate magazine ascribed a supernatural explanation to the missing aircraft and ships but was just the first of many. In 1974, Charles Berlitz published The Bermuda Triangle which became a best-seller and really brought the notion of the Triangle into the public consciousness. Berlitz was the grandson of Maximilian Berlitz, founder of the language company. As well as writing books on language, he had a keen interest in the paranormal and published a number of books on a variety of such subjects.
Berlitz became interested in the Bermuda Triangle, allegedly after hearing stories from passengers who refused to travel through the region. In his book, he included details of many disappearances and expounded a number of theories ranging from UFOs through to cosmic whirlpools although his favourite explanation was that it was somehow related to the lost city of Atlantis.
A year after the Berlitz book, research librarian Larry Kusche published The Bermuda Triangle Mystery: Solved. Kusche investigated and checked the details of every Triangle disappearance mentioned in previous books and found none of them warranted a supernatural explanation. He found that many of the disappearances simply hadn't occurred, many had happened well away from the Triangle, false details had been added to real events, different accounts of the same incidents contradicted each other and that many weren't mysteries at all.
Writers like Berlitz tend to cherry pick stories that fit their purposes and ignore any evidence to the contrary. Stories of yachts found adrift with no crew aboard sound mysterious and interesting and go right in the books, but the prosaic reports of moored boats being blown out to sea in storms tend get ignored in order to fill the pages. When the tanker the SS V.A. Fogg exploded and sank, it was reported in various Triangle books as being found with no bodies aboard except the captain huddled in his cabin clutching a cup of coffee. The US Coast Guard inspected the wreck, found several bodies and took extensive photographs which is ignored in favour of the more interesting rumour. That the Fogg actually sank off the coast of Texas and well away from the Triangle is also missing from the books by authors like Berlitz.
The most damning information in the Bermuda Triangle disappearances comes from Lloyd's of London. Lloyd's, as a leading shipping insurer, keeps extensive records of ships and their records do not show an unusual number of sinkings and disappearance despite the area being a busy shipping area and subject to tropical storms. Indeed, Lloyd's does not charge higher premiums for ships operating in the area.
The Bermuda Triangle simply doesn't exist and has been thoroughly debunked from the start. Despite everything in Berlitz's book being completely discredited less than 12 months later, neither he nor his publisher altered anything in it and reprinted it several times over the years. Many other Triangle books have been published since.
|The rather funny 404 error page from diving website http://www.djldiving.com/|
What's extraordinary about Charles Berlitz's book is just how much is asks the reader to believe and yet so many are prepared to do so. Berlitz accorded the disappearances to a number of forces, but his favourite was that it was a by-product of the cataclysm that destroyed Atlantis. So Berlitz is asking readers to accept that Atlantis existed, was destroyed by a force unlike anything known to science and that a by-product of this force still exists thousands of years later and that it selectively seizes planes and ships for no apparent reason. Any one of those claims seems pretty iffy and bundled together they are impossible to believe and yet they are appealing enough for people to suspend rationality in their desire to embrace them. And that's the real mystery of the Bermuda Triangle.
PS Thanks to Soulreaper for suggesting this article