The Bermuda Triangle is world famous for being one of the most mysterious spots in the world - an area of the ocean where planes and ships simply go missing… and no one knows why! The Triangle has captured travelers’ imaginations, wondering what it is that could be causing these mysterious disappearances for so many years - and there are a huge number of theories as to the cause, with everything from aliens and time travel to more mundane possibilities like environmental or even psychological factors being considered. Some people believe that the Bermuda Triangle is nothing more than a myth, while others believe so strongly in the Triangle that they’ll refuse to travel anywhere near it.
Whether you are one of the true believers or someone who just thinks that the whole thing is some kind of global hoax, everyone has questions about the Bermuda Triangle - and while some of them have answers (like where is it, or why people keep traveling through it!), others remain mysteries even to this day. We’ve got some of your biggest questions answered… that is, if they have answers! Did we manage to solve your biggest unanswered questions about the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle?
25 Where, Exactly, Is The Bermuda Triangle?
If you want to avoid the Bermuda Triangle (and all the possibilities of disappearing in it), you’ll need to know exactly where it is. The name refers to a section of the North Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of North America, between Florida, Bermuda (obviously), and Puerto Rico. The triangle covers a good sized chunk of the Caribbean, but the exact boundaries are one of the many mysteries of the area - with some people claiming that it covers a much larger area, and no one really sure where the boundaries of the Triangle lie.
24 Why Is The Triangle Growing?
As well as some disagreements on exactly where the Triangle is, and where its boundaries are, there are also some debates over the size of the Bermuda Triangle - and it seems like this mysterious area is actually getting larger! Reports on the size of the Triangle range from 500,000 square miles to 1,500,000… that’s a pretty huge difference.
Some say that the Triangle is growing, but others claim that the size varies depending on who is talking about it, with many enthusiasts stretching the borders of the area to ‘claim’ missing ships and planes are connected to the phenomenon.
23 Who First Discovered The Triangle?
If the Bermuda Triangle really has been sucking up ships for centuries, it may have been known to local sailors for a much longer time than this, but the accepted discoverer of the Bermuda Triangle is none other than Christopher Columbus!
The famous explorer described strange occurrences on his voyage in 1492, including mysterious compass readings and floating lights, like candles that moved up and down. Several crew members saw the lights, and so Columbus recorded the phenomenon in his journal. And so, the legend of the Triangle was born… even though the ship definitely made it through the area intact.
22 Does The Triangle Affect Compass Readings?
Although Christopher Columbus’ journal entries focused more on the strange floating lights that the crew saw in this area, he also mentioned strange compass readings - something that has been reported by many others since.
However, the Coast Guard claims that the Triangle does not actually change compass readings, but that it is an area where compass variation means that Magnetic North and True North line up - something that could be affecting navigation for ships.
Believers are sceptical about this, however, as compass variation is something that any sailor worth his salt would know how to cope with.
21 Who First Named It The Bermuda Triangle?
Although Christopher Columbus may have been the first to report strange occurrences in this area, he wasn’t aware that this was anything more than one mysterious light on a voyage - so who was it who recognized that this area seemed to have a high proportion of such incidences, and give it a name?
That would be George Sand, who wrote about the disappearances in the area for Fate magazine in the early 1950s. Later, in the ‘60s, Vincent Gaddis gave it a slightly more out-there name of ‘The Deadly Bermuda Triangle’, and it has also been called the ‘The Devil’s Triangle’.
20 How Many Total Disappearances Have There Been?
The total number of disappearances in this area isn’t entirely clear, for several reasons. For one thing, no one knows how many ships or planes may have gone down without being recorded, or before the Bermuda Triangle became a phenomenon. In addition, because the boundaries of the Triangle are constantly shifting depending on who is talking about it, the number of incidents in it also changes.
However, estimates put the number of disappearances in the area at around seventy five planes and one hundreds of ships that have gone down here - with a possible total of over a thousand disappearances.
19 What Was The First Major Disappearance In The Triangle?
While Columbus’s floating lights of 1492 are the first recorded ‘strange occurrence’ in the triangle, the first major disappearance wasn’t until 1800, when the USS Pickering went down without a trace. This US Navy ship was on the way from Boston to the Guadaloupe Station in the West Indies when she disappeared, taking the crew of 90 people on board.
Despite there being few reported mysterious incidents between 1500 and 1800, from 1800 onward, disappearances in this area became common, with the next few major losses in 1812 and 1814.
18 Which Is The Most Famous Ship Disappearance In The Triangle?
Probably the best known disappearance of a ship in the Bermuda Triangle was that of the USS Cyclops in 1918. The Cyclops was a massive loss not only because no reasonable explanation for the disappearance could be found, but because of the number of crew on board when the ship (presumably) sank.
The USS Cyclops set sail from Brazil, headed back to the US, but made an unscheduled stop in Barbados… before disappearing in the triangle, along with all 306 men on board.
To this day, this is the largest (non combat) loss of life suffered by the US Navy.
17 What About The Most Famous Plane To Go Down Here
Although the Triangle is probably better known for sinking ships, plenty of planes have also gone down here - and large scale disappearances of planes is part of what has captured the imagination of the public, starting with the mystery of Flight 19. Flight 19 was the codename for five bombers, who left a Florida air base in 1945, and never returned.
Nothing is known about why all five planes disappeared without a trace, along with their crew, on a routine training mission on a clear day. Because this is such a large-scale loss with no explanation, it became one of the most famous incidents for the Triangle.
16 Do Rescue Planes Go Missing Too?
One of the biggest mysteries of the Triangle is that it isn’t just ships, planes, and even large numbers of planes at once that disappear here - sometimes, even search and rescue planes sent out after the missing ones disappear as well!
In the case of Flight 19, after the original planes didn’t return, two Martin Mariner planes were sent out to search for the missing planes and pilots. Of the two planes, only one returned - and the second was thought to have exploded, thanks to reports of a fireball from a ship, but there was no explanation for an explosion, and no debris was ever found.
15 Has Anything Else Disappeared?
It might seem that ships and planes are the only things that could disappear here, because what else might be found in this area of the ocean?! However, it’s not just vehicles that travel above the waves that have gone missing here - submarines have also disappeared. In 1968, the Naval submarine USS Scorpion sank along with 99 crewmen, and the cause has never been determined.
The wreck of the sub was eventually found (unlike many other disappearances in the area), but whether it was hit by another sub, by a malfunctioning torpedo test, or by something else entirely was never solved.
14 Where Do The Wrecked Ships Go?
One of the biggest mysteries of the Triangle isn’t just that so many craft go missing here, but that the wrecks are never found. However, there are a few theories about why it’s so hard to find the wreckage of lost ships and planes - and not all of them rely on aliens and portals.
One theory is the that Gulf Stream is whisking away the remains of the ships, so that they cannot be found where they sink. Another is that the area is riddled with Blue Holes - deep underwater caves and cavities that create whirlpools to suck the debris away, never to be seen again.
13 Have Any Ships Reappeared?
The wrecks of several craft have eventually been found - although often these are far from where they would be expected. However, there have also been several incidents of ghost ships in the Bermuda Triangle - cases where missing craft have reappeared, intact, but missing all the people who were originally on board.
One of the most famous ghost ships that has reappeared in the Bermuda Triangle is the Marie Celeste, which is possibly the most famous ghost ship of all time - but it’s not the only one. The cargo ship Carroll A Deering is another ghost ship of the triangle, and the Ellen Austin reported meeting another ghost ship in 1881.
12 Is Methane Gas Causing The Disappearances?
One of the many theories behind the Bermuda Triangle comes down to a lot of hot air… methane gas, that is. This theory posits that trapped pockets of methane gas deep below the ocean may be released, growing in size as they rise, until they cause huge eruptions on the surface. This would be enough to sink a ship in record time, or even to cause the explosion of a plane in the air above the spot where the pocket is released.
These eruptions can be caused by landslides or other activity on the ocean floor, and may be one of the most scientific explanations for the mysteries of the Triangle.
11 What Is The Sargasso Sea?
Another natural phenomenon that may be contributing to the disappearances of the Bermuda Triangle is the Sargasso Sea. This is an area of water within the Bermuda Triangle that is surrounded on all sides by currents, creating a central area that is extremely calm, making it possible for ships to become ‘stuck’, and to drift off course.
In fact, the water of the entire area slowly rotates clockwise, which could be contributing to lost ships… although it doesn’t explain the ghost ships and missing planes.
10 Could Electronic Fog Be To Blame?
While the Gulf Stream, coral reefs, storms, and the Saragasso Sea can be considered more ‘scientific’ explanations for the disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, they just don’t go far enough to explain what is happening here. None of these would explain how experienced pilots and captains could be led off course - but electronic fog might. This is a phenomenon where a cloud of electromagnetic fields converge on a ship, completely surrounding it and throwing off all the equipment.
This is still considered a supernatural phenomenon, though a scientist named John Hutchison has reported being able to replicate the effects in a lab.
9 Is This The Only Such Area On Earth?
While the Bermuda Triangle is definitely the most famous spot on Earth for disappearances like this, there are theories that it is far from the only one. According to biologist Ivan T Sanderson, the Triangle is only one of twelve ‘vile vortices’ - areas on the planet where disappearances are more common, and cannot be explained. The vile vortices have been linked to everything from magnetic fields to ley lines, and form a pattern across the poles and two lines of latitude. One of these is even referred to as the ‘Devils Sea’ or the ‘Pacific Bermuda Triangle’.
8 Are Aliens Involved?
One of the more ‘out there’ theories around the disappearances of the Bermuda Triangle is that aliens are actually abducting these ships (or just their crews, leading to the ghost ships) - and while this is usually considered just a crackpot theory, in August of this year, the explorer Darrell Miklos made headlines by claiming to have found an alien craft in the waters here.
Miklos, who is a treasure hunter for the Discovery Channel, found a giant submerged object that isn’t a shipwreck or a natural outcrop - and that fans of the alien theory believe lends credence to their beliefs.
7 Could It Be Connected To Atlantis?
Another famous legend of the ocean is the lost city of Atlantis, said to be an advanced civilization that mysteriously sank long ago - and some believe that this may have happened in the Bermuda Triangle.
According to this theory, the Atlantean crystal technology is what is affecting the navigational equipment of craft in this area, causing ships and planes to go down. This theory has also been bolstered by underwater findings like those of Miklos - like the Bimini Road (rock formations off the island of Bimini), or the underwater ‘city’ discovered in 2001.
6 Or Is This A Time Portal?
Another one of the most popular supernatural explanations for the Triangle is that it is actually a time portal - and that the ships aren’t disappearing, but being whisked away to another point in time. These have been called everything from wormholes to stargate portals, yet there is absolutely no evidence to back this up.
Of course, that doesn’t stop the conspiracy theorists, who love the claim that the people lost here are still alive, just displaced in space and time. This is definitely one of the most unusual theories, yet it remains one of the most popular.
5 What Does The Coast Guard Say About It?
While theories about the Bermuda Triangle abound, what does the Coast Guard claim about the area? Well, for the most part, they claim that there is absolutely nothing going on here at all!
Their official take on the phenomenon is that ‘it has been our experience that the combined forces of nature and the unpredictability of mankind outdo science-fiction stories many times each year’, and that they neither give the legends any weight, or maintain an official file on the area. Of course, conspiracy theorists are happy to claim that this is nothing more than a cover up.
4 Do Insurers Charge More For Travel Here?
The Coast Guard is one thing, but when it comes to money, are insurance companies giving the theories around the Bermuda Triangle a little more weight? For the most part, no! Lloyds of London, a respected broker, claims that their research shows no more risk in the Triangle than in any other part of the ocean with similar weather conditions, and they don’t charge ships more to pass through here.
In fact, most scientists agree that there is no greater risk of a ship sinking here than anywhere else with the same conditions and traffic.
3 How Do Psychologists Explain The Triangle?
Many psychologists agree with insurers and the Coast Guard, and claim that the strange occurrences in the Bermuda Triangle aren’t strange at all - but that we think they are, because of something known as confirmation bias. This is the way that the human brain tends to give more weight to things that support previously held opinions, and to dismiss things that challenge those opinions.
So when a ship goes missing elsewhere, it is seen as a normal part of ocean travel, but in the Bermuda Triangle, it becomes a mystery… and so, the legend continues to grow.
2 Why Don’t Ships Just Avoid It?
Whether you believe in the effects of the Bermuda Triangle (and whether or not you think that it is aliens, Atlantis, or just methane gas and strong currents), wouldn’t it make sense to avoid the area, just in case? Despite the reputation, the Triangle remains a busy spot for ocean traffic, and a popular area for cruise ships to pass through - because it’s simply convenient.
The Triangle is a large area and a convenient one, and avoiding it (especially with ill-defined boundaries) is simply not worth the hassle for most ships because of nothing more than a perceived risk.
1 What Was The Most Recent Disappearance?
Of course, because people are still traveling through the Triangle on a regular basis, people are still going missing… and that includes a recent lost plane, which went down in 2017.
In May of last year, a small twin-engine plane went missing on a flight from Puerto Rico to Florida, carrying a US family who had spent Mother’s Day away. The plane went off radar in clear weather, about half an hour before it was due to land, and a debris field was later discovered.
It’s still not clear what, exactly, happened to the family - but those who believe in the Bermuda Triangle are sure to have their own theories.