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Rational and Fantastical Theories Explaining the Bermuda Triangle: The Unexplained

Updated on May 29, 2012
Map of the Bermuda Triangle
Map of the Bermuda Triangle | Source

Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle

Like Area 51, the Bermuda Triangle has been and still is a place shrouded in intrigue and mystery. The great oceans of the earth are slow to give up their secrets as evidenced by new life forms that continue to be discovered as our technology becomes capable of searching ever greater depths. The vastness and unknown quantity of the oceans is a breeding ground for fantastic and unusual theories regarding unexplainable events. When Flight 19, originating at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Fort Lauderdale, Florida disappeared December 5, 1945 a legend was reborn and given a name. The mysterious disappearance of five Navy planes on a routine training mission carrying 14 men could not be explained and human kind craves an explanation. The ocean depths being relatively uncharted territory are a breeding ground for theories both rational and fantastical and with this disappearance so began a multitude of theories.

Many theories both far-fetched and plausible have developed over the years to explain the seemingly unexplainable. Many of the farfetched theories stem from our past mythology and the attempts by early sailors to explain the unexplainable.

Fantastical Theories Behind the Bermuda Triangle

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A sea serpent from Olaus Magnus' book Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (History of the Northern Peoples, Rome, 1555).Flying Saucer? Aliens? Fictional map of Atlantis by Patroclus Kampanakis. Originally drawn in 1891.Blue Hole
A sea serpent from Olaus Magnus' book Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (History of the Northern Peoples, Rome, 1555).
A sea serpent from Olaus Magnus' book Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (History of the Northern Peoples, Rome, 1555). | Source
Flying Saucer? Aliens?
Flying Saucer? Aliens? | Source
Fictional map of Atlantis by Patroclus Kampanakis. Originally drawn in 1891.
Fictional map of Atlantis by Patroclus Kampanakis. Originally drawn in 1891. | Source
Blue Hole
Blue Hole | Source

The Harder to Swallow Theories Explaining the Bermuda Triangle

  1. Sea serpents or sea monsters – Many stories of sea-farers abound of huge creatures dragging ships under the ocean to be lost forever in its depths. Humans have a fantastical imagination and it is not hard to understand the imagination running wild after endless months in the open ocean. However, many huge creatures have since been discovered and recorded as new species including the giant squid which bears remarkable resemblance to the creature described as the ‘Kraken’ purported to have taken down whole ships. So perhaps, may there be some truth to this theory?
  2. Aliens - Steven Spielberg certainly capitalized on this theory in the Close Encounters blockbuster. Most of us like to think we are not alone in the universe. What better explanation for mysterious ‘disappearances without a trace’ can there be than alien abduction. It is purported that the Triangle area has a larger number of UFO sightings than any other area which would lend credence to this argument – if you believe in little green men.
  3. Atlantis – The existence of the lost Island of Atlantis itself is historically part of our ancient and modern culture. Do you remember the, “Man from Atlantis”? Apparently the famous psychic, Edgar Cayce has ‘felt’ the lost city and believes it exists within the Bermuda Triangle. According to legend, Atlantis relied on special energy crystals for power and these crystals are still operational. It is speculated that the rays of energy sent out by these crystals either interferes with the working of navigational instruments or destroys ships or planes entirely. Anyone for a cruise to Bermuda?
  4. Electronic Fog – Rob MacGregor and Bruce Gernon in their book, “The Fog: A Never Before Published Theory of the Bermuda Triangle Phenomenon”, describe the appearance of an electronic fog that appeared on December 4, 1970. The cloud formed a tunnel-like shape and their description eerily matched that of time tunnels depicted in science fiction. They actually describe flying through the tunnel and ‘losing time’ when the exited the other end. These ‘time storms’ as Gernon described them have been experienced by a few others and may be due to the weaker magnetism in the triangle compared to anywhere else.
  5. Compass Malfunctions – It has been recorded in many accounts of the Bermuda Triangle that it is one of only two places on earth (the other being the Devil’s Sea near Japan) where a compass points true north instead of to magnetic north creating obvious navigational difficulties for craft in both sea and air. There is an imaginary line, the agonic line, where true north and magnetic north are in alignment and on either side of this line there is variation between the two readings. Known as magnetic declination or compass variation this variation in compass readings is well known to aerial and nautical navigators and it would be unlikely that experience navigators would be unaware of this phenomenon.
  6. Blue Holes – Imagine portholes to another dimension existing in the depths of the ocean. Just such a theory has been proposed to explain at least some of the Triangle disappearances. After British Scuba Diver rob Palmer disappeared during a dive to investigate blue holes, it was proposed that these water-filled caves or cavities with blue colouration are related to or indeed were formed by micro-wormholes used by extra-dimensional aliens.

Plausible Theories Behind the Bermuda Triangle

Click thumbnail to view full-size
 Rogue wave sequence showing 60-foot plus wave hitting tanker headed south from Valdez, Alaska. Hurricane Dennis.Water Spout Illustration showing methane chimney from sea floor to surface.Pyle pirates raidship
 Rogue wave sequence showing 60-foot plus wave hitting tanker headed south from Valdez, Alaska.
Rogue wave sequence showing 60-foot plus wave hitting tanker headed south from Valdez, Alaska. | Source
Hurricane Dennis.
Hurricane Dennis. | Source
Water Spout
Water Spout | Source
 Illustration showing methane chimney from sea floor to surface.
Illustration showing methane chimney from sea floor to surface. | Source
Pyle pirates raidship
Pyle pirates raidship | Source

Plausible Theories Easier to Swallow Explaining the Bermuda Triangle

1. Weather Anomalies – Freakish storms and other strange but true weather phenomenon are not uncommon in the area of the Bermuda Triangle and include:

  • rogue waves
  • hurricanes
  • Gulf Stream related phenomenon
  • unpredictable Caribbean-Atlantic storms
  • water spouts

2. Topography of the Ocean floor – The Triangle is home to the deepest underwater trenches and most treacherous shoals in the world. Downed planes and sunken ships could easily be lost in the depths of these features.

3. Methane Gas Hydrates – This theory is looked upon as plausible by some and highly improbable by others. The reader may be the judge. There are large concentrations of methane gas trapped in the ocean floor due to decomposition of huge amounts of organic matter. Methane-producing bacteria produce huge deposits of super concentrated methane ice (gas hydrates) which, if it ruptures, produces frothy less dense water at the surface which would not support the weight of ships causing them to sink ‘mysteriously’. Planes could potentially catch fire from such a rupture, and then crash and sink lost in the depths of the triangle.

4. Pirates – Drug-running modern pirates abound in this area and ships still sailing but found mysteriously abandoned with their ‘loot’ missing could well be victims of pirates (and the sharks and barracudas they were probably fed to.

5. Live bombs from past wars under the ocean – An explosion from one of these could certainly be responsible for some of the missing vessels.

Belief in the Mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle

Do you believe the Bermuda Triangle is a place of freakish, unexplained disappearances?

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Belief in the Bermuda Triangle

All of these plausible theories make a lot or at least reasonable sense to most people but they certainly take the fun and mystery out of the weird and unusual disappearances recorded over many years in this sector of the ocean. Movie fodder is not made from the logical and rational explanation; rather, it comes from the freakish and supernatural explanations that fire the imaginations of young and old alike. Who knows if some of the so called supernatural theories may not hold some water (no pun intended)? Check out the following website describing weird creatures newly discovered that previously only inhabited the dark corners of a freakish mind. New discoveries of a weird and fantastic nature are being discovered at an increasing pace as new technology allows more efficient study of our elusive oceans. No matter our proclivities, there will always be the skeptics that spoil the imaginings of the fertile minds. Skeptics like Larry Kusche, Earnest Taves and Barry Singer will revel in destroying the popular theories of the triangle leading us to believe that mere human error, bad luck and bad reporting are responsible for all the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle.

Sources Cited regarding the Bermuda Triangle

Bermuda Triangle Mystery - Facts and Myths. Feb. 9, 2012

Mayell. Hillary. Bermuda Triangle: Behind the Intrigue.. Dec. 15, 2003. Feb. 9, 2012.

Mystic Places. Bermuda Triangle. Feb. 9, 2012

World Atlas. Bermuda Triangle. Feb.9, 2012


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