The Mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle

O Triângulo das Bermudas é uma das áreas mais temidas do planeta devido as histórias assustadoras de navios e aviões que se aventuraram na região e desapareceram sem deixar rastro.

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The Bermuda Triangle is a region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean. The triangular shape that gives the region its name is formed by three geographic points: the tip of Florida, Bermuda and Puerto Rico, although the exact limits of the triangle are not very well defined. In fact, the US Board on Geographic Nomenclature does not recognize “Bermuda Triangle” as an official name.

The first record of a strange encounter in the Bermuda Triangle dates back to 1492, when Christopher Columbus sailed through the area on his first voyage to the New World. While passing through the region, Columbus recorded in his logbook that he saw a “great flame of fire” crashing into the ocean and a few weeks later, he saw a “strange light” in the distance and noticed erratic readings on his compass.

The Bermuda Triangle has long captured people’s imagination due to a series of unexplained disappearances of ships, planes and people. More than 50 ships and 20 planes are believed to have disappeared within its boundaries in the mid-19th century.


USS Cyclops

The ship USS Cyclops disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle in March 1918, carrying 10,800 tons of manganese ore and around 300 passengers and crew. The captain never sent a distress signal and none of the crew responded to radio calls from several nearby ships. No survivors nor the wreckage were found.

According to a report in Time magazine, the mysterious disappearance of the USS Cyclops may have been caused by mutiny. With no major storms in the West Indies where the ship was last seen, some speculated that the ship had been targeted by mines or German submarines. Others believed that a giant octopus had dragged the ship into its lair. The Navy, however, disregarded both theories.

One hypothesis is that the unpopular captain suffered an attempted mutiny, while another claims that the ship sank due to a design flaw: a flat bottom, which made it capsize easily. Two other ships, Proteus and Nereus, had the same fault and later sank under similar circumstances.

Flight 19

In December 1945, five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger torpedo boats departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a two-hour training mission over the Atlantic.

The patrol lost radio contact with the base and all five planes, along with their 14 crew members, disappeared without a trace.

Adding to the mystery, a PBM Mariner seaplane was dispatched that night to rescue Flight 19, but, along with its 13 crew, it also disappeared.

Although author Vincent Gaddis, who coined the term “Bermuda Triangle”, claims the planes disappeared under ideal flying conditions, Australian scientist Karl Kruszelnicki believes the patrol disappeared due to a combination of bad weather and human error: “The weather wasn’t good, there were 15 meter waves.”

Kruszelnicki also notes that among the patrol, only one pilot, Lieutenant Charles Taylor, was truly experienced. And, according to Kruszelnicki, Taylor had arrived hungover that day, flown without a watch and had a history of getting lost and abandoning the plane twice.

As for the search and rescue seaplane, according to Kruszelnicki, it did not disappear without a trace, in fact, several eyewitnesses saw it explode.

Star Tiger

Seventy years ago, flying from London to Bermuda was a new and dangerous feat, with an obligatory refueling stop in the Azores, an archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic, before continuing the approximately 3,000 kilometers to Bermuda, the limit on commercial aircraft at the time.

In 1948, the British South American Airways (BSAA) Star Tiger disappeared into thin air, carrying 25 passengers and six crew.

According to a new report by journalist Tom Mangold, the plane probably ran out of fuel. The aircraft was equipped with an unreliable heater, and to keep the plane warm, the pilot could have flown across the Atlantic at a very low altitude, leading to fuel burning at a much faster rate.

Star Ariel

In 1949, a year after the disappearance of the Star Tiger, the BSAA Star Ariel, which had a poor safety record, was traveling the same route and also disappeared without a trace.

According to Tom Mangold, it likely suffered a major technical failure, which would be the result of poor design.


One explanation for the mysterious disappearances is that the Bermuda Triangle is home to an underwater alien base.

Others believe there is a hole in the sky that aircraft can enter but cannot exit.

Scientists in general tend to refute both theories.

Sea Monsters

Another theory is that extraordinary sea creatures lurk beneath the waters of the Bermuda Triangle.

One of these monsters would be the Bermuda Beast, a giant creature that would live in the region. It is believed to leap out of the water and catch ships and planes in the air, possibly to eat them.

Scientists have indeed found extraordinary creatures in the Bermuda Triangle, but in the form of zooplankton and snails.


Another theory is based on the lost civilization of Atlantis, a continent in the middle of the Atlantic that suddenly sank.

The legend of the lost kingdom originated with Plato, but the idea that Atlantis could have been a real place emerged in the late 19th century in a book by Ignatius Donnelly.

Later, the concept was adopted by Charles Berlitz, who stated that Atlantis was a real continent located in the Bahamas and would have sunk in the infamous Bermuda Triangle.

Most historians and scientists, however, believe that Plato’s Atlantis is nothing more than fiction.

Vortices and Temporal Anomalies

The Sargasso Sea is home to vortices and whirlpools of water.

Some believe that these vortices can suck objects into other dimensions or allow time travel, which could explain the disappearance of so many planes and ships.

Scientists, however, like to believe that this is the stuff of science fiction, not science.

Air Pumps

Some believe that “air pumps” were behind the mysterious disappearances.

An episode of the series What on Earth, with Randall Cerveny, director of the meteorology department at Arizona State University, gave wings to this theory and the program presented the theory as a legitimate explanation for the mysteries surrounding the Bermuda Triangle.

According to the show’s narrator: “Scientists believe the strong winds recorded by radar in the North Sea also exist beneath the hexagonal clouds over the Bahamas, and meteorologist Randy Cerveny believes they are connected to a terrifying atmospheric phenomenon.”

The hexagonal shapes in the clouds could be formed by “air pumps” or micro-explosions that could have sunk ships and planes. Cerveny, however, did not like having the theory presented as a solution to the mystery.

Ocean Gases

Some scientists attribute the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle to ocean gases.

Norwegian scientists believe that the release of gases from the ocean is responsible for some of the ship disappearances. They discovered that the sea can produce huge explosions of methane gas that accumulate on the ocean floor.

These explosions could be capable of sinking ships that were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Rogue Waves

Scientists at the University of Southampton believe giant waves could be behind many of the shipwrecks.

The Bermuda Triangle is particularly prone to hurricanes, and when storm surges and ocean swells from multiple directions collide, they can create a relatively common phenomenon in the area known as “rogue waves,” which can reach up to 100 feet in height.

Gulf Stream

Many believe that the Gulf Stream is partially responsible for the accidents.

The warm ocean current that flows from the Gulf of Mexico around the Straits of Florida and then heads northeast to Europe is extremely turbulent and can cause rapid and sometimes violent changes in weather conditions.

Magnetic Variation and Compass Errors

According to the US Coast Guard, the Bermuda Triangle is one of two places on Earth where the magnetic compass points to true north instead of magnetic north. The other place where the phenomenon occurs is in the “Dragon Triangle”, in the Pacific Ocean in south of Japan.

The difference between these two northings is known as compass variation and must be compensated for.

While some attribute the disappearances to this magnetic variation, others claim that ship captains have known how to deal with this problem for as long as ships and compasses have existed.

The US Coast Guard adds that although some exceptional magnetic values ​​have been reported within the Triangle, there are none that make it more unusual than any other place on Earth.

Islands and Shallow Waters

According to the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the large number of islands in the Caribbean Sea creates many areas of shallow water that can be treacherous for ship navigation.

Heavy Traffic

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is no evidence that mysterious disappearances occur more frequently in the Bermuda Triangle than in any other large, well-traveled area of ​​the ocean.

The triangular area is known for having heavy air and sea traffic, so, in percentage terms, there are no more disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle than in other places in the world.