The mysterious location of the Bermuda Triangle has been an age-old tale of odd aeronautical and oceanic lore, yet it has never ceased to fascinate countless of people.
A triangular area of the northwestern Atlantic Ocean bounded by Bermuda, Puerto Rico and a point near Melbourne, Florida, it is said to be a danger zone for planes and ships that have seemingly disappeared without a trace.
Some theories that have been linked to these greatest mysteries vary between some kind of magnetic interference, to paranormal and alien activities – which include light sightings by the great explorer, Christopher Columbus on 0ctober 11, 1492 who was believed to be the first person recording strange phenomena there.
Columbus wrote in his log: “The land was first seen by a sailor called Rodrigo de Triana, although the Admiral at ten o’clock that evening standing on the quarter-deck saw a light, but so small a body that he could not affirm it to be land; calling to Pero Gutierrez, groom of the King’s wardrobe, he told him he saw a light…”
However, there are also nature-related theories explaining the mysteries, like how the Gulf Stream, a strong ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico that passes through the Bermuda Triangle area can easily carry objects along its flow.
Also, the large amount of methane gas which is known to exist below the ocean floor which gets trapped in the sediments in form of methane hydrates, and then finds its way out and starts rising through the water, significantly reducing the density of water in the triangle, sinking ships and causing explosions.
Despite these bizarre happenings, according to the United States (US) Navy, the triangle does not exist, and the name is not recognised by the US Board on Geographic Names.
Famous Disappearances Of All Time
Amelia Earheart, the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean was reported missing on July 2, 1937, along with her navigator, Fred Noonan. Though some clues and theories have emerged over the years, her airplane was never found.
On December 5, 1945, one of the most famous disappearances of all occurred just after World War Two. Led by Commander Charles Taylor, an experienced pilot, Flight-19 was the code name for Five Avenger bomber planes that took off for a training session from the naval base at Florida. All 13 trainee pilots along with Taylor never returned.
The weather over the route was reported as excellent, however Taylor sent a message to the control tower that his compass was malfunctioning. The last transmission from the flight was heard at 7:04 p.m. and the naval base sent two Martin Mariner planes to search all through the night and the next day but there were no signs at all. Even more inexplicable, one of the rescue Mariners too disappeared and could not be traced.
The USS Cyclops (AC-4), was the earliest documented case of a vessel mysteriously disappearing in the triangle occurred during the First World War. It was one of four Proteus-class colliers built for the US Navy, and Lieutenant Commander G. W. Worley was the person in command.
The ship and crew that departed from Barbados all went missing without a trace sometime after March 4, 1918. One of the greatest unsolved disappearances, the ship and its 306 people on board remain the single largest loss of life in US Naval history not directly involving combat.
Even stranger, 23 years after the Cyclops disappeared, its sister ship, USS Nereus (AC-10), also went missing along the same route in the triangle in similar circumstances during the World War Two. The vessel was lost at sea sometime after December 10, 1941 while travelling from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
Some claimed the ship was sunk by a torpedo from a German U-boat. However, there were no German U-boat claims for this vessel and no wreckage has ever been recovered.
Explaining The Mysteries
In our conversation with Navigation Officer, Faris, who has sailed through the Bermuda Triangle in a cargo ship since 2009 till this very day, he tells us that he has never experienced strange occurrences as feared by many people across the globe.
He shared how traders have long before taken the route, carrying raw materials and other commodities from scattered colonies to imperialist countries, and there was nothing mysterious related to the happenings.
“Shipping in the olden days was entirely dependent on the observation of a magnetic compass to determine the position of objects. The radar serves to tell the global and radio positioning.
“The weather in the triangle is known for its seasonal hurricanes which have always swept coastal parts of the United States and the Caribbean island.
“There’s nothing mysterious or strange about it as previously there was no satellites to detect bad weather and track tropical storms. It’s no wonder why many ships have disappeared and have failed to be detected.
“Previously, the ships were merely equipped with radio and its distance range is limited. In the event of an emergency, only ships that are nearby would receive broadcasts sent.
“The so-called Bermuda Triangle that used to be known as the ‘Devil’s Ocean’, is no longer a mystery now with the emergence of advanced technology which eases communication and navigation.
“Aircrafts and vessels no longer have to worry about travelling through the ‘Devil’s Ocean’ as it is safe and the ‘vortex of doom’ will not open up to swallow them into the ocean,” he claims.
Aside the Bermuda Triangle, there are also other areas known for its mysterious disappearances alike. Among them, the ‘Devil’s Sea’, also known as the ‘Formosa Triangle’, or the ‘Dragon Triangle’, located North of Taiwan, near Japan, also the ‘Masalembo Triangle’ in the Indonesian region that is believed to have claimed many lives.
What Are The Secrets Of The Seas?
Relating to the sudden disappearances, Associate Professor Dr. Mustaffa Kamal from the Department of Geology, University Malaya, makes a geological reference to the Bermuda triangle and shares that its seafloor topography has its anomalies.
“The topography of the triangle’s ocean floor varies from extensive shoals around the islands to some of the deepest marine trenches in the world.
“With the interaction of the strong currents over the many reefs, the topography is in a state of constant flux and development of new navigational hazards is swift,” he explained.
When asked to further elaborate if these facts indeed has everything to do with the mysteries, he tells us:
“The ocean is always unpredictable with thunderstorms and waterspouts. Furthermore, the weather is constantly changing erratically.
“It comes and goes so suddenly, without being detected by meteorological satellites. The waterspouts are like hurricanes that can destroy almost any aircraft or vessel.
“It’s like a hurricane in the ocean, that draws the water thousands of metres high up into the air, and there is flammable methane gas locked below the sea sediments in the triangle.
“Subterranean landslides can unlock the vast beds of methane hydrate. The eruption of these gases are very powerful which may result in an explosion. Large amounts of methane would also reduce the density of the water and this could lead to the loss of any aircraft or vessel without a trace.
“The area also has some geomagnetic anomalies that create navigational problems confusing pilots and sailors. The magnetic compass points to 60 degrees true north, and if it points in the wrong direction, the navigator could get lost.
“Another reason is that the water has strong currents flowing in it which can reach up to 2 metres per second, washing away any aircraft or vessel attempting to land on the surface of its waters,” he explained.
He added that there is also a special phenomenon in the region called the ‘Rogue Waves’ akin to a tsunami that emerges from the deep sea. This may explain the sudden capsizing of ships and other objects with the high probability of seismic activity going on there.
With advanced technology today, how could there possibly not be satellites detecting the disappearing aircrafts and vessels in the area? We asked Dr. Mustaffa if this had to do with the area being ‘mystical’.
“There is nothing extraordinary or mystical about the area. It is merely a natural phenomenon. It is proven that the area exhibits erratic weather. It does result to terrible storms and raging hurricanes that come and go very swiftly.
“Satellites will not be able to detect a storm if it is not within the area at the exact timing of an event. Satellites are known to cross the same point on the earth based on a 12-hour interval. In saying this, within 12 hours, there is a high probability for anything to happen,” he concluded.
The Devil’s Play
Where science proves its theories through research and studies, there is no denying that in some religious aspects, the mystical world does exist. This applies to Muslims and the Islamic beliefs.
Ustaz Abdul Rasyid, an independent speaker, shares with us that as a Muslim it is obligatory to believe and have faith in the mystical world. In fact, the Hadith Muslim (scholar book) states that the ‘Jinn’ (supernatural being) reside in the water and the ocean.
“We can associate this with the flying saucer seen hovering over the Bermuda Triangle which disappeared without a trace.
“From an Islamic aspect, the triangle is believed to be dominated by the Jinn and led by the Satan as its general. However, there is a university in Florida that states that mystical events that have happened in this area are isolated cases leading to hallucinations, dependent on the mind and the eye.
“I do believe that the loss of the ships travelling through the ocean is definitely related to the intervention of the governing Jinn below the ocean. It was able to expand its empire overnight.
“The Jinn dominates the ocean, the land, and the air as it has demanded. It is not impossible that they have expanded their invisible empire throughout the world,” he said.
He further added that the Bermuda Triangle is also linked to the existence of ‘Yajud and Majud’ (Gog and Magog) – the people who traditionally inhabited the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and ‘Dajjal’, The Dark Messiah (Anti-Christ). It has been stated in the Quran that they will appear before the Judgement Day.
Ustaz Abdul Rasyid then continues to explain that as believers, Muslims must trust that God not only created human beings but also the supernatural and unseen. In the same time, he however did not write off possibilities of natural disasters.
“Natural disasters do occur and it is a possible factor explaining these disappearances, yet we must never deny the probability that it was also driven by supernatural forces,” he stressed.