The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil’s Triangle, is a region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The Bermuda Triangle is a large ocean in between cities of Florida, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda. Over the last few centuries, it is thought that dozens of ships and planes have disappeared under mysterious circumstances in the area, earning it the nickname “The Devil’s Triangle.” People have even gone so far as to speculate that it’s an area of extra-terrestrial activity and alien abduction or that there is some bizarre natural scientific cause for the region to be hazardous; while others believe that it is simply an area in which people have experienced lots of ill luck.
The Bermuda Triangle’s bad reputation started with Christopher Columbus. According to his log, on October 8, 1492, Columbus noticed that his compass was giving weird readings. He didn’t alert his crew at first, because this may have sent the crew into a panic. Columbus’ experience and other reported compass issues in the region gave rise to the myth that compasses will all be off in the Triangle, which is an exaggeration of what is actually happening. The factual truth is that the “Devil’s Triangle” is one of the two places on earth that a magnetic compass does point towards true north. Normally it points toward magnetic north. The difference between the two positions- true north and magnetic north- is known as compass variation. The amount of variation changes by as much as 20 degrees as sailors circumnavigates the earth. If this compass variation or error is not compensated for, a navigator could find himself far off course and in deep trouble.
Of course, explanation for disappearances in the Triangle has been given. It turns out magnetic variation is something ship captains (and other explorers) have known about and had to deal with pretty much as long as there have been ships and compasses. Dealing with magnetic declination is really just “Navigation by Compass” and nothing to be concerned about, nor anything that would seriously throw off any experienced navigator.
Despite this, in 1970 the U.S. Coast Guard, attempting to explain the reasons for disappearances in the Triangle, stated: According to the US Navy, the triangle does not exist, and the name is not recognized by the US Board on Geographic Names. Thus negating the popular culture attributing various disappearances to the paranormal or activity by extraterrestrial beings. Documented evidence indicates that a significant percentage of the incidents were spurious, inaccurately reported, or embellished by later authors. More so, in a 2013 study, the World Wide Fund for Nature identified the world’s 10 most dangerous waters for shipping, but the Bermuda Triangle was not among them.
In 2005, the Coast Guard revisited the issue after a TV producer in London inquired about it for a program he was working on. In this case, they correctly changed their tune about the magnetic field bit stating that many explanations have cited unusual magnetic properties within the boundaries of the Triangle. Although the world’s magnetic fields are in constant flux, the “Bermuda Triangle” has remained relatively undisturbed. It is true that some exceptional magnetic values have been reported within the Triangle, but none to make the Triangle more unusual than any other place on Earth.
The modern Bermuda Triangle legend didn’t get started until 1950 when an article written by Edward Van Winkle Jones was published by the Associated Press. Jones reported several incidences of disappearing ships and planes in the Bermuda Triangle, including five US Navy torpedo bombers that vanished on December 5, 1945, and the commercial airliners “Star Tiger” and “Star Ariel” which disappeared on January 30, 1948 and January 17, 1949 respectively. All told, about 135 individuals were unaccounted for, and they all went missing around the Bermuda Triangle. As Jones said, “they were swallowed without a trace.”
To be continued…
©Richoffor Moses 2016
Moses N. Richoffor studies Communication and Language Arts in the University of Ibadan.
He majors in Public Relations and Advertising.
A silent poet, he believes in the power of the Word to move mountains.
You may reach him through:
08189629362 (Whatsapp and Call)