Q. Where is the Triangle located?
- A. It is in the North Atlantic Ocean, off the southeast coast of the United States, covering the Bahama Islands, Puerto Rico, southern Florida, and the island of Bermuda.
The “strict” Triangle between Bermuda, Miami, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Q. What are the precise coordinates, I mean latitude and longitude of the Triangle?
- A. There are no such coordinates. One can give those for Bermuda, Miami, Florida, and for San Juan, Puerto Rico, but the actual “triangle” cannot be so easily defined. The man who coined the term in 1964, Vincent Gaddis, did so saying “in and about this area.” No one expected any reader to embrace the idea that it is a very precise triangle. The Bermuda Triangle is not the first name or the exclusive triangle for the area.
This is a much more accurate idea of its location.
Q. I would like to travel out there. Are there any Scientific Expeditions going out there that I can go with?
- A. You don’t need a scientific expedition to go out there. Thousands travel through the area daily. Any scientific expedition “investigating” the Bermuda Triangle would actually have to be searching for one of the lost aircraft or ships or trying to encounter one of the area’s famed but elusive characteristics, such as “electronic fog.” You can do that on your own, if that’s your game.
Q. Thousands of people in thousands of ships and planes travel out in the Triangle. The losses merely seem statistical. Why is there so much interest?
- A. We are not speaking about accidents here. We are speaking about disappearances. What is a statistically acceptable number of disappearances under the greater category of accident? I would call your attention to the Coast Guard’s SAR Statistics published each year and broken down by district. In the decade of the 1990s, for instance, the 1st Coast Guard District (off New England) received almost as many distress calls as the 7th District (the Triangle). This is reflective of the amount of traffic and trouble in both locations. During this time there were thousands of accidents in each district, but there was about about 6 or 7 disappearances in the 1st district as opposed to more than 20 disappearances of planes in the Triangle and possibly twice that number in boats.
Q. How many people have disappeared in the Triangle?
- A. One TV producer told me 8,152 or some number near that. I asked him how did he know. He said he got it from me. Does that reassure you? In reality there is no way of determining the exact number, as nobody is really sure how many have vanished in there. Small boats don’t have to file boat plans, so no one is sure exactly where some disappear. You might want to read the aforementioned SAR Statistics. It carries the AMVER reports from merchant ships. A lot goes on in the Triangle we know nothing about: lights, flashes, flares, unexplained signals and maydays that are never traceable. After diverting course, the merchant vessel continues on its way with “results negative.” Who all is really out there?
- Some of these questions seem a bit old, but they are more than relevant. It appears the originator of the error that inspired them either trolls the net or has a copier or has inspired imitators even on Wikipedia. As of this writing (July 26, 2011), this detractor’s website has long vanished from the web. He dominated the subject of the Triangle when the web was young (mid- to late 1990s) and the Navy Historical Site even linked to him. He was basically debunking a topic that was long in the deep freeze until my web site went up in March 1999. For the first time in over 20 years people received new, updated information, rather than a debunk on a subject based on old books and old cases. The following relates to my cyber nemesis, the redoubtable Bubba, the Salty Dog. This Q&A dates to March 2003.
- There has been a little interest raised over yet another comment made by a detractor of mine on the web.
- On the message board hosted by the web site of Bubba, the Salty Dog— your friend and mine, T. Gibson— there is a message left by a disgruntled surfer to his site. This surfer calls attention to the fact that my site exposes several errors on his site. Gibson saw fit to respond. In doing so, he makes a completely erroneous claim (among so many on his site.) Although this message was left around last October 2002, I only recently learned of it, and even when typing my name into search engines some will pick up the thread.
Here is the message:
- “Ok, first off let me tell you my opinion. I believe you have no clue what you are talking about. It’s my opinion that you know nothing at all about the Bermuda Triangle whatsoever. You have too many contradicting remarks on your page, alot of information you give is wrong and you have no documentation or pictures (other than borrowed from other sites) to back up anything you say. Furthermore, I visited sites that show REAL information, not BS like yours. I also think that someone by the name of Gian Quasar has told you FACTS about the Bermuda Triangle that you know nothing about. I think maybe you should just give up on this subject and move onto something you do know about...like maybe bullshit?”
- “First off, this was the first web site to ever even discuss the Bermuda Triangle, either pro or con. If you see pictures here that appear on other sites, then they stole them from here.
Second off, I've visted Gian Quasar site on many occasions. I think his site is very good. I've emailed him on several occasions but I guess he is just too busy to answer his email. That is fine.
He very much wants to prove the Bermuda Triangle is more than just nature being nature.
Who knows, some day he might and I'll have to eat crow. So far he is a long way from convincing the Scientific community that it is real.
Millions of people live in the Triangle and 10s of millions visit it annually and nothing happens.
In the mean time you insult me and don't even give your real name.”
- Well, there it is. Although it wasn’t necessary to insult Gibson, his dogmatic and often illogical assertions seem to provoke a number of people on his message board. One, let me say I have never received any email from him at any time. I would find it hard to believe that his several emails have been destroyed or lost before reaching me. I have had no one complain that I was not responding to their emails. Therefore, I find such a comment to be strange and suspect it might not be true.
- Now, he claims I “very much want to prove it is not just nature being nature.” Well, I can’t even follow that. It is natural for nature to make things disappear? Is this commonplace? Of course not, not even at sea. The Bermuda Triangle is not just an occasional disappearance: there are hundreds of them. I believe it is nature being nature. But what kind? Just storms that didn’t exist wiping everybody off the map? Hardly. For many, nature is something mundane. For those who have experienced a little more of the sea, and understand how untapped and mysterious is the energy of matter (see vortex kinesis), these disappearances may indicate far more— more from which we can learn and it can lead us to knowledge in the future. Nothing has been nor will be gained by dismissing them as pointless deaths on a big ocean. This is a bigger assumption than the one that there may be something out there to discover, something to which these disappearances have been pointing for decades.
- As for the scientific community, it has already been made clear in Myth & Facts how Gibson regrettably exaggerates his contacts. The scientific community may be, for Gibson, his local college science teacher. I’ve been impressed by some kid cousins with just how analytical the younger generation is getting. With iphones and the like they can even find the name of a song, its date of composition and everything else. They are becoming a data gathering generation. Maybe a lot of this isn’t happening in school, but most knowledge comes with life and with living it. That helps the most in people being able to contextualized everything. And truth lies in the Body Context.
- Although teachers rightfully warn their students to beware wikipedia as an ultimate source, it has proven helpful in classifying for and impressing upon its readers what “weasel words” are. Bubba, now the late great Bubba, frequently used weasel words and concepts. This is something often used by humbugs in general. Even published ones. A man named Joe Nickell, who for some extraordinary reason has been published on all topics from “ghosts” to the Shroud of Turin, is one such example. He has condemned me as a “myth monger.” It is rather interesting to see this man, who claims a Ph.D in English, speak of such topics. He has even allowed himself to be filmed on Discovery Channel wearing a biologist’s lab coat and examining something under a microscope. How can one put the supernatural under a scope?
- In general such as Nickell have learned to be more subtle in their schtick than Bubba, but they are hardly any different. They begin by impressing upon their audience that there is an established weltenshauung, which they represent, and that they are at war with sensationalists who are out to profit off the people’s gullibility. This is very appealing to many people. It strokes the egos of some in the audience who always wish to believe they are the worthy object of bilking, of conspiracies, and of proselytizing. Debunkers actually avoid confrontations with nobility, since ermine and crimson reflects the epitome of established order. The Queen’s Royal Astronomer can make the most outlandish statements about possible aliens amongst us, but debunkers remain silent. The idea of lords held up in freight elevators conspiring to take the people’s milk money isn’t a formula that sells. The humbug must put themselves in the superior position for it to work. They create a fake idol and make themselves its prophet.
- It is no secret that I am the scion of old patricians. As a kid I saw what hangers on were. The lackey is a breed apart. There isn’t one who is not a galloping egomaniac. But there isn’t one who remotely has his own talent. Their glory is one of reflection. They build their master into the enlightening light and by effect they become the moth circling the divine wick. You insult them and they can handle it. But you insult their master, and they go wild. All their glory is by reflection, you see. You reduce the divine light to less than rosy and by effect the toady is no longer the moth around the divine wick but a fly buzzing around a . . .Well, no need to elaborate.
- I have found debunkers to be of this ilk. The difference between them and the obvious apple polisher is that they construct an entire establishment and make themselves its custodian. Often, it is the word and concept “Science,” but just as often it is the props of “science,” such as an English teacher from Kentucky parading on Discovery Channel in a lab coat. Criticizing others often sells. Yet amazingly it is often regarded as not selling something. In reality, professional debunkers get money for book deals, TV and personal appearances. They present themselves as bulwarks of truth. Yet none of them are remotely qualified in “science” nor even know the Process Skills of Scientific Inquiry. They mock others’ data and hypotheses without realizing that both are required in Scientific Method. There is less Science in the so-called skeptic than in the so-called sensationalist. Those proposing beliefs in certain fields must present their thesis along natural logic at least. A skeptic, used in the popular sense, merely has an untrained sense of instinct or intuition, and what good is that? Intuition and Instinct are great in those with experience, but almost all so-called skeptics sit in their armchairs and set out to mire the theories of others if they do not play along the lines of their preconceived ideas. They deal in general concepts and feed false impressions of what constitutes expertise.
- Bubba was an untried and amateurish example of this, but he seemed to have had the prerequisite personality to be easily inspired by those who promote “science” as a concept rather than a dedicated method to find the truth.
- There have been many scientific discoveries that now lead us to believe that much of the Bermuda Triangle’s famous enigma is quite true. “Electronic Fog” is one. Other electromagnetic anomalies are others, such as the Transition Type Geomagnetic Anomaly. People can use these to support whatever theories they like, but a discussion of such theories and hypotheses is hardly sensationalism. It is mandatory in Scientific Method. Advancing theories such as time-warps, which could be associated with electromagnetism and its aberrations, is also not wrong, even if such theories cannot at present be substantiated. If something cannot be discussed, it cannot be apprehended.
- Frankly, I have not been trying to convince anybody of anything except that the enigma is true. Bubba used the typical schtick, as they all do. They do not even qualify the meaning of an expression. I am trying to convince people of the truth of the Bermuda Triangle. But what does Bermuda Triangle mean to them? I’ve made it very plain by logic what the Triangle is: a geographic area and that the enigma is that more ships and aircraft vanish in that area as opposed to others. My research shows that is correct.
- The debunker will pick the most sensational theory and equate it with the whole subject. Bubba was true to form “I stated an opinion based on research. You're in college. you do know what research is, don't you?” This research is: “So far intergallactic travel is science fiction and not fact. Until some shows me solid evidence to the contrary, I'm going to rule out alien visitors.”
- While I don’t endorse alien visitors personally, I can’t base that opinion on the fact we can’t travel in intergalactic space as yet. I would never have my arguments hinge on that. I have uncovered 1 UFO case in which a “weird object” was at least associated with a very strange disappearance in 1980. Therefore there is nothing wrong with theorizing what these are, how they can be a factor, and what must be their explanation.
Q. Another site mentions that the Sylvia L. Ossa disappeared in heavy seas. Why don’t you mention that on your site?
- A. I mention gale-force winds. This equates to 8 to 16 foot seas. Not exactly tumultuous for a 590-foot vessel. Some even suspected that the Ossa was a victim of her owner’s plot to collect insurance and that they scuttled her, sacrificing the crew in the process. I consider this a bit far fetched. In any case, in any strict sense the Ossa did not disappear in heavy seas.
Q. Again, another site mentions that a Cessna 210 vanished on June 11, 1999. I would like some details on this, but I can’t find anything on your site. Why?
- A. No plane disappeared on June 11, 1999. A Cessna 210 dropped from radar in the Bahamas because its engine suddenly gave out. But both occupants were later rescued. The site you got your initial information from lists its source as Lloyd’s List. This has unfortunately been regarded as a “sacrosanct source” of shipping news. But I have found them no better than hasty newspaper articles. Those who are members of their site are aware that they are past their best days both in customer service and information provided.
- An example of their lack of logical progression in handling some affairs is their recent hogwash about no longer referring to a ship by the feminine “she.” Perhaps this pleases some “not-so-grand grandees” in London but in the process they have offended almost every other language on Earth, since most all of them divide nouns according to feminine, masculine, and neuter. It does not imply the ship has a gender. Speakers of Romance languages don’t even understand what the change is about. They will continue to refer to a ship as Elle, Ella, etc. because “ship” is a feminine noun. I believe only in German is it neutral. Das Schiff. It is also “feminine” in English. It is just that we do not change an article before our masculine and feminine nouns. It is the same in Hebrew. But whether nouns are feminine or masculine is irrelevant to the actual word. For example, in Hebrew “father” is in the feminine! Duals are often in the masculine. Thus breasts, which we equate with femininity, are actually in the masculine plural in Hebrew! In English, a woman can indeed be a chairman. Positions are usually in the masculine, whereas great buildings, cities, great works of art are in the feminine. Madam Chairman is perfectly correct.
Q. Why is there so much debunking on the web about the Triangle and just nautical mysteries in general?
- A. It’s pretty safe to do so. The Triangle is not yet hyped up . As such, there is no worry about a landslide of rebuttals after one has published an unqualified opinion. Let me give you an example of what is not cheaply debunked on the Web. UFOs are such a big market that you don’t see the same type of low caliber debunking because, frankly, it looks out-of-place. You can’t rely on a 35 old book or an old Coast Guard statement (as Triangle debunkers do) and concentrate on 35 year old incidents to make your case. Such selectivity is obvious, and it is out of date for a phenomenon that changes yearly as more works are published and as more sightings are made. The whole method of approach looks like what it is: a very mediocre personal opinion based on selective published works. When you have numerous Ph.Ds, professors, scientists, aeronautical engineers and former military personnel writing about them, it is very hard for a college student, librarian, or English teacher with a web site to look authoritative in such a field.
- It comes down to one thing: debunkers are bottom feeders. They cannot be set in motion until someone else has advanced ideas or theories or evidence. They are not proactive, they are reactive. They then debunk the ideas based on their understanding of the concept of science and on their instincts about what is possible or based on their own personal life experiences which, sadly, in most cases, amounts to no more than sitting on their hands. Why don’t they debunk me? They do not try and debunk me or over 100 incidents I mention as occurring since 1975 because that requires original research, time, money, analysis— this last item I think is what they lack so much of. The end result would be only to confirm a plane or ship it vanished.
- I am not criticizing other sites. But one must take any publicly disseminated information seriously. One can not just brush it off as “Well, it’s only on the Web” and not be faithful to try and represent a subject faithfully. I don’t think relying on 35 year old news is doing so. If their sites began with ‘This is my opinion based on 35 year old material and one librarian’s claims’ they would have placed their content in context. debunkers never contextualize. To do so would be to destroy their image as experts.
- I am also not complaining. The interest my site has generated, the compliments sent my way by surfers, its presentation on several TV shows, and the media’s treatment of me, has been and continues to be very favorable.
Q. Have you heard about a National Airlines 727 that disappeared from radar for 10 minutes while on approach to Miami airport? I believe it was in 1969. Everything seemed fine, but when the plane landed all watches on board were 10 minutes slow. Do you think when they disappeared they traveled through time briefly, or just didn’t exist. Were they one of the lucky ones to escape?
- A. I believe this first appeared in a Saga magazine article by Ivan Sanderson. He mentions it in his 1970 book Invisible Residents, but offers no source, flight number, witness, or precise date. Sanderson often credited stories that had no source. I’m afraid this is one of them— there is nothing to it.
Q. I was watching a Triangle show on TBS the other night. Was the “Queen of Scots” a real incident or was it all fiction?
Q. Why is it that Cuban and Haitian refugees who disappear while attempting to cross to Florida are not counted as Triangle victims? In “Without a Trace”, Berlitz mentions a Haitian refugee ship that vanished in the Old Bahama Channel in 1973, but doesn't discuss the case further. Nor do other writers on the Triangle take up this issue?
- A. For an incident to apply as a “Bermuda Triangle” disappearance, it must not have any immediate, acceptable answer. For example, an aircraft disappears while on approach to an airport, in clear weather, but it leaves no trace despite a thorough search. Such an incident piques most everybody's curiosity. A combination of these types of disappearances in the so-called Triangle is what gave it its reputation over time. In other words: an unexplainable type of disappearance qualifies as a ‘Bermuda Triangle’ case. A dilapidated Cuban or Haitian boat, overcrowded with dozens of people, suggests some very prosaic causes, such as sudden foundering, plunging or capsizing. This may not have happened, but the suspicion is justified. Something fantastic may not have happened in all those “unusual disappearances” that together make up the quilt of the Triangle. However, considering some of the circumstances, the suspicion is there that there might be more to this sea than mere weather patterns and pilot error.
- Ed. Michael Preissinger has taken exception to something I wrote in Q&A regarding his claim about the Bimini Road and about his overall examination of the Bahamas during an alleged 6 month stay there. I noted that he claims that some of the stones were left by Confederate raiders (or union blockade runners). He claims he never made that comment “anywhere.”
The comment was made in an article he wrote called “Bermuda Triangle Stargate?” and can be found on Atlantisrising.com.” The exact quote: “My conclusions regarding the so-called Bimini Wall, thought by many to be a remnant of Atlantis, were not nearly so ‘New Age.’ I believe that some of the stones making up the wall appear to be man-made, not because they came from Atlantis, but because they were left there during the American Civil War. In those days, a great many ships ran the Union blockade to bring trade to Confederate harbors. Pursued by Union ships, these vessels often escaped into the shallow Bahamas waters where the big man-o-wars couldn’t follow. To navigate over the reefs that filled these waters, they frequently had to jettison weight so as to ride higher in the water. What easier way to do this than by dumping granite stones from the ship’s ballast? That, I think, may account for a good many of the granite stones now found at such places as Bimini.”
- Interesting, but this overlooks one thing: why should granite, a hard stone, that was used for ballast have been carved by man already? Also, the Bimini Wall is a very specific feature of the many stones at Bimini. It is made of flint hard micrite, not granite. These colossal stones could not have been carried by vessels nor jettisoned at will. These stones also appear on an island on the 1513 Piri Reis Map.
He still insists that I cannot say that leprechauns do not exist merely because I have not seen them. I questioned him on his doctoral thesis and asked him what was the name of the “big newspaper” in Germany he was now working on. I received no replies after that.
Q. Is there proof the USS Cyclops was lost off New Jersey?
- A. No. New Jersey was north of its destination. There would be no reason that the Cyclops would even be near there. Its destination was Baltimore. It had last been at Barbados, British West Indies. There was a rumor that the Amolco saw a large vessel battling heavy seas off the Carolinas. However, Captain Charles Hillyer, the Amolco’s captain, denied this entirely. Also, due to the Cyclops’ speed, it never could have reached any heavy weather off Carolina by the 10th of March, the day of the storm off the Carolinas.
Q. Is it true that most disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle actually did not happen in the Triangle at all? Why do you continue to set the area apart?
- A. Well, the truth of the matter is that the disappearances that I am interested in do occur in the “Triangle.” Authors 30 to 40 years ago entered into their books a selective number of cases to make their point and introduce their theories. Some of them were wrong, listing some ships and planes incorrectly. Often one author would point that out to another author. John Spencer took a lot of ribbing from Dick Winer for originating the V.A. Fogg mistake. Spencer used its supposed complete disappearance as an example of a ship that was sucked up by a UFO. Winer pointed out it’s still being used as an artificial reef today. Many mistakes have been made and corrected in the popular press.
- Unfortunately, debunkers hark back on 40 year old books and attempt to promote those as the final word, then ad nauseum rehash and “expose” those mistakes and never go on to anything else. They always make those mistakes look intentional. Fallibility in an author cannot be interpreted as intentional sensationalism, as debunkers so often enjoy doing. (I have had official bureaus tell me things which turned out to be patently inaccurate with later investigation.)
- Much of the information for Triangle books prior to mine are based on newspaper accounts of missing vessels or planes. Newspaper articles are, to put it mildly, only the tip of the iceberg to what goes on at sea.
- For every inaccurately listed plane or ship in the Triangle there are probably 10 that disappeared therein that were not reported and that neither the sensationalists nor debunkers know about. It is very possible that one author may have quantitative mistakes insofar as select examples are concerned but it does not effect the underlying thesis. Take for instance my pages on missing aircraft 1964-1977. How many of these did you ever read about in an old book? Most were never heard of until I asked NTSB to do a search of their database for missing aircraft. Can you imagine the quantity that have disappeared prior to record keeping? A sober example can be found in the following 2 mistakes. Some 35 years ago the vessel Rubicon was inaccurately listed as derelict in 1944 when the ship had actually just broken its moorings; the Freya was listed as being found abandoned in the Triangle in 1909 when it was actually found in the Pacific Ocean.
- Well, with the republication of Commander S.D. Sigbbee’s 1894 Hydrographic Officer report on derelicts in the North Atlantic we have 1,628 more vessels to eventually investigate. His study, Wrecks and Derelicts of the North Atlantic 1887-1893 Inclusive covered only 7 years. How many thousands more exist? There is indeed another Freya for 1889, definitely northwest of Bermuda this time.
- Debunkers seem to be the only ones who believe in the “Triangle” as a strict shape. Vincent Gaddis introduced the the Triangle with “many disappearances occur in and about this area.” Richard Winer thought it was a trapezium which extended further out into the Atlantic; John Spencer thought it an amorphous “limbo” that extended into the Gulf of Mexico and went along the continental shelves. . . .etc, etc. There are a few other shapes, so forth and so on. This is to be expected in research. Differences are commonplace. I am a firm believer that “expert” only means someone who is qualified to disagree with somebody else.
- If some debunker is still touting the “Triangle” as a strict triangle and therefore excluding anything because it happened 10 miles outside of an imaginary line that one journalist coined for the sake of literary license, his entire argument is specious because he is giving someone a position and then arguing against it. His arguments are irrelevant because the imaginary position he gives his “opposition” does not exist.
Q. Is it true that there was a scientific evaluation done and the Bermuda Triangle did not have any more disappearances than other places in the world?
- A. I’ve heard some tout that, but to date I have never been able to substantiate it. The claim raises my suspicions, especially about whatever its criterion might have been. In any true sense, both the Coast Guard and Lloyd’s of London keep no statistics for smaller missing boats. The Coast Guard keeps a district by district statistic and then break it down by cause. There is also no other place in the world with the kind of traffic like the area of the Bermuda Triangle. The closest would be New England and the Mediterranean. These areas are not high in disappearances.
Q. Where is the Sargasso Sea? Is it close to the Triangle?
- A. Close? Most definitely! The island of Bermuda is itself in the Sargasso Sea! It is a complete and utter fabrication for anyone to say that the Sargasso Sea is not a part of the Triangle! The whole western section of the Sargasso Sea is the very center of the Triangle! Any encyclopedia will give you the latitudes and longitudes of the Sea; any academic website will do the same. It lies roughly between 25o to 35o North Latitude and 35o to 75o West Longitude.
Q. People always seem to blame or credit Charles Berlitz with creating the Bermuda Triangle sensationalism. Why is his name synonymous with the Bermuda Triangle?
- A. He was not by any means the man who discovered the Bermuda Triangle. He was not even the 4th or 5th author on the subject. Much had been published on the Triangle before his 1974 book. Charles Berlitz was, however, the most successful writer on the subject. His book was the first to deal with theories and, frankly, even couch some ludicrous theories in very well written language. His book did capture the mythos of the area very well, and therefore sold briskly until about 5 million copies were sold. Nothing has equaled it since and it is still in reprint though now decades obsolete.
- Although I have hit him hard where I felt he deserved it, it is clear to me Charles Berlitz truly believed what he was writing about in his first book. His sources were respectable enough (newspaper clippings, magazine articles) when he spoke about missing planes and ships, though they were highly inaccurate.
- To dissolve some of the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle events, debunkers have actually tried to claim Berlitz is the man solely responsible and in this way make it look like the invention of one man— an easy foundation to undermine. In reality, Berlitz did very little research: magazine and newspaper clippings were most of his sources for the incidents and J. Manson Valentine was the source for most of the theories.
Q. Are you a professional researcher?
- A. No, I do not make a living at this. If anybody does, I feel that would constitute a conflict of interest. This is one of my many past-times, and the web site is my hobby.
Q. Is it true that most of these were never considered mysteries until years later when some writers misrepresented them as being unusual?
- A. Absolutely not. The dereliction of the Rosalie in 1840, on a course from Marseilles to New Orleans, was considered quite an oddity and rated an interesting entry in the London Times no less. (Some have tried to confuse her with the Rossini. She was in fact a real ship launched in October of 1838 built of 222 tons wood. She was brought into Havana derelict and confused in dispatches with Rossini, another vessel brought into Nassau). The disappearance of the USS Cyclops in 1918 was rehashed frequently in the press as the “Greatest Mystery of the Sea.” The disappearance of Flight 19 was in the press for months as one of “the greatest mysteries of our time.”
Q. Can Static Electricity explain the disappearances?
- A. No. Aircraft are designed to absorb electrical charges, so are boats. The little item used is called a Zinc or a leach line. . . .and I’ll add one of my own: I’ve never heard of a pilot going unconscious because of static electricity.
Q. You don’t seem to declare what you believe personally. And your site is scant on the theories section so far. Do you have any personal views or are you afraid to mention them?
- A. Not at all. I can speak with great dogma about missing planes and ships. Their records are publicly accessible. We know they vanished. When it comes to theories, however, how can one speak with certainty? Theory itself implies it is not fact. I discuss some mind bending things and simple solutions. Both might be quite relevant, but only one inspires. We are comforted by simple solutions, but we are inspired by complex ones.
Q. Aren’t many facts indisputable in each incident? Can’t these infer a reasonable solution to each incident? There is another web site where facts are listed after each case is mentioned that contradict the mystery about it.
- A. Such “facts” often stem from one man, Larry Kusche. In a 1975 book The Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved he made the claim there was no mystery to solve. Although you might think this would all be completely passé by now, debunkers really don’t have any other source to turn to than this 36 year old book.
- I have addressed this before, but I see I’m going to have to be specific. I have refrained from doing so in the past because I thought it would be irrelevant considering the age of his book. However, it has been in reprint, so a few things have to be pointed out.
- First, Kusche’s book was an exposé that skewed toward the simplistic instead of the sensational. In truth, he had more errors in his accounts than the sensationalists had in theirs. But a thesis that skews toward the banal is often never publicly challenged. It was promoted as a qualified attempt, though he admitted he had never been to the Triangle and did not stir from his reference library at the University of Arizona at Tempe where he was the librarian. By culling through newspapers and making some phone calls he gathered his information. In all this he obtained only about 6 accident reports and some Lloyd’s List bulletins (which are not often detailed). His book contained only a selective number of cases, about 57, and then he “solved” them by offering a different chain of events than the “sensationalists” had provided.
- These accident reports did not solve one incident. In fact, Kusche admitted that Star Tiger was a true mystery. For Star Ariel he implied the search started a day after it vanished. Actually it was a couple of hours. The report into Marine Sulphur Queen is noted for not being able to solve the incident, nor did the Board of Inquiry solve Flight 19. They merely blamed Taylor. Likewise Kusche blamed him. Affixing blame is not solving.
- Often Kusche resorted to some obscure newspapers to find a solution. The case of the KB-50 is typical. The Virginia Pilot ran an article that an oil slick was found near where the plane sent its last message. Kusche relied on this to imply the plane merely crashed, though he could not offer why it would have crashed. The accident report sets it straight that the plane was heard hundreds of miles beyond this spot by another plane.
- Kusche knew of the repository where these Air Force reports are maintained, but did not bother to obtain any official report or chose to ignore their facts if he did.
- For some incidents he found no newspaper accounts at all. He implied they didn’t happen. He said he could find no proof the Ellen Austin existed, although Lloyd’s had no problem finding it for me, as did the New York Historical Library . . . even telling me what type of oak it was built of! He chose some incredibly obscure incidents that no one really cared about and then found no sources for them. He wrote he wanted to see if disappearances were still occurring, so he checked some newspapers and found two incidents which turned out to be bogus, crowing over this fact. However, public documents from the FAA or CAB for 1973-1974, the time period he was working in, show 9 aircraft disappeared, and 200 boats went missing according to Coast Guard statistics, though most were blamed on criminal causes.
- For his next book, The Disappearance of Flight 19, he seems to have done little more than ingratiate himself to Taylor’s bereaved sister, Georgia, and her husband, Whitney, to obtain information and family memorabilia on Charles Taylor, whom he would make into the central figure of his book. All the time he seems to have kept from them the fact that he was going to blame her brother for the incident . . . after dredging up patently false evidence about sloppy navigation and carelessness. Despite his statements of friendship in his book, after the book came out they would never speak to him again. (Whitney drove to a halfway point to retrieve all that they had lent him about C.C. Taylor.) He called the other pilots rookies and ignored their training. He seems to have contacted the families to only get a picture. He mentioned several names in his Acknowledgments. More than one of which has told me they did not speak to him or help him.
Q. Is it true that Taylor, the Flight Leader of Flight 19, didn’t take his watch or his plotting board? Isn’t this careless?
- A. Avengers had clocks despite what some have said. They didn’t work often, but Avengers did have clocks. Taylor probably did not take a watch. The time was merely a contact away with another pilot who had one. Plotting boards are already on Avengers, so no one knows if he had one or not. It was an easy hop. It was common practice for many instructors not to take one or not to use it if they did. More than one has admitted this to me while clearing his throat with embarrassment. Taylor hardly stands out as careless. He was an average instructor.
Q. Another web site says that ELTs sink with the plane so there is no great mystery to no ELT signal being received from planes lost over water. Why do you imply there is?
- A. Easy, ELTs are designed to be jettisoned upon impact. It does not sink with the plane. It floats on the ocean. They can also be affixed within the rear fuselage, where they can be triggered by impact or, if the fuselage breaks open, as it often does in this hollow area of the plane, the ELT can be liberated. The tail section of any plane usually survives in some form. Therefore the reason why the ELT is placed here if not in a jettison position. Even a short burst of ELT transmission is enough to alert base that something has happened. This should happen even in impact over the ocean before any ELT would sink with the plane. What’s the point of an automatic alarm if it is designed to be destroyed with the plane? In fact, heavy turbulence has sometimes jettisoned ELTs (in military craft) though the plane proceeded unharmed to its destination. Military jets have auto alarms in their seats that are activated when they eject.
Q. Was Taylor the only experienced pilot in Flight 19?
- A. No. All pilots were experienced. They were undergoing advanced overwater navigation, something army pilots did not even have to do since they would never be stationed on carriers. Among the crews there were several veterans of the Pacific theater of the war that switched to naval aviation. Burt Baluk was the only newbie. He had been in only a couple of months. He was not a pilot.
Q. I live along the Florida Gold Coast, I have read an article by a man who was there at the time and he blamed Taylor for being confused and careless, and also blamed Don Poole for not letting a ready plane takeoff with Lt. Cox in it to find the flight. There really doesn’t seem to be any mystery to me, just a lot of incompetence and slack rules.
- A. You’re talking about John Evans, who claims to have been a TBM gunner at Fort Lauderdale and at the time was a crash photographer at NAS Fort Lauderdale. John Evans is rather entertaining for his evolving account of that day, as can be seen by following what he has said in newspaper interviews and in the article you refer to in Florida’s Gold Coast magazine in 1998. This last article, written by him, is noteworthy for being melodramatic, contradictory to earlier statements he made in newspapers, and, sadly, for being full of his liberal idea of what is a quote, and patently inaccurate information. Evans claims to have been there but remembers bad weather that day, something that was not true until that evening long after the flight was lost. He also says such utter nonsense as that Taylor’s mother, Katherine, periodically visited Fort Lauderdale until her death in 1973, asking charter boat captains if they had seen her son.
- Evans was much less informed about Flight 19 in 1991. He appears not to have had much publicity until those 5 Avengers were found off Fort Lauderdale that year, at which time the press tried to dig up anyone with a connection. His 1998 article seems to be the last hurrah at trying to get his fluid views published. He wrote a novella called The Fifteen Man, a fiction work following the life of the 15th man who didn’t go (whoever that was). However, it was never published. According to my sources, it was never published because of its profanity. This claim may have originated from Evans himself, since the real answer might be that his style of writing is so poor, as seen in his 1998 article, the work was not salvagable.
- John Evans is one of a number of men who have grandstanded after this 1991 discovery by claiming some form of connection with Flight 19, even if it was just being on the same base at the time along with thousands of other servicemen.
- Calvin Shoemaker’s claims are some of the most bizarre. He claims to have even been one of the pilots. But at the last minute he let Ensign Bossi take his place because Bossi could not get his plane started. Bossi ran across the field, and Shoemaker, on the runway no less, braked his Avenger and got out, letting Bossi take his place in FT-3 that day.
Q. You say you are the only one to search for Flight 19 since the original search ended. How can you say that? I saw on TV an hour long show in which they went out to retrieve an Avenger from the bottom of the Atlantic.
- A. You might be referring to the John Myhre episode. Although John Myhre was never indicted over that, as I understand it, I believe his lawyer and possible partner was. Those who backed it, as I have been told, were not too happy about that Avenger not being a part of Flight 19, nor were they too happy to discover that Myhre knew it wasn’t to begin with. At least that’s how I hear it. One thing is certain: everybody says his lawyer went to jail.
Q. If you don’t believe in some of the wilder theories, as you call them, why do you write about them or have them listed as “coming soon” on your site?
- A. My intent is not only to document the truth about the Triangle but also its enigma and legend. Just because I may not personally endorse some of the theories does not mean I can ignore them, especially those that are so intimately associated with the Triangle’s legends, like UFOs and Atlantic. This is not hypothesis non fingo. I have actually found one case where a UFO was implied and the artifacts many associated with “Atlantis” do indeed exist. The Triangle is not just an enigma. It is a real geographic place, and as such the enigmas of the Bahamas are a part of it. They form an intriguing backdrop to the reality of mysteriously missing planes and ships.
Q. I keep hearing about Gas Hydrates as being one of the more rational theories, those that “serious scientists” propose. Is this true? Is this an example of your non conventional but natural explanation?
- A. No! It is more or less of a joke. No “serious scientist” has proposed that. In fact for my last TLC program the Producer even tracked down some experts in the field and they said it was more or less improbable. The gas has to go through who knows how much strata then miles of ocean to rise to the surface. By this time it’s unlikely that it could do anything. You keep hearing about these “methane funnels” being promoted as a logical, scientific theory, but it is really not thought to have happened for 15,000 years.
Q. Would anything be left at all from the 5 Avengers if they went into the Okefenokee Swamp?
- A. Yes, most certainly. Rhonda Kimbrough assures me that even if you put aluminum is straight vinegar for 100 years something would be left. The engine is cast iron, and the plexiglass would still remain.
Q. Why do a lot of the other sites constantly debunk the Triangle but never list anything new?
- A. Well, for one none have done the research. I carefully wrote the introduction to my home page when saying that this site is “not based on relating hearsay or repeating stories from 30 year old books.”
- Also, no one but me has done research in the last 20 years, so the debunkers have no new catalog of mysteries to debunk. This limits them to aping Larry Kusche’s 1975 book The Bermuda Triangle Mystery--Solved. If I recall correctly none of the other sites are self owned, but are under the umbrella of a host, judging by their web site addresses which are not their own domain names but pages under other indexes. The cost of research is far in excess of maintaining a web site. These are more or less “opinion sites.”
Q. Where do most of the ships and planes disappear?
- A. Around the Bahamas and Caribbean, southern Florida.
Q. Do you recommend any books?
- A. I recommend all the books. That doesn’t mean you have to believe them. I certainly don’t. But if you want a well rounded knowledge of the subject, that’s your only way. Remember: to be allowed all points of view on a subject is education; to be allowed only one is indoctrination.
Q. In light of The Bermuda Triangle Mystery– Solved by Lawrence Kusche, why do you feel there is still reason to investigate the Bermuda Triangle?
- A. He didn’t solve it. I would love to leave it there, but I suppose I should elucidate. You are talking about a 1975 book in which the author claims to have solved the Bermuda Triangle mysteries by examining about 60 incidents. Well, there are several weakness with the book. Only about 6 of the incidents he discussed were based on official accident reports. Of these, not one was solved by those accident reports. Some were based on terse Lloyd’s List news report. The others were based on newspaper accounts, many of them unreliable and sketchy. For some he found no sources whatsoever, implying to him the incident never occurred. He even went so far as to say that there was no investigation of the Cyclops. In reality, the documents on this vessel take up 3 boxes at the National Archives (about 1,500 pages). The great coup of the book was its title, which allowed it to sell well. However, the contents did not solve the mystery. It would have been more accurate to say Bermuda Triangle Examined. Considering all the fanciful stuff being said about the Bermuda Triangle at the time, Kusche’s book was not only inevitable but sorely needed. Don’t get me wrong, the book is something you should have. But its title is sadly misleading.
Q. What exactly caused the JFK jr. crash? Can pilot inexperience be that sudden? And an off the wall question, what exactly would NTSB investigators look for in autopsies of bodies at sea.
- A. Yes, pilot inexperience can be that sudden. It can also be very insidious. The press talked alot about how he couldn’t handle the plane well. That’s really not the case, as I understand it. I believe he had a Saratoga, something akin to a Cherokee Lance. They are nice planes, but I wouldn’t consider them that beefy. He was inexperienced in over water navigation. You see that cited in “Briefs” to disappearance in the Bermuda Triangle as well. In other words, he was not familiar with flying on instruments. That can be dangerous. Without being qualified, you fly by eye. You can get very confused that way, especially at dusk and at night. Wherever there is terrain that can confuse depth and perception (like snow and ocean) chances of vertigo greatly increase. Pilots have caught themselves flying upside down without knowing it! If the conditions are IFR and you are not qualified, don’t fly!
- As to the autopsies, they would check for brain tumors, drugs, the location and type of bruises, the lungs to see if death came by drowning (indicating survived impact), the hands, fingers, wrists, to see how he was holding the stick or if he was at all. (When more than one pilot is aboard, this determines who was pilot at the time of impact.) There is any number of things they would check the lungs for: smoke inhalation, fumes, etc. they would check for burns, lacerations on the face (if something rammed the windshield) etc. Birds hitting windshields have actually been known to cause crashes.
Q. What do you think about the “ocean flatulence” theory?
- A. You are, of course, talking about methane venting from the bottom of the ocean. Methane causes the water to molecularly change, to become less dense. The theory proposes that ships have simply sunk because the water was not molecularly dense enough to hold them. Well, the name more or less seems to introduce levity where it does not belong. I remember one disappearance; I think it was the Dr. Fisher disappearance of the early 1970s, in which he and his family (wife and 4 daughters, I believe) vanished. Only one child was not with them. She was waiting for them to land. She lost her whole family in one fell swoop. People who do not know about the individual tragedies make light of the whole subject.
- Another “scientist” claimed that this theory can explain all or most of the ship disappearances. He noted that the Bermuda Triangle has a concentration of methane below the seabed. However, he was completely ignorant of where ships last reported themselves. Not one ship has sunk because of methane. Methane cannot effect aircraft. It did swallow an oil rig that drilled into a deposit. However, news helicopters were circling above taking pictures. They were unaffected.
Q. Does the Bermuda Triangle move?
- A. No, although there are disagreements as to its actual shape. “Bermuda Triangle” is merely a popular name applied to the sea between Bermuda, Miami, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is a geographic location which cannot move. Disappearances occur within the vicinity of this area. I personally do not believe it extends close to the Azores nor far into the Gulf of Mexico. None of my research has indicated a large quantities of disappearances in these areas.
Q. You mention some of the older theorists on the Atlantis Theory, but not the more modern ones. Why?
- A. Why? Because they haven’t added anything significant. I concentrated on the actual originators of the theory. To undermine the foundation is to bring the house down. More recent claims have included those of a man named De Val or something like it, about finding a pyramid deep down off the Bahama Banks. Several scientists who specialize in deep sea breathing mixtures noted that he didn’t even have access to the equipment to make the dive.
- A German writer calling himself Dr. Michael Preisinger stressed his scientific discipline in his Das Bermuda Rötsel Gelöst in 1997. The article recounted his 6 month stay in the Bahamas and spoke of his personal scientific quest for some of the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle (circa 1995). He flip flopped between the fantastic and the mundane. His fantastic claims centered on micro wormholes as the cause for magnetic deviations, though he deduced these from merely diving in shallow waters without any equipment. The mundane included endorsing the very dated idea that the Bimini Stones were left by Confederate raiders. Although he claims to have been an avid diver while living in the Bahamas, he seems quite ignorant of its famous underwater ruins. He also seemed impressed enough with psychic tales to repeat them, like leprechauns in the Bahamas.
- Dr. John Sparks’ work on Bimini as a megalithic site, and Dr. David Zink’s expeditions have shown the Bimini Stones are man made. My own contribution to this area was to discover that the Bimini Stones appeared on old Spanish maps and can still be seen on the Piri Reis Map of 1513. They are shown on land, as they probably were when the Spanish discovered them. They remain a tantalizing mystery. . . but they are not an ancient submersion.