The Bermuda Triangle is a region on the western part of the Atlantic Ocean associated with the disappearances of a number of aircraft and surface vessels over the decades. While the traditional explanations of human error, equipment failure, piracy or natural disasters have been offered, there are speculations since 1950 of paranormal activity in the region.
There is no exact definition of the boundaries of the Triangle. Placing its three points on the city of Miami, Florida the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico and the island of Bermuda is a popular but not unique definition. Other definitions place the straits of Florida, the entire Caribbean island area, the Azores and even the Gulf of Mexico within its boundaries. Either way it would include shipping lanes used daily by numerous vessels every day.
The first short article on the subject appeared in 1950 and a somewhat more detailed one in 1952. The first full book covering the subject appeared in 1965, the first detailed debunking attempt in 1975. Some of the most notable tales connected to the triangle include:
*The disappearance of the Patriot (1812). The schooner had previously served as a privateer, but had been converted to a merchant ship shorty before its last voyage. It had left Georgetown, South Carolina for New York City. The most famous of its missing crew and passengers was Theodosia Burr Alson. She was the daughter of Aaron Burr, Vice President of the United States.
*the loss of the USS Grampus. An American Navy Schooner heading from St. Augustine, Florida to its homeport at Norfolk, Virginia. Presumed to have been lost in a gale off Charleston, South Carolina but no remains located. A crew of 142 was lost with it.
* the abandonment of Mary Celeste (1872). The brigantine was located near the coast of Portugal with no sign of its crew. It had left New York City with a crew of eight men and two female passengers.
*The disappearance of the S. V. Spray (1909). The ship was an ocean liner with no crew other than captain Joshua Slocum (1844 - 1909). Slocum had become famous for becoming the first person to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe from 1895 to 1898, a feat accomplished aboard the Spray. Though a mystery, later explanations typically involved the advanced age of both Slocum and his ship.
*the disappearance of the USS Falcon (1918). The collier was traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Baltimore, Maryland. Its last stop was in Barbados. It was last reported entering the waters of Virginia. It transported a crew of 236 men and about 70 passengers.
*the abandonment of Carrol A. Deering (1921). A merchant schooner with a captain, first mate and ten crew members. The crew last contacted a lightship to report loss of the anchors. The encounter took place in Cape Lookout, North Carolina. Three days later the empty vessel was wrecked on Diamond Shoals, close to Cape Hatteras. There were previous reports about arguments between the captain and the first mate as well as both officers and the crew. Mutiny was widely suspected but searches failed to locate any member of the crew.
*the sinking of Raifuku Maru (1925). A freighter ship heading from Boston, Massachusetts to Hamburg, Germany, it sunk during to a storm. RMS Homeric was close enough to observe the sinking but weather conditions prevented them from reaching the other ship on time. No survivors or corpses were ever recovered. At the time there was controversy over the Homeric abandoning the Japanese ship to its fate. Forty years later it had become subject to an urban legend concerning a waterspout.
*The sinking of the SS Cotopaxi (1925). A tramp steamer heading from Charleston, South Carolina to Havana, Cuba. transported 32 crew members. The captain had last reported the ship having water in its hold, probably indicating it was already sinking.
*The disappearance of the USS Proteus (1941). A collier of the American Navy which had been to a Canadian merchant line months prior to its disappearance. 58 crew members were lost.
*The disappearance of the USS Nereus (1941). A collier of the American Navy which had been to a Canadian merchant line months prior to its disappearance 61 crew members were lost.
*the disappearance of training Flight 19, consisting of five TBM Avengers, and a Mariner aircraft attempting to locate them (1945). Altogether 27 men disappeared.
*the disappearance of G-AHNP Star Tiger (1948). An Avro Tudor Mark IV passenger aircraft headed from Lisbon to Bermuda. It had maintained radio contact with another aircraft for much of the flight, then attempted to contact Bermuda. After two radio contacts, transmissions went silent. Six crew members and 25 passengers were lost. The most famous passenger was Arthur Conningham, a former RAF officer. Conningham had become famous for various operations in World War II, most notably commanding the tactical air forces in the Normandy campaign of 1944.
*The disappearance of NC16002 (1948),. A DC-3 airliner headed from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami, Florida. Transported threw crew members and 29 passengers. It had maintained contact with the traffic control center in Miami for much of the flight. Then a flight report to Miami failed to be heard there but was picked by the New Orleans, Louisiana center. Afterwards both Miami and New Orleans lost contact with the aircraft.
*The disappearance of G-Agre Star Ariel (1949). An Avro Tudor Mark IV passenger aircraft headed from Bermuda to Kingston, Jamaica. It transported seven crew members and 13 passengers. The pilot had twice made contact with Kingston, reporting nothing out of the ordinary. However other aircraft in the general area had "suffered communication problems ranging from static to poor reception to complete blackouts lasting as much as 10 minutes which came and went". Which might explain the radio silence from Star Ariel.
*The loss of the SS Marine Sulphur Queen (1963). A T2 tanker ship converted for the transportation of molten sulfur. Believed sunk by the Straits of Florida. Some debris were located but not the ship itself nor the 39 members of its crew. The sinking itself was not unexpected. The sulfur had caused previous accidents and corrosion was wide spread on the ship. A crew member had mentioned it as "a floating garbage can" to his wife. The curiosity is the relative lack of remnants. The Coast Guard suggested an explosion as the cause but had no evidence for it.
*The disappearance of the Witchcraft (1967). A cabin cruiser owned by Dan Burack. The ship was transporting Burack and a friend in a short trip, a mile from the shore of Miami. Burack contacted the Coast Guard reporting hitting something below and requesting a tow back to the marina. Nineteen minutes later the coast guard reached the given location of the Witchcraft but failed to locate it. Attempts to locate the ship or at least its remains failed. from the shore.