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Top Theories for the Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle

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IN AN AREA that stretches from the Florida coast to Bermuda to Puerto Rico, the infamous Bermuda Triangle - also known as the Deadly Triangle or Devil's Triangle - has been blamed for hundreds of shipwrecks, plane crashes, mysterious disappearances, craft instrument malfunctions and other unexplained phenomena. Author Vincent Gaddis is credited for coining the term "Bermuda Triangle" back in 1964 in an article he wrote for Argosy magazine, in which he catalogued many of the anomalous events in the area, and several other authors, including Charles Berlitz and Ivan Sanderson, have added to their number.

Whether or not phenomena of a paranormal nature are taking place there has been a matter of debate. Those who are convinced something odd is happening, as well as researchers who take a scientific view, have offered a number of explanations for the mystery.

MAGNETIC VORTICES

Fortean researcher Ivan Sanderson suspected that the strange sea and sky phenomena, mechanical and instrument malfunctions, and mysterious disappearances were the result of what he called "vile vortices" where, he said, "tremendous hot and cold currents crossing the most active zones might create the electromagnetic gymnastics affecting instruments and vehicles." And the Bermuda Triangle wasn't the only place on earth where this occurred. Sanderson drew out elaborate charts on which he identified 10 such locations precisely distributed around the globe, five above, and five below at equal distances from the equator.

MAGNETIC VARIATION

This theory, proposed by the Coast Guard over 30 years ago, states: "The majority of disappearances can be attributed to the area's unique environmental features. First, 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 is known as compass variation. The amount of variation changes by as much as 20 degrees as one 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." More information.

SPACE-TIME WARP

It's been suggested that from time to time a rift in space-time opens up in the Bermuda Triangle, and that planes and ships that are unlucky enough to be traveling the area at this time are lost in it. That is why, it is said, that often utterly no trace of the craft - not even wreckage - are ever found. But where do they disappear to? Another time and place? Another dimension? The physics for how this would actually take place are fuzzy at best. However, consider the following related idea for "electronic fog."

ELECTRONIC FOG

Is an "electronic fog" responsible for many of the unexplained incidents and disappearances in the infamous Bermuda Triangle? That is the assertion made by Rob MacGregor and Bruce Gernon in their book The Fog. Gernon himself is a first-hand witness and survivor of this strange phenomenon. On December 4, 1970, he and his dad were flying their Bonanza A36 over the Bahamas. On route to Bimini they encountered strange cloud phenomena - a tunnel-shaped vortex - the sides of which the plane's wings scraped as they flew. All of the plane's electronic and magnetic navigational instruments malfunctioned and the magnetic compass spun inexplicably. As they neared the end of the tunnel, they expected to see clear blue sky. Instead, they saw only a dull grayish white for miles - no ocean, sky or horizon. After flying for 34 minutes, a time corroborated by every clock on board, they found themselves over Miami Beach - a flight that normally would have taken 75 minutes. MacGregor and Gernon believe that this electronic fog that Gernon experienced may have also been responsible for the famous disappearance of Flight 19, and other vanishing aircraft and ships.

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