History's Greatest Mysteries (2020) s04e12 Episode Script

The Deadly Bermuda Triangle

Tonight, it's the most notorious
stretch of ocean on the planet.
Everyone knows
about the Bermuda Triangle,
but yet nobody knows
what's going on over there.
A place where ships, planes,
and unsuspecting travelers
sometimes disappear.
An explosion, or a freak wave,
or even just a crash would leave
some debris behind.
So, how come there isn't any?
Now, we explore the top theories
this enduring mystery.
We have plenty of records
of rogue waves
outright destroying
oceangoing vessels.
We know that Bermuda
is teeming with volcanic rock
that makes compasses go crazy.
These planes
are flying at 4,000 feet.
I don't care
if it's the perfect storm,
no wave can do that.
What could cause so many
unexplained vanishings
inside Bermuda's
infamous triangle?
1881, Liverpool, England,
a passenger ship
named the Ellen Austin
sets sail for New York City.
The Ellen Austin,
helmed by Captain A.J. Griffin,
has a full manifest
of immigrants
excited to start a life
in the New World.
Back then, it was a long journey
across the Atlantic
about six weeks' time.
Now, halfway in,
the captain decides
to alter their route
to the south.
We can't say for sure
why this is,
but turns out to be a bad idea.
Soon after,
the ship is becalmed,
and without wind,
it simply drifts.
A few days later,
another boat appears
moving erratically.
No one
can be seen aboard this ship,
nor is there a name or a flag
that identifies the vessel.
It appears to abandoned.
The captain pulls his ship
alongside the strange vessel,
and some of the sailors
cautiously board it.
What the find,
or rather, don't find,
is very strange.
It's an empty ship.
There's no logbook,
there's no sign of violence,
nothing to explain
the missing sailors.
Stranger still,
the valuable cargo,
a hold of mahogany wood,
is all still perfectly intact.
Captain Griffin
takes the schooner as salvage
and puts some of his
best crewmen aboard.
The wind picks up,
and these two ships
now set sail together
to New York.
But soon,
they meet a turbulent storm
that separates them.
When the weather clears
a few days later,
Captain Griffin has to go
searching for the other ship.
And when they finally spot it
and pull up alongside,
it's eerily quiet.
the ship is empty again.
None of the new crew members
can be found,
there's no bloodshed, no damage
from the storm, nothing.
It's as if they all just
disappeared into thin air.
Once, okay, that's a little bit
weird, I'll give you that.
But twice?
Now, it's getting scary.
Afraid to lose
any more of his crew,
Captain Griffin leaves
the mysterious ship behind.
According to records we have
from Lloyds of London,
the Ellen Austin
finishes its voyage alone,
docking in New York
on February 11th, 1881.
I cannot imagine
what the surviving crew
must have been thinking.
Two crews on that boat,
including some of their friends,
just disappear
seemingly into thin air.
What could explain
the strange events
witnessed by the crew
of the Ellen Austin?
They don't know it at the time,
but they've encountered
this mysterious ship
in an area of the Atlantic Ocean
that has been known to mariners
for hundreds of years
as a place to fear
a place they accidentally
drifted into.
In this stretch of the ocean,
there are countless stories
of shipwrecks and lost boats.
In 1800, the USS Pickering
disappears en route to Delaware
carrying 90 people.
In 1814, the USS Wasp vanishes
along with 140 passengers.
And in 1921,
the Carroll A. Deering is lost
and ultimately found abandoned
near North Carolina.
But the actual location
where the vessels go missing
isn't defined until 1964.
Journalist Vincent Gaddis
catalogs some of the strange
goings on in an article,
and he finally comes up
with a name
for this mysterious area.
He calls it
the Bermuda Triangle.
The Bermuda Triangle covers
about 500,000 square miles
of the Atlantic Ocean,
between Florida,
Bermuda, and Puerto Rico.
It has claimed numerous victims.
As recently as 2015,
two boys disappeared
in the Triangle
during a fishing trip that left
out of Tequesta, Florida.
As the losses have piled up,
the area has become infamous,
legendary worldwide, even.
Everyone knows
about the Bermuda Triangle,
but yet nobody knows
what's going on over there.
There have been
a number of different theories.
One of the earliest comes from
Christopher Columbus.
Columbus is actually
one of the first Europeans
to cross through
the Bermuda Triangle in 1492,
and wouldn't you know it,
he almost immediately
encounters a problem.
The Santa Maria
and her sister ships
get stuck
in an abundance of algae,
which in Columbus' diary,
he refers to as weeds.
The ships are stuck
for three days
and the sailors
become paranoid and panicked.
They fear running aground
or being tangled in the weeds
and being dragged
to the ocean floor.
The crew would eventually
manage to cut their way out,
but they remain convinced that
this is a dangerous area,
all thanks to highly unusual
What Columbus
and his men call weeds,
scientists eventually
name sargassum,
from the Spanish word sargasso,
meaning seaweed.
The area
ultimately becomes known
as the Sargasso Sea.
The Sargasso Sea
measures about 700 miles wide
and 2,000 miles long.
It takes up about two-thirds
of the Bermuda Triangle,
and is full of these
dense mats of sargassum.
Could seaweed explain
the loss of so many vessels?
Sargassum is a seaweed.
It's made of long thin stalks,
and then there are lots
of leaves,
and air-filled sacs
called pneumatocysts.
If you get stuck in it,
the sargassum
wraps around the rudder
so you can't steer,
and barnacles begin
to grow on the ship,
slowing it down.
But getting stuck
is just one small part
of the problem.
When sargassum groups together
and begins to rot,
as it decomposes, it produces
hydrogen sulfide gas.
This gas smells really awful,
like rotten eggs,
and it's toxic.
If you breathe in
this hydrogen sulfide,
it can irritate your eyes,
your nose, and your throat.
But it can also cause some
serious psychological issues
if inhaled for an extended
period of time,
possibly even insanity.
A recent study
in Nanchang, China, in 2021
tested the effects
of hydrogen sulfide on rodents.
And they concluded
without a doubt
that it causes
depression-like behavior.
Obviously, just getting
tangled in the seaweed
could explain a disappearing
or a wrecked ship
if it's stuck out there
for long enough.
But when you take into account
this psychological effect,
this might explain the wilder
Bermuda Triangle stories.
Could this deadly gas
explain the experience of ships
like the Ellen Austin?
Remember, the mysterious ship
that they find doesn't wreck
or disappear.
It's the passengers that do.
So, could it have been
those toxic brain-altering fumes
from the sargassum that drove
them to dive overboard?
It's possible.
An eerily similar incident
appears to take place in 1968,
but this time,
there's more evidence.
On October 31st, 1968,
British businessman
and amateur sailor
Donald Crowhurst
sets off on the Sunday Times
Golden Globe race.
It's a competition
to be the first man
to singlehandedly
nonstop sail around the world.
he's ill-prepared,
and his boat has been
hastily constructed.
He barely makes it out to sea
when he starts
encountering problems
with navigation and leaks.
But if he goes back home,
he'll lose everything
he's invested in this race
and be a laughing stock,
he'll be humiliated.
Instead, Crowhurst
devises a plan, to cheat.
He decides to stay
in the Atlantic
and radio back false coordinates
to make it seem as though
he's traversing the globe.
race organizers catch on
that Crowhurst's
radio communications
are not coming from
the coordinates he's giving.
So, Crowhurst goes silent.
Sometime thereafter,
he makes the mistake
of drifting
into the Bermuda Triangle.
And that's it, he's never seen
or heard from again.
Crowhurst's empty boat
is eventually found
in the Atlantic
along with a logbook.
The writings
paint a clear picture
of a descent into madness.
They start off perfectly normal,
but once he hits
the Sargasso Sea,
Crowhurst starts writing
mathematical formulas
that he claims
represent a universal truth.
He disputes Einstein's
theory of relativity,
and his magnum opus
a rambling
25,000-word meditation
on freewill, perception,
and the nature of God.
He wraps all of this up
with his final words,
quote, "I have no need
to prolong the game."
"It is finished.
It is finished.
It is the mercy."
This is someone
who has experienced
some sort of mental instability,
which may have led
to his suicide.
But was this due
to prolonged exposure
to rotting sargassum?
Let's just assume
that sargassum is to blame
for the Ellen Austin
and the Crowhurst incidents,
along with other entanglements
and shipwrecks.
The problem is,
this doesn't solve
all the mysteries
of what's been going on here.
While the Sargasso Sea
is pretty sizeable,
it only takes up part
of the Bermuda Triangle.
There are many incidents
on ships
that didn't come
anywhere close to the seaweed.
So, we know for sure
that it's not the whole answer.
There must be something else
going on.
From the time
of Christopher Columbus,
the dangers
of the Bermuda Triangle
are ascribed to deadly seaweed.
It's an interesting idea,
but because seaweed only covers
part of the Triangle,
it can't explain everything.
Could another sailor's tale
offer a different explanation?
It starts off
as something of a legend
among weather-hardened,
sea-weary sailors.
As they share stories
over a pint in the pub,
you may hear a tale
of some enormous wave
as big as a mountain
capable of destroying a ship,
sweeping away its crew,
or just swallowing it whole.
And for most of
the 500-or-so-year history
of transatlantic shipping,
these have been thought
to be myths or exaggerations.
Then, in the 19th century,
French explorer
Jules Dumont d'Urville
reports seeing 100-foot waves
in a different body of water
the Indian Ocean.
However, no one believes him.
During that time, the models
that oceanographers use
to predict wave height say
that these random giant waves
are an impossibility.
But a recent discovery
shows d'Urville
might have been right.
These phenomena have been
observed, measured, and proven,
and we call them rogue waves.
The proof comes
on New Year's Day, 1995.
About 100 miles
off the coast of Norway,
there's an oil-drilling platform
called the Draupner.
In addition
to its main equipment,
it contains a whole
slew of instruments
that can monitor wave height,
slope, acceleration, et cetera.
On January 1st of 1995,
a laser range finder
on the bottom of this
oil-drilling platform
measures a wave
headed for the Draupner.
The Draupner wave,
as it becomes known,
seems to come out of nowhere
and measures 85 feet high.
It has characteristics
that don't fit
any previous wave model.
Researchers have found
that rogue waves differ
from regular waves
in a few ways.
First is that they are greater
than twice the size
of surrounding waves
these things are massive.
And they are also
notoriously unpredictable
and arise unexpectedly
from directions
other than the prevailing winds.
So, these things could
potentially come from anywhere.
These rogue waves,
because they are so gigantic,
so tall, so steep,
and moving so quickly,
they can carry up to 16 times
the amount of force
than a regular wave.
And in fact,
the bigger the ship,
the worse you fare
when it comes to rogue waves,
because these rogue waves,
they don't come on slowly.
They're not giant, wide things.
They're very sharp,
they're like cliffs of water.
And so, when a ship
encounters a rogue wave,
it gets sent straight up
the side of the cliff,
and then when it reaches
the top, it teeters over
and slams back down
into the water.
And the bigger
the ship you have,
the more force there is,
and the more damage
that rogue wave can do.
That kind of massive force
grossly exceeds the limit
of what ocean vessels today
can tolerate.
So, you could only imagine what
it would do to a wooden ship
from hundreds of years ago.
It would decimate it
in one fell swoop.
But scientists still
aren't certain what causes them.
One idea is that they're caused
by constructive interference.
This is when different waves
travel at different speeds
and start to pile up
on each other.
Now, constructive
interference can occur
when huge storms converge from
multiple directions at once.
The Bermuda Triangle
is well known for such storms.
The Triangle is right in
the middle of Hurricane Alley,
where storms from the north
and the south can come together.
If there's a third storm
that comes in from Florida,
forget about it.
You've got the recipe
for a deadly rogue wave.
This phenomenon might explain
a series
of mysterious shipwrecks.
One ship
that may have been impacted
by these rogue waves
is the USS Cyclops.
Back in 1918, it was one
of the largest ships
in the U.S. Navy,
measuring 550 feet long
with a crew of over 300 people.
On March 4th,
after the ship is loaded up
with over 11,000 tons
of manganese ore,
it embarks on a voyage from
the West Indies to Baltimore.
After nine days at sea,
the Cyclops sends a message
that reads, quote,
"weather fair, all well."
This is the last message
it ever sends.
The entire ship
just seems to vanish,
along with its crew,
without even an SOS.
It's an absolute
heartbreaking catastrophe.
To this day,
aside from active combat,
the USS Cyclops was the largest
loss of life to the Navy.
In 1941, two more Navy ships
meet a similar fate.
The USS Proteus, decommissioned
after World War I,
departs the Virgin Islands
with 58 crew members
and a cargo of bauxite.
It never reaches
its destination.
A month later, the USS Nereus
leaves from the same place
with the same type of cargo.
Sadly, it suffers
the same tragedy.
The ship
and the 61 people aboard
are never seen again.
Both the Proteus and the Nereus
are sister ships to the Cyclops.
All three, massive,
strongly fortified vessels,
all gone.
How can an enormous ship
just go "poof"
and just disappear?
Even if you destroy a big ship,
there's gonna be lots of bits
and pieces floating around.
It is very odd for a giant ship
to go missing without a trace.
But in these cases,
there's nothing.
These certainly sound
like candidates
for rogue wave disasters.
In 2018,
oceanographer Simon Boxall
attempts to prove this theory.
At the University
of Southampton,
Boxall conducts an experiment
to investigate if rogue waves
could destroy modern
oceangoing vessels.
And specifically,
Dr. Boxall was trying to explore
whether the USS Cyclops
was destroyed by a rogue wave.
And we can't recreate
that exact scenario,
so instead,
he built a scale model.
And once
the simulators are turned on,
enormous waves rise up
and easily destroy the model.
Boxall's study demonstrates just
how powerful these waves are.
They come out of nowhere.
You don't have warning.
You may not even have time
to send a distress signal
before you're simply
consumed by it.
For some, this experiment
solves a long-standing mystery.
We've actually proven
the existence of rogue waves,
and we've proven that
they can happen
all over the Bermuda Triangle.
Some people would say that,
yeah, rogue waves
are likely responsible
for the disappearance
of the USS Cyclops as well
as a number of other ships
in the Bermuda Triangle.
And for the non-wrecked boats
that have turned up
with their crew missing,
perhaps a small rogue wave
could have tipped the boat,
and everybody fell overboard.
But this still
doesn't explain every incident.
Now, if you came to me
with all of this information
and told me that rogue waves
are responsible
for every single missing ship
in the Bermuda Triangle,
I might have a difficult time
arguing with you,
but ships aren't the only things
that have disappeared here.
What about all the airplanes?
For centuries,
ships have gone missing
in the notorious
Bermuda Triangle.
But after airplanes
are invented in 1903,
some follow the same
mysterious fate.
Perhaps the most famous incident
occurs on December 5th, 1945.
Around 2pm, five U.S. Navy
torpedo bombers
collectively known as Flight 19
take off from
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,
on a routine training flight.
The 14 men on these planes
are extremely
competent soldiers.
They've logged over 300 hours
in the air.
They know what they're doing.
and the flight's leader,
Lieutenant Charles Taylor, is an
incredibly experienced pilot
who successfully flew numerous
combat missions in World War II.
So, we're talking about
the best of the best.
These are Top Gun type of guys.
The exercise begins normally.
Everything starts smoothly.
But soon after entering
the Bermuda Triangle,
something strange happens.
Lieutenant Taylor radios
that his plane's compass
is malfunctioning,
and he believes
that they're flying
in the wrong direction.
But they're not.
Something has caused the airmen
or their equipment
to become
mysteriously disoriented.
The situation worsens
when a heavy storm rolls in.
At this point,
the pilots are very confused.
They believe they've drifted
hundreds of miles off course,
somewhere near the Florida Keys.
As they get farther
and farther away,
their radio communications
become increasingly faint.
And after hours of flying,
they're running out of fuel.
Their last recorded
discuss having
to ditch the planes
when they get below
10 gallons of fuel.
From that point on,
their transmission cuts out.
The only thing
the naval base hears
is an eerie buzz.
It's the last time
any of these men
are seen or heard from.
Despite their high-level
skills and some of the day's
most technologically
advanced aircraft,
all five planes
and 14 crew members are lost.
The tragedy doesn't end there.
The Navy immediately releases
two large seaplanes
to hunt for Flight 19.
After 27 minutes,
one of those seaplanes
radios back that
they're approaching
Flight 19's last location.
But then, this rescue plane
is never heard from again.
It vanishes off the radar.
The blip just disappears.
Shockingly, the remains
of that plane
and its 13 crewmen
are never recovered either.
The other plane keeps looking,
but finds nothing,
and ends up
just returning to the base.
No bodies, no debris.
No sign at all
that these aircraft
even ever existed.
Six planes and 27 men are gone.
It's like they just vanished
off the face of the Earth.
Now, all of a sudden,
the sargassum
and rogue wave theories,
though they are scientifically
they seem a lot less likely
as the root cause
of the Triangle's problems,
because they simply
don't impact the air.
The planes are flying
at 4,000 feet.
I don't care
if it's the perfect storm,
no wave can do that.
People have studied Flight 19
for almost 80 years now,
and nobody believes
that they were brought down
by waves or seaweed.
Then, in 2015,
Russian scientist Igor Yeltsov
offers a possible explanation.
While working
at the Trofimuk Institute
of Petroleum Geology
and Geophysics,
Yeltsov proposes that
the Bermuda Triangle's dangers
are caused
by an undersea build-up
and subsequent explosion
of methane gas.
Methane itself
is a colorless, odorless gas.
You might be familiar
with methane as natural gas
to heat your home.
But in very special cases,
especially at the bottom
of the ocean,
these pockets of natural gas
can get so compressed,
that they turn
essentially into an ice,
into a form of solid.
If the sea floor cracks,
or that ice gets pushed up
to touch the water,
an exceptional amount
of gas can be released.
You ever drop
dry ice into water,
like, for Halloween, you know,
so you can make that fake fog?
Now, imagine all that happened
in the span of an instant
with all that gas
trapped in a bubble under water.
The gas heats up
the surrounding water
and surges
quickly to the surface.
Methane is highly flammable,
so the intense heat
from the plane's exhaust
could cause a massive explosion,
enough to blow the plane
to smithereens.
Could this also
explain what happened
to the missing rescue plane?
The night
of the Flight 19 incident,
a tanker ship,
the SS Gaines Mills,
reports seeing flames from
an apparent explosion
billowing 100 feet high.
Maybe the
search-and-rescue seaplane
flies through the same patch
of methane gas,
their engine exhaust
ignites the methane
and destroys the plane.
But let's say
the plane doesn't explode
and the pilot manages
to keep it aloft.
If an airplane
were to hit this gas bubble,
there's a few possible things
that could go wrong.
For example,
if a plane suddenly flies
into a patch of methane gas,
a pilot would quickly
lose control.
His wings, his engines,
his instruments
are all calibrated
to create loft in air,
not methane, which has
a totally different density.
So, the plane would just drop.
Well, methane affects
the human brain too.
If a pilot inhales the gas,
it will reduce
the amount of oxygen
they draw in from the air.
This can cause
mood changes, slurred speech,
vision problems, memory loss,
and most notably,
So, if those 14 men
that were a part of Flight 19
inhaled a significant amount
of methane gas,
it is possible that they would
become so disoriented
that they'd have trouble
reading their compasses
and discerning where they are.
In 2016, one year after Yeltsov
publishes his theory,
another team
looks for further evidence
to support it.
at Arctic University in Norway
study multiple giant craters
on the floor of the Barents Sea.
These massive craters
on the sea floor
were created
thousands of years ago,
and the best explanation
for them
is exploding methane deposits.
And these same craters are
present in the Bermuda Triangle.
So, these methane gas explosions
have almost certainly
happened there.
If true,
this story could also explain
the Triangle's lost ships.
When the gas
explodes underwater,
it creates this giant sinkhole
at the surface.
Think of a toilet flushing
with extreme force.
The suction created
from the blast
would suck any large object
down below the surface,
never to be seen again
even something
as large as a ship.
Just like in an airplane,
methane offsets the oxygen
which we need to breathe,
so it could easily
confuse sailors
that are in the ocean around it.
It checks most of the boxes
of what we've seen
in the Bermuda Triangle.
Unfortunately, until we get
some sort of eyewitness account,
we won't know
if it's the answer.
Over the last 500 years,
the Bermuda Triangle
has claimed some 8,000 lives
and hundreds of ships
and airplanes,
none with a definitive cause.
But in 2019,
a shocking new theory emerges
thanks to a scientist
who experienced
a surprising event in the area.
One of the top investigators
studying shipwrecks
in the Bermuda Triangle
is Dr. Phillipe Rouja.
He's the Custodian
of Historic Wrecks at Bermuda's
Department of the Environment
and Natural Resources.
It's his job to go
in and out of the Triangle
all the time, and to investigate
and keep tabs on the hundreds
of shipwrecks surrounding
So far, Rouja has managed
to defy the odds, despite some
unusual incidents.
When he was out diving
in the early 2000s,
he encountered a strange
None of his compasses
were actually working.
He had multiple compasses
on his dive gear and his boat,
and they were all pointing
in different ways,
none of which were accurate.
And because
he's a lifelong local
and conditions were clear,
he was able to find his way
back to Bermuda by sight.
Rouja has since
discovered several more
of what he calls
hotspots in the Triangle,
places that make
navigational tools useless.
Clearly, this could be
the reason
why some of the wrecks,
both planes and boats,
could have happened in the area.
But why is it happening?
After hearing
many stories like Rouja's,
scientists investigate.
In a 2019 study
published in Nature,
they might have found the cause,
and it has to do with
the make-up of Bermuda itself.
Bermuda is a volcanic island,
like Hawaii and many others.
But researchers discover that
Bermuda has one major
Most lava comes
from about 20 miles deep.
But the lava that formed Bermuda
came from a whopping 400 miles
below the surface of the Earth.
That's immensely deeper,
and obviously much closer
to the Earth's core.
This is entirely unique
to Bermuda.
This geologic feature turns out
to have surprising consequences.
Because this volcanic rock
in and around Bermuda
originated so deep
within the Earth,
it has a heavy concentration
of a mineral called magnetite.
In fact,
Bermuda is 18-20% magnetite,
nearly 20 times more
than typical soil.
Magnetite is the most magnetic
naturally occurring mineral
on the planet.
And this is what
could be making so many ships
and airplanes go haywire
in the Triangle.
In other words,
Bermuda is basically
a giant magnet.
This phenomenon can be
pretty easily demonstrated.
If you pass a compass
over a small amount
of Bermuda's magnetite-rich
it can throw it off
by several degrees.
And that's just one little rock.
There's 500 billion tons
of this stuff
in the Bermuda Triangle,
so just imagine
what that could do.
Without a trustworthy compass,
ships can easily veer off course
and crash into the rocks.
But what about planes?
Planes would have problems
with not only their compass,
but also their
altimeter readings.
A pilot could get
quite disoriented
and potentially make
a fatal mistake.
According to one pilot,
magnetite could also
be powerful enough
to generate a literal cloud
of magnetism.
In 2017, Bruce Gernon
publishes a book
"Beyond the Bermuda Triangle."
In it, he recounts
many pilots' stories
saying they've been in
this electronic fog.
Until the modern advent
of GPS navigation,
the compass is the tool
that enables travelers
to accurately navigate
the globe.
It does this by always pointing
in a constant direction
magnetic north.
It can, however,
be instantly rendered inaccurate
by the presence
of a strong magnet.
According to Gernon,
electronic fog
is like a grayish cloud
of electromagnetic fields
that form above the ocean.
It can appear out of nowhere
and completely engulf
an aircraft.
Gernon himself says
he experiences this phenomenon
while flying through the heart
of the Bermuda Triangle.
His airplane is suddenly
surrounded by a strange fog
that he can't break through.
It seems to stick to his plane,
and he experiences
the sensation of zero gravity
as it propels
his aircraft forward.
According to Gernon,
once he's out of the Triangle,
the cloud disintegrates.
When his instruments work again,
he realizes that he just
traveled 100 miles
in only three minutes
and 20 seconds.
He landed
30 minutes ahead of time.
The fog practically
teleported him.
Gernon and the others
he cites in his book
believe that
the natural magnetism
in the Bermuda Triangle
may be giving the droplets
within the fog an
electromagnetic charge.
If this is true,
then those droplets
would naturally be attracted
to anything they encounter,
and once they're attached,
they're dense enough
to carry a vessel
right along with them.
It's kind of like
a magical carpet ride,
where if you're lucky,
it'll send you
in the direction
that you wanna go.
But if you're unlucky,
it might send you
into a watery grave.
Despite Gernon's claims,
mainstream science has yet
to support the existence
of electronic fog.
Gernon himself
isn't a scientist.
He's an accomplished pilot
and flight instructor,
but not a physicist.
And based on
a lot of his experience
flying through the Triangle,
this is what
he personally believes.
Now, Gernon claims
to have worked
with numerous
scientists who all believe
that this phenomenon
is plausible,
and maybe to him, it is.
But until we have some hard data
or visual evidence
like a video recording,
I think it's too early
to blame electronic fog
for disappearances
in the Bermuda Triangle.
Meanwhile, the magnetite
around Bermuda is proven,
and we're still
only beginning to uncover
all the strange effects
it might be causing.
For some,
the most startling thing
about the Bermuda Triangle
isn't the number
of lives it's claimed.
It's the number of vessels
that have seemingly vanished
into thin air.
When ships and planes go down,
most of the time, we can find
at least some of the wreckage.
Even 2014's Malaysia Flight 370,
one of the most mysterious
plane crashes of all time,
we still don't know
where it crashed.
But a bunch of wreckage
eventually washed up.
However, with the disappearances
in the Bermuda Triangle,
it's a different story.
These things just disappear
like they never existed.
Not even a trace of an airframe
or an anchor chain.
For a number of these
such as Flight 19
or the USS Cyclops,
massive search efforts
are undertaken,
yet nothing is ever found.
But logically, an explosion,
or a freak wave,
or even just a crash
would leave some debris behind.
So, how come there isn't any?
In 2014, physics
and meteorology professor
David Pares suggests
a surprising new answer
to that question.
He thinks that some
of these vessels
were never found because they
were transported out
of the Bermuda Triangle
and into another place
not by magic,
but a scientific phenomenon
that he calls a space warp,
but you might know
as a wormhole.
A wormhole is a tunnel
or a passage
through space and time.
It's basically a shortcut
created by gravity
which can take you from
one part of the universe
and place you in another.
Wormholes are strictly
at this time,
they've only been proven
to be mathematically possible
on paper.
They were discovered in 1935
by physicists Albert Einstein
and Nathan Rosen,
which is why they're also called
Einstein-Rosen bridges.
And these are based
on Albert Einstein's
general theory of relativity,
which tells us that space
and time are interwoven.
We actually live
in a four-dimensional universe
three dimensions of space
and one dimension of time.
Is it possible that a wormhole
could exist
in the Bermuda Triangle?
If you take a look back at
Christopher Columbus' accounts
traveling through
the Bermuda Triangle,
he mentions something
incredibly strange.
He reports seeing
a great flame of fire
crashing into the sea one night.
And afterwards, he sees
strange lights in the distance,
and his compass readings
are erratic.
Today, experts believe
Columbus was witnessing
a meteor strike,
and if that's true,
there are those that believe
it could cause
enough of a gravitational
anomaly to form a wormhole.
Today, many institutions
and top physicists are delving
into the complex science
behind possible wormholes.
Quantum mechanics
is the science of studying
subatomic particles,
the smallest building blocks
of our universe,
and how their motion
and interaction
relates to energy.
Within quantum mechanics,
we understand
we know that at
the tiniest scales in nature,
microscopic wormholes
can naturally form
and then just
snap out of existence.
Now, we don't know
how to scale wormholes up
to fit a giant ship or aircraft,
but anything can happen.
wormholes allow you
to travel not just
through space,
but also through time.
It is actually possible,
if wormholes do exist,
for you to be able
to travel through them
and end up in your own past.
And when you start
thinking about that possibility,
there's some stories
from the Bermuda Triangle
that perfectly fit
that description.
Including one that takes place
on June 7th, 1964.
There's a veteran pilot
who charters vacations
in the Bahamas, and her name
is Carolyn Cascio.
She's flying
through the Triangle,
and when she approaches
Grand Turk Island,
something odd happens.
Cascio radios the tower and says
that despite her instruments
telling her
that she's above the island,
when she looks out her window,
it appears to be uninhabited.
This doesn't make sense.
Grand Turk has buildings,
farms, houses,
and a Navy base.
It has an airport
and a population
of nearly 5,000 people.
The tower assures Cascio
that she is at the right place
and clears her to land
at any time.
She circles frantically
over a dozen times,
and all she sees
are beaches and trees.
There are no towns,
no buildings,
and definitely no airport.
Cascio finally decides
to turn around
and go back the way she came.
Sadly, she is never seen again.
Her last words are, quote,
"Is there no way out of this?"
Wormhole enthusiasts
believe that this is proof
that she actually
traveled back in time
to a time before
Grand Turk Island was developed.
Even if you accept
the possibility of a wormhole
large enough to transport
a plane,
based on our current
understanding of science,
it would be impossible
for a person or object
to even survive the trip
due to the crushing gravity
Obviously, if we could prove
the existence of wormholes,
that would be
one of the greatest
scientific discoveries
of all time.
But until that day comes,
researchers are gonna have to
stick to the science they know
to solve the Bermuda Triangle
The phrase "Bermuda Triangle"
conjures both curiosity
and fear,
and has inspired
many differing theories
around the strange
in this mysterious area.
Now, you might be thinking,
"Well, the sargassum theory
"seems plausible,
"but that's just one small area
of the Bermuda Triangle."
Okay, so then,
how 'bout the rogue waves?
They certainly happen
in the Triangle,
but like sargassum,
they don't explain
the disappearance of airplanes.
Well, then how 'bout
a methane gas explosion?
Maybe, but you'd think
that a large explosion
would leave debris behind.
What about magnetite, wormholes,
or even electromagnetic fog?
Honestly, any one of these
could be attributed
to the disappearances
within the Triangle.
Or, perhaps, could all
these theories be true?
We generally talk
about the Bermuda Triangle
like there's only one
explanation for this mystery.
But given
the numerous disappearances
across more than 500 years,
there's absolutely no reason
why it needs to be only one
of these things.
There's a combination
of deadly factors
that are existing here.
Let's start with
the methane gas theory.
We know these things happen
within the Bermuda Triangle
based on evidence of craters
on the ocean floor.
So, it's likely that some
of these boat disappearances
were caused by methane bubbles.
Other ships
have almost certainly been hit
with rogue waves.
We now know that they've been
scientifically proven to exist.
We have records,
we even have photographs.
And the Bermuda Triangle
is in a location on the Earth
that is ripe for the formation
of rogue waves.
So, it's quite possible
that a freak wave
could rise out of nowhere
and snap a vessel in two,
causing it to quickly sink
and essentially disappear.
There also may be a simple
for why no wreckage is found.
Within the Bermuda Triangle
is an undersea trench
called the Milwaukee Deep.
This is the deepest spot
within the Atlantic,
over 27,000 feet down.
The Milwaukee Deep
is relatively unexplored.
There have only been
a couple expeditions
to those depths in that location
throughout all of history.
If your ship
ends up sinking this deep,
it's really unlikely anyone's
gonna be able to spot it.
What about the vessels
that aren't destroyed?
Not every anomaly
in the Bermuda Triangle
involves destruction.
Sometimes vessels
just get hopelessly lost.
We know that Bermuda is teeming
with volcanic rock
called magnetite
that makes compasses go crazy.
There are even warnings
on British admiralty charts
near Bermuda cautioning sailors
that their compasses
may be off
by as much as 14 degrees.
I think the magnetic anomalies
are the most likely culprit
for the region's
plane crashes as well.
While they used
to be more common,
we've seen very few casualties
since the advent
of GPS navigation.
One day, we may finally
get some substantial evidence,
or capture a video
of a destructive rogue wave,
or of the mysterious
electronic fog,
or, I don't know,
maybe a wormhole will open up
right over Bermuda
for the whole world to see.
But until then,
I think it's best
not to limit our minds
to what the Bermuda Triangle
could or couldn't be,
because there could be
a new scientific explanation
next year.
The possibilities are endless,
and that's what's kept
people fascinated
by the Bermuda Triangle
for so long.
In 2022, a particularly tragic
discovery was made
in the Bermuda Triangle
by an underwater film crew
not the wreckage of a plane
or boat, but of the destroyed
1986 space shuttle Challenger,
another unexpected moment
in the long saga
of this mysterious area.
I'm Laurence Fishburne.
Thank you for watching
"History's Greatest Mysteries."
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