By Ivan T. Sanderson
Originally Published in SAGA UFO Report Special 1973
Llyod’s of London has kept tabs on world shipping since the formal initiation of insurance as a business a few hundred years ago. Today, shipping insurance is a worldwide enterprise, and ship losses, are analyzed and regularly reported under six heading: 1)founded, swamped, or burst asunder due to the sea alone 2) burned; 3) collided; 4) wrecked, on rocks, shores or underwater hazards; 5) missing; and, 6) other causes. “Missing” means disappearing, without trace (wreckage, bodies, etc._ and without any distress calls or signals being picked up.
From the first of January 1961 to the end of 1970, Lloyd’s listed 2766 shipping losses; 1136 by wrecking; 771 by foundering, and 70 under disappearing. The largest of the last lot was a 10,000-toner named the Milton Iatridis out of New Orleans, LA. with a cargo of vegetable oils and caustic soda, bound for Cape Town, South Africa. Next in size was the Ithaca Island, a 7246 ton vessel with a load of grain our of Norfolk, VA. bound for Manchester, England. Their disappearances occurred somewhere near the Bermuda. Take a look at a map and see if that rings a bell. Does the name “Bermuda Triangle” sound familiar? If not, then you should know that this area in the Atlantic is notorious for the disappearance of many ships and planes under very mysterious circumstances.
Ships have been foundering and “disappearing” at sea since time immemorial, an accepted fact until comparatively recent times when ship-to-shore contact by radio was established. Then it began being noticed that one of the six categories of lost ships – those that “disappeared” – constituted an unusual class. Then came airplanes. Though usually smaller, planes are much more closely in touch with land bases, as well as in communication with each other, with ships, and in the cause of military craft, with submarines. What’s more, aircraft can be “watched” visually and by radar to the horizon, and then by radio contact beyond. Thus, when they started disappearing the whole business became a lot more “sticky.”
Even if a plane is out of radio and radar contact, its general course is plotted and logged – unless it’s a private plane-and if it “founders” (disintegrates in the air due to atmospheric conditions) or is “wrecked” (crashes, burns, or collides), it invariably leaves something on the surface of the sea (or land), even if it’s only an oil slick. Yet, the moment transoceanic flight became common, during and after WW II, planes also began to disappear (while they were in contact, for example), as opposed to just being “unaccounted for.” But war is war. and nobody had the time to investigate. After the war things took on quite another aspect when the following incident occurred:
On December 5, 1945, five TBM “Avenger” torpedo bombers left the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station in Florida on a routine patrol. They were scheduled to fly some 160 miles due east out over the Atlantic, then travel north for 40 miles, and then return directly t9 base. The planes took off at two p.m. and were first heard from at 3:35 p.m., at which time it became clear that all was not well. They had no idea where they were, said they didn’t know even which way was west. and that “Everything is_ wrong … strange. We can’t be sure of any direction. Even the ocean doesn’t look as it should.” The base listened to exchanges between the five pilots for about another hour, and at 4:25 the flight leader reported to Ft. Lauderdale, “We don’t know where we are. We think we must be about 225 miles northeast of base … it looks like we are … ” And that was the last ever heard or seen of the five TBMs. Within minutes a Martin Mariner flying boat was airborne to search for the planes; and within 15 minutes, it, too, vanished. The resultant search operation was probably the most extensive in history up to that time and covered thousands of square miles, but no trace of either the five TBMs or the Martin Mariner was ever found.
If you’ll take another look at the map, you will see that this incident was grossly misnamed. After a lot of research, I have come to the conclusion that the basis tor this was purely semantic. The first newsman to report-the incident stated correctly that the flight was on a triangular course. Only later did others note that the apex of this triangle was in line with Bermuda. Then in 1964 that splendid reporter, Vincent Gaddis, entitled his story “The Bermuda Triangle,” and for one of those inexplicable reasons it had a “ring to it” that caught the public’s fancy. The name confuses the public, but it did lead to a ‘story.” And what a story!
Vincent Gaddis followed up the story lead and did the initial reportorial research, and it was he who prompted me to plunge into the act. That was also the year (1966) in which a group of us founded the Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained; and when it came to drawing up our research and development prospectives, the “Triangle” was unanimously voted fourth on the list for immediate investigation, though it was a highly esoteric item then, compared to what it has become today, only seven years later.
It was then listed simply as “The Bermuda Triangle” and took fourth place after: 1) “Abominable Snowman,” another semantic abomination, meaning· as yet uncaught and unidentified, ultraprimitive human beings or hominids; 2) “Marine and Freshwater Monsters,” as yet uncaught or unidentified animals of large size reported in lakes, some rivers. and seas; and, 3) UFOs, or unidentified aerial (or aquatic) objects as opposed to UAPs or unidentified atmospheric (or aerial) phenomena. It’s also interesting to note that the fifth was “I.T.F.”- instant transference of solids through solids: and, 6) “T.T.T.” or transference of solids through time. The significance, as opposed to any mere coincidence, of this will become apparent later. When we assembled our material on the Bermuda Triangle, we encountered several startling surprises.
The first came from our old friend, and now one of Vince Gaddis, who urged us to start digging further into the famous “Devil’s Sea” in the western Pacific, lying between Japan and the Bonin Islands, which he had first brought to the public’s attention in an article.
This area has been known for centuries by the Japanese but, thank God, it never got tabbed as a “triangle.” When countless ships disappeared there, and then both Japanese and U.S. military planes plotted the area during WW II, its shape turned out to be a sort of “blob” or oval that is pitched at an angle of about 25 degrees SW to NE. By this time, moreover, the records we found of disappearances in the “Bermuda Triangle” had begun to point up a very similar. if not identical. conformation, of just about the same size and also “pitched” at about the same angle.
My education has been solidly grounded on a geographical basis, and I always reach for an atlas or globe the moment any research project crops up, regardless of the location or size of the area concerned. And it was this “map grabbing” that really set us off on the long path that has led to the discoveries I shall now describe.
The first thing that struck us was that both these areas which we found to be better defined as lozenges, for the sake of more graphic precision-lay athwart the same latitudes. Their “centers,” which could only be rather arbitrarily defined, were both at 36 degrees N. Then one of those coincidences that seem so noncoincidental occurred. Two submarines, one French and one Israeli, disappeared in the Mediterranean, and four small vessels just vanished in fine weather between the coast of Portugal, Morocco, and the island of Madeira.
Immediately our investigative research Society was snowed under with an avalanche of press clippings and letters from our members both here and abroad and from people we had never heard of (in halt a dozen languages). Their question was: “Do you think that the western Mediterranean is the center of another of your ‘lozenges’?” After taking another look at the globe, I called a meeting of all the members I could round up with training in geodesy. They flew in from all over the country. But it was an engineer Alfred D. Bielek who arrived at the first concrete suggestion. We started our conference with a Mercator Projection of a World Map, and Bielek pointed out that this newly inspected area also lay athwart the 36th Parallel of North latitude and (from the reports we had on the new area and in a whole file of more historical data) it also formed a lozenge of the same shape and size that tilted SW to NE with its center somewhere near the borders of Morocco and Algeria on the southern Mediterranean shore. Then, still another purely coincidental item arrived in the next day’s mail. This was a letter from a woman we had never heard of, and who obviously knew nothing of our work and seemed not to have heard of the Bermuda Triangle. For many years; she had been worried about something which had come to her attention during WW II when she was employed by American Intelligence in what is now Pakistan. She reported that’large planes were flying between what was then India and Russia as an adjunct to military aid supplied by the Allies via Iran, etc. Some of these planes were used for transporting gold bullion, and to the considerable distress of the Allies, a number of planes disappeared over Afghanistan. What had intrigued this woman was that in at least two cases the gold was allegedly found by hill tribesmen but no part of any airplane was ever found! Once again, we reached for our globes and slide rules. Why? Because this gave us a fourth area of “Disappearances” (and most bizarre disappearances at that) over !-and. What’s more, it suggested something.else; for when we measured the
We started our conference with a Mercator Projection of a World Map, and Bielek pointed out that this newly inspected area also lay athwart the 36th Parallel of North latitude and (from the reports we had on the new area and in a whole file of more historical data) it also formed a lozenge of the same shape and size that tilted SW to NE with its center somewhere near the borders of Morocco and Algeria on the southern Mediterranean shore. Then, still another purely coincidental item arrived in the next day’s mail. This was a letter from a woman we had never heard of, and who obviously knew nothing of our work and seemed not to have heard of the Bermuda Triangle. For many years; she had been worried about something which had come to her attention during WW II when she was employed by American Intelligence in what is now Pakistan. She reported that’large planes were flying between what was then India and Russia as an adjunct to military aid supplied by the Allies via Iran, etc. Some of these planes were used for transporting gold bullion, and to the considerable distress of the Allies, a number of planes disappeared over Afghanistan. What had intrigued this woman was that in at least two cases the gold was allegedly found by hill tribesmen but no part of any airplane was ever found! Once again, we reached for our globes and slide rules. Why? Because this gave us a fourth area of “Disappearances” (and most bizarre disappearances at that) over !-and. What’s more, it suggested something.else; for when we measured the
Then, still another purely coincidental item arrived in the next day’s mail. This was a letter from a woman we had never heard of, and who obviously knew nothing of our work and seemed not to have heard of the Bermuda Triangle. For many years; she had been worried about something which had come to her attention during WW II when she was employed by American Intelligence in what is now Pakistan. She reported that’large planes were flying between what was then India and Russia as an adjunct to military aid supplied by the Allies via Iran, etc. Some of these planes were used for transporting gold bullion, and to the considerable distress of the Allies, a number of planes disappeared over Afghanistan. What had intrigued this woman was that in at least two cases the gold was allegedly found by hill tribesmen but no part of any airplane was ever found! Once again, we reached for our globes and slide rules. Why? Because this gave us a fourth area of “Disappearances” (and most bizarre disappearances at that) over !-and. What’s more, it suggested something.else; for when we measured the
Once again, we reached for our globes and slide rules. Why? Because this gave us a fourth area of “Disappearances” (and most bizarre disappearances at that) over !-and. What’s more, it suggested something.else; for when we measured the longitudinal distance from the.western Mediterranean lozenge to Afghanistan to the Bonin Sea, it came out ia.t exactly 72-degree intervals. Further, from the western Mediterranean to the Bermuda Triangle was also exactly 72 degrees.
Now 72-degrees is exactly one-fifth of a circle (360 degrees). With four lozenges in a line from the western Atlantic to the western Pacific, could there be a fifth, and where would it fall? It turned out that it should be to the northeast of the Hawaiian Islands in the Northern Pacific.
I’ll never forget the silence after that. Five of us. with either extensive or partial scientific or technological training and knowledge, and four others in the news media. were all just sitting there staring at geographer Bielek! But it was an electromagnetic engineer who broke the deadlock. “Look,” he said, nature is seldom exact, but it is physically precise. What do you know of affairs in that northeastern Pacific area?” Our executive Secretary and librarian. Marion Fawcett, a sort of animated computer, readily admitted that we had absolutely nothing on it. ( Little did we know then what was to come later.)
While all the above was happening. a little mental worm” began wiggling away at the back of my mind. During the months we had been wrestling with the Bermuda and the Bonin data and collecting more. I had been quietly digging into a project of my own. The Southern Hemisphere.
I found, through correspondence and a lot of research. that there were three most alarming areas of “Disappearances” there also: 1) off the southeast coast of Argentina; 2) off the southeast coast of South Africa; and, 3) off the southeast coast of Australia, namely the Tasman Sea. Once again, I grabbed the globes and reversed them on their stands so that the South Pole was at the top. Then. I lightly traced the outlines of these three areas (or lozenges) and asked the slide rule boys to go to work. What did they find? Two of the areas were exactly 72 degrees apart and both on 36 degrees south latitude. whilP the third was 144 degrees from the nearest · ·on either side (144 is twice 72). And where did the ‘”missing” two fall? One in the east Indian Ocean; the other smack in the middle of the great oceanic area of the southeast Pacific.
This was as far as we got at that meeting, but then still another “coincidence.” or whatever you may choose to call it. landed on my desk; again totally unsolicited and from somebody whom we had never heard from or of. It was from a young woman in the Southwest who stated she had two brothers, one in the Navy and the other in the Air Force. and that they had told her stories they had heard from others in the services. Because of the nature of the stories. she had shown them an article of mine on “Vile Vortices.” Their immediate reaction was there were two more “vortices.” one in the North Pacific and one in the South Pacific.
This was startling enough but within a month an old friend of mine who had never heard of any of the above, but whose life has been devoted to the history of exploration particularly by whalers and sealers wrote me extensively on the matter of Kerguelen and other isolated islands of the subantarctic Indian Ocean and he just happened to mention an area of “deadliness” in the empty western part off the southwestern coast of Australia. On further inquiry, this proved to be right at 32 degrees S and at 72 degrees east of the South African blob. and west of the Tasman Sea one. There was Just too much “coincidence” in all this, especially for the mathematicians, geographers, geodesists, and electromagnetic engineers. Another special meeting was called at the request of the last group. In the meantime, a geophysicist had tried a little experiment. Our globes were hollow
There was Just too much “coincidence” in all this, especially for the mathematicians, geographers, geodesists, and electromagnetic engineers. Another special meeting was called at the request of the last group.
In the meantime, a geophysicist had tried a little experiment. Our globes were hollow metal spheres, and he asked permission to drive skewers through them from each of the five “points” in the Northern Hemisphere to the center of the Earth and see where they came out in the Southern Hemisphere. They all protruded on the 36-degree south latitude, but all just 23.5 degrees away”from the five southern lozenges! He admitted he had thought the five pairs might be exactly opposite and thus dipoles of an electromagnetic nature.
This 23.5-degree shift completely confounded him and his techriical brethren. But somebody pointed out that 23.5 degrees is the angle at which the Earth’s axis leans as it goes around the Sun. Could this mean anything?
While all this way going on, we had been consulting every expert we could find in the hope of correlating these, by this time, 10 areas, which we now called “anomalies,” with any other kinds of anomalies, such as gravitic, magnetic, heavymineral concentration, seismographic activity, and so forth; but none correlated except one. This was the somewhat startling discovery that all the’ “lozenges” over water all but the one over Afghanistan, and the one partly over northwest Africa – exactly coincided with the great oceanic “maelstroms” that exist where cold currents meet warm ones, setting up giant whirligigs. Later, meteorologists pointed out that they are also “areas of semipermanent high pressure.” What could this mean?
No scientist had anything to offer, but they did stick their professional necks way out, and in a manner that I never encountered before. It took a physicist, Dr. John Carstiou, whose specialty is gravity (and who first promulgated in mathematical formulas the theoretical and quite probable existence of a second gravitational force ), to make a concrete suggestion.
He stated that such a force (although classed as “weak”) would most likely manifest itself in the form of vortices arranged on a regular geometric basis on the surface of an individual solid mass such as Earth. Moreover, since such vortices as we know of, turn clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counter clockwise in the Southern, there would seem to be every reason to suppose that other forces, such as this so-called Gravity II, would conform.
Having been more or less forced into acceptance of the fact that there appear to be 10 equally spaced areas on the surface of Earth where “funny things happen” – like the disappearance of planes and ships or the early arrival of planes that would require 500-mile-an-hour winds to make the planes so many hours early, even though there weren’t any such winds, the author published what the society had learned. Still another peculiar thing then happened.
I was invited by a friend in the television field, Dick Cavett, to appear on his talk show and debate this whole business with a still older friend, Arthur Godfrey. Arthur and I have known each other since early television days, post-WW II.
He has been a flier for much of his life and, in two previous appearances on Dick’s show the “Bermuda Triangle” question arose; Arthur made mincemeat of it. Thus, Dick was courteous enough to ask me in advance if I minded being put through the meatgrinder. I assured him that I didn’t, the show being the thing, and that I felt quite competent to argue for my side of the story.
Well, we went on the air, and Arthur floored both of us, the audience, and the studio crew, by grabbing the globe on which I had marked all the “lozenges” and telling the most incredible firsthand facts about them. Arthur Godfrey is not a man to be treated lightly, and his integrity is beyond reproach. But there he sat (a man who had already expressed himself on the air as regarding the whole lozenge triangle controversy as a lot of bunk) with my globe in his hands, telling several million people what he had experienced. And he gave it three strong enunciations.
First, he told what happened when he was flying around the world in a two-engine jet (his flight was widely reported by the mass media). While flying over the “Devil’s Sea,” his compasses, other instruments, and radio had gone off for nearly an hour. He added that: “When you’ve got only about four hours of gas, that’s not nice.”
Next, he moved the globe around so the camera could focus on the area between Hawaii and the northwest coast of our mainland. He told that he was to have flown back to the mainland on the big experimental plane called the Mars, but that his incoming flight ‘Yas late and he missed the “boat,” as it were, the Mars taking off without him.” But he watched her on radar, when … suddenly, “phooph!” … and Arthur snapped his fingers at the camera “She just” wasn’t there anymore!”
I was so stunned that I just sat there speechless, but Dick jumped in with a question. In reply, Arthur repeated very simply that this great plane was there one second and gone the next. And, he added, “..they never found anything; not even a tiny oil slick.” You could hear the audience suck in its collective breath. But that wasn’t all.
After a station break and a commercial, Arthur again grabbed my globe and, turning directly to the camera, showed the Bermuda lozenge. Turning it so that north was straight up, he pointed out how our East Coast really runs from southwest to northeast, and then said that fliers (in private planes) go back and forth all the time from New York to Florida. If they cut straight across that area, he said, they can save 100 miles or so, but they just skirt around a bit to the west to keep out of it!
And this came from none other than Arthur Godfrey, on the air, on one of the biggest national TV shows! If I hadn’t heard a tape of the audio, I simply would not have believed it myself. But two more things happened.
We got a letter from a woman who regularly travels to the West Indies and described herself as a member of the “jet-set.” She wanted to know if it was “safe” to fly to the West Indies, stating that friends had recently been terribly upset when informed that their flight from Puerto Rico to Florida would take 2.5 hours, the reason airline officials reportedly gave them was they had to fly around the “Bermuda Triangle. ”
There has been an awful lot of nonsense spoken about and published on the theme that both military and commercial airlines have been told not to fly over this area. We have delved into this, and all I can say is we have never received one iota of evidence that all such instructions have ever been given to either by anybody.
One member of our society who is a commercial airline pilot termed this woman’s report absolute rubbish; in fact, he regularly flies that route himself, (He suggested that possibly a flight had been rerouted to avoid a storm and that someone with a “sense of humor” gave them the “Bermuda Triangle” explanation. On the other hand, he admits he keeps an awfully keen eye on his instruments while flying through the area!)
The fact is literally millions of people sail and fly through this area every year without any trouble . . . except for some extremely odd and unnerving reports by people who ought to know what they’re talking about. These reports prompted us to follow up the letter, and we uncovered a whole new aspect. of the matter. The reports were from professional fliers, and when they got into the act, they brought to light absolutely concrete evidence backed by copies of official flight records, and so forth that there are time anomalies and.that a very high percentage of them appear to center upon our 10 “lozenges.”
Second, they pointed out another fact that all of us had missed there aren’t 10 but 12 such areas; the other two are the North and South Poles! Of course, we don’t have any records of ships or subs “disappearing” from either of these; and it was the pilots who suggested that we start trying to correlate the gravitic, magnetic, and other peculiarities of the polar regions. Once again, we couldn’t correlate any known anomalies of this nature or any oddities special to either the north polar ocean and ice raft or the south polar icecap with this mystery, except once again the distinct suggestion of something, being wrong with “time” in the areas. A few fliers and travelers over the north polar ice raft have hinted at such; but then, compasses don’t work normally there, often for weeks on end you can’t get a fix on a star. and the ice raft itself moves both circularly as a whole and reciprocally among its ice floes, bergs, and so on. Even with the most modem and sophisticated instruments, it is often almost impossible to find out just where you are, where you’re headed, and how far you’re going. No wonder some explorers and other travelers believed that they had gone too far too fast or vice versa.
The result of all this is that we now have concrete evidence that there are “time anomalies” (eariy arrival of planes, etc.); that those definitely recorded occur with a high d.egree of frequency in some of the 12 lozenges; that there are rumors, hints, and statements that they occur in the rest. As a result, if these blobs are situated where they are alleged to be, they form a very precise (trigonometrical) grid covering our Earth like a vast fish net of triangles with equilateral sides, thus there ought to be or must be some logical explanation. Since no other known physical cause fits the case, we can but fall back on the only one that has proved· out so far.
That is, something goes wrong with time in these areas.
If Lloyd’s of’London differentiates between “disappearances” and all other known, tried, and true disappearances, we should, I feel, contemplate the matter very seriously. And when both commercial and military flight logs demonstrate one possibility for “popping in and popping out” of our Universe, as it were, I really do think that it’s about time we took this matter seriously. I wish only that I could get an overall, worldwide, detailed list of “disappearing” planes. But we are working on it.