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Bermuda Triangle

Entry updated 5 September 2022. Tagged: Theme.

A loosely delineated region of the Caribbean (one definition locates the triangle's vertices in Bermuda, in Miami, Florida, and in San Juan, Puerto Rico), long associated in popular culture with supposedly weird and inexplicable happenings – especially maritime and airborne Disasters or disappearances. As a result the Bermuda Triangle has to some extent replaced the mythos of the Sargasso Sea as a natural locus for weird Fantastika at sea. The phrase seems to have been coined by Vincent H Gaddis in "The Deadly Bermuda Triangle" (February 1964 Argosy); "The Devil's Triangle" has also been used. Mysterious supernatural or paranormal phenomena were suggested in subsequent books by Gaddis and others, notably the best-selling Limbo of the Lost (1973) by John Wallace Spencer, The Bermuda Triangle (1974) by Charles Berlitz (1914-2003) and The Devil's Triangle (1974) by Richard Winer. Berlitz in particular was debunked as Pseudoscience by Lawrence David Kusche (1940-    ) in The Bermuda Triangle Mystery – Solved (1975), which convincingly argues that Berlitz and others had misread, cherry-picked and even falsified data to manufacture the mystery. All this was blithely ignored in the sensationalist "documentary" The Bermuda Triangle (1979) from Sunn Classic Pictures.

Science-fictional explanations for claimed Bermuda Triangle disappearances fall into various familiar patterns. In Television's The Fantastic Journey (1977), explorers find themselves stranded on a Lost-World Island which turns out to be chequered with many geographically Timeslipped eras. Other views of the region as a gateway to elsewhere are found in Tomita's concept album Bermuda Triangle (1979), which ascribes disappearances to UFOs; Shane Kelly's The Hidden City (1980), where the Triangle offers access to a Lost World lying Under the Sea; William Rotsler's The Hidden Worlds of Zandra (1983), in which the Triangle contains a Stargate; R A Salvatore's Echoes of the Fourth Magic (1990), with the Triangle facilitating Timeslip to a future Post-Holocaust Earth where magic reigns; Yukinobu Hoshino's Blue Hole (graph January 1991 Mister Magazine; coll 1992), with tunnels through Time; the Bolivian feature film El Triángulo del Lago ["The Lake Triangle"] (1999), directed by Mauricio Calderón and featuring paranormal Time Travel; and Hollow Earth Expedition (2006), a Role Playing Game, which imagines the Triangle as one of many entrances to the Hollow Earth.

Wonder Woman's lost-world home of Paradise Island is located in the Triangle in the film The New, Original Wonder Woman (1975) (see Wonder Woman Film/TV). In The Bermuda Depths (1978), Triangle disappearances result from the depredations of giant, supernaturally controlled sea turtles, while in Bob Mayer's Atlantis (1999) the region proves to be the hangout of hostile Aliens who long ago destroyed the original Atlantis. Edwin Corley's Sargasso (1977) has the returning Apollo 19 space capsule making its splashdown in the Triangle and being found empty, whereupon complications ensue. The presence of Cthulhu Mythos unpleasantness in the Caribbean deeps (and its retrieval from those deeps) in Charles Stross's James Bond pastiche The Jennifer Morgue (coll 2006) resonates both with the legend of the Triangle as a weirdly dangerous place and with Ian Fleming's fondness for Caribbean settings.

Further films exploiting the Triangle's sinister reputation, all involving spooky events aboard ships, are: Beyond the Bermuda Triangle (1975); Satan's Triangle (1975), made for television and directed by Sutton Roley; The Bermuda Triangle (1978) directed by René Cardona Jr, loosely based on Berlitz's above-cited book and inclining towards Horror; The Triangle (2001), a television movie directed by Lewis Teague, featuring ghosts (see Supernatural Creatures) and Time Distortion whereby four years pass in a day [for Time in Faerie see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]; and Triangle (2009), a psychological horror film directed by Christopher Smith, whose on-board murderer(s) and victims are trapped in a repeating Time Loop. An episode of the Television series The Powers of Matthew Star (1982-1983), "The Triangle" (19 November 1982) directed by Leonard Nimoy, features a momentous visit to the Bermuda Triangle. [DRL]

see also: Peter Benchley; Illuminati; King Crimson; Stalker.

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