Are the Vile Vortices Really All That Vile?

For the final entry in my world tour of famous paranormal triangles, let us examine one man’s attempt to present a grand unifying theory of anomalous triangles. The man in question is the equal parts renowned and reviled Scottish-born biologist Ivan Terence Sanderson.

I’m here to bust cryptids and chew bubblegum and… well, you know the rest.

Sanderson is probably best remembered today for helping to found the pseudoscience/subculture of cryptozoology alongside Belgian-French zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans. But he didn’t just content himself with the search for folkloric beasts. As the legend of the Bermuda Triangle gained popularity in the 1960s, Sanderson threw his hat in the ring with an apparent discovery he made in 1968. He claimed that the Bermuda Triangle was but one of twelve such regions on Earth where reports of unexplained phenomena and electromagnetic distortions were higher than usual. Five each rested along the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, while the other two rested at the North and South Pole. Sanderson believed these vortices were shaped like icosahedrons and that the electromagnetic anomalies were caused by cold air and sea currents.

A trio of Soviet scientists (Nikolai Goncharov, Vyacheslav Morochov, and Valerey Makarov) expanded on Sanderson’s ideas in a 1973 article titled “Is the Earth a Large Crystal?” In it, they claim that they had discovered that twelve pentagonal plates of cosmic energy cover our planet and that electromagnetic abnormalities occur at the junctions of these plates (62 in all). They additionally claimed that these plates ran parallel with natural phenomena like seismic fracture zones, ocean ridges, animal migratory routes, and even the locations of ancient civilizations (especially those that constructed megaliths). Perhaps Ancient Aliens alumnus David Arthur Childress puts it best:

…we are speaking about an intelligent geometric pattern into which, theoretically, the Earth and its energies are organized- and possibly in which the ubiquitous megalithic sites are also positioned.

David Hatcher Childress. “Mapping The World Grid.” Bibliotecapleyades unknown . 28 Apr 2008

Of course, the evidence for this phenomenon being a reality is entirely dependent on the vortices actually being paranormal hotspots. I’ve already covered the Bermuda Triangle and the Devil’s Triangle in previous articles and found the evidence decidedly lacking. So let us examine the remaining Vile Vortices and see what mysteries lie within.

The South Atlantic Anomaly

The SAA, located off Brazil’s southeast coast, is interesting because it is an actual scientific phenomenon that NASA has documented. This is because the vortex is located in the region where the Earth’s inner Van Allen radiation belt comes closest to its surface (120 miles to be exact), thus allowing cosmic rays and solar radiation to reach farther into the atmosphere. This thinning often exposes satellites to higher-than-usual radiation levels due to trapped protons, causing technical problems in spacecraft like the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station and sometimes even destroying the craft (as with the Japanese X-ray observatory Hitomi in March of 2016).

While the reasons why spacecraft malfunction over the SAA are fully scientifically understood, that still hasn’t stopped paranormal researchers from connecting it to the Bermuda Triangle, thanks to reports that aircraft often experience electronic and navigational malfunctions while flying in the region. The story of the sailboat Tunante II doesn’t help in that regard.

According to the Argentine news website Infobae, the sailboat set out from Buenos Aires on August 22nd, 2014, carrying four passengers on a pleasure cruise to Rio de Janeiro. Four days later, the boat’s owner, Horacio Robert Morales, sent out a distress signal stating that a storm had damaged the vessel’s rudder, mast, and engine. While a Norwegian cargo ship sent to assist the Tunante lost sight of it the next morning at 4 a.m., records from the company that owned the satellite phones onboard indicated that the vessel had survived the storm. But, despite a search covering over 40,000 square miles, no trace of it was found other than an empty life raft.

Some paranormal researchers have seized upon the timeline of events and the Argentine government’s seeming reluctance to carry on the search to suggest that they may be covering up something. However, relatives of the Tunante’s passengers have not ruled out the possibility that the sailboat might have run across pirates that may have hijacked the vessel and its occupants and spirited them away to who knows where.

The Algerian Megaliths

So talking about this vortex is kind of tricky, mostly because I can’t seem to figure out which megaliths the vortices proponents are talking about. The most commonly cited location associated with the supposed vortex is Djebel Mazala Salluste, located outside the city of Constantine in the northeast corner of Algeria. Oddly enough, though, many sources cite it as being south of Timbuktu, which would place it in Mali, while another lists its coordinates as 26.6 North, 4.8 West, which would put it in the central region of the country.

In any case, some have connected a spate of plane crashes in the western Sahara region with the vortex at Djebel. For instance, Air Algerie Flight 5017 was carrying 116 passengers and crew from Burkina Faso to Algiers on July 24th, 2014, when it crashed due to ice accretion in the engines, which caused the plane to stall. At least one source,, implicitly connected the crash to the vortex at Djebel, even though the aircraft came down near the southern border of Mali.

Ivan T. Sanderson apparently became interested in the site after hearing reports of two submarines and four smaller boats that vanished off Algeria’s coast. I haven’t been able to determine which of these he was referring to, although I’ve come across two submarines, the HMS Urge and Minerve, which disappeared in the western Mediterranean in 1942 and 1968, respectively. However, both wrecks have since been located (near Malta and France, respectively), so there’s not much of a mystery there.

The Zimbabwe Megaliths
The conical tower in Great Zimbabwe’s Great Enclosure (photographed by Flickr user Andrew Moore)

This time the center of the vortex is more concrete, resting around the medieval African city that gave Zimbabwe its name. Constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries CE, it was the capital of a great kingdom back in the late Iron Age, although which kingdom is something that modern archaeologists have yet to figure out. First discovered by Portuguese explorers in 1531, Europeans didn’t properly investigate it until 1871.

Of course, because this was the colonial period we’re talking about, the British rulers of the country then known as Rhodesia often bent over backward trying to deny the indigenous Shona people their rightful credit for constructing the city. Because, of course, these backward tribesmen couldn’t possibly be smart enough to build a structure this sophisticated. They need us to bring them into the modern era so they can become smart enough to build structures that sophisticated.

Trust me!

Of course, this begs the obvious question: If the Shona didn’t build Zimbabwe, who did? You probably already know where this is going…

While not as famous as the Great Pyramids of Giza and Meroe in that regard, Great Zimbabwe has on occasion been caught up in the “ancient astronauts” hysteria that really blew up in popularity when the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens started airing in 2009. It doesn’t matter that archaeologists have demonstrated numerous times that ancient peoples had the tools and the resources to construct these sites. In many ways, the ancient astronaut theories have continued the racism that turned the Global South into what it is today.

As for Bermuda Triangle-like activity around Great Zimbabwe, I haven’t been able to find much. Some have mentioned planes vanishing in the region, although those same sources describe those disappearances occurring over the Sahara Desert, which is on the complete opposite end of the continent.

By Saqib Qayyum – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Speaking of ancient aliens, Pakistan’s Mohenjo-Daro is another site that has often been connected with alien builders as well as vile vortices. Ivan Sanderson claimed to have received a letter from a woman who said that planes carrying gold bullion over nearby Afghanistan would go missing, although some of their gold cargo would be left behind, oddly enough.

However, the former area of the Indus Valley Civilization is probably better known among ancient astronaut enthusiasts for the persistent rumors that the area bears scars from an impossibly ancient nuclear war dating as far back as 12,000 years ago. Let’s examine the supposed evidence, shall we?

  • Many passages of the Hindu holy text, the Mahabarata, describe scenes that sound uncomfortably similar to modern descriptions of nuclear warfare. “A single projectile charged with all the power of the universe… An incandescent column of smoke and flame, as bright as 10,000 suns, rose in all its splendor… It was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death which reduced to ashes an entire race.”
  • Mohenjo-Daro itself, along with its sister city Harappa, allegedly are the sites of mass graves, with skeletons scattered across the streets “as if some instant, horrible doom had taken place,” in the words of Kisari Mohan Ganguli, who wrote the first complete English translation of the Mahabarata. “People were just lying, unburied, in the streets of the city.” Some of the skeletons also showed radiation levels 50 times greater than normal, comparable to modern victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • The city of Jodhpur, resting in the Thar Desert in northwestern India, is allegedly so radioactive that cancer deaths and birth defects are extremely common, to the point that the government has quarantined the area. In addition, an archaeologist named Francis Taylor claimed to have discovered an ancient city nearby, which shows signs of a nuclear blast that killed as many as half a million people.
  • Finally, there is the Lonar crater, located under a lake around 300 miles east of Mumbai. The crater is about 3900 feet in diameter and is definitely not volcanic in origin. Maybe it could be the result of a nuclear explosion, then?

However, episode 541 of Brian Dunning’s Skeptoid podcast pretty much put paid to all of these ideas:

  • He logged onto a searchable online copy of the Mahabarata and found nothing even remotely similar to the passage quoted above.
  • He similarly found no mention of mass graves in the abundance of archaeological literature available on Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, or any of the other excavated sites in the Indus Valley region.
  • Jodhpur having radiation levels that high from a nuclear conflict that occurred 8-12,000 years ago makes no sense. Even the strongest nuclear isotopes, like cesium-137 and strontium-90, only have half-lives of 30 years at most. Even Hiroshima and Nagasaki are clean of radiation just three-quarters of a century after the infamous bomb drops. Furthermore, there is absolutely no evidence that Francis Taylor’s city of half a million people ever existed.
  • The quotes attributed to Ganguli make no sense, as he lived in the 1880s-90s, long before nuclear weapons were even conceived of.
  • Finally, the Lonar crater has been definitively proven to be a meteor crater dating to around 576,000 years ago, with minerals in the surrounding soil being very similar to those found on the Moon.

Indeed, it seems as if everything involving nuclear weapons in ancient India and Pakistan was invented out of whole cloth, most likely by Erich von Daniken in his infamous 1968 book Chariots of the Gods? However, I prefer to save those comments for a list of ancient astronaut theories that I will almost certainly be making sometime in the future. In the meantime, let’s move on to…

The Wharton Basin

The Wharton Basin is a region of the ocean floor located between Western Australia and Java. The area has not been mapped since the 1960s, despite being on the boundary of the Indian and Australian tectonic plates, thus making it a very active seismic zone. Indeed, the basin ended up on many a geologist’s radar after it was struck by two massive earthquakes on April 11th, 2012, measuring a magnitude of 8.6 and 8.2, respectively. While they occurred too deep underwater to trigger tsunamis (unlike the infamous 9.2 magnitude quake that triggered the deadly Boxing Day tsunami of 2004), geologists are concerned that the quakes may have further destabilized the fault lines that they lie upon.

As for supposed Bermuda Triangle-type activity, there isn’t much to report, probably because the shipping lanes in the region are a bit more lightly traveled than the ones in the Bermuda Triangle. However, one major mystery is connected with the area: the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

The missing aircraft, 9M-MRO, taking off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in December 2011

The plane took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 8th, 2014, carrying 239 passengers and crew bound for Beijing. Air traffic control lost communication with the aircraft around 38 minutes after takeoff. However, they could still track it on radar until it suddenly vanished about 200 nautical miles northwest of Penang Island off the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

Search efforts naturally focused on the South China and Andaman Seas until analysis of satellite communications showed that the plane had last been detected over the Indian Ocean at a point about 1500 miles west of Perth, Australia. There are numerous guesses for how the aircraft got there, ranging from hijacking to being shot down to outlandish theories involving black holes and alien abduction. However, there is probably nothing to connect it directly with the supposed Wharton Basin vortex.

The Hebrides Trench

This vortex rests in the Pacific Ocean and centers on the Loyalty Islands on the eastern edge of the Coral Sea. The trench, marking the area where the Australian tectonic plate is being subducted under the New Hebrides plate, is around 4.7 miles deep. It is known for its unique wildlife (cusk-eels, prawns, and other crustaceans) and its frequent earthquakes. The most recent occurred in February 2021 and measured 7.7 on the moment magnitude scale. And that’s the weakest of the many earthquakes listed on the trench’s Wikipedia page!

As for supernatural phenomena, one book published by TIME-LIFE called Mysteries of the Unknown describes strange currents and “ocean vortices of water.” I’m tempted to believe they may be describing maelstroms here, but I’m not entirely sure.

Perhaps the biggest mystery associated with the region is Sandy Island. This phantom island, which supposedly rested east of New Caledonia, has been described as early as 1774 by Captain James Cook. It was first formally recognized in 1876 after being “discovered” by a whaling ship named Velocity. The island, which was roughly the size of Washington D.C., continued to appear on maps as late as 1982, even though cartographers quickly began to doubt its existence. It was finally disproven in November 2012, when the Australian research vessel RV Southern Surveyor surveyed the seafloor and found that no island had ever existed there.

Of course, some quickly jumped to supernatural conclusions when they heard about a whole island disappearing. However, most researchers today believe the Velocity actually encountered a massive raft of pumice that an underwater volcano had expelled.

The Hamakulia Volcano

Speaking of underwater volcanoes, this one, located northeast of Hawaii’s Big Island, is allegedly the site of plane and ship disappearances. There have also been reports of strange lights around the crater as well as “piezomagnetic effects” that magnetize rocks and cause them to throw navigational equipment out of whack.

This might sound like something out of The X-Files, but scientists actually understand very well what is going on here. For instance, the blog Cryptoville points out that volcanoes often produce lightning due to static electricity buildup in the ash cloud, a phenomenon that has been widely photographed. Piezomagnetic effects are nothing mysterious either; they are simply another effect produced by natural electric energies during a volcanic eruption, such as the friction of magma flowing underground.

With all this in mind, it’s probably no wonder that ships and planes are sometimes lost in this region. It’s far from inconceivable that the magnetization of the rocks could mess with a sailing vessel or aircraft’s electronic hardware, so there’s probably no Bermuda Triangle-type portal to worry about.

What is cause for worry, however, is the matter of excessive tourism putting a strain on the locals.

Easter Island

This South Pacific island (known to its indigenous inhabitants as Rapa Nui) forms the easternmost vertex of the Polynesian Triangle, the other two being New Zealand and Hawaii. Its biggest claim to fame is undoubtedly its over 900 moai, which is the name given to the monolithic humanlike statues that dot its landscape. Carved out of compressed volcanic ash at the quarry Rano Raraku, the natives carried them to all parts of the island between 1250 and 1500. They are commonly agreed to be the representations of deified ancestors, set around the island as protectors.

Sadly, they could not protect the Rapa Nui people from the cruel hammer of colonialism when Europeans first arrived in 1722, bringing disease and slave raiders. While it has been long believed that the Rapa Nui society was already in decline due to deforestation caused by the construction of the moai, a growing number of experts believe the colonizers exaggerated such reports to absolve themselves of blame (because of course they would!). By 1877, the island’s native population had been reduced from as much as 3,000 to just 111. Thankfully, the population has increased to 7,750 as of 2017, with most still living on Rapa Nui in the village of Hanga Roa.

Of course, along with colonialism came the arguments that the Rapa Nui peoples couldn’t have possibly created the Easter Island moai. There had to be someone else. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the moai have shown up frequently in ancient aliens lore. Not helping with such rumors is the idea often spread that many of the statues (some of which are as much as 33 feet tall) have the entire rest of the body buried underground, which is demonstrably untrue.

However, famed Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl, upon hearing the common Rapa Nui explanation that the statues literally “walked” to their present positions, conducted an experiment in 1997 alongside Polish engineer Pavel Pavel. A team of 16 people tied a rope around a moai replica’s head and base and rocked it back and forth, causing it to literally rock forward.

Heyerdahl’s experiment sadly had to be cut short due to damage inflicted on the statue in the process. However, a much more successful version of this experiment was performed in 2012 by American archaeologists Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo. They used teams of three people to rock a ten-foot-tall moai replica with ropes tied around its head about 330 feet. You can view the results in this Youtube video on National Geographic’s official channel, as well as on the November 7th, 2012 episode of PBS’ Nova, titled “Mystery of Easter Island.”

The North Pole

The northernmost part of the globe has been well known for causing wonky behavior in compasses. Indeed, the Magnetic North Pole is where all compasses point, so that’s to be expected. However, the Arctic is no stranger to mysterious disappearances, perhaps the most notable being the Captain Sir John Franklin expedition in 1845.

Captain Franklin’s expedition, consisting of the combined 129-man crew of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, set out from Greenhithe, England, on May 19th of that year. European whalers last encountered it in Baffin Bay in July. Subsequent archaeological investigations, writings by the crew, and interviews with local Inuit peoples have since demonstrated that the missing expedition became trapped in ice off Prince William Island in September 1846 and, after losing two dozen men (including Franklin), the crew abandoned both ships and set out for the Canadian mainland in April 1848. All eventually perished due to a combination of hypothermia, starvation, lead poisoning, zinc deficiency, and exposure to the harsh polar climate. Indeed, many crew members resorted to cannibalism to no avail.

Indeed, even though that cause of the expedition’s demise is well understood by this point (and both ship’s wrecks have since been located), that hasn’t stopped some from speculating about supernatural foul play. Most notably, the 2007 novel The Terror by Dan Simmons (subsequently adapted as a TV series by AMC in 2018) depicts the expedition being stalked by a demonic beast from Inuit mythology on top of trying to stay alive in the harsh Arctic climate.

The South Pole

The South Pole is also involved in a tale of a doomed expedition. In 1911, the race was on to be the first people to reach the South Pole. The two teams were led by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and British Royal Navy officer Robert Falcon Scott. Amundsen’s team became the first humans to ever set foot on the South Pole on December 14th, 1911. Scott’s team reached the pole a little over a month later, on January 17th, 1912.

While Amundsen’s team managed to reach their base fully intact, Scott’s crew struggled through blizzards and frostbite, having failed to reunite with the dog teams that were supposed to resupply them. They all succumbed to the elements over the next two months, with Scott himself being the last to perish, probably around March 29th. While they failed in their goal of being the first to reach the pole, they did make one significant discovery. Among their corpses, the search parties found 35 pounds of Glossopteris tree fossils from the Permian period (299-252 million years ago), which, along with being the first fossils ever found in Antarctica, proved that the continent had once been in warmer climates and connected to the other continents.

But some believe that Antarctica holds more secrets. For example, notice the strange shape of this mountain…

This is one of three mountains in the Ellsworth Range, located at the base of the peninsula that juts out below South America, that many say look suspiciously like pyramids. Some, like the new-age website “Earth. We Are One,” have even gone as far as to argue that the pyramids were built by an ancient civilization over 100 million years ago, apparently misinterpreting a study by the Royal Society that showed that Antarctica was lush with vegetation during the Middle Cretaceous. They also incorrectly argue that Antarctica was located at the equator 100 million years ago (it wasn’t; global temperatures were warmer back then).

In reality, the pyramidal shape of these mountains is the result of glaciers smoothing out their topographies. Indeed, scientists have noted that the mountains are four thousand feet high, which would make them ten times larger than the Pyramids of Giza. That would be a tall order for any advanced civilization, whether they came from space or not. Indeed, it’s hard not to draw comparisons between theories like this and H.P. Lovecraft’s 1936 novella At the Mountains of Madness, which, incidentally, may have inspired the 1960 French conspiracy tome The Morning of the Magicians, which in turn was heavily plagiarized by Erich von Daniken in Chariot of the Gods? Interesting.

Also, there’s the conspiracy theory about the disputed territory of New Swabia, which has been rumored to have served as a base for the Nazi Party ever since their defeat in 1945, but that’s a little too ridiculous to get into here, so let’s wrap this up.

And finally, my world tour of paranormal triangles has come to an end. I hope you had as much fun as I did. Remember to tune in for new updates later this week, as there will be some significant changes to how this blog works in the future. So keep your eyes peeled, and maybe keep your eyes peeled for anything strange if you ever find yourself traveling through one of these triangles. I know I’ve shown a lot of evidence to suggest that there’s nothing supernatural going on in these places, but you never know…

Top Ten Famous Bermuda Triangle Disappearances-Debunked!

It was probably inevitable that my tour of the world’s infamous paranormal “triangle” hotspots would eventually bring me back to the one that started them all.

The idea that the Bermuda Triangle is an inherently more dangerous and mysterious part of the sea seems to have started in the wake of the Flight 19 incident in 1945, especially after this article that appeared in the September 17th, 1950 edition of the Miami Herald. The term “Bermuda Triangle” was coined in February of 1964 by Vincent Gaddis in an article he wrote for the pulp magazine Argosy. But it wasn’t until Charles Berlitz wrote the book The Bermuda Triangle in 1974 that the public at large learned just how deadly this stretch of the Atlantic really was.

Or maybe not, as librarian Larry Kusche demonstrated in his book The Bermuda Triangle Mystery-Solved, published the following year. He found that Berlitz and several other authors had either exaggerated or omitted details, making some incidents sound more mysterious than they actually were or even invented some incidents out of whole cloth (like a plane that allegedly crashed off Daytona Beach in 1937 that Kusche could find no newspaper records of).

One particularly egregious error that Kusche found was Berlitz writing about an ore carrier that allegedly vanished three days from an Atlantic port. Kusche found the ship had actually departed from a port of the same name on the Pacific coast! Kusche deadpanned that Berlitz’s research was so sloppy that, “If Berlitz were to report that a boat were red, the chance of it being some other color is almost a certainty.”

Indeed, the findings of the Coast Guard, Lloyd’s of London, and NOAA seem to back up Kusche’s conclusions that the so-called Bermuda Triangle is in reality no more dangerous than any other part of the ocean. So what is the truth behind some of the more infamous vanishings? Let us examine ten such incidents to determine the real stories behind them, starting with:

1. The Ellen Austin (1881)

The story behind this particular derelict ship begins on the outskirts of the Sargasso Sea when the crew of the 1800-ton schooner comes across an unknown and completely abandoned vessel on a voyage from London to New York. Part of the Ellen Austin crew boards the ship and confirms that not only are there no souls aboard, but they cannot find any sign as to why the crew may have abandoned ship. Everything, including the mystery ship’s cargo of mahogany, is in order, except for the captain’s log and the ship’s nameplate, which are missing.

The captain of the Ellen Austin orders the salvage crew to steer the mystery ship to New York. Two days later, the ships are separated in a storm, and when the Ellen Austin finally catches up with the other ship, the salvage crew has also gone missing.

The tale appears to have entered the popular imagination after it was retold by Rupert Gould, a retired Royal Navy commander, in his 1944 book The Stargazing Talks. There are other variations of the story. One tells of the Ellen Austin captain trying to send a second salvage crew over, only to abandon the mystery ship when the terrified crew refuses to board it. Another tells that the Ellen Austin never saw the mystery ship again after being separated by the storm. But which is the correct version of the tale?

If Larry Kusche is correct, none of them are because he could find no concrete evidence that the incident happened at all. There was a schooner named Ellen Austin operating in the North Atlantic at the time (built in 1854), although it was named Meta until 1880. Kusche could not find any casualty reports from around the time that suggested anything unusual happening to the ship’s crew between leaving London on December 5th, 1880, and arriving at New York City on February 11th, 1881. Furthermore, the ship made a stop in St. John’s, Newfoundland, which would have taken her far away from the Sargasso Sea.

Of course, Kusche’s search for the truth was complicated by the fact that Gould never gave a source for where he originally heard the story. However, an investigation by the website Sometimes Interesting found that the earliest mention of the incident came from a 1906 newspaper article from the Daily Deadwood Pioneer Times, which gave the year of the incident as 1891. That webpage offers a very detailed history of the Ellen Austin that I highly recommend you read for yourself (including an 1857 incident where the captain beat a crew member with wire rope and set his dogs on him).

Ultimately, neither they nor Kusche could find any concrete evidence that the Ellen Austin encounter really did happen. It could simply be a mixup of the records that prevents us from getting the real story, but until we get better confirmation, perhaps it’s best just to regard this as a nautical tall tale.

2. USS Cyclops (March 1918)

This nearly 20,000 ton US Navy collier sailed into history after departing from Barbados on March 4th, 1918, en route to Baltimore, Maryland, with 306 crew and passengers on board. When the ship failed to arrive on schedule on March 13th, a massive search was launched, which was unable to find any wreckage.

Some more fantastically minded Triangle enthusiasts might point to UFOs or Atlantis or the Kraken or interdimensional portals to explain the vessel’s disappearance, but there are plenty of more logical explanations:

  • The ship’s captain, George W. Worley, had a bad reputation. He was a violent drunkard who would verbally abuse crew members over minor infractions and even chased the ensign with a loaded pistol at one point. He was also reviled for his pro-German sympathies, and subsequent investigations even found that he was born in Germany. This has led some to speculate that Worley may have spirited the Cyclops away to Germany to help with their war effort. It certainly doesn’t help that one of the ship’s passengers, Alfred Louis Moreau Gottschalk (consul-general in Rio De Janeiro), also held pro-German sympathies. However, there are no records that the ship ever came near Germany, and there is no concrete evidence that the ship may have run across a U-boat or mine during its voyage either.
  • The crew of the molasses tanker Amolco claimed to have spotted the Cyclops near Virginia on March 9th, the day before a massive storm swept the area, which could have claimed the vessel. However, this makes no sense, as that means the Cylcops would have safely reached port the next day, three days ahead of schedule. This isn’t to say the ship couldn’t have conceivably encountered a storm en route to Baltimore, but the March 10th storm almost certainly wasn’t it.
  • The most likely theory is that the highly corrosive manganese ore that the Cyclops was carrying may have corroded the I-beams running along the length of the ship, eventually causing it to break in half in the middle of the ocean. BBC journalist Tom Mangold also proposed in a 2009 documentary that the ore could have become wet due to the cargo hatch covers being canvas, which could have caused the cargo to shift and cause the ship to list, which could have led to its foundering in bad weather.

The Cyclops’ sister ships, the Proteus and the Nereus, would also vanish while traveling the same route in November and December of 1941, respectively. The last, the Jupiter, later became the USS Langely, the US Navy’s very first aircraft carrier, which was scuttled off the southern coast of Java on February 27th, 1942, after sustaining heavy damage from Japanese bombers.

3. SS Cotopaxi (December 1, 1925)

You may remember this ship for its appearance in Stephen Spielberg’s classic 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in which the long-lost bulk carrier is found sitting intact and abandoned in the middle of the Gobi Desert. The ship’s mysterious vanishing after departing from Charleston, South Carolina, on November 29th, 1925, with a cargo of coal bound for Havana, led many to connect the ship’s disappearance and her 32 crew members with the Bermuda Triangle.

However, we know this isn’t true for two reasons. The first is that the Cotopaxi sent out a distress signal on December 1st, reporting that the ship was caught in a tropical storm and was listing and taking on water. Many experts suspect that the ship’s wooden cargo hatches may have been damaged, thus allowing water to flood in. Several family members of the Cotopaxi’s crew even sued the ship’s owners when a carpenter revealed that the company had ordered the ship to depart for Havana before he could finish repairing the dilapidated hatch covers.

The second reason is that the ship’s wreck has since been found. No, I’m not talking about that news story from 2015 about the Cuban Coast Guard finding the ship abandoned floating somewhere west of Havana. That was from a satirical newspaper called the World News Daily Report and has been debunked by Snopes.

The actual wreck of the Cotopaxi was found forty miles east of St. Augustine, Florida, sometime in the 1980s. However, it wasn’t positively identified as the Cotopaxi until January 2020, after about fifteen years of work by marine biologist Michael Barnette. The ship’s wreck was later the subject of the series premiere of Shipwreck Secrets on the Science Channel the following month.

4. Flight 19 (December 5, 1945)

By far the most infamous Triangle vanishing was the day five Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bombers flew off into history, taking their 14 crew members with them and helping to cement the Bermuda Triangle’s place in the popular imagination. But was the squadron’s vanishing really as mysterious as its reputation claims it is? Let us examine the timeline of events on that day and find out.

The squadron took off from the Naval Air Station in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at 2:10 p.m. with Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor in command. The squadron was set to perform an exercise called “Navigation Problem No. 1,” which involved a practice bombing run on the Hens and Chickens Shoals in the Bahamas. They were the 19th squadron scheduled to complete the three-hour run that day.

The squadron completed the bombing run around 3:00 and continued flying due east for another 77 miles as instructed, intending to turn north over Grand Bahama Island and then return west for home. However, this is when the trouble started, as Taylor suddenly sent a distress signal around 3:30, stating, “I don’t know where we are. We must have gotten lost at the last turn.”

This transmission was overheard by Lieutenant Robert Cox, who was just then preparing to leave Fort Lauderdale with his own squadron of bombers. When Cox asked Taylor to clarify what was going on, he got this baffling answer:

Both of my compasses are out and I am trying to find Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I am over land but it’s broken. I am sure I’m in the Keys, but I don’t know how far down, and I don’t know how to get to Fort Lauderdale.

Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor, December 5th, 1945

Even if we acknowledge that Taylor was almost certainly mistaking the northern half of Abaco Island for the Florida Keys, it is still a baffling error. How did Taylor think the planes could have gone that far off course? Here’s a map of the region to show you what I mean.

0. The outline of the Bermuda Triangle 1. Fort Lauderdale 2. The Hens and Chickens Shoals 3. The position where Flight 19 was supposed to turn north 4. The position where the Flight was supposed to turn back to base 5. Fort Lauderdale again 6. The red shaded area shows where the planes could have been 7. The area of the planes’ last know position 8. Banana River Navy Air Station, from which the PBM Mariner took off 9. Last known position of the Mariner 10. The Florida Keys, where Taylor thought he was

True, Flight 19 was experiencing compass problems, but it’s hard to believe that that could have brought the plane that far off course. In any case, Taylor decided that flying northeast would bring them back over land, which should have taken only twenty minutes.

Lt. Cox offered to come and find Flight 19, but Taylor turned him down, sure he knew where he was. When that didn’t work, one of Taylor’s students suggested flying west, arguing that any Fort Lauderdale plane worth its salt would follow the setting sun. Even as late as 5:00, Taylor was still convinced beyond all reason that he was over the Gulf of Mexico and could be heard saying, “Change course to 90 degrees [due east relative to Fort Lauderdale] for 10 minutes.” To which a frustrated trainee responded: “Damn it, if we could just fly west, we would get home! Head west, damn it!” By this time, the Flight had drifted into an oncoming storm.

Around 5:50, several radio stations had managed to triangulate Flight 19’s position as being within 100 nautical miles of 29 degrees north, 79 degrees west, which enabled the Navy to start planning a rescue mission. This was hampered somewhat by Taylor’s refusal to switch to his radio’s search and rescue frequency.

By around 5:24, Taylor seemed to have finally realized his error and ordered the planes to head west, only to change his mind around 6:04 and tell his trainees, “We didn’t fly far enough east. We may as well turn around and fly east again.” The last message ever received from Flight 19 came at around 6:20:

All planes close up tight… We’ll have to ditch unless landfall…When the first plane drops below ten gallons, we all go down together.

Charles Taylor, December 5th, 1945

The plot thickened further after 7:00 when three flying boat aircraft set out to search for the missing bombers. One of them, a Martin PBM Mariner, which had taken off from the Banana River Navy Air Station with 13 crew members at 7:27, vanished after sending a routine radio call three minutes afterward.

With the complete timeline laid out, it’s self-evident what really happened to Flight 19; they got lost and eventually ran out of fuel. Indeed, Charles Taylor, while an experienced pilot, was not exactly competent. He had gotten lost twice while fighting in the Pacific theatre of World War II and had to ditch his planes both times. Even on the day of Flight 19’s mission, he had shown up 25 minutes late and asked for someone to take his place. His reasons are unknown (I’ve read some sources suggesting he had a hangover, but I haven’t been able to confirm it.) If that wasn’t bad enough, Taylor didn’t even bring essential navigational equipment like a watch or a plotting board with him. Indeed, the only reason the Navy didn’t ultimately pin all the blame on Taylor was because his mother begged them not to ruin her son’s reputation.

As for the PBM Mariner, that plane had an unfortunate history of gas leaking out from fully loaded fuel tanks, often setting off catastrophic explosions. Indeed, the crew of the tanker SS Gaines Mills witnessed a mid-air explosion at around 9:12 a few miles off Cape Canaveral and later found an oil slick in the water around where the blast took place. The escort carrier USS Solomon had been tracking the Mariner on radar and had lost the flying boat in that exact position.

5. Star Tiger and Star Ariel (January 30, 1948; January 17, 1949)

Both of these incidents involved Avro Tudor Mark IVB passenger planes belonging to British South American Airways, and both vanished while covering roughly the same route.

The Star Tiger initially set out from Lisbon, Portugal, on January 28th and stopped in Saint Maria in the Azores to refuel. However, the airliner departed sooner than expected as pilot Brian W. MacMillan wanted to get ahead of a storm that was set to drift across their route. The plane took off at 3:34 p.m. with 25 passengers and crew (including distinguished World War II veteran Sir Arthur Coningham) on the 29th.

The Star Tiger flew at a shallow 2,000-foot altitude to avoid the worst of the headwind. At 3:15 a.m. the next morning, the plane radioed its position to its destination on Bermuda and estimated its arrival time as 5 a.m. It was the last that was ever heard from the Star Tiger. After attempting to contact the aircraft three more times and receiving no response by 4:40, the radio operator on Bermuda declared a state of emergency. The rough weather hampered the search, and it was called off after only five days.

While subsequent investigations of the Star Tiger’s loss have been unable to determine the exact cause of the plane’s loss (especially with the absence of any wreckage), they have determined that the aircraft had more than enough fuel to reach Bermuda. They have also ruled out engine or structural failure, as the plane was designed to run on as little as two engines, and the craft was flying at a low enough altitude that cabin pressure shouldn’t have been a problem.

The most likely possibility was that, given that the crew kept reporting that they were flying at 20,000 feet instead of 2,000 feet, they may have forgotten their actual altitude and may have accidentally flown the plane straight into the ocean, likely due to fatigue after a long flight.

The Star Ariel departed from Kindley Field in Bermuda at 8:41 a.m. on January 17th the following year with 20 passengers and crew en route for Kingston, Jamaica. Unlike the Star Tiger, the Star Ariel flew in excellent weather. The plane sent two radio messages at 9:32 and 9:42, reporting that it was flying 150 miles south of Kindley Field at 18,000 feet and would reach Kingston at 2:10. It was never heard from again. Despite a six-day search covering a million square miles, no trace of the plane was found.

Subsequent investigations found that the Star Ariel had switched to Kingston’s frequency at 9:37, which was unusual given that the plane was still so close to Bermuda at the time. This may have combined with problems with radio communication, including ten-minute blackouts, which may have led Kingston radio to miss any distress calls the plane may have made.

Guesses as to what may have brought the Star Ariel down are scarce, again given that no wreckage was found. In the same 2009 documentary mentioned in the Cyclops entry, Tom Mangold suggested that faulty heaters may have brought down both planes. The Star Tiger flew at such a low altitude because its heater was broken, thus leaving it little room to maneuver in case of emergencies. Meanwhile, the Star Ariel could have suffered from a mid-air explosion due to hydraulic vapors being exposed to the heater.

In any case, the Tudor Avro was retired from passenger service and switched to freighter service instead. A subsequent attempt to return two Avros to passenger service ended when the Star Girl was involved in the Llandow air disaster of March 12th, 1950, when the plane stalled due to overloading upon approach to RAF Llandow in southern Wales. Of the 83 passengers and crew on board, only three survived, making it the deadliest air disaster in history at the time.

6. Douglas DC-3 NC16002 (December 28, 1948)

The Douglas DC-3 has long had a reputation as being one of the most reliable aircraft ever designed and built, with hundreds remaining in use to this day, mainly as cargo planes. Even so, a fair share of DC-3s have met with unfortunate ends, including the one registered as NC16002.

That airliner had arrived at San Juan, Puerto Rico, at 7:40 p.m. Pilot Robert Linquist noted that the landing gear warning light was not working and that the batteries were low on charge. Linquist did not want to delay the return trip to Miami, Florida, and decided to use the plane’s generator to charge the batteries mid-flight.

The plane took off at 10:03 with 32 passengers and crew, despite the drained batteries interfering with the plane’s radio transmitter. Even so, the craft was able to complete routine radio transmissions until 4:13 in the morning, when it reported that it was about 50 miles south of Miami. It was never heard from afterward.

Oddly enough, despite being allegedly that close to Miami, the DC-3’s last message was not received by Miami air traffic control. It was instead heard in New Orleans, about 600 miles away. Given that both cities had tried to warn the plane that the wind had shifted from northwest to northeast (although it is unknown whether the flight crew received that message), it is likely that the wind blew the aircraft off course. This would have been a big problem, given that the plane only had enough fuel for another hour and twenty minutes of flight time.

Even so, it seems strange that the plane should have vanished so thoroughly even with the Gulf Stream dispersing debris, given that the area in which it disappeared contains relatively shallow water. In his 2007 book The Bermuda Triangle, David West reported a story about a diver named Dr. Greg Little, who claims to have discovered a DC-3 wreck about seven miles south of Bimini in the Bahamas that may be consistent with NC16002’s description. However, DC-3s were also widely employed in the drug trade in the Bahamas during the 70s, so that’s something to keep in mind as well.

7. SS Marine Sulpher Queen (February 4, 1963)

The Sulpher Queen was among the 533 T2 oil tankers built during World War II in order to help transport vital oil to the war effort. Originally christened as the SS Esso New Haven in 1944, she was renamed and converted in 1960 to transport molten sulfur in a single tank that spanned 306 feet of its total 524-foot length.

Her final voyage began three years later when she set out from Beaumont, Texas, on February 2nd for Norfolk, Virginia. She carried 15,000 tons of molten sulfur, kept at 275 degrees, along with 39 crew members. Her last known position was a point approximately 350 miles west of Dry Tortugas, according to her last radio message on the 4th. When communications failed over the next two days, a nineteen-day search was called, mainly focusing on the Straits of Florida. While some debris, including life preservers bearing the ship’s name, was located, neither the ship itself nor her crew members have ever been discovered.

Let’s get a few facts straight before we go from zero to aliens here. The T2 tanker class was infamous for being remarkably prone to catastrophic structural failures. They were particularly prone to breaking in two in rough or cold seas, mostly due to their speedy construction, which entailed welding the steel hull plates together instead of attaching them with rivets. Indeed, such structural weaknesses were observed on the Marine Sulpher Queen before she set out on her fateful voyage (one of her crew members even told his wife that the ship was a “floating garbage can”). But her owners, being the greedy capitalists that they were, insisted that the ship set out anyway so they wouldn’t lose out on profits. Given that sixteen-foot waves were reported in the area around the time of the disappearance, it’s entirely possible that the ship broke in two and rapidly sank like all the other T2 tankers before her.

There is also the possibility that the ship’s highly flammable sulfur cargo may have ignited and blown the ship to pieces. The Sulpher Queen’s tank was remarkably leaky, and fires often started around it. The leaking sulfur would puddle and cake around vital electrical equipment, causing it to short out. While I haven’t found any sources other than the 2005 book Ghost Ships by Angus Konstam to back this up, there have also been reports that a ship out of Honduras reported sailing through a patch of ocean that smelled strongly of sulfur off the west tip of Cuba around four days after the Sulpher Queen vanished.

A much more interesting development occurred in January 2001. According to an article on, a group of scuba divers claimed to have found a capsized wreck in the Gulf of Mexico about 140 miles west of Fort Meyers, Florida, that fit the Marine Sulpher Queen’s description in 423 feet of water. Sadly, there does not seem to have been any new developments regarding that wreck since then.

8. The Witchcraft (December 22, 1967)

This mystery revolves around a 23-foot cabin cruiser owned by hotelier Dan Burack. He had invited a close friend, Father Patrick Horgan, on an evening cruise to see the Miami Christmas lights from offshore. They planned to cut the engine near buoy #7, about a mile offshore, and take in the scenery.

The trouble started around 9 p.m. when Burack radioed the Coast Guard to inform them that the cruiser’s propeller had struck a submerged object, and the boat would consequently need to be towed. Burack seemed calm, perhaps because a) he had recently had the Witchcraft’s hull fitted for a flotation device that rendered the cruiser virtually unsinkable, and b) he had flares with which he could signal passing boats should the need arise.

This makes it seem all the more baffling that when a Coast Guard vessel did reach buoy #7 just 19 minutes later, there was no sign of the Witchcraft whatsoever. Not even a subsequent six-day long 24,500 square mile search was able to turn up any sign of the missing vessel.

So what happened? Here are some theories:

  • A thunderstorm that happened to pass through the area that night swept the cruiser away. The problem is that Burack seems like he could have easily radioed another SOS in that case.
  • Another possibility is that the fast-moving Gulf Stream current carried the Witchcraft away from buoy #7 without Burack or Horgan noticing. This seems somewhat unlikely, however, not only because of the aforementioned flotation device but also because, again, there was nothing stopping Burack from sending out another distress signal.
  • By far the most intriguing theory (at least for those who don’t buy into more supernatural explanations), as proposed by the likes of blogger Michelle Merritt and the YouTube channel Bedtime Stories is that Burack and Horgan faked their apparent deaths in order to avoid culpability for a criminal past.

Merritt notes that, at least to one familiar with the geography of the Miami waterfront, Burack’s route makes no sense. The biggest reason is that Burack and Horgan apparently sailed out into the Atlantic to view the Christmas lights, which should have been easier to see from within Biscayne Bay. She also notes that buoy #7 is not a mile offshore, as most reports claim, but only 300 yards from South Pointe Park, where it marks the entrance into Government Cut. Furthermore, given that Burack’s home was located about 2.5 miles north of South Pointe Park, it seems like he was going rather far for such a casual outing. All of this led Merritt to conclude that Burack and Horgan lied about their actual position to the Coast Guard, presumably to lead them on a wild goose chase.

But why? Merritt notes that Miami was in dire financial straits at the time. Several millionaires living in the city had been robbed, with the thieves using the waterfront as a highway to untold riches. Burack had been struggling financially for years, especially after his Galen Hall Hotel burned down under curious circumstances in 1963. After completing a new resort, the Galen Beach, he sold out his interest in the property. With the city going down the tubes, Burack likely saw that his hotelier career was over, and he and Father Horgan sailed off into history.

Also worth noting is what happened to one of Burack’s neighbors precisely one month after the Witchcraft disappeared. On January 22nd, 1968, Saverio “Sam” Codomo, a real estate developer with Mafia ties, was throwing a party for his recently wed daughter when two masked bandits broke in and tied everyone up. They stole several valuable coins and escaped by boat.

Coincidence? Who knows?

9. SS Sylvia M. Ossa (October 15, 1976)

This T2 tanker was christened Egg Harbor in 1943, was rebuilt as a bulk carrier in 1963, and had been renamed seven times throughout her years of service. She set out from Rio de Janeiro with a cargo of iron ore bound for Philadelphia and was reported lost alongside all 37 crew members around 140 miles west of Bermuda. If the New York Times is to be believed, the only debris ever recovered was an oil slick, a capsized lifeboat, and a life preserver with scorch marks on it.

Many Triangle enthusiasts are quick to jump on supernatural explanations due to statements from a Coast Guard spokesman that the weather was clear that day, with calm seas and visibility for forty miles. However, the same New York Times article mentioned above also notes that two days before the Ossa was reported missing, she had set out a radio message stating that she had run into gale-force winds and thus would be overdue for her arrival in Philly. The seas may have been much heavier than the crew anticipated, however.

10. SS Poet (October 1980)

This ship started life as the USS General Omar Bundy in August of 1944, serving as a transport ship for the US Navy in the final months of World War II. She remained in military service until 1964, when she entered the private sector and was converted into a cargo ship. She changed names several times and was going by the SS Poet when she sailed on her final voyage.

She departed Philadelphia on October 24th, 1980, carrying 34 crew members and 13,500 tons of yellow corn bound for Port Said, Egypt. The ship radioed its position off Cape Henlopen, Delaware, at 9:00 that evening. When it failed to radio any updates by November 3rd, six days before its scheduled arrival at Port Said, a massive search covering over 750,000 square miles was called. Not a single piece of debris was recovered.

Theories for what happened have included that the ship was hijacked by Iranian terrorists, pirates, or the New Jersey-based Gambino crime family. Another theory is that a storm that rolled across the ship’s route the night after its departure from Philly sank it. Some have even suggested that water might have gotten into the cargo hold and caused the corn to expand to the point that it could have ruptured the hull. While the ship was old and likely had been kept in service long after it should have been retired, it seems rather unlikely that the hull was that flimsy.

Others have suggested that a rogue wave might have capsized the ship. These unpredictable waves, reaching 80-100 foot heights, have been known to spring up during storms to swallow ships whole. Indeed, a possible rogue wave has also been implicated in the disappearance of the Sylvia M. Ossa as well.

Hopefully by now, one can see that the Bermuda Triangle mystery really isn’t a mystery at all. Practically every significant reported disappearance reported in the region has a logical explanation when you really look into it. True, the Triangle region has played host to several UFO reports and even some sea monster sightings. One particularly unusual case involves the crew of the famous submersible Alvin, who allegedly encountered a creature that looked awfully similar to a small plesiosaur in October of 1969 while inspecting undersea cables in the Tongue of the Ocean in the Bahamas. Then again, I learned about that particular incident from another Charles Berlitz book, Without a Trace, so maybe take that one with a grain of salt.

In all, practically every source knowledgeable about the area, from the Coast Guard to NOAA to Lloyd’s of London, has denied that the Bermuda Triangle is any more dangerous than any other part of the ocean, especially considering the heavy air and sea traffic that goes through the region every day. Indeed, when the World Wide Fund for Nature published a study demonstrating the ten most dangerous waters for shipping in 2013, the South China Sea, the North Sea, and the Mediterranean made the cut, but not the Bermuda Triangle. Indeed, when all is said and done, it seems like the Bridgewater Triangle has more to offer the average mystery hunter than the Bermuda Triangle.

And that’s all I have to say about the Bermuda Triangle, but not the rest of the Vile Vortices. Tune in next time for the conclusion of my paranormal triangles world tour where I examine Ivan T. Sanderson’s theory to see if there is anything to his theory of there being twelve Bermuda Triangles! See you soon!

Ten More Paranormal Triangles (Located Nowhere Near Bermuda)

Guess what, beautiful watchers! It’s October! And you know what that means; it’s time to delve into the spooky side of things.

You may recall last February when I last talked about so-called paranormal hotspots that were labeled “triangles” thanks to the infamy of Bermuda’s supposed vortex. In the spirit of Halloween, I wish to continue that globe-trotting adventure by looking at ten more lesser-known paranormal triangles, both to tell you the stories and to see whether any of them can hold up to scientific scrutiny. Let’s not tarry about and jump right in.

1. Bass Strait Triangle (Australia)
Map of Australia and Tasmania with Bass Strait marked in blue

Author Jack Loney identified this triangle in his 1980 book Mysteries of the Bass Strait Triangle. The strait has long had a reputation for being treacherous for passing ships, but is this because of supernatural goings-on, or do these disappearances have a more earthly origin? Let us examine some individual incidents to find out:

1797: Bass Strait is first discovered by European explorers after the Sydney Cove wrecks on Preservation Island (its namesake, George Bass, becomes the first European to sail through it the following year while circumnavigating Tasmania, then known as Van Dieman’s Land). Things take a turn for the mysterious when one of the salvage ships, a sloop named Eliza, vanishes during a return trip to Sydney.

February 1858: The Royal Navy brig HMS Sappho vanishes while en route from the Cape of Good Hope to Sydney, with a subsequent search turning up no trace of the ship or her crew. Most scholars believe she foundered in the Bass Strait, either holed by rocks or capsized in a gale (she was last seen off Cape Bridgewater on February 18). HMS Sappho is only one of several ships that went missing in the strait in the 1800s; other notable incidents included the Harlech Castle in 1870.

1901: The SS Federal disappears along with its 22 crew members and its cargo of coal. Its wreck was discovered in 2019.

1906: The German cargo ship SS Frederick Fischer vanishes en route to Tasmania.

September 10, 1920: A schooner named the SS Amelia J disappeared shortly after entering Bass Strait. A barquentine named the SS Southern Cross and an Airco DH.9A aircraft also vanished while searching for her. The wreck of the Southern Cross is the only wreck to have been discovered so far. Witnesses reported strange lights in the skies over Bass Strait around the time of the incidents.

October 21, 1934: A de Havilland DH86 airliner named Miss Hobart inexplicably went missing while flying over Bass Strait, despite being in perfect weather. All eleven people on board were lost with it. Only a small amount of wreckage was ever found on the coast of Victoria. Eerily, much like a similar incident 44 years to the day later, the pilots radioed that the passengers witnessed an “aerial machine” approaching the airliner before all contact was lost.

1935: The Loina, a Holyman airliner, vanishes near Flinders Island with five people aboard. Officially, the cause was human error compounded with the poor design of the craft. However, a small piece on the plane’s floor was among the wreckage recovered, which showed a burned patch several centimeters wide, which someone had attempted to stamp out.

World War II (1939-1945): Several strange incidents were reported by pilots flying over the strait during the war. Seventeen military planes vanished during this period, despite no record of enemy combatants ever coming near the region (official sources blame inexperienced crew flying too close to the ocean’s surface). One Bristol Beaufort bomber flying over the strait in 1944 claimed it was followed by a “dark shadow” for 20 minutes until it suddenly shot up into the sky. A fighter pilot claimed he was followed by a bronze disc-shaped craft in 1942 while investigating local reports of strange lights in the area.

April 6, 1966: Children and school staff in Melbourne witness a huge disc-shaped craft lazily drifting over their cricket field, which they follow until it vanishes over the treeline. Other witnesses later come forward to say that they saw five smaller craft trailing behind it.

1972: A vintage de Havilland Tiger Moth owned by Brenda Hean and Max Price vanishes while en route to Canberra to protest the proposed hydroelectric dam on Lake Pedder. Investigators believe the plane crashed somewhere between the East Coast and Flinders Island and may have been sabotaged by pro-development interests.

October-November 1978: A flap of UFO sightings occurs along the coasts of Tasmania and Victoria. A husband and wife pair of motorists describe a bright light coming down from the sky and following their car on October 9. A month later, a taxi driver in Hobart slams on his brakes when he sees a green light on the road in front of him. The light vanishes when he takes his eyes off the road to tend to his radio, which is suddenly on the fritz. On November 25, a woman reports seeing a “doorway of light” appear in her driveway. Some ufologists have suggested a connection with the following incident in this list…

October 21, 1978: When 20-year-old amateur pilot Frederick Valentich set off from Moorabbin Airport that Saturday evening, he likely had no idea he was about to become the subject of one of the most infamous UFO incidents, not just in Australia but in the entire world. He radioed Melbourne air traffic control at 7:06 to inform them of a strange aircraft that seemed to be following him from about a thousand feet overhead. He described the craft as having a shiny metal surface and had green landing lights on it. Over the next six minutes, he described the craft approaching him from the east and “orbiting” over him. He claimed his Cessna 182 was experiencing engine problems and then said these ominous words about the strange craft: “It’s not an aircraft.” When air traffic control asked Valentich to clarify, all they got in response was what they described as a “metallic scraping sound.” When he failed to arrive at his destination at the King Island Airport, the search was on.

Despite the search covering 1,000 square miles, no trace of the aircraft has been found, although an engine cowl flap belonging to a Cessna 182 washed up on Flinders Island five years later. Theories for what happened to Valentich abound. Some say he faked his death and landed the plane elsewhere. Others say the strange lights he saw were because he was flying the plane upside down without realizing and saw his own lights reflected in the water (something that should have been impossible with the Cessna’s gravity feed fuel system). Others speculate that he may have found himself in a graveyard spiral, in which a pilot thinks he is flying level when they are actually in a banking turn, which they didn’t realize until it was too late. The supposed lights on the UFO were actually the planets Venus, Mars, and Mercury and the star Antares.

True, the graveyard spiral theory is probably far more likely than an alien abduction, but there is still one strange aspect of the Valentich incident that I feel I would be remiss not to discuss. On the same evening as the Valentich incident, a plumber named Roy Manifold was photographing the sunset near the Cape Otway Lighthouse (well within Valentich’s flight path) when he and his son, Jason, heard the sound of a plane overhead. Instead of gradually fading off in the distance, however, Jason claims that the engine’s sound cut off entirely at one point, “as if someone had turned a radio off.” Later, when he and his dad developed the photos, one of them came back like this:

Some other anonymous eyewitnesses came forward later to claim that they saw a plane flying down toward the ground at a 45-degree angle while a green light floated 1,000-2,000 feet above it. They never saw the plane crash. None of this necessarily proves that Valentich was killed or abducted by aliens, but you never know…

December 1979: A yacht named Charleston vanishes while en route to Sydney to join the Sydney-Hobart yacht race. Theories for what happened include wind damaging the mast or a loose container damaging the rudder, leaving the boat helplessly adrift. The family of the owner of the yacht even contacted a clairvoyant who told them the vessel had come ashore on an island south of New Zealand. Whatever the case, no trace of the yacht has ever been found.

Admittedly, the Bass Strait has long held a dangerous reputation for things other than UFOs. The prevailing winds and currents breaking up against King’s Island in the east combined with the strait’s shallow depth (160 feet at the deepest) and numerous reefs and submerged rocks can create very rough seas, especially in bad weather. Still, the strait’s history with UFOs is hard to ignore, especially after the strange phenomena was immortalized in the 2016 TV show The Kettering Incident. The series co-creator, Victoria Madden, has explained in interviews that the show was inspired by several odd incidents that occurred around the north coast of Tasmania while she was growing up. These included missing persons, cars suddenly coming to a halt, “dome objects in the Lake Country,” memory loss, etc. Madden herself recalls a childhood memory where she and her friends witnessed lights hovering over the trees, making a weird noise before they suddenly vanished.

Some have even gone as far as to argue that there may be an underwater UFO base in the region. I’m not going to agree or disagree with this argument, even if I’m a bit on the skeptical side here.


UFO Disappearance-Unsolved Mysteries

UFOs and Strange Vanishings at Australia’s Mysterious Bass Strait Triangle

2. Little Egypt Triangle (Illinois)
The Illinois counties generally agreed to make up the Little Egypt Triangle

Little Egypt is the colloquial name for the southern third of Illinois, bordered by the Wabash, Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers. Often divided from the rest of Illinois by Interstate 64, the region is often renowned for having a distinct cultural identity from the rest of the state, principally due to its association with the antebellum South (for better or for worse). However, several paranormal investigators have also argued that the area is a hotbed of paranormal activity, with a high concentration of haunted buildings, UFOs, and cryptid sightings.

For example, in Madison County, Alton has often been described as “the most haunted town in America,” hosting such hotspots as McPike Mansion, the First Unitarian Church, the Mineral Springs Hotel, and the Milton School. Other haunted locations that one can find in the triangle include (but certainly aren’t limited to) Cave-In-Rock State Park (allegedly home to buried treasure and moaning cries), the Crenshaw House in Equality (ironically home to a place where free blacks were sold into slavery in a reverse Underground Railroad situation), the Coate Mental Health Center in Anna (a mental hospital that burned down twice. Need I say more?), and Lebanon Road in Collinsville (a local legend says that if you pass under all seven bridges on the road at midnight, a portal to Hell will open up!).

As for UFOs, St. Clair County hosted one of the most infamous so-called “black triangle” sightings when, for two hours starting at four in the morning on January 5, 2000, several eyewitnesses (including four police officers) saw a triangle-shaped object flying overhead. They described it as having three white lights on the vertices and a red light in the center. One officer even managed to photograph the object. Even though Skeptoid podcast host Brian Dunning has built a rather compelling case that the “UFO” was nothing more than an advertising blimp, the incident has remained a mainstay in Illinois urban legend, even being referenced in Sufjan Stevens’ landmark 2005 concept album Illinois.

As for cryptids, southern Illinois has played host to several sightings of animals that seem out of place. Out of place big cats seem to be very common in Illinois. Champaign County was plagued by a particularly vicious one in 1963 that killed a lot of livestock, including dozens of chickens. Shawnee National Forest has also been a historical hotspot for big cat sightings. One of the more dramatic reports to come out of this region happened to Mike Bubsy on April 10, 1970. He was tending to engine problems outside Olive Branch in Alexander County when a six-foot-tall black feline attacked him. It only stopped when a passing semi-truck startled it and allowed Bubsy to catch a ride to the hospital.

Phantom kangaroos have also been reported in the region, as have several Bigfoot-type creatures. One particularly alarming encounter occurred near Cairo in the evening hours of July 25, 1972, when Leroy Summers reported seeing a 10-foot hairy white creature standing near the Ohio River levee. The area also boasts its fair share of lake monsters, the most famous being Du Quoin’s Stump Pond Monster that was sighted several times between 1879 and 1968 when the lake was partially drained.

But by far the most infamous and strangest cryptid to come out of Little Egypt is probably the Enfield Horror, which stalked White County in April and May of 1973. On the 25th of that month, Henry McDaniel went to his front door to examine a strange scratching sound. He claims to have found the culprit squatting between two rose bushes. “It had three legs on it, a short body, two short little arms, and two pink eyes as big as flashlights. It stood four and a half feet tall and was grayish-colored.” McDaniel fired on the creature, but it did not seem to be affected by the bullets. It leaped away, covering a distance of fifty feet in three jumps.

The sighting sparked panic, with the police having their hands full arresting would-be monster hunters for hunting violations. The hysteria quickly vanished as suddenly as it first appeared, and nowadays, several skeptics have argued that the townsfolk mistook an escaped exotic pet like a kangaroo or an ape for “a monster from outer space.”


Alton, Illinois-The Most Haunted Small Town in America: Mysterious Universe

The 15 Most Haunted Places in Illinois-Haunted Rooms America

Loren Coleman, Mysterious America (NY, Paraview, 2001)

Skeptoid Episode #435: The St. Clair Triangle UFO

W. Haden Blackman, The Field Guide to North American Monsters (NY, Three Rivers Press, 1998)

3. Ossipee Triangle (New Hampshire)

This one covers a vast swath of the Granite State if this map is to be believed, with the vertices being in Franconia in Grafton County, Ossipee in Carroll County, and Salem in Rockingham County. The whole area is centered on Lake Ossipee and was a sacred area to the indigenous Abenaki tribes. The lake was surrounded by a 100 million-year-old volcano and several glacier-carved kettle lakes. One of these, Snake Pond (formerly known as Mystery Pond), is reputed in local legend to be bottomless. UFOs have been reported diving into it and other deep ponds in the region, which has led some to argue that underwater tunnels connect the ponds.

Indeed, one of the most famous alien abduction incidents in UFO history occurred around the north edge of the triangle in 1961. Portsmouth residents Betty and Barney Hill were returning from a vacation in Canada on September 19 when they spotted a strange light just outside Lancaster around 10:30 in the evening. The craft, which they later described as “pancake-shaped” and covered in red lights, followed them until it caught up with them around Indian Head, near Franconia, and hovered about a hundred feet above them. They observed several humanoid figures in the craft’s windows.

Suddenly, the Hills realized they had lost two hours and were driving near Ashland, about thirty-five miles south. They later recalled that the aliens had taken them on board their ship and physically examined them. When Betty asked the beings where they came from, they showed her a map that astronomers later identified as being near the Zeta Reticuli constellation. Some astronomers have argued that the Hills inadvertently discovered a new star system in the process, although some skeptics, most notably Carl Sagan, disagreed. Indeed, a fair number of skeptics have argued that the whole incident was a hallucination triggered by the stress of being an interracial couple in the early 1960s (Barney was black, Betty was white).

Another notable UFO sighting occurred near Exeter on September 3, 1965, when a hitchhiker named Norman Muscarello witnessed a large red glowing object descending upon two houses. When Muscarello persuaded a police officer to follow him back to the site, they saw the same UFO hovering about a hundred feet off the ground. The incident inspired the “Exeter UFO Festival,” which started as a fundraiser to benefit children’s charities in 2010. New Hampshire was also the site of what is often considered the very first photo ever taken of a UFO, which was taken over Mount Washington in 1870.

Finally, there is the mystery of America’s Stonehenge in North Salem, a thirty-acre archeological site whose origins are hotly debated. It is reputed in local lore to have a pre-Columbian origin and to have been created either by local indigenous tribes or by monks of the Irish Culdee order or even ancient Minoan or Phoenician explorers. However, most archaeologists disagree, as no artifacts from pre-Columbian times have been found in the area. They conclude that the site was built by white settlers in the 18th/19th centuries for farming purposes and that William Goodwin, who purchased the land in 1937, started the fantastical stories to drum up business. Either way, it certainly seemed to attract the attention of horror literature icon H.P. Lovecraft, who may have based his story “The Dunwich Horror” on the megalith.


Dennis William Hauck, Haunted Places: A National Directory

4. Aroostook Triangle (Maine)

This tiny sliver of Aroostook County, Maine, which occupies a 10x25x25 mile sliver of wilderness south of Presque Isle, occupies a rather prominent spot in the work of local folklorist Michelle Souliere. Aroostook is the largest county in New England, which, in Souliere’s eyes, makes it a perfect spot for a colony of Bigfoot to hide. Indeed, the area which she and fellow Mainer cryptozoologist Loren Coleman have dubbed “the Aroostook Triangle” has long been a hotspot of activity commonly associated with Bigfoot lore: wood knocks, snapped trees, large rocks being thrown about, unidentifiable roars, etc.

What follows are a sampling of alleged Sasquatch encounters in Aroostook County collected by Souliere in her book Bigfoot in Maine, presented in chronological order:

c. 1983, E Plantation: An anonymous John Doe claims that he was camping out in his cousin’s backyard when they were woken up by what sounded like rocks being banged together. They went back to sleep, thinking it was a horse in a nearby barn. But when they checked the barn the next morning, the horse wasn’t there.

They had more sleepovers that summer and more weird encounters. Something followed them while they were walking in the woods and growled and ran off when they tried to get a closer look. They later saw a long, humanoid arm reaching over their tent one night after they were woken up by something brushing up against it.

Later in life, John Doe would learn that his sister had once seen an ape-like face peering through her bedroom window, that his brother had seen what he thought was a rock stand up on two legs and walk away, and that one incident in which his mother had ordered him and his siblings back into the house, shotgun in hand, was because she had seen a black shape lurking around the bushes.

May 1990, near Island Falls on Mattawamkeag River: Mike Dunphy Sr. was out on a Memorial Day fishing trip with his son Mike Jr. when a creature walking on two legs and covered in dark brown hair emerged from the woods and crossed an old logging road. They immediately packed up and left and didn’t speak about the incident for years afterward.

May 2007, Moro Plantation: Jeff Kaine was fishing in Green Pond when the peaceful silence was broken by two loud knocks, followed by what sounded like a small tree being snapped in half. Around 7 p.m., Kaine was getting ready to pack it in when a monstrous roar ripped through the evening air. Scared out of his wits, he immediately made a break for his truck and tore out of there. Kaine would later learn that a friend had had large rocks thrown at him during another fishing trip to Green Pond.

Of course, there are probably others, but that’s all I could find from Souliere’s book. Maybe you have your own. Let me know in the comments!


Michelle Souliere and Loren Coleman, Bigfoot in Maine (SC, Charleston, The History Press, 2021)

5. Pag Triangle (Croatia)

This location is a rarity in that it is one of the only paranormal triangles that is an actual, physical triangle. The triangle takes its name from the island that houses it, Pag, and can be found just outside of the small town of Novalja. It was discovered by geologist Zlatko Grabovac in 1999 while surveying the region around Velo Tusto Celo Hill (which means “Big Fat Forehead” in English).

The triangle itself, officially known as the Pag Venture Star, is unusual in several ways. It seems to form a perfect isosceles shape, with two sides measuring 72 feet and another measuring 105 feet. It also consists of rocks of a different structure than those surrounding it, being of a much lighter color. Since science still has yet to explain how the triangle came into existence, many fringe theorists have come up with their own answers.

Some, like Stjepan Zvonaric, have noted that Pag Island seems to be a UFO hotspot and has accordingly suggested that the rocks within the triangle were superheated when an extraterrestrial spacecraft landed on the spot 12,000 years ago, which is the scientists’ best guess on when the triangle was first formed. Some have pointed out the fact that one of the angles of the triangle seems to point to the star Sirius as further proof of this theory.

Others, pointing to a local legend stating that Jesus Himself visited the island after His resurrection, argue that it is a sign from God and that the three vertices symbolize the Holy Trinity. Father Zlatko Sudac, a famous priest with stigmata, even claims that he received his wounds while conversing with a friend about the triangle.

Whatever you believe about the triangle, there is no denying that it is a fairly popular tourist destination, with half a million people having visited in the two decades since its discovery. Several of them have claimed to have experienced unusual activity inside the triangle, including GPS’ turning off or connecting with six satellites at once, batteries on electronic devices spontaneously draining, and overall eerie feelings.


6. Broad Haven Triangle (Wales)

This UFO hotspot, also known as the Welsh Triangle and the Dyfed Triangle, centers on St. Brides’ Bay in the province of Pembrokeshire, located on the tip of Wales’ southern peninsula. Although it was the wave of sightings that occurred in this region in 1977 that really put this area on the ufology radar, at least one prior sighting has also been recorded.

Taking place near the town of Castlemartin in 1952, it involved a Mr. Thomas who was taking a lunchtime stroll on the sand dunes when he noticed something unusual. A group of men was standing over a metallic object that was partially buried in the sand. When Mr. Thomas approached the men, they warned him not to approach any closer, as he was not adequately protected from the deadly rays that the object was giving off. After warning him that Earth was on a self-destructive path and that they had been monitoring the planet for hundreds of years, they told Mr. Thomas the name of the planet they came from, a detail that Thomas had forgotten by the time he finally came forward with his story.

As for the 1977 wave of sightings, as usual, here’s the most notable incidents recorded in chronological order:

February 4: A group of fourteen schoolchildren are playing football outside of Broad Haven Primary School when a yellow cigar-shaped craft lands in a nearby field. Six of them also see a humanoid figure with long ears and a silver suit emerged from the craft. When the headmaster asks the witnesses to draw what they saw, he is struck by the similarity of their drawings. A teacher later comes forward to say she saw a shiny oval-shaped object with a slight dome departing from the same field, making a humming noise as it did so. The same craft allegedly made a repeat appearance at the school on February 17, witnessed by three teachers.

March 13: 13-year-old Steven Taylor sees a domed object land in the field near his house. When he goes outside to investigate, he is approached by a tall humanoid wearing a shiny one piece suit. After he punches at the figure, it vanishes. That same evening, a 17-year-old Milford Haven resident claims she was menaced by a three-foot-tall humanoid standing on her windowsill.

April 7: 64-year-old Cyril John, another Milford Haven resident, is woken up at 5 a.m. by a light shining through his window. He looks out to see an egg-shaped object about four feet wide floating above a nearby field, colored silver-grey with a reddish-orange light on top. Floating beside it is a faceless humanoid wearing what looks like a silver-grey boiler suit. The being and the object hovered like that for 25 minutes before slowly moving off.

April 19: One of the more infamous sightings to occur during this flap happens to Rosa Granville, owner of the Haven Fort Hotel in Little Haven. She was woken by a light shining through her window around 2:30 in the morning. She looked out her window to see a craft shaped like an upside down saucer in a nearby field, spouting flames of all different colors from its underside. The heat was so intense that Granville claims her face felt burnt afterward. She also sees two faceless humanoids with pointed heads next to the craft. The saucer disappears in the time it takes her to gather other witnesses. She investigates the site the following day and discovers that the grass has been compressed and scorched.

April onward: Whatever was behind these incidents seems to have held a grudge against the Coombs family, the owners of Ripperston Farm. The family consisted of Billy, his wife Pauline, and their three children. They experienced numerous incidents throughout 1977 that some paranormal enthusiasts have compared to Utah’s infamous Skinwalker Ranch. These include lights that chased Pauline as she drove the nearby country lanes, whole herds of cattle being transported to different fields in the time it took Billy to brew a cup of tea, electrical items in the house constantly going haywire, and perhaps most disturbingly, a seven-foot faceless humanoid staring through their living room window.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, as there were also several cases of people claiming to have been abducted by the aliens that were haunting the region at the time. The reports were compelling enough that the British Ministry of Defense sent an investigator to see what he could find. He became convinced that the sightings were all the work of a practical joker, something that seems to be backed up by local businessman Glyn Edwards coming forward in 1996 claiming that he was the silver-suited spaceman.

Even so, sightings of cigar-shaped UFOs have continued to trickle out of the region sporadically, and several witnesses have continued to stick by their stories, including the boys from the primary school incident and Rosa Granville.



7. Falkirk Triangle (Scotland)

This sliver of the Scottish lowlands covers the area between the towns of Falkirk, Stirling, and Bonnybridge and lies rather close to the capital at Edinburgh. It has been described as the UFO capital of the world, with 300 sightings being recorded every year!

The sightings in the area seem to date back as far as 1979 in the nearby town of Livingston, when a forestry worker named Robert Taylor was chased by a metallic black flying dome in Dechmont Wood and may have been the victim of alien abduction (he reported being grabbed by metal rods around his hips that pulled him toward the ship before he blacked out). The sightings in the triangle itself would begin in earnest about ten years later:

1989: A firefighting crew is battling a blaze in Gradrum Moss when a red object approaches them. It hovers over them for several minutes before speeding away. Suddenly, a second object approaches them, this time glowing white before it too hovers and then speeds off.

November 12, 1991: Two photographers at the Polmont Reservoir see two flashing lights over Kincardine Bridge. Despite thinking it was a helicopter at first, the pair noticed that it made no sound. The craft approached them, and the pair reported hearing a quiet, pulsing hum.

1992: Local businessman James Walker becomes the subject of the most famous encounter to come out of the triangle. On his way home from work, he encounters a star-shaped UFO that starts following him and eventually cuts him off. As he gets out of his car to take a closer look, the UFO shoots off at blinding speed. It never makes a sound at any point during the encounter.

March 1992: The Sloggett family is out on an early morning walk outside Bonnybridge when they spot a ring of strange lights over a nearby moor. When the family books it back toward their house, a blue football-shaped craft lands in front of them and opens a door, out of which a howling roar bellows.

August 1992: Gary Wood and Colin Wright are driving along the A70 highway through West Lothian near the Harperring Reservoir when a UFO intercepts their car. They suddenly experience a case of missing time lasting two hours. Under hypnosis, they claim to have been taken to an underground base, where they were experimented upon and saw walls lined with people frozen in glass jars.

January 19, 1994: A motorist in the town of Larbert is chased by a white light, which a bystander manages to capture on tape in an 18-second film.

September 1996: An airforce family reports a truly bizarre encounter in Falkland when they claim to have seen a field swarming with ant-like beings seemingly being commanded by taller white entities to make nests out of saliva and hay. They also claim these beings were being teleported out of a black triangle the size of a stadium via an array of bizarre lights.

1999: The town of Gorebridge is claimed to have been placed under siege by UFOs. Reports range from a 737 jet being buzzed by three glowing objects while approaching Edinburgh Airport to two men being chased by a “floating green eye” while looking for Christmas trees near Blinkbonny Mine to an apparent alien being who was photographed standing on someone’s roof.

Again, those are just some of the more infamous sightings. As the 300-a-year figure noted above indicates, there are far more sightings where those came from. There are, of course, many theories as to why this area is such a significant hotspot.

Some have seized upon the Wood-Wright account to posit that there is indeed an underground base in the region out of which the UFOs are operating. Others argue that the area’s rich history has something to do with the sightings. For example, not only did the celebrated Battle of Bannockburn occur within the confines of the triangle, but some legends state that the town of Camelon was the site of the Battle of Camlann, in which King Arthur fought his battle to the death with his bastard half-son Mordred. Not only that, but Midlothian also houses Rosslyn Chapel, which is popularly believed to hide the Holy Grail, among other holy artifacts, within its walls. This legend was popularized by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, although most scholars agree the story has no basis in fact.

Many ufologists have noted the similarities between alien abduction stories and old legends of encounters with fairies and elves, suggesting that the fair folk were just how people in the Middle Ages and before conceptualized extraterrestrial beings. Indeed, Scotland and other Celtic countries have a long history of fair folk traditions.

Then again, many local residents have accused local leaders of making it all up to turn Bonnybridge and other towns into tourist traps, arguing that the strange craft are just experimental military technology being tested on one of several military bases in the region. That is, admittedly, the most plausible explanation, but one can never really know for sure…


UFO’s and High Strangeness at Scotland’s Falkirk Triangle- Mysterious Universe

8. Molyobka Triangle (Russia)
The village of Molyobka: population 374

This town is nestled within the southern reaches of the Ural Mountains in the Kishertsky District of Perm Krai. The town is located on ground that was sacred to the indigenous Mansi people, who believed it was a gathering place for gods and spirits. Maybe that explains the wealth of paranormal phenomena that has been recorded in this triangle, also often known as the Perm Anomalous Zone or the M-Zone.

The M-Zone first gained international attention from ufologists in 1983, when Russian UFO enthusiast Emil Bachurin led an expedition into the village’s thick forests. Not only did he witness a purple light rising out of the trees that left behind a patch of melted snow 206 feet across, the team was also chased by orbs of light that burned them with rays and even knocked one of them unconscious.

Over the years, various people have reported mysterious lights in the sky, luminous translucent beings stalking through the trees, sightings of Chuchunya (Russia’s answer to Bigfoot or the Yeti), weather anomalies like strange-colored lightning, disembodied singing voices, malfunctioning compasses and electronics, and watches stopping or even ticking backwards.

Another ufologist expedition in 2005 reported seeing a giant glowing ball above the trees. Chillingly, one of the team members went missing afterwards, and the last photograph taken of him allegedly shows a beam shining on the man from the UFO.

The American TV series Sightings also filmed a segment on the Perm anomalies in the early 90’s, and allegedly had their camp surrounded by orbs of light later that evening. Not only did locals confirm that the mysterious phenomena had long since been accepted as a fact of life among them, but the TV crew was also warned beforehand by government officials that staying more than 24 hours in the M-Zone might be hazardous.

Despite this, there are also several people who believe that the region has healing properties. Sure, ill health effects like headaches, nosebleeds, muscle aches, nausea, and dizziness have been reported. But others have claimed that the unique energies have a refreshing and enlightening effect and can even cure various ailments.

Perhaps the most famous case of the M-Zone’s alleged healing abilities comes from journalist and cosmonaut Pavel Mukhortov. After being turned away from the cosmonaut program due to physical disabilities, Mukhortov traveled to the M-Zone to do a possible story on it. While he didn’t see any UFOs, he and his traveling companions did fall ill. But soon after, they became filled with “an intense sense of well-being,” and claimed to have suddenly had their heads filled with visions and knowledge that seemingly came from nowhere. Mukhortov claims that these effects allowed him to pass the Soviet Space Program with flying colors when he reapplied, and thus finally fulfilled his dream of becoming a cosmonaut.

Whether or not this is because UFOs are drawn to the strange electromagnetic forces endemic to the region, or it’s the electromagnetism combined with infrasound that is causing hallucinations of UFOs, one cannot deny that there is something weird going on in the woods around Molyobka. However, if you want to check it out for yourself, be forewarned; the area is apparently overcrowded with other “pilgrims” seeking answers to the phenomena. Just make sure you’re not placing too much strain on the locals.


Molebka’s triangle- MYSTICAL RUSSIA

A Bizarre Anomalous Zone in the Wilds of Russia- Mysterious Universe

9. Great River Triangle (New York)

This is certainly the smallest triangle I’ve covered in either triangle list in terms of the total area it covers. It spans only a tiny 4 1/2 square mile area of Suffolk County on Long Island, New York, between the towns of Islip and Oakdale and Heckscher State Park. What sets this area apart, according to local urban legend, is its history of UFO sightings. Indeed, with 554 sightings recorded between 2001 and 2015 alone, Suffolk County has been described as the UFO capital of New York. Some notable sightings include:

May 1908: Several residents witness what they describe as “a string of lighted beads” flying across the sky. At one point, the lead UFO stops, causing the others to merge with it and “spin like a Fourth of July pinwheel” before taking off at great speed.

July 1954: An Oakdale resident calls his wife and son, named Tom, out to the yard. They witness three glowing objects in a V formation up in the night sky. Tom remembers seeing a discharge that reminded him of Christmas tinsel pouring out of the back of the objects before they disappeared behind the trees.

May 1997: A female motorist, as well as several police officers and many persons in a nearby building, witness six golden-colored lights hovering in the sky. Oddly enough, several other people in the area later claim they saw nothing unusual.

July 2014: Several Islip residents report seeing a bright orange fireball traveling east-southeast around 10:30 in the evening.

According to ufologist Cheryl Costa, there have been 40 sightings of UFOs within the perimeter of the Great River Triangle between 1918 and 2014. What attracts them to the region is unknown.


Syracuse New Times- The Great River Triangle UFOS

NBC New York- Suffolk County Leads NY State in UFO Reports

UFO Digest- Long Island’s Great River Triangle UFOs

10. Romblon Triangle (Philipinnes)

This one comes to us from the Philippines. With its three points resting on the Conception municipality in the north, Sibuyan in the southeast, and Dos Hermanos in the southwest, the triangle encompasses the entirety of the Romblon island archipelago, hence the name. The Sibuyan Sea that surrounds the archipelago has gained a nasty reputation over the years for being involved in several of the worst maritime disasters in history, wartime or peacetime. For example:

October 24, 1944: The Battle of the Sibuyan Sea was part of the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf, which is often considered not just the largest naval battle during World War II but the largest battle in the entire history of naval warfare. Out of the 200,000 naval personnel involved in the battle, 15,500 died, all but three thousand on the Japanese side. The Allied Forces’ victory in this battle allowed them to take the Philipinnes back from the Japanese and left the Japanese navy as but a shell of its former glory.

One big reason for this was the loss of the Musashi in the Sibuyan Sea, the first of four major engagements in the Leyte Gulf affair. The Musashi, alongside her sister ship Yamato, was the largest battleship ever constructed, displacing 72,000 tons. Not that it did her much good in the end, as she was sunk by 19 torpedos and 17 bombs in 4430 feet of water with the loss of 1376 of her 2399 man crew. The Yamato would suffer a much worse fate off Okinawa on April 7, 1945: struck by 11 torpedos and six bombs, she capsized and exploded with the loss of 3055 of her 3332 crew.

April 22, 1980: A ferry called the MV Don Juan, belonging to the Neros Navigation shipping company, collides with the oil tanker MT Tacloban City at 1 p.m. between Dos Hermanos and Conception islands. The Don Juan sank with the loss of only 18 lives, although 115 were reported missing. Still, 745 survivors were recorded, which is far more than I can say for the next shipping disaster on this list…

December 20, 1987: The severely overcrowded ferry MV Dona Paz sets out from Tacloban on Leyte en route to Manila. Around 10:30 that evening, the ferry collided with the oil tanker MT Vector in the Tablas Strait off the island of Marinduque and subsequently burst into flames. The ships sank within two hours and four hours, respectively. Although the ferry’s official capacity was 1424 passengers, survivor testimony places the actual number of people aboard closer to 4000. Indeed, out of the only 24 passengers who survived (plus one crew member), only five were recorded in the ship’s manifest. Current estimates place the death toll over 4300, making the Dona Paz incident the worst peacetime shipping disaster in history.

June 21, 2008: The Romblon archipelago suffers another deadly ferry disaster, this time thanks to Typhoon Fengshen. The MV Princess of the Stars was on a voyage from Manila to Cebu City when the typhoon, then a Category Two storm, unexpectedly changed course. The ferry was caught in the middle of it, and after being battered by the stormy seas for twelve hours, it capsized around one p.m. off the municipality of San Fernando on Sibuyan Island. The heavy seas prevented any rescue ships from reaching the foundering vessel for another twelve hours. By the time help finally came, only 56 of the 870 people on board were left alive.

So far, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly mysterious about this triangle. Indeed, as the Philippine Coast Guard has pointed out, there hasn’t been much we’ve talked about in this entry that couldn’t have been caused by typhoons, high tides, hidden rocks or reefs, or navigational errors. That is unless you think Lolo Amang is somehow involved.

Lolo Amang can be described as the Philippines’ answer to the Flying Dutchman. He reportedly sails the waters around Romblon in a golden ship so shiny that it can be seen from a mile away. Those who approach close enough have reported seeing a massive party on the decks, full of food, music, and fair-skinned dancing women. Indeed, if we believe some eyewitness accounts from the MV Don Juan incident, the ships collided because the Don Juan’s captain was steering to avoid colliding with Lolo Amang’s ship.

Of course, many are inclined to believe that the Lolo Amang legend is nothing more than a sailor’s fairy tale born either from booze or an attempt to escape liability for a shipping accident. Still, legends of strange incidents in the region seem to date back to the Spanish colonies in the 16th century, with many galleons plying the Manila-Acapulco route leaving offerings to the spirits and mermaids living in the cursed seas around Sibuyan.

Who knows? Maybe the age of myths from the indigenous tribes of the Philippines is still alive and well in the seas around Romblon.


And there you have it; ten more paranormal triangles profiled and examined! I will most definitely be returning to this subject again at a later date. I’d like to determine whether the Vile Vortices are really that vile and to examine some famous incidents in the Bermuda Triangle to see if they really are all that strange. But for this Halloween, be prepared for me to introduce you to one of the most mysterious and terrifying Satanic black metal bands ever to exist.

Until then, stay spooky, you beautiful watchers!

10 Paranormal Triangles (Not Located Anywhere Near Bermuda)

It occurred to me recently that I have not written anything on this blog in the category of “The Supernatural” despite my previously stated interest in the topic. So in the spirit of remedying this oversight, I will now present to you an article on the subject of paranormal triangles.

Not that kind!

After the Bermuda Triangle phenomenon gained extraordinary popularity in the late 60s and early 70s, it became common to label many supposed paranormal hotspots with the label “(x location) Triangle.” Most of these tend to be located in the United States, Britain, or other developed countries. I’m not going to speculate on why that is, mostly because I want to write a blog post that doesn’t mention politics for once.

Even if you don’t believe any of these stories (I’m ambivalent about them myself), you still have to admit that they make damn fun reads. So get your flashlight faces ready and come along (if you dare) as I take you on a road trip through ten paranormal triangles.

1. The Bridgewater Triangle (Massachusetts)

Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman first popularized the Bridgewater Triangle in his book Mysterious America, published in the late 1970s. He identified the Triangle’s points as Abington, Rehoboth, and Freetown, including parts of fourteen other townships within its perimeter. Alongside the Bennington Triangle and the Dragon’s Triangle (described below), it is undoubtedly one of the most famous paranormal triangles, for despite not having much in the way of high-profile mysterious disappearances, it makes up for it with a whole host of other paranormal phenomena.

As might be expected with a North American paranormal hotspot, the Native Americans of the region, specifically the Wampanoag tribe, told stories about the area long before the white man came. The centerpiece of the future Triangle was the Hockomock Swamp, from a word that means “the place where spirits dwell” in the native Wopanaak language. The name “Hockomock” was also ascribed to a god of death and disease that supposedly resided in the swamp and served as a sort of Satanic counterpart to their creator deity, Kautantowit (although the presumably more reputable World History Encyclopedia describes him as a largely benevolent trickster deity who heals the sick and encourages transformation and change).

A much more down to Earth horror came to pass in the 1670s when King Phillips’ War pitted the Wampanoag against their Puritan colonizers. Hockomock Swamp was even the site of an aboriginal fortress used by Metacom himself, aka the titular King Phillip. Given how utterly the Wampanoag were massacred during the war, it’s not to see why some believe the land surrounding the swamp was cursed by the spirits who looked after the natives. Even the English settlers came to refer to the region as the “Devil’s Swamp.”

So exactly what kind of paranormal phenomena has been reported in the Bridgewater Triangle? Ask me what paranormal phenomena hasn’t been reported in the region! That would be the shorter answer! So, from here on, I will present the reported phenomena in a list format, starting with:

  1. Ghosts

There are many hauntings described in the picture I used above, but I will repeat them here for the sake of not causing eye strain.

Stonehill College, located in Easton just outside the swamp, is allegedly home to the spirit of a little girl, supposedly the daughter of the school president who drowned in a pool where the gym is located today.

Taunton State Hospital, located almost in the Triangle’s dead center, was allegedly a hotspot of Satanic cult activity in the 60s and 70s alongside nearby Freetown-Fall River State Forest (visitors still report being touched by unseen hands). The complex has long since been demolished.

In Rehoboth’s single-room Hornbine School, visitors have reported hearing and seeing spectral teachers and students.

And finally, there are the roadside specters, like the ghostly truck on Copicut Road in Freetown or the red-headed hitchhiker on Route 44 who disappears whenever someone stops to pick him up. There are probably others I’ve missed, but I don’t have the space to list more here, so let’s move on to…

2. Assonet Ledge and Profile Rock

These landmarks are located in Freetown State Park, and both have creepy legends attached to them. Assonet Ledge, an 80′ deep rock quarry mined by the Fall River Granite Company in the 1800s, is reputed to produce a deep sense of dread and/or melancholy in visitors and is even a popular local suicide destination.

Profile Rock is eerie enough with its resemblance to a human face (Wampanoag legend states that it’s a dead ringer for Chief Massasoit of Plymouth Rock fame and that his son died at the spot). But what’s even eerier are the ghosts of native warriors said to dance around the rock, and the spirit of a man said to sit on the rock with arms outstretched. Also, the park is said to be a hotspot for another Bridgewater mystery…

3. UFOs and Black Helicopters

UFO sightings in the Triangle date back to 1760, when a flaming sphere was sighted over Bridgewater. The sightings really seemed to pick up steam in the 1970s, however. These include a sighting by multiple witnesses at a restaurant in Rehoboth in 1973, a sighting by two Boston radio reporters in 1979, two flying craft seen landing near Route 44 in Taunton in 1976, a triangle-shaped craft observed by a police officer in 1994, and a fast-moving craft that produced a sonic boom over Lake Nippenicket in 1999.

There was also apparently a wave of black helicopter sightings in Rehoboth in 2002 with spotlights mounted on them, although one witness described at least one of them as grey-camouflaged or striped.

4. The Hockomock Swamp Monster

This Bigfoot-like creature has been sporadically sighted around Hockomock Swamp, especially since the 1970s. While mostly harmless, there were a few incidents where it was blamed for livestock deaths. There was also an incident in May of 1970 when two police officers claimed that a bearlike creature lifted the back end of their car while they were still inside.

5. Thunderbirds

These mainstays of Native American mythology are surprisingly common in modern cryptozoological lore, most often being ascribed to surviving pterosaurs left over from the age of dinosaurs or (perhaps more plausibly) large Ice Age-era birds of prey like Teratornis. These creatures have been reported as having wingspans of 8-12 feet, and sightings in the region date back to a 1971 report from a site within the swamp called Bird Hill (yes, really) by Norton Police Sergeant Thomas Downy. Another notable sighting was a report where two giant birds were seen fighting in 1984.

6. Other Cryptid Sightings

Other assorted weird animal sightings include, but are probably not limited to:

  • A giant black snake as big around as a stovepipe that was seen by Civilian Conservation Corps engineers on the edge of the swamp near King Phillip’s Road in 1939.
  • A giant dog with glowing red eyes witnessed ripping the throats of ponies in Abington in 1976.
  • Misplaced wildlife like black panthers, giant turtles, and even alligators, despite being far out of the range of their southern swamps.
  • A strange creature reported on Elm Street in Bridgewater that seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to the so-called “Dover Demon,” another paranormal anomaly native to Massachusetts.
  • A black mist-like entity that has been reported along Route 138 in the swamp.

7. Pukwudgies

The last major phenomena I’ll cover here are the Wamapnoag’s resident fairy folk. The pukwudgies are described as three-foot-tall hairy humanoid beings who delight in causing trouble for local humans. They will blind victims who annoy them with sand, lead them into the wilderness with ghost lights known as Tei-Pei-Wankas, attack them with knives and spears, and even push them off cliffs. Some locals have blamed them for the suicidal feelings evoked on Assonet Ledge.

There have even been eyewitness reports of creatures resembling pukwudgies in the modern day. The most notable of these comes from Raynham resident Bill Russo, who claims to have seen a four-foot-tall hairy humanoid in 1995 while taking his dog out on a midnight walk on the edge of the swamp. The creepiest part about the encounter was that the creature actually spoke to him, repeatedly saying, “Eee wah chu. Keahr.” Russo later came to believe that the being was saying, “We want you. Come here,” in broken English.

Of course, there is plenty of more mundane weirdness to be found in the region. Some examples include the escaped emu that rampaged through Freetown State Forest in 2006 and the Dighton Rock. This forty-ton boulder, discovered on the shores of the Taunton River by the Reverend John Danforth in 1680, is covered in petroglyphs and other ancient designs. The thing is… no one knows who made them. Guesses have ranged from indigenous tribes and Vikings to Phoenicians and the Portuguese. Even Chinese explorers have been suspected. Of course, many of the fellows at the Dighton Rock Museum believe that multiple sources are responsible.


Aaron Mahnke, The World of Lore: Dreadful Places, New York: Del Ray, 2018

Bridgewater Triangle, Massachusetts on Legends of America

2. The Bennington Triangle (Vermont)
Grout Pond and Glastenbury Mountain

This vortex centers on Glastenbury Mountain in southwestern Vermont, which is surrounded by the towns of Bennington, Woodford, Shaftsbury, Somerset, and Glastenbury. The latter two are unincorporated ghost towns today, owing to major economic upheavals in the early 1900s.

Glastenbury was founded by New Hampshire governor Benning Wentworth in 1761 and named after Glastonbury Tor in Somerset, England, which is reputed to be the resting place of King Arthur. Glastenbury became a logging town in the wake of the Civil War. But by the late 1880s, the forests were stripped, and local officials tried rebranding the area as a tourist destination. But after the trolley going up the mountain was washed away by a flood in the spring of 1898, all hope was lost, and the town was abandoned.

But that wasn’t the only type of darkness that descended on the town. In 1892, a sawmill worker named Henry McDowell beat John Crawley to death with a rock and was placed in a mental asylum after claiming that voices in his head drove him to commit the murder. McDowell is rumored to have escaped sometime later, and was blamed for the death of John Harbour, found dead from a gunshot wound under an old cedar tree by his brother Harry in 1897.

But around fifty years later, the Bennington Triangle would truly leave its mark on the world when a wave of disappearances swept the region between 1945 and 1950. Here is the list in chronological order:

  • Middie Rivers (November 12, 1945): Rivers, 74, was out hunting with a group of four hunters near the intersection between Route 9 and the Long Trail Road when the others in the group lost sight of him after he got slightly ahead of them. He had been leading them back to camp, and while the group wasn’t concerned at first, as Rivers was an experienced outdoorsman, they soon became concerned and organized a search party. The only remains ever discovered were a rifle cartridge found in a nearby stream.
  • Paula Jean Welden (December 1, 1946): Welden is almost certainly the most famous missing person associated with the region. The 18-year-old Bennington College student was last seen by an elderly couple who had shared Welden’s sudden urge to hike the Long Trail on that cold winter day. They saw her go around a corner in the trail, but by the time they reached the corner, she was nowhere to be seen, despite the bright red coat she was reportedly wearing. No trace of her was ever found. The incident is believed to have inspired the 1951 novel Hangsaman by noted horror author Shirley Jackson, who was living in Bennington at the time of the disappearance.
  • James Tedford (December 1, 1949): Tedford’s disappearance, assuming it was reported correctly, is undoubtedly one of the most perplexing. The 68-year-old veteran had boarded a bus after visiting relatives in St. Albans. Others on the bus claimed he was still in his seat as it was approaching Bennington. But by the time the bus had reached its last stop, Tedford was gone. No one had seen him disembark, and his belongings were still in the luggage rack. No trace of him was ever found.
  • Paul Jephson (October 12, 1950): Jephson, 8, accompanied his mother as she drove out in her pickup truck to feed their pigs. When she returned about an hour later, Paul had vanished. Search parties could find no trace of him, even though, as with Paula Welden, he had been wearing a red jacket when he disappeared. Some stories claim that bloodhounds tracked his scent to the same spot on the Long Trail where Welden vanished, only to lose it forever. Equally strange was that Paul’s father later claimed that his son had talked about an inexplicable yearning to go to the mountains before his disappearance.
  • Frieda Langer (October 28, 1950): Langer, 53, vanished only sixteen days after Jephson. Langer had gone out on a family camping trip and was hiking with her cousin Herbert Elsner when she slipped and fell into a creek. She headed back to camp to change into some drier clothes, but when Elsner returned, Langer was nowhere to be seen. Unlike the other four cases, Langer’s body was eventually discovered on May 12, 1951, on the shores of Somerset Reservoir, despite the area having been searched already. No cause of death could be determined due to the state of decomposition.

There have been several attempts to explain these vanishings. One theory is that a serial killer may have been responsible, with some even going as far as to argue that Henry McDowell was responsible, even though he would have been an elderly man at this point. There were also sightings of a man who lived in a cave near Somerset in 1867 who would expose himself to female passersby and threaten them with a gun.

Others have blamed the Bennington Monster, another Bigfoot-type creature seen around the area since the early 1800s when it allegedly tried to run a stagecoach off the side of Glastenbury Mountain in the middle of a thunderstorm. Another incident that preceded the disappearances occurred on November 11, 1943, when Carl Herrick disappeared while on a hunting trip with his cousin Henry. His body was discovered three days later, surrounded by large footprints and showing signs of having been crushed as if by a pair of giant arms.

Others point to stories told by the indigenous Abenaki tribe about how Glastenbury Mountain is cursed. Part of the reason is that the mountain was where the “four winds” met in an eternal struggle. Interestingly, this legend has been scientifically verified. The wind pattern on the mountain is so erratic that plants have no consistent growth patterns. This can mess with a hiker’s sense of direction and can easily cause them to become lost.

Less explainable was a particular rock on the mountain that the natives say caused anyone who stepped on it to vanish instantly, never to be seen again. There are also several cairns, or human-made rock piles, strewn across the mountainside, although the human-made part may be up for debate because the natives refuse to take credit for them.

Strange reports have continued to trickle out of the region since the disappearances ended. A hiker named Chad Abramovich told a story on the website Obscure Vermont of how he and some friends found themselves caught in a torrential thunderstorm while exploring ruins on an otherwise sunny July afternoon. However, when they managed to escape the downpour, they discovered that their surroundings were dry as a bone. When they reached civilization, the locals claimed that no thunderstorm had passed through the area.

Another hiker named Robert Singley, who works at Bennington College as a music professor, told a local newspaper how he became lost on the trail away from Bald Mountain in 2008. He walked five miles before he realized he should have reached his car already. Then a thick fog rolled in. He huddled beneath a maple tree and started a fire as the night came down. He was mildly unnerved when most of the sticks he picked up turned out to be animal bones. Luckily, he survived the night, although he discovered that he was on the other side of the ridge from his car the next morning.

Other strange happenings include a silo-shaped UFO seen over Bennington by Don Pratt in 1984 and an apparent incident involving “terrifying voices showing up over dead-air radio” in the region. The only link I could find on that story is dead, however, so I don’t know the details.


Aaron Mahnke, The World of Lore: Dreadful Places, New York: Del Ray, 2018

10 Creepy Mysteries of the Bennington Triangle by Renee Chandler on Listverse

Inside the Unsolved Disappearances of the Bennington Triangle by All That’s Interesting

Bennington Triangle, Vermont on Legends of America

The Vanished Town of Glastonbury and the Bennington Triangle by Chad Abramovich on Obscure Vermont

3. The Devil’s Sea (Japan)

Also known as the Dragon’s Triangle, the Formosa Triangle, the Pacific Bermuda Triangle, and the Taiwan Triangle, this is the Pacific Ocean’s answer to the Bermuda Triangle. In his 1974 book The Bermuda Triangle, Charles Berlitz popularized it and later elaborated on it in 1989’s The Dragon’s Triangle. Some have claimed that it is even more dangerous than its Atlantic counterpart. While its perimeter often changes depending on who tells the story (sometimes its points stretch as far as Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam, and Iwo Jima), it is almost universally agreed by paranormal enthusiasts that the phenomenon centers on the Izu archipelago, especially the islands of Miyake-Jima and Mikura-Jima.

Legends about the region date back to around 1000 BCE when the Chinese whispered about a dragon that supposedly lived in that region of the ocean and would destroy any ship that passed over its territory. Some have linked the destruction of the two invading Mongol fleets by the so-called “divine wind” or kamikaze typhoons in 1274 and 1281 to the Triangle, even though they were wrecked in the Strait of Korea on the other side of the Japanese archipelago.

Another strange incident occurred in the early 1800s when several sailors told of a strange ship that looked like a box for burning incense sailing the waters of the Devil’s Sea. This Utsuro-bone or “hollow ship,” allegedly washed ashore in the Hitachi province on February 22, 1803, where its pilot, a young red-haired woman, was discovered not to understand Japanese. She carried a box that she would not allow anyone to touch and later set sail again when local fishermen helped pull her ship out of the sand.

Although the Dragon’s Triangle has had its fair share of UFO encounters and sea monster sightings (including one by Navy pilot Toshiaki Lang who saw a 150-foot-long serpent-like creature with large triangular fins in 1944), its biggest claim to fame is a supposed cluster of disappearances in the early 1950s that claimed 700 lives, according to Berlitz. Nine of these ships, which Berlitz describes as belonging to the Japanese Navy, were apparently lost in perfect weather. The most famous disappearance was of a ship called the Kaiyo Maru No. 5, which vanished from radio contact after being sent into the Triangle to investigate the disappearances in 1955. Berlitz also claimed that ships belonging to both the Japanese and American navies vanished in the region during World War Two.

As with the Bermuda Triangle, though, skeptical author Larry Kusche debunked many of Berlitz’s claims about the region in his 1975 book The Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved. He pointed out that Berlitz’s military vessels were actually deep-sea fishing boats. The Kaiyo Maru No. 5 has long been understood to have been sunk by an underwater volcano on September 24, 1952, with the loss of all 31 souls on board. Also, Brian Dunning, host of the Skeptoid podcast, noted that despite claims of legends about the Devil’s Sea going back centuries in Japan, no mention of the Triangle shows up in books or news articles until twenty years after the Kaiyo Maru sinking. Even legends like the one the Chinese had about the hostile dragon can be explained by the region’s often volatile volcanic activity.

Also also, the Japanese name for the area, ma no umi, has been applied to many different areas, including the Bay of Bengal, the Korea Strait, the Taiwan Strait, Lake Baikal, and the seas around the U.K. and the Chinese island of Hainan. So yeah, to the Japanese, the Dragon’s Triangle really isn’t anything special.


25 Little Known Facts About the Dragon’s Triangle by Katie Tedesco on The

Unraveling the Deadly Legend of the Pacific’s Bermuda Triangle on All That’s Interesting

The Devil’s Sea Zone: Secrets of the Dragon’s Triangle of Japan on

4. The Lake Michigan Triangle

Some have claimed that this stretch of water in the only one of the Great Lakes located entirely within America’s borders is even more dangerous than the Bermuda Triangle. That’s certainly a bold claim to make for an area that’s not located over the open ocean. Before we look at the probability of supernatural goings-on, let us examine some of the supposedly anomalous incidents reported in this triangle:

  • Le Griffon (1679)
    • This vessel, launched in the Niagara River the same year it vanished, belonged to the French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. The ship was last seen on September 18 when it left from an island in what is now Green Bay in Wisconsin, bound for the Niagara region with a load of furs. The ship, and its six crew members, were never seen again. The ship remains the “holy grail” of Great Lakes shipwrecks to this day.
  • The Mary McClane (1883)
    • One of the more bizarre reports from the Triangle’s history comes from the crew of this Chicag0-based tugboat, who claimed to have been bombarded by giant chunks of ice falling out of a clear blue sky while out on the lake. The deluge lasted for about a half-hour and left large dents in their wooden boat’s hull.
  • The Thomas Hume (May 21, 1892)
    • This three-masted schooner vanished after setting out from Chicago en route to Muskegon, Michigan, with a cargo of lumber. Her companion, the schooner Rouse-Simmons, decided to return to the shelter of the port as a storm rolled in. The Thomas decided to press onward and was never seen above water again. Her wreck was discovered in 150 feet of water in 2006.
  • The Rouse-Simmons (November 22, 1912)
    • The so-called “Christmas Tree Ship” itself would fall victim to the Triangle twenty years later as it was transporting Christmas trees from Thompson, Michigan to Chicago. Unlike the Thomas Hume, the Rouse-Simmons vanished in clear weather and was apparently sighted flying a distress flag. By the time a lifeboat from a neighboring ship reached its location, no trace of the schooner could be found. However, Wikipedia helpfully mentions that a storm had swept the area the day before, which may help demystify the incident a bit. In any case, the ship’s wreck has also been discovered, this time in 1971 near Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, in 172 feet of water. Her ghost is still reported sailing on Lake Michigan to this day.
  • Mini-Tunguska Event (November 26, 1919)
    • This one of several incidents in the Great Lakes region that has been blamed on UFOs. Several southern Michigan residents reported seeing two large balls of fire descend on Lake Michigan and, upon impact, make an explosion so powerful that it shook the Earth as far away as South Bend, Indiana. Contemporary news reports of the incident (perhaps more plausibly) attribute the incident to a meteorite.
  • The Rosabelle (1921)
    • This two-masted schooner was found capsized with all eleven crew members, all members of the Benton Harbor House of David, nowhere to be seen. The most baffling aspect of this case is that the ship showed evidence of having been in a collision, even though no other ships claimed to have collided with the schooner. Then again, some speculated at the time of the Thomas Hume’s disappearance that a larger ship had run it over, and its crew was sworn to secrecy by the captain, so maybe that’s the case here.
  • The O.M. McFarland (April 28, 1937)
    • This wasn’t a case of the ship disappearing, but rather its captain, George R. Donner. The fifty-eight-year-old had retired to his cabin, exhausted after having painstakingly guided his ship through icy and dangerous waters. A few hours later, as the ship neared its destination in Port Washington, Wisconsin, several crew members went to Donner’s cabin to wake him. When they received no answer, they broke down the door, only to find him gone. The so-called mystery behind this incident lies behind the supposed fact that Donner’s cabin was locked from the inside. However, Jeff Wagg, writing for the James Randi Educational Foundation, couldn’t find any primary sources that mention this detail, which might demystify the case a bit.
  • Northwest Airlines Flight 2501 (June 23, 1950)
    • This incident is probably the most famous disappearance to come out of the Triangle and was even the deadliest commercial airline disaster in the U.S. at the time. The DC-4 propliner was flying at 3500 feet 18 miles NNW of Benton Harbor, Michigan when its pilot requested a descent to 2500 feet after encountering turbulence. Soon after, it lost radio contact, and witnesses onshore reported hearing sputtering engines and seeing a flash of light. In contrast to some reports that say the only trace of the plane discovered was a blanket bearing the airline’s logo, the Coast Guard reported seeing an oil slick, debris, and human remains at the crash site. Certain reports that mysterious lights were seen over Lake Michigan on the night of the plane’s disappearance might be less easy to disprove. In any case, no trace of the main wreckage of the plane or its 55 passengers and 3 crew has been found since.
  • Steve Kubacki (February 21, 1978)
    • Kubacki’s case is certainly one of the strangest missing persons’ cases I’ve come across. This former Hope College student’s strange story begins in February of 1978 when he went out on a ski trip near Saugatuck, Michigan, and never returned. The only traces of him that could be found were his skiing equipment, his backpack, and a set of footprints that abruptly stopped on the shores of the lake. However, the plot thickened when Kubacki suddenly turned up alive and well in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on May 5, 1979, a full 700 miles away from his hometown. All that he could remember was that he lost consciousness at some point during the hike and woke up in Massachusetts wearing a completely different set of clothes and carrying a bag and maps that he did not recognize. Shortly after returning to Michigan, he expressed a desire to retrace his steps on that fateful hike, hoping to discover answers to the mystery. If he did figure anything out, he has kept it to himself and refuses to talk about the incident. He currently works as a psychologist in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Other Missing Persons’ Cases (21st Century)
    • Sadly, others who have disappeared in the region have not been as lucky. Christopher Hallaxs, thirty years old and an experienced outdoorsman, vanished on March 17, 2004, while heading out to his cabin in the Tahquamenon Falls State Park area in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. His snowshoe tracks ended in a tangled wooded swampland. He had stashed several food caches in the area in case he ever got lost, but none had any food missing when searchers checked them. The only other trace of him found was a spent shell casing.
    • Another man would go missing from the Tahquamenon River area four years later. 73-year-old Joe Clewley drove out to the region to hike with his dog Chip on July 13, 2008 and never returned. Despite an extensive search, neither man nor dog was anywhere to be seen. Chip inexplicably turned up at Clewley’s cabin on August 1st, malnourished but alive. Clewley, sadly, has yet to do the same.
    • No less than three days after Chip’s reappearance, 35-year-old Derrick Henegan was reported missing in nearby Newberry by his pregnant girlfriend when he failed to meet her at a local deer hunting spot. Local authorities suspect foul play was involved.
    • Amber Rose Smith was only two and a half when she disappeared from the front yard of her own home in Newaygo County in the summer of 2013. She was playing with the family dogs and had vanished in the time it took for her father to step inside and relieve himself. Much like Kubacki, Amber, thankfully, would reappear, this time on a road two miles from her house the very next day. How a two-year-old managed to navigate that distance is anyone’s guess.
  • Discovery of underwater “Stonehenge” (2007)
    • Some fringe theorists have suggested that this underwater rock formation, discovered under forty feet of water in Grand Traverse Bay by archaeologist Mike Holley in September of 2007, might be connected with the disappearances. It should be noted that the formation is not a megalith in the same sense as Salisbury Plain’s famous standing stones. It is merely a line of smaller rocks extending about a mile in length, one of which bears a carving resembling a mastodon. Researchers believe prehistoric Native American tribes used it to herd caribou. Its precise location has not been publicly disclosed, both out of a desire to preserve the site for future study and due to the wishes of the local Native American tribes.

In all, the Lake Michigan Triangle story seems to have as many holes in it as the modern-day reports from the Dragon’s Triangle. A lot of the mysterious incidents there, as with the ones from the Devil’s Sea, have been proven to have mundane causes. Unanswered questions remain, especially in the Kubacki case, but in any case, it seems that the paranormal club has overstated its case here somewhat.


The Legend of the Lake Michigan Triangle on

People Who Vanished Into Thin Air at the Michigan Triangle on Mysterious Universe

The Truth About the “Stonehenge” in Lake Michigan on Dr. Mark Holley’s personal website

5. Marysburgh Vortex (Lake Ontario)
Map showing the Marysburgh Vortex. (Marysburgh Vortex column, 0117 col King)

This one strikes a little close to home for me, seeing how I live in the Saint Lawrence River Valley. This particular Triangle seems to have been particularly dangerous in the late 19th and early 20th century, with as many as 100 ships reported lost in the area. Granted, the vast number of shipwrecks can be rationally explained by the abundance of shoals, inlets, and strange currents. This is on the western edge of the Thousand Islands archipelago, after all.

Still, stories that seem to defy rational explanation have been reported in the area. On June 29, 1900, a caravan of three schooners, the Picton, the Anne Minnes, and the Acacia, were carrying a cargo of coal from Rochester, New York, to Bellville Kingston in Ontario. At one point during the voyage, the caravan ran into heavy seas, and the Picton suddenly sank. When the two other ships reached the sinking site, they found lots of wreckage but no bodies from the seven crew members. One crew member on the Anne Minnes claimed to have seen a boy in the water who did not attempt to grab a rope that the crew member threw at him. Weeks later, a child found a message in a bottle from the Picton’s captain that read:

John Sidley, Captain of the schooner Picton, in great peril. Expect to sink at any minute. Goodbye to all friends. Finder please report to my wife.

John Sidley, captain of the Picton, June 29, 1900

Some other sources have claimed that Sidley went on to say that he had tied himself and his eleven-year-old son Vesley together. What would drive him to such actions is anyone’s guess.

Another incident from May of 1889 involved the three-masted timber drogher Bavaria, which was found run aground on a shoal near Kingston. However, when salvagers boarded her, they could find no signs of the crew, who had left freshly baked bread loaves in the oven. The ship was found to be seaworthy and towed back to Kingston, but the mystery of her missing crew continues to this day.

As modern technology has largely staunched the tide of shipwrecks in the region, UFO sightings and magnetic anomalies have largely taken their place. Some have blamed the magnetic anomalies that mess with ship’s compasses on the Charity Shoal, a ring-shaped formation located 7.5 miles southwest of Wolf Island, halfway between Sacketts Harbor, New York, and Amherst Island, Ontario. While scientists have yet to determine if it is, in fact, a meteor crater, many other meteor craters have a history of producing magnetic anomalies, which certainly could provide a more rational explanation for the large number of shipwrecks there.


The Marysburgh Vortex, Our Very Own Local Bermuda Triangle on

The Graveyard of Lake Ontario on

6. Coudersport Triangle (Pennsylvania)
The Black Forest Trail in Tiadaghton State Forest

Unlike the other Triangles on this list, this one only has one supernatural claim to fame: thunderbirds (also black panthers, but they aren’t as prominent in local lore).

The thunderbird sightings seem to be centered on the Black Forest region of northern Pennsylvania, which encompasses parts of Clinton, Potter, Lycoming, Tioga, Cameron, and McKean County. Also included in this area is Tiadaughton State Forest. Local folklorist Robert Lyman described their territory back in 1973 as “in the southern edge of the Black Forest, north of Susquehanna River, between Pine Creek at the east and Kettle Creek at the west. All reports for the past 20 years come from this area.”

Sightings of the giant birds date back to the nineteenth century, that is, if one doesn’t count the many times these birds show up in Native American folklore. Lyman himself claimed to have seen a large vulture sitting on a road outside Coudersport in the early 1940s that proceeded to unfold its twenty-foot wingspan and fly off into the nearby woods. Another sighting from 1969 comes from the wife of Clinton County sheriff John Bovle, who claimed to have seen a gray-colored bird with a seventy-five-foot wingspan splash down on Little Pine Creek while she was sitting in front of the family cabin. Three other men would come forward that summer claiming that they saw a giant bird carry off a 15-pound fawn near Kettle Creek. A group of motorists in Lycoming County reported seeing a dark-colored winged creature with a wingspan “almost like [that of] an airplane” flying toward the town of Jersey Shore on October 28, 1970.

Sightings across Pennsylvania have continued well into the 21st century. A wave of sightings occurred in the northwestern corner of the state in June and July of 2001, with witnesses describing a dark gray bird with a 15 to 17-foot wingspan. Other sightings include a black bird with a ten-foot wingspan reported near Bryn Athyn in the opposite corner of the state on May 26, 2013, and a black or grayish-brown bird with a 10-15 foot wingspan seen over South Greensburg on September 25, 2001.


7. Virginia Triangle (Virginia/North Carolina)

No, this isn’t about the Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg. This Triangle refers to a vortex that, at least according to Loren Coleman, exists over the Great Dismal Swamp that straddles the border between Virginia and North Carolina.

There is a lot of actual history behind this Triangle that is just as, if not more, interesting than the paranormal history. The swamp was “discovered” in 1655 by William Drummond, and the lake in the center of the swamp (one of only two natural lakes in Virginia) was named after him. Of course, Chesapeake and Chowan natives lived in the region long before the white man came, but of course, the white man didn’t care back then. Indeed, no less a figure than George Washington himself sought to drain the entire swamp and replace it with farmland. While the swamp’s massive size rendered that plan unworkable, timber was still a major industry in the swamp. By the time the swamp was designated as a National Wildlife Refuge in 1973, it had been reduced to half its size.

But by far the most fascinating part of the swamp’s history is its “maroon communities.” These communities were largely formed by enslaved Africans who escaped and fled into the wilderness to avoid recapture. The maroon communities dated back to at least 1700 and lasted all the way until the Civil War. Harriet Beecher Stowe, famed abolitionist and author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, even based a novel on the Great Dismal Swamp maroons called Dred: A Tale of the Dismal Swamp, published in 1856 by Phillips, Samson and Co.

Of course, when a place has a history as rich as that, ghost stories tend to follow. Some of the paranormal phenomena reported in the swamp include ghost lights, hunters reporting their kills vanishing with nary a drop of blood in sight, and ghostly figures dressed in anything from colonial-era garb to early 20th-century lumberjack fashion. One story tells of a phantom cemetery that appears to anyone who’s lost their way in the swamp. Others tell of sightings of giant snakes and Bigfoot-type creatures in the swamp.

But the most famous paranormal tale to come from the swamp is the tale of a pair of star-crossed Native American lovers. After the bride died on the morning they were supposed to be wed, the groom, driven mad with grief, claimed he could see her paddling a white canoe on Lake Drummond. He constructed a makeshift raft to try to reach her, but the raft collapsed out from under him, and he drowned. To this day, the ghost of the Lady of the Lake and her lover continue to haunt the shores of Lake Drummond in their white canoe. The story has inspired several works of art, including A Ballad-The Lake of Dismal Swamp by Irish poet Thomas More, “The Lake” by Edgar Allen Poe, and The White Canoe, a hand puppet play by the notoriously macabre children’s writer and illustrator Edward Gorey, found among his papers after his death in 2000.

Another mystery from the Great Dismal Swamp concerns how exactly Lake Drummond came into existence. There are no rivers that flow into or out of it, as it is the swamp’s highest point. Some geologists believe a tectonic shift formed it. Others, pointing to Native American legends of a “firebird” that created the lake, have argued that it was formed either by a meteor or a part of the peat layer that underlies the entire swamp catching fire.


8. Big Lick Triangle (Indiana/Kentucky)

This Triangle comes to us from local folklorist Ben Schneider, who created a website cataloging the menagerie of paranormal phenomena that has occurred in an area he calls the Big Lick Triangle. The Triangle gets its name from its three supposed vertices: the town of French Lick in Orange County, Indiana; Big Bone Lick State Park in Boone County, Kentucky; and Pope Lick Creek in Jefferson County, Kentucky. It covers 2,269.9 square miles and includes parts of 10 counties in Indiana and seven counties in Kentucky. As one can see from the picture above, there’s a lot of weird stuff going on there. Allow me to recount some of the more interesting occurrences in chronological order:

Clark County, Indiana (1170): The Welsh Prince Madoc allegedly sets up a fort on what is now Charleston State Park after landing in Mobile Bay, Alabama, and sailing up the Mississippi. Unwelcoming natives eventually kill the prince and his entire company. Despite tales of blonde Welsh-speaking “white Indians” in the region, no hard evidence of the story has come to light. One surveyor claimed to have discovered a stone fortification on the shores of the Ohio River in 1873, but it was reportedly cannibalized to help build a bridge across the river in 1888.

Trimble County, Kentucky (colonial era): The natives warn white settlers to stay away from this region for fear of the “wild people.” Settlers later report hairy men throwing rocks and tree limbs, stealing livestock, breaking into outdoor freezers, and looking through their windows.

Floyd County, Indiana (1700s): Several Native Americans are killed in skirmishes with settlers. Their ghosts reportedly haunt the region to this day.

Floyd County, Indiana (early 1800s): A giant snake, 30-40 feet in length and wide as a barrel, is reportedly seen by pioneer farmers.

French Lick, Indiana (late 1800s): Two black horses and their colt are struck by lightning and killed. Their ghosts have been seen running for shelter ever since whenever a storm rolls in.

Vevay, Indiana (1891-1894): Several sightings of creatures called “mud mermaids” are reported along the Ohio River’s shores. They were said to be lizard-like but with “strikingly human” faces and showed no signs of intelligence.

Henryville, Indiana (early 1900s): A young woman dies in a car wreck on Blue Lick Road and is buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery. She now haunts the cemetery as “the Green Lady,” throwing herself on parked cars and leaving green ectoplasm behind.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Jefferson County, Kentucky (1910 onwards): The former tuberculosis hospital has become infamous as one of the most haunted places in the United States. As such, many popular ghost hunting shows have visited the location, including the teams from Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Most Haunted, and my personal favorite, Buzzfeed Unsolved.

Pope Lick Trestle, Jefferson County, Kentucky (the 1940s/50s): Stories of the satyr-like Pope Lick Goatman begin. Stories of the Goatman attacking passersby with a bloody ax or luring them to get run over by oncoming trains are only some of the stories that are told about him in local legend.

Boone County, Kentucky (the 1950s): A Bigfoot nicknamed “Satan” by locals terrorizes several people in the Big Bone Area.

Louisville, Kentucky (1953): A man claims a grey alien contacted him. The city has allegedly been a UFO hotspot ever since.

French Lick, Indiana (1960s): A Bigfoot-like creature with glowing red eyes is seen several times and dubbed “Fluorescent Freddy” by locals. Several large tracks are also frequently spotted in nearby Hoosier National Forest.

Warsaw, Kentucky (the 1960s): A family reportedly dies in a house fire. The site of the tragedy is now allegedly haunted by sirens, ghostly fire trucks, and tortured screams.

Rising Sun, Indiana (1969): A farmer’s power goes out as several UFOs flock over his house. He later sees a Bigfoot in his yard and finds four-toed footprints.

Hoosier National Forest, Indiana (1970s): A wave of thunderbird sightings occurs in the park.

Lockport, Kentucky (the 1970s): A Bigfoot reportedly harasses several farms, stealing chickens and canned foods and throwing rocks. A local farmer’s wife claims to have chased it off with a broom several times.

Milton, Kentucky (1975): A “lizard man” with zebra stripes, a forked tongue, and bulging eyes was seen roaming the woods around the local automobile junkyard.

Ohio County, Indiana (1980): A man reports a Bigfoot charged at him as he was getting out of his car on State Road 56. He apparently scares it off the next night by shooting at it.

Boone County, Kentucky (1980): A Bigfoot jumps into the Ohio River to escape a scared family who starts shooting at it.

Corydon, Indiana (1987): Wave of UFO sightings, reportedly saucer-shaped.

Clarksville, Indiana (2006): A giant fireball is seen making figure-eights in the sky.

Bon’s Chapel Graveyard, Paoli, Indiana: The headstone of a soldier killed in battle is seen glowing on some night, with the black-clad ghost of his lover standing over it.

Blue River, Indiana: Local legend tells of a woman decapitated by a fishing line strung across the river. Her ghost is still seen on the river banks, searching for her head to this day.

Charlestown, Indiana: The ghost of a hobo who died on Tunnel Mill Road is said to manifest on 10 Penny Bridge whenever a person turns their car engine and lights off. If one leaves a row of ten pennies on the road, they will either be gone or scattered when you turn the lights back on.

Scottsburg, Indiana: Several ghosts reportedly haunt the local Bridgewater/Owens Cemetery. One called “Old Red Eyes” reportedly circles parked cars and leaves handprints. A white horse chases gawkers at night, and the tombstone of a soldier who awakens to guard the cemetery gate every night glows in the dark.

Madison, Indiana: Reportedly has several haunted locations. Charlie, the ghost haunting the elevator at the Jefferson County Library, apparently has a habit of sexually harassing female passengers. The Ohio Theater is haunted by a heartbroken chorus girl who committed suicide there. The old State Hospital is reportedly haunted by the ghosts of mentally ill people who were imprisoned there.

Big Bone Lick State Park, Kentucky: The so-called “birthplace of American paleontology” is reportedly haunted by several ghosts, many of them Native American. An evil spirit who was murdered in the park reportedly delights in stealing children.

Fort Knox, Jefferson County: Several silent black helicopters have been reported flying into and out of the Bullion Depository’s airspace.

And I think I’ve made my point here. Suffice it to say, this Triangle offers a lot for the avid legend tripper. Just remember to make sure you’re not liable to be arrested for trespassing in the course of your explorations.


9. Nevada Triangle (Nevada/California)

This Triangle is said to cover the area between Las Vegas, Fresno, and Reno. That’s certainly a lot of territory, including such diverse areas as the Great Basin Desert, the Sierra Nevada mountain range, three national parks (Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon), and even Area 51. Could that explain why over two thousand planes have either crashed or gone missing over the area in the last seventy years? Well, before we jump from zero to aliens, let’s look over the facts of some of the more famous Nevada Triangle incidents.

Leonard C. Lydon (1941): This Air Force Lieutenant is leading a fighter squadron on a training exercise over the Kings Canyon region when a malfunction leads him to bail out of his plane. The wreckage has never been found, despite Lydon claiming to have witnessed where the plane went down.

The Lost B-24 (December 5, 1943): This aircraft was scheduled for a routine night training mission between Fresno, Bakersfield, and Tucson when it lost radio contact. The mystery almost deepened when another B-24, part of a squadron of nine sent to look for the plane, also vanished. Fortunately, two of that plane’s six crew members survived and revealed that it had been lost when the pilot mistook the Huntington Lake Reservoir’s frozen surface for a forest clearing. The wreckage was recovered in 1955 when the reservoir was drained to help make repairs to the dam. The other missing B-24 was finally found next to a then-unnamed lake in July of 1960 by geographical surveyors. The lake was named Hester Lake as a memorial to the plane’s co-pilot, 2nd Lieutenant Robert M. Hester.

David Steeves (May 9, 1957): This time, the plane was a T-33 training jet on a flight from San Francisco to Arizona. This was another case where the pilot lived to tell the tale, although it took him fifty-four days to reach civilization in Kings Canyon. He explained that something exploded in his aircraft, forcing him to bail out. He badly injured his ankles upon landing and was forced to drag his parachute behind him to keep warm at night. He spent 15 days in freezing temperatures until he found a National Park Service cabin 20 miles away from where he landed. He nursed himself back to health with the canned foods he found inside and hunted and fished until he felt ready to rediscover civilization. The only trace of his plane that has been found so far is the canopy, discovered by a group of Boy Scouts in 1977.

Charles Ogle (August 1964): This wealthy real estate tycoon vanished while on a flight from Oakland to Las Vegas. His disappearance is especially odd when you consider that he was a trained pilot from his days in the Marine Corps. No trace of the plane or its pilot has ever been found.

The Gambler’s Special (February 18, 1969): More formally known as Hawthorne Nevada Airlines Flight 708, this plane, which was carrying 32 prospective gamblers and three crew on a round trip between Long Beach, Burbank, and Hawthorne, Nevada, was lost with all hands. Five members of the search party died before the wreckage was discovered on Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States. No cause for the crash has ever been determined.

Ross Mulhare (July 11, 1986): This Air Force Major lost his life when the F-117 he was piloting crashed into a mountain near Bakersfield. As with the above case, no cause for the crash has been determined.

Steve Fossett (September 3, 2007): Fossett’s story is probably the most famous to come out of the Triangle. The businessman and record-setting aviator vanished along with his single-engine Bellanca Super Decathlon over Nevada’s Great Basin Desert. While several plane wrecks were discovered during the month-long search, none of them were Fossett’s. The plane was finally discovered in September of 2008 when a hiker stumbled across his plane, his identification tags, and two of his bones in the Sierra Nevadas, 65 miles south of his take-off site.

Naturally, given the aforementioned Area 51 connection, some are quick to blame UFOs and/or secret government experiments for the high number of plane crashes in the area. However, the more scientifically-minded are quick to point out the Sierra Nevada’s unique and unpredictable geography and weather patterns, particularly the so-called “mountain wave.” This is the local name for the sudden downdrafts and microbursts that occur when the Pacific Jet Stream collides with the Sierras at a perpendicular angle. These downdrafts can even reach speeds of 400 miles per hour, which is certainly bad news for any plane that finds itself at its mercy.


Nevada Triangle- A Trap on the Mountains on Legends of America

10. Alaska Triangle (Alaska)

This Triangle may be the single largest I’ve covered on this list (the Dragon’s Triangle might be larger, but the paranormal authors can’t seem to make up their mind on exactly how big that Triangle is). It covers much of the Frontier State’s eastern half, spanning between Barrow, Anchorage, and Juneau. According to official sources, the rate of people who go missing in Alaska is about four in every 1,000 people, about twice the national average. In 2007 alone, 2,833 people were reported missing. Keep in mind, this is a state with a total population smaller than the entire city of San Francisco (710,249 vs. 881,549).

Perhaps the most famous disappearance to occur in the Triangle was none other than U.S. House Majority Leader Hale Boggs (D-Louisiana). Boggs was in Alaska campaigning on behalf of fellow Democratic Representative Nick Begich. The two were on a flight from Anchorage to Juneau alongside Begich’s aide, Russell Brown, and pilot Don Jonz on October 16, 1972, when the plane seemingly vanished into thin air. The search involved 400 aircraft and numerous boats and covered 32,000 square miles. But it was all for naught, and no trace of the plane or its occupants has ever been found.

Naturally, supernatural portals and UFOs have been blamed. One Japanese pilot on a trip from Iceland to Anchorage even claims to have had a close encounter with a group of three UFOs over Alaskan airspace in 1986. He described one of them as being twice the size of an aircraft carrier and that the two smaller ones zipped in front of his plane at very close range. Air traffic controllers on the ground even caught the strange airships on their radar. The pilot reported seeing the crafts speed up and slow down suddenly and even disappear and reappear as he took evasive maneuvers to try to shake them off. They tailed him for 32 minutes over 400 miles before they finally lost interest and vanished for the last time.

Some fringe theorists have even pointed to the Kushtaka as a culprit for the high vanishing rate. This demonic entity from indigenous Tlingit folklore is a shapeshifting half-man half-otter type creature that lures people into the wilderness by imitating women or children calling for help. It then captures the lost person’s soul and steals it away to its own realm. Sometimes the Kushtaka will violently rip a hapless victim to pieces. Other times the creature will turn victims into a Kushtaka themselves. This is sometimes done because the Kushtaka is trying to save the person from drowning or freezing to death. This gives them the power to shapeshift and perform Jedi mind tricks on humans.

Of course, there are many non-supernatural ways for a person to be lost and never found in eastern Alaska. The Triangle area includes the Barrow Mountain Range, dense forests, hidden caves, massive glaciers with deep crevasses, and lots of untamed wildlife. Heavy snowfall and avalanches can bury a dead body very quickly in the wintertime, and it can be very easy to stumble into one of the three million lakes within Alsaka’s borders and drown. With all those dangers lurking about, it’s probably no wonder so many people have gone missing in the state.

Although in Hale Bogg’s case, some people have brought up that he made a speech viscously attacking J. Edgar Hoover and the F.B.I. in April of 1971. And Hoover certainly was no stranger to playing dirty with his opponents. But that’s all just speculation.


The Alaska Triangle- Disappearing Into Thin Air on Legends of America

And there you have it: ten supernatural triangles and all the strange unsolved mysteries that have happened in them. Maybe we’ve debunked a few of them along the way, but it was certainly a fun ride. Indeed, there’s a lot more I have to say on the subject of supernatural triangles in the future. For example, I still have at least ten more triangles I could talk about in a future article. I could also examine Ivan T. Sanderson’s so-called “Vile Vortices” (of which the Bermuda Triangle and the Devil’s Sea are a part) to see whether they really are all that vile. I could even cover some of the more famous disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle itself and see whether or not they were really as mysterious as the paranormal crowd makes them out to be.

But that’s all for another time. Join me on the next article where I do a “P.J.’s Ultimate Playlist” episode on my personal favorite rock band of all time. Until next time, beautiful watchers!