14 Bermuda Triangle Stories (The Unexplained to Downright Strange)

Map marked with the Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle has many scary stories about strange disappearances. Not only have people disappeared, but their boats, airplanes, and ships have, too, without the slightest trace of wreckage or debris! Popular culture often credits the Devil's Triangle as a place where the laws of physics don't apply, paranormal activity is heightened, and possible alien abductions.

Flight 19 Disappears

One of the most famous unexplained and spooky disappearances happened on December 5, 1945, when a training flight of TBM (Torpedo Bomber) Avenger airplanes went missing over the Atlantic. Their flight path was scheduled to take them out over the Atlantic on a 300-mile round-trip journey to the naval base. Flight 19 never returned.

Rumors circulated that the training flight encountered an unknown phenomenon. Some experts cite a naval report detailing causes or reasons unknown for the missing crafts and men. Another creepy element of the mystery surrounding Flight 19 is that the rescue craft with 13 men on board went missing during their search and were never heard from again. No debris or wreckage for that aircraft was ever found.

Ellen Austin and the Ghost Ship

The story of the Ellen Austin is recreated often in various television programs. The Ellen Austin was an American schooner and traveled a regular route back and forth from New York to London. The ship had to travel across the Bermuda Triangle on each crossing. It's said that in 1881, the Ellen Austin left London on her way to New York.

Halfway there, the ship came upon another ship that was adrift. They boarded the ship and discovered there was no one on board. No bodies, no sign of any altercations. Nothing was out of place with the crew's personal belonging still on board. The ship's stores were still there. Strangely, besides the crew, the only thing missing was the Captain's logbook and the ship's nameplate. Even the cargo was still on board.

Placing a small crew onboard the abandoned ship, the Captain instructed the men to sail alongside the Ellen Austin as the two ships set sail once more towards New York. However, they ran into a squall and the two ships were separated. When the Ellen Austin reunited with the odd ship, the men that the captain had left onboard were missing. Just as before, nothing on board the ship was out of place.

There are several versions of this story. One tells how a second crew was set on the abandoned ship and once more the two ships were separated by a storm and yet again, when the Ellen Austin caught up with the ship, that crew was also missing. Another claims the Captain attempted to place another small crew on board the strange ship, but none of the men would obey his order. One other version skips the abandoned ship and tells of the Ellen Austin arriving near New York with no one on board.

Disappearance of the Mary Celeste Crew

The Mary Celeste, 282-ton brigantine, left New York City for Genoa, Italy on November 7, 1872 with a cargo of industrial alcohol (1,701 barrels). The ship stores were enough for a six-month voyage. On board was Captain Benjamin Spooner Briggs, his wife, Sarah, their 2-year-old daughter, Sophia, and a crew of seven men. The last entry in the Captain's log was on November 24, 1872, at 5 am.

On December 5, 1872, the British Brig Dei Gratia spotted the Mary Celeste drifting and upon boarding the vessel, discovered the crew was missing. They found the charts had been strewn about, but everything else was in place. However, the lifeboat was missing, making the Captain believe the ship had been abandoned. Granted there was a little over three feet of water in the bottom of the ship, but it didn't warrant the Captain abandoning it.

The Dei Gratia crew sailed the ship to Gibraltar, some 800 miles. No sign of the Captain, his wife and child, or his crew, or the lifeboat was ever found.

Vintage engraving of Brig ship

Joshua Slocum and His Sloop, the Spray

Joshua Slocum began his sailing career on the Tangier, a British merchant ship. He sailed all over the world. Once when he and his family were stranded in Brazil after he wrecked his ship, he built a 35' ship, using various materials he was able to scrounge up. He sailed his family home taking one year to reach Boston. He went on to be the first person to sail solo around the world. It took him three years to complete his epic journey. He wrote books about his many nautical adventures.

In 1909, at the age of 65, Slocum set out from Martha's Vineyard in his 37-foot sloop, Spray, to Orinoco and the Amazon River. He was last seen sailing along the coast of Miami. He and the Spray disappeared as though they just simply vanished.

Passenger Flights Disappear

Passenger planes are one of the most common type of disappearances along with small boats. In 1948, an aircraft numbered NC16002 vanished while flying from San Juan to Miami. No trace of the plane and its 32 passengers were ever found.

Two more passenger aircraft operated by British South American Airways vanished. One vanished in 1948 and the other one disappeared in 1949. Both planes were on flights from Bermuda to Jamaica. Each flight passed through the triangle and earned their place in the history of Bermuda Triangle disappearances.

Passenger Flights Disappear

Connemara IV

On September 26, 1955, the pleasure yacht, Connemara IV, was found near Bermuda, abandoned and adrift. The crew had vanished, and many people speculated that somehow the ship had survived three hurricanes during the time period it had been at sea, yet the crew apparently hadn't.

However, hurricane history of the area suggests this commonly cited tidbit is inaccurate. The mystery seemed to be solved by author Winer Berlitz in his book, Bermuda Triangle. He writes that the ship's owner had attempted to reinforce the moorings in anticipation of the approaching Hurricane Janet, but the yacht had been dragged out to sea. Still, this ship tale is usually erroneously included as one of the Bermuda Triangle disappearances.

It Was Witchcraft

In December 1967, the U.S. Coast Guard received a distress call from the Witchcraft, a 23' cabin cruiser with two men onboard. The luxury cruiser belonged to a hotel owner named Dan Burack. On December 22, 1967, Burack and his friend Father Patrick Horgan set out to cruise the shoreline to enjoy the Christmas lights. They weren't even a mile out when around 9 pm, Burack called the Coast Guard, reporting he'd hit something in the water that had damaged the boat propeller and required a tow. He was very calm, according to the Coast Guard, and stated it wasn't an emergency.

The Coast Guard arrived at the coordinates around 9:20 pm, but the men and the boat weren't there. The cruiser had a customized flotation device, just so the boat couldn't sink. An extensive search was made, but no trace of the men or the boat was ever found.

Cruise ship sailing on the sea

Cessna Disappearance

In 1969, a Cessna vanished while flying from Nassau in the Bahamas to Grand Turk Island, 24-year-old Carolyn Cascio was the pilot and her boyfriend the passenger. The couple planned a romantic weekend getaway, but as they near Grand Turk, Carolyn described the island to the airport controller, but she saw no lights on the island or the other ones. She claimed there were no lights, no signs of any type of buildings or structures.

There are rumors of people on the islands saw her plane circling the islands for half an hour. Yet, she was never sighted by the controller or another plane, also in the vicinity, attempting to spot her. This may simply be a case of a lost pilot and a controller who mistook her to be describing Grand Turk. Whatever happened, Carolyn and her boyfriend perished when her plane ran out of fuel. No sign of the couple and their plane were ever found.

Plane Disappears One Mile From Airport

In November 1978, one of the most bizarre disappearances happened only one mile from the airport in St Thomas. Flying out of St Croix, seasoned professional pilot Irving Rivers made a solo flight in a Piper Navajo commuter plane.

He was in contact with the control tower on St. Thomas and cleared to land at the airport. In fact, the controller had a visual of the plane's blinking lights. On the final approach to the airport, after having talked with the air traffic controller, his plane simply vanished. It disappeared from radar. No wreckage or his body were ever found.

G-BAVM Piper PA31 Navajo Chieftan Air Commuter

Christopher Columbus Bermuda Triangle Story

There is a legend that on his first voyage to discover America, Christopher Columbus had a few unexplained experiences in the Bermuda Triangle. The story unfolds with the night sighting of a strange unidentified fire in the sky that plummeted into the ocean.

A candle flame was seen in the night sky several weeks later. In addition to the strange lights, often explained by scientists as probably nothing more than meteorites, Columbus recorded that his compass was malfunctioning. Over the course of a few weeks, he wrote about how the compass behaved erratically. This is a common phenomenon for many people who pass through the Bermuda Triangle.

Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria - Christopher Columbus' ships

SS Marine Sulphur Queen

In 1963, a converted oil tanker known as the SS Marine Sulphur Queen with a crew compliment of 39 "sailed into the unknown" according to the 1964 Argosy Magazine article. The vessel was last seen near the Florida Keys and was never found.

This story is retold as a mysterious disappearance in the Bermuda Triangle. However, it may not be quite so mysterious based on a Coast Guard investigation. The conclusion of the investigation was that the ship was unseaworthy. The report stated that the ship should never have been allowed to sail due to its lack of regular maintenance and very poor design. These unsafe factors of the ship were considered contributable to its disappearance, although no bodies, wreckage or debris were ever found.

USS Cyclops

Barbados makes up one corner of the Bermuda Triangle. On or about March 4, 1918, the U.S. Naval vessel Cyclops set sail from the island of Barbados with Lt. Cdr. G. W. Worley in command. The crew of 309 and the ship were never seen again. While many theories have speculated what happened to the vessel, no theory has ever been proven.

Some of those theories included she was captured by a German ship and her cargo of manganese ore confiscated by the Germans. However, the German government denied having seen the ship, much less captured it. Eventually, the U.S. Navy concluded the ship must have been sunk during a storm of some sort.

Star Tiger

The mysterious disappearance of the Star Tiger, a British South American Airways Tudor IV flight on January 30, 1948, has never been explained. The plane left out of England with a Bermuda destination. There were 31 people on board.

The flight seemed uneventful, with the captain radioing that they should arrive at 5 am. That was the last the flight was heard from. There were several theories about what may have happened to the plane, such as the plane flying too low in order to keep the cabin temperature warmer and ended up burning too much fuel. It might be that the plane descended too quickly, and other such possible causes. No trace was ever found of the passengers or the plane.

Cessna Employees' Plane Crash

This Bermuda Triangle tale is filled with questions. In 1984, several Cessna employees decided to have a fun trip to Bimini Islands. The group had an accumulation of decades' experience. They set out from Fort Lauderdale, but halfway there, the plane reduced its air speed. The group never called for help.

Before long, the plane dropped off radar. It simply fell into the water below. One eyewitness stated she saw the plane just drop out of the air. No wreckage was found after an exhaustive search. This was just one more mysterious happening within the Bermuda Triangle.

Unexplained and Strange Bermuda Triangle Stories

The mysterious region of the Bermuda Triangle and the disappearances in the area have intrigued people for decades. There are many theories about why ships, planes, and crews have vanished, including tales of alien abduction, electromagnetic storms, energy vortexes, and more. The many scary stories about the fate of the missing people, planes, and ships continue to fascinate those interested in the unexplained and paranormal.

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14 Bermuda Triangle Stories (The Unexplained to Downright Strange)