The mystery of the bermuda triangle

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THE MYSTERY OF THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE



This area is referred to as the Bermuda Triangle, the Devil's Triangle, the Limbo of the Lost, and The Twilight Zone. A geographical area of about 3,900,000 sq km bordered by Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Florida, USA in which there have been numerous unexplained disappearances of ships and aircraft.

It did not receive its most famous nickname until 1964, but reports of bizarre happenings there, or nearby, have been recorded for centuries. In fact, many claim that Christopher Columbus bore witness to the Bermuda Triangle's weirdness.

As the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria sailed through the area in 1492, it is reported that Columbus's compass went haywire and that he and his crew saw weird lights in the sky - Columbus wrote of seeing "a great flame of fire" that crashed into the ocean (probably a meteor). He saw lights in the sky again on October 11, which was the day before his famous landing. The lights, brief flashes near the horizon, were spotted in the area where dry land turned out to be.

From the mid-19th century a total of more than 50 ships and 20 planes are supposed to have disappeared in the Triangle. The Bermuda Triangle legend really began in earnest on December 5, 1945, with the famed disappearance of Flight 19. It is one of the most notorious cases related with the Triangle. Five United States torpedo bombers left Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 5, 1945, on a routine training flight in good conditions. None of them returned. Even the seaplane that was sent out to find them vanished. Six aircraft and 27 men were gone without a trace. But it wasn't the first modern strange disappearance — there was a ship called the Cyclops in 1909 with which 309 men disappeared.

Other stories about the region include ships found abandoned with warm food left on the tables and planes that disappear without even making a distress call. The absence of wreckage is often cited as proof of the mysterious power of the Triangle. There was the Marine Queen that disappeared in the Triangle in 1963, the Sylvia Ossa was lost in 1976, and a freighter, the Poet — a 320-m ship — disappeared in 1980.

Explanations are legion, and include death rays from Atlantis (some say that the lost continent is pulling the ships down) and UFO kidnappings. Less fantastic analyses suggest that fierce currents and deep water could explain the lack of wreckage. The deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean, the 9174-m-deep Puerto Rico Trench, lies within the Bermuda Triangle. There the ocean abruptly drops from a hundred m. deep to several thousand m. deep. Planes and ships that sink to such depths are seldom seen again.
Some scientists point out that several of the losses attributed to the Bermuda Triangle actually occurred as far as 1,000 km outside it. If you plot all of the alleged instances of the area's malevolent influence on a map, you find that only some have actually happened within the Triangle's borders.

Furthermore, military and civil craft pass through the region every day without mishap.

The opinions on the Bermuda Triangle polarize: some say that with improved deep sea diving techniques it is likely that more of the lost vessels will be recovered, but it is equally likely that the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle will linger in the imagination for a long time.

This region was forever christened the Bermuda Triangle by writer Vincent Gaddis in his article submitted to a 1964 issue of Argosy, a fiction magazine. Public interest in the "phenomenon" was whipped by Charles Berlitz's 1974 bestseller The Bermuda Triangle. The book sold nearly 20 million copies in 30 languages. In his book Berlitz cites about 200 incidents attributed to the inherent strangeness of the area. More books exploring the Triangle mystery followed.

The Triangle also owes much of its popularity to Hollywood. There are many films based on the Triangle stories. The first film based on the Triangle was The Bermuda Triangle in 1978. After that, other films included The Triangle in 2001, The Triangle (a TV miniseries) in 2005, and Triangle in 2009.

Some say that the strange disappearances continue in the Triangle even in the 21st century. In 2010 a ship left Puerto Rico for Florida, USA but never reached its destination. The ship seems to have vanished without a trace. No wreckage has been found.

Vocabulary

Limbo преддверие ада

Twilight сумерки, сумеречный

Aircraft авиация

Bizarre странный, причудливый

Weirdness странность, отклонение от нормы

To go haywire пойти на перекос, «сойти с ума»

Bomber бомбардировщик

Seaplane гидросамолет

Distress call сигнал бедствия

UFO –unidentified flying object- НЛО

Wreckage обломки крушения

Instance (здесь) пример

Malevolent злобный

Mishap несчастье

Inherent присущий, свойственный

Ex. 1 Answer the questions:


    1. How many countries border the Bermuda Triangle?

    2. What is the size of this area?

    3. When were the words “The Bermuda Triangle” used for the first time?

    4. What did Columbus experience on his passage through the area in 1492?

    5. How many ships are reported to have disappeared in the Triangle?

    6. Why is the Triangle mystery said to begin in December 1945?

    7. How many persons were lost as a result of that tragedy?

    8. What stories circulate about the Triangle?

    9. What is the proof (as some claim) of the mysterious power of this area?

    10. Where does the Puerto Rico Trench lie? How deep is it?

    11. Have all disasters attributed to the Triangle actually happened there?

    12. Do ships and planes pass through the Bermuda Triangle nowadays?

    13. Who “invented” the term “the Bermuda Triangle”?

    14. What would happen if we had more advanced deep sea diving techniques?

Ex. 2 True of false?



  1. The Bermuda Triangle lies in the centre of the Atlantic.

  2. It was Christopher Columbus who referred to this area as “the Triangle”.

  3. Columbus saw strange things in the sky the day before he “discovered” America.

  4. As some state more than 20 planes vanished in the area over the period of 150 years.

  5. The Triangle legend did not draw media attention until “Flight 19” case.

  6. Six planes were lost in the Bermuda Triangle on December 5, 1945.

  7. There are few explanations of the Triangle mystery.

  8. The ocean in this are is generally calm, no strong currents.


  9. The ocean is very deep there.

  10. Numerous mishaps associated with the Triangle led to the military and civil craft having been banned to pass through this region.

  11. Lots of books were written on the subject some of which became bestsellers.

  12. People have already lost the interest in the Triangle phenomenon.

Ex. 3 Translate into English

Зона, граничить, необъяснимый, прозвище, поблизости, нести, свидетельство, вспышка, горизонт, по настоящему, скандально-известный, рутинный, тренировочный полет, без следа, заброшенный (покинутый), отсутствие, луч, похищение, приписывать (что-либо кому/чему-либо), предполагаемый, мнение, улучшать, задерживаться (оставаться), крестить, фантастика (выдумка).

Ex. 4 Translate into English

1. У этого региона много прозвищ, самое известное –Бермудский Треугольник, хотя есть и другие. Например, Сумеречная Зона. 2. Необьяснимые исчезновения кораблей и самолетов всегда привлекали общественный интерес к этому региону. Правда, скептики утверждают, что только малая часть катастроф, приписываемых Треугольнику, на самом деле случилась в его границах. 3.Когда корабль пересекал этот район, что-то странное начало происходить с компасом. Он, как будто, сошел с ума. 4. Неожиданно мы увидели огромный огненный шар, который пронесся по небу и рухнул в океан. «Это просто метеорит»,-сказал капитан. 5. Над горизонтом были замечены короткие, яркие вспышки света. Говорят, что этот феномен наблюдал еще Колумб в 15 веке. 6. Самолет исчез без следа, даже не послав сигнал бедствия. Несколько кораблей, отправленных на его поиски, тоже не вернулись. 7. На столе была еще теплая, нетронутая еда. Отсутствие людей на заброшенном корабле является свидетельством наличия каких-то мистических сил. 8. Возьмите карту и укажите на ней места наиболее известных морских катастроф. Нет, этот случай произошел в Индийском океане, а не в Атлантике. 9. Мнения по этой проблеме разделились. Некоторые винят во всем сильное течение и Пуэрто- Риканскую Впадину- самое глубокое место в Атлантическом океане. Вы знаете, где она находится? 10. Книга подстегнула интерес широких масс к этой проблеме. За несколько месяцев было продано 20 миллионов экземпляров. 11. Пуэрто- Рико граничит с США и Бермудскими островами.

Ex. 5 Complete the sentences, use the information from the text.


    1. ….among which are the Limbo of the Lost and the Devil’s Triangle.

    2. …where a lot of ships and planes have vanished since the mid 19th century.

    3. …which he described as “a great flame of fire”.

    4. …were found abandoned.

    5. …prove that the Triangle has some mysterious power.

    6. Sometimes planes disappear and did not even make…

    7. There are lots of explanations including…

    8. In the Bermuda triangle there is the deepest…

    9. To find the remains of the ships and aircraft lost in the Triangle we will need…

    10. Some scientists suggest less fantastic explanations…

    11. Up to 200 incidents are attributed to…

Ex. 6 Replace the pronouns with the nouns from the text



  1. The area of the Triangle is bordered by them.

  2. The area got it in 1964.

  3. It broke down when Columbus’ ships were sailing through the Triangle.

  4. Ship was found with it on the table.

  5. They left Fort Lauderdale on December 5, 1945.

  6. Ships and planes that sink in it will never be seen again.

  7. They may be blamed for the mishaps in the triangle.

  8. It was a bestselling book of 1974.

  9. They flashed near the horizon.

  10. It can pull the ship down into the depth of the ocean.

  11. It was a fiction magazine.

Ex. 7 What events do these sentences refer to? Give more details.


  1. Six planes and 27 men were gone without a trace.

  2. Strange lights were spotted in the area where land was later discovered.

  3. The book sold 20 million copies.

  4. The region was christened the Bermuda Triangle.

  5. 309 men disappeared.

Ex. 8 Arrange the sentences into the chronological order and supply the dates for the events..



  1. Charles Berlitz published his famous book The Bermuda Triangle

  2. The Cyclops vanished with 309 men aboard.

  3. Six US military planes disappeared.

  4. The Poet was lost in the Triangle.

  5. Vincent Gaddis gave the region its most famous nickname.

Read an extract from The Bermuda Triangle by Charles Berlitz and answer the following questions:



  1. Do Berlitz himself believe in the mysterious power of the region?

  2. Did Berlitz’s explanations make the Flight 19 story less mysterious?

The disappearance of Flight 19 (adapted and abridged)

When all the facts are closely inspected the tale of Flight 19 becomes less puzzling.

All of the crewmen of five bombers were rookies, with the exception of their patrol leader, Lt. Charles Taylor. Taylor was perhaps not at the height of his abilities that day, as some reports indicate that he had a hangover.

With the four inexperienced pilots entirely dependent on his guidance, Taylor found that his compass malfunctioned soon into the flight. Taylor chose to continue the flight navigating by sighting landmarks below. Being familiar with the islands of the Florida Keys Taylor had reason to feel confident in flying by sight. But visibility became poor due to stormy weather and he quickly became disoriented.

Flight 19 was still in radio contact with the Fort Lauderdale air base, although the weather made communication very bad. Taylor must have ended up thinking they were over the Gulf of Mexico, and ordered the patrol east in search of land. But in reality, they had been flying towards the Atlantic coastline, and Taylor was leading his trainees much further out to sea. .

No known wreckage from Flight 19 has ever been recovered. One reasonable explanation is that Taylor led the planes so far into the Atlantic that they were past the continental shelf. Combining the circumstances of the failing compass, the difficulty of radio transmissions, and the absence of wreckage, tales of mysterious intervention began to take form. Even an official Navy report stated that the planes had disappeared "as if they had flown to Mars."

A search party was dispatched. Many claim that it disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle along with Flight 19. While it is true that it never returned, the plane is likely to have blown up soon after takeoff. This was unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence, because these planes were known for their faulty gas tanks.

Vocabulary

Rooky новичок

Hangover похмелье

To dispatch посылать

To blow p взрываться

Occurrence происшествие

Faulty неисправный
Assignment: Choose the right answer


  1. The Flight 19 pilots were

  1. profession aviators b. inexperienced rookies c. amateurs

  1. Charles Taylor was not at the height of his abilities:

  1. because he was tired b. because he was not well c. because he had drunk too much the day before

  1. Taylor was navigating by sight because

  1. his compass did not work b. he had no compass c. he did not want to use the compass

  1. The seaplane that was sent out to search for the bombers is supposed to

  1. have been lost b. have exploded c. have been kidnapped by UFO
  1. The writer suggests that


  1. Taylor led the planes far to the Atlantic where they crashed into the ocean b. the planes were pulled down by Atlantis c. the planes flew to Mars

Assignment: insert the prepositions

February 17, 1988.  Captain Robert Lindquist piloted a commercial flight..1.. San Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami, Florida.  180 km from its destination the plane was lost.  The plane and thirty passengers vanished from the sky after having crossed the border of the Triangle. Official investigators worked furiously..2.. how the pilot could disappear on a clear and calm night.  Search parties scanned the area where the plane was assumed to have crashed, but not a single trace of the plane was found..3..the 60 m deep water. 

The mystery of the Mary Celeste is one of the most legendary stories in the Triangle history. The crew of the Dei Gratia found the 31 m Brigantine Mary Celeste completely abandoned on December 4, 1872. The ship, which left America for Europe in November, was found about 640 km off its intended course in perfect order with the sails set. Not a single item seemed to have been removed..4.. the ship apart from its crew. There was no sign of the ship crew..5..ten and not a hint on what had happened..6..them. Many stories exist explaining this mystery ranging from the finding of bloody swords..7..the captain’s bed to strange creatures taking the crew members..8.underground world.


    1. from/to/into

    2. to/on/of

    3. in/at/on

    4. on/of/from

    5. of/in/at

    6. with/to/of

    7. from/into/under

    8. at/from/into

Historian Keeps Memory of 'Flight 19' Alive

Aviation experts are still puzzled by five Navy planes that disappeared from Fort Lauderdale almost 70 years ago Monday, launching the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle.

One man, historian Alan McElhiney, has been keeping the memory of the "Lost Patrol" alive for almost 20 years.

Fourteen men were on the planes now known as the "Lost Patrol."

The five single-engine torpedo bombers departed what is now Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Dec. 5, 1945. The squadron was to fly to a bombing range in the Bahamas, then continue on a triangular path back to base.

But they never made it back.

"We searched and we searched around the little islands out there. Every island, we circled several times around -- absolutely no trace of anything, which was unbelievable to us," said David White, who was part of the search mission.

There are numerous theories about what happened to the planes, but no wreckage or bodies were ever found. The disappearance of the patrol helped to create the myth of the Bermuda Triangle.

"It's still amazing to me, and it's still a mystery what happened to them. I really think that they just disappeared into the ocean," White said.

The mystery could have faded with time, but McElhiney has kept the memory alive.

"We are walking in footsteps of ghosts from the past, and that's when I decided we need to save the history of the Navy in Fort Lauderdale," McElhiney said.

McElhiney, 85 years old, has been the force in making sure the memory of the "Lost Patrol" is properly marked in history for the past 20 years.

Year after year, McElhiney continues to hold a memorial service, but now he is tired of doing it alone and wonders if he will have the energy to continue. For now, the crowds still come to remember the lost men.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that aviation experts say it is unlikely that a patrol would get lost today. Sophisticated technology available like the Global Positioning System would prevent it.



From: The Boston Globe, 4 December 2010


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