The Bermuda Triangle

Main Piece:

Subject: So as kids we were obsessed with the Bermuda Triangle. It was an area out in the Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Miami, and the East Coast where ships and planes would mysteriously go missing. And there was a lot of different television shows and quasi-science that talked about how there were sort of potential alien forces or weird scientific phenomena that would just make ships disappear in the Bermuda Triangle. It was also called the “Devil’s Triangle” too, which made it even kind of scarier. When we were kids there was a Twilight Zone where there was a guy that would morph into the different people that he took at the Bermuda Triangle. So there would be a character that went missing in the Bermuda Triangle, and this guy would kind of take that person and then morph into that person and show up back on land as that person and then go after the next person. So when we would go down to Florida… when we would fly down from home… we would always be afraid that we were going to fly over the Bermuda Triangle… the Devil’s Triangle… and that we would then just disappear. So it was never any real substantiation for what happened there. It was never really ultimately any science. I can remember even that we were taught that one of the theories that went around was that there were strange electromagnetic forces in the Bermuda Triangle that made compasses go crazy so they couldn’t navigate. I can remember my brother telling me that he heard there was like a whirlpool that ships would get stuck in at the Bermuda Triangle. So… it was a huge obsession as a kid… what was going on in The Devil’s Triangle and why.

Interviewer: That’s funny because the Bermuda Triangle was also an obsession for us as kids. So it seems to have carried on through the generations.

Subject: Yeah! It’s a strange one. And it’s never been substantiated in any way. You know interestingly it’s one of the busiest shipping areas in the world. So there’s constantly ships and planes going through that area. So it could just be the sheer volume of traffic that maybe increases the amount of things that go wrong there. But it’s an incredibly busy shipping and travelling lane in the world.

Context: The subject is a white middle-aged male of Ashkenazi and Eastern-European descent. He was born and raised in Tiverton, Rhode Island with his parents and two siblings. He also happens to be my father, and we are currently quarantined together at our home in Charleston, South Carolina. After dinner one night, I was sitting with him in my dimly lit living room, and I asked if he would share with me any folk beliefs he had heard passed through the family.

Interpretation: I am all too familiar with the intrigue of the Bermuda Triangle. It was interesting to hear that this folklore has transcended generations. My first introduction to the Bermuda Triangle was in a “Scooby Doo” episode. I remember thinking about the Bermuda Triangle very often as a child. My obsession with it was uncanny to the subject’s. I was constantly wondering when I would have to encounter the Bermuda Triangle. I engaged with the idea that it was a portal to another land of some kind, and it took the shape of a whirlpool. I had never heard of the subject’s recollection of the folklore as a god-like character who took on the persona of the different people it absorbed. That is super fascinating to me. I have seen the Bermuda Triangle featured in so much pop culture and media that it seems really timeless.