The Bermuda Triangle has become known over the years as one of Earth’s most mysterious locations. Officially defined as the portion of the Atlantic Ocean in between Florida, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico (if you form a triangle between the three), it appears to be a pretty normal area, and in fact one that would be traversed fairly frequently. However, a history of strange occurrences there, most notably in the form of planes and ships that have gone missing, have turned this stretch of sea into a favorite subject for mystery mongers and lighthearted conspiracy enthusiasts alike. A National Geographic documentary approached the Bermuda Triangle with a fairly thorough analysis, but before we get into the specifics of the doc, let’s consider how the mysteries of this part of the world are generally framed.
On the more exaggerated end of the spectrum, the Bermuda Triangle fits into some of the favorite ideas of “ancient alien” theory proponents, who incidentally have their own show on Netflix. Ancient Aliens functions kind of like a Dan Brown novel. If you have nothing to do and want to completely let go of your brain for a few hours, you can sit down and enjoy it for a few hours. But while most of the show’s theories revolve around completely ludicrous ideas, the Bermuda Triangle segments are grounded in some pretty quirky reality. You can see a clip of the show’s coverage of the area here, and while the ultimate theory that aliens are to blame for the mystery is a little out there, some of the fact of what’s happened in the Bermuda Triangle are legitimately alarming.
On the lighter side of things, some have taken the Bermuda Triangle more as a source of entertainment and intrigue than legitimate mystery or indication of the supernatural. Case in point, there’s actually a cartoonish Bermuda Triangle slot machine game that’s emerged online and basically makes light of the whole concept. This site frames the game as a fictional treasure hunt molded into a slot reel, and it’s actually pretty inventive. There’s a story spun about a lost plane in the Bermuda Triangle, such that slot spins are made to be part of the effort to find the wreckage and the treasure within. Basically the game takes a similar approach to movies about alien invasion, or this game about hunting Bigfoot. Sure, it’s based on “real” mysteries, but ultimately it’s just a fun fiction.
The National Geographic documentary The Truth Behind: Bermuda Triangle, now streaming on Netflix, essentially melds these two approaches to the topic. On the one hand, the documentary explores legitimately mysterious disappearances and delves into some pretty extraordinary potential explanations. However, it also refers to Bermuda Triangle theorists rather condescendingly as “believers,” implying there’s not much seriousness to the whole thing despite the fact that there are documented, unexplained disappearances.
Specifically, the documentary starts off by looking into aircraft disappearances. There are multiple cases of planes not just going off radar in the Bermuda Triangle but vanishing without a trace, with no wreckage ever found. While acknowledging theories of alien abduction, dimensional warps, and even death rays from the lost city of Atlantis, the doc ultimately focuses in on the theory of one survivor of a traumatic weather event. That theory is that “electric fog” is responsible for the numerous recorded incidents of plane electronics and navigational systems faltering in the area. One scientist explains that electric fog could be a real phenomenon, possibly caused by solar flares from the sun.
However, boating accidents are explained in a more satisfying manner. The prevailing theory put forth suggests that there could be giant methane gas bubbles escaping from the floor of the ocean, bursting to the surface and causing buoyancy issues that essentially result in the ocean swallowing large ships. This theory is more interesting than the electric fog idea because it also indicated that the same gas escaping the ocean could cause enough changes in the air to crash planes flying at low altitude.
National Geographic ends up disproving, or at least calling into question, most of the same theories it proposes. Thus, while the idea of legitimate unexplained phenomena are dismissed to some extent, and the idea of “believing” in the Bermuda Triangle is very nearly mocked, there’s not really a satisfying conclusion reached. It’s an interesting viewing experience because it makes you wonder about the various legitimate explanations that could be at hand; but in the end, the Bermuda Triangle is all the more mysterious for remaining largely unexplained.
You can watch the 45-minute documentary here.