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The Bermuda Triangle, sometimes called the Devil's Triangle, is an area in the North Atlantic Ocean. The three corners of the Triangle are: the Bermuda Islands; Miami, Florida; and Puerto Rico (specifically the capital, San Juan). Numerous ships and airplanes have vanished in this area, often without a trace.

The first known navigator of the Bermuda Triangle, Christopher Columbus, on September 15, 1492, reported seeing "a remarkable bolt of fire fall into the sea." While sailing in that area, there was also a mysterious malfunction of the ship's compass.

Other incidents include the disappearance of four American naval vessels between 1781 and 1812; the 1918 disappearance of the navy coal ship U.S.S. Cyclops; the December 6, 1945, disappearance of five navy torpedo bomber planes plus a search boat; and the 1963 disappearances of an American merchant ship, a fishing boat, and two air force tanker jets.

A variety of explanations have been offered for these disappearances, ranging from the ordinary (extreme air turbulence, powerful ocean currents, and tornadolike phenomena over water called waterspouts) to the exotic (kidnappings by alien flying saucers and gateways to other dimensions). Scientific studies have revealed nothing peculiar about the area. Many of the accidents within the Bermuda Triangle can likely be attributed bad weather, malfunctioning instruments, and faulty navigation. While the Bermuda Triangle has received significant attention, it is only one of many parts of the ocean from which ships and planes have disappeared.

Sources: Academic American Encyclopedia, vol. 3, p. 219; Downs, Robert B. Scientific Enigmas, pp. 96-101.

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