Monday, September 28, 2009

MYSTERYQUEST: Devil's Triangle

History Channel - 9/23/09

This show looks into several aspects of and possible explanation for
The Bermuda Triangle: they will look to ID a downed plane and connect
it with the triangle, test the "electronic fog" theory, a UFO
disappearance case, and look at rogue waves. They talk to Bruce
Gernon who claims to have flown through a mysterious "cloud tunnel"
where he traveled through time -- moving him a half hour into the
future. He invented the term "electronic fog" to explain the
phenomenon. A physics professor named David Pares looks at the
electronic fog idea. He believes that solar outbursts can combine
with thunderstorms to create the mysterious fog -- and plans to fly
into a storm looking for it. Meanwhile, "explorer" Greg Little
believes that there are natural explanations that down planes in the
area. He wants to find a plane that is supposed to have vanished in
the triangle and prove it's merely on the ocean floor. They have more
than 50 possible sites to check, and start poking around looking for
tail ID numbers.

The show posits that the UFO reports near AUTEC (see a previous UFO
Hunters review) may have something to do with some of the Triangle
mysteries. The show plays a Mayday call from a plane that went down
after reporting a strange object nearby. One researcher claims that
Emergency Locator signals (ELT) mysteriously fail to work in the area.
The Navy denies anything supernatural is at work. Meanwhile, Gernon
and Pares are trying to recreate Gernon's famous flight, using Pares'
solar-thunderstorm theory. And while they do that and Little looks
for ID numbers, Dr. Hans Graber believes that science can explain most
of the disappearances; he is a world expert on wave dynamics, and uses
a wave tank to demonstrate "rogue waves," titanic waves that can swamp
and sink a boat in seconds and then vanish. The show suggests that
his theory doesn't explain the lack of wreckage. (I suggest the ocean
is a very big place, and note how long it took the best scientists in
the world to find Titanic -- a very big target.)

Flying into a likely storm, Pares picks up some very strange
electromagnetic readings. But they don't time travel. And the parts
salvaged from a wreck don't connect to a known disappearance. So,
while boasting a promising set of premises, we really have little more
evidence at the end of the show than we had at the beginning -- and
there's still a whole lot of conjecture floating around.

This show doesn't start on sound scientific ground, either, as it
claims a large number of planes and boats disappeared from the
Triangle in perfect weather, which may be true, but only if they've
culled their lists -- and, if they've done that, they don't mention
it. Nor do they mention what numbers they started with before culling.
Without that comparison, one cannot judge whether to take their
"perfect weather" claim on face value -- as we know most
disappearances on (or over) the ocean take place in bad weather.

Mostly, the stories seem like the usual Triangle tales: Flight 19, the
Cyclops, Columbus' and Lindbergh's stories, etc. These things have
been discussed endlessly, and -- without investigation -- they are
only stories, stories now told so many times that they have become

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