This is one of my favourite mysteries. Why? It's super easy to solve! The solution is, there's nothing spooky about the Bermuda Triangle at all. It's a huge area of sea on a number of important international trade routes. Ships and planes get lost there, but not disproportionately to the amount of traffic the area gets. No problem, no mystery, no solution required.
Consequently, that urge to debunk that I couldn't tamp down last time shouldn't be bothering us this week. Let's just watch and enjoy as Leonard Nimoy tells us how a perfectly harmless stretch of water is going to kill us all.
The intro is really nice, cutting eerily between helicopter footage of a ship at sea and still footage of missing planes and sunken ships. We're told of missing vessels and lives lost. Nimoy calls this area a "danger zone". Are we on some sort of fast track to this place? A "highway" to this "danger zone", if you will? Let's find out!
First up, we're shown a the Miami Coast Guard station. We're told that it's one of the busiest sea areas in the world, averaging 25 rescue calls a day, most of which are routine. Sounds a lot like I was getting at in the first paragraph, surprisingly. Nimoy even flat out tells us that a less fundamentally silly television show has dismissed the need to explain the Triangle. But, he tells us, that ignores the personal stories of people who claim to have experienced weird shit. You hear that scientists? Tall stories and anecdotes trump your 'no explanation necessary' laziness.
Then the interviews. A former Coast Guard lieutenant tells a rambling story about a radar blip that resolved itself into a grey wall. It’s very well edited to make it seem spooky, using footage of Coast Guard personnel at work. But at its heart the story itself doesn't really go anywhere. There was a dull glow in the grey mass, there's some breathing troubles and then there's some engine trouble, then the ship got out of there. And that's it. It's a cool weird story, don't get me wrong, just anticlimactic.
A pilot who has flown in the area many times with no problems talks about a plane that had communications issues and went down in good weather. The plane was found to have been subjected to a terrific force that wrenched the wing off the airplane. Now that's legitimately spooky, though I can't help but wonder if today's accident investigators might have found something that the late '70s guys missed.
Next up is just cool. A radio presenter tells the story about receiving a strange message during a late night show about the Bermuda Triangle. He claims that there were strange issues with the phone-in equipment, before a spooky voice started saying some cool crazy stuff about alien civilizations, auras and timeless voids. Nimoy decides that this is not a good explanation for the Triangle.
Nimoy lists some of the ships and planes that sank/went missing, but it's all just a lead in to the story of Flight 19, famed in UFO lore. Basically, a squadron of planes on a training mission went missing in the 1940s. Search aircraft also crashed. Many people believe that was mysterious, others point to more mundane possibilities. It's probably on Wikipedia, look it up if you're interested.
A flight controller involved in the incident is interviewed. His story, told blandly and haltingly, is given a tense soundtrack and a lot of file footage of old timey planes. The interviewee also tells a story of loss of instruments while in a light plane. Interestingly, he does believe that there's a real mystery, but doesn't propose an answer beyond suggesting that it's something on the sea floor.
Nimoy sums up, claiming that the mystery is not solved, and that saying so is to destroy the basis of all scientific research. "The unknown force," he says, "is there."
This episode is kind of interesting purely on that basis. There's no real explanation given beyond 'unknown force.' The entire show can be summed up as "Bermuda Triangle=spooky and don't let anyone tell you otherwise." You know what? I don't think the Bermuda Triangle is spooky. But if you think it is... Well, there are worse things to believe by a long chalk.
Yet another tie: The Mysterious Voice from the Radio Show and Nimoy:
Mysterious Voice: "Every living thing on this planet has an aura. The area that you are discussing now is the aura of this planet. It is a communicative channel through which the Millionth Council governs this planet. Anyone going into this area when the communication channel is open do not disappear, but they are in the timeless void. They are all alive and well. It is the only area through which the council can communicate with this planet."
Nimoy: "There is no way to certify the authenticity of this call."
Spookiness: 7/10, Stock Footage: 8/10, Use of Montage: 9/10, Intrusive Electronic Music: 8/10, Nimoyness: 7/10
Total: 39/50. Distinction