Originally posted on 3 September 2017
Source: Archives of Siren

Atlantis Magazine: Special Edition, November 2005, Part 1

Special Feature: Investigating the Mystery of the Mass Disappearances
Bombers swallowed by a mysterious stretch of ocean
Passengers vanish suddenly, leaving behind their boat
What is the truth behind these repeated mass disappearances!?

People suddenly vanish all over the world. Why do they disappear, and where do they go? Let's investigate the mystery of these mass vanishings, which could befall you at any moment!

The US Navy Avenger bombers that disappeared along with their rescuers

It was the 5th of December, 1945, after 7PM. The US Navy's Flight 19 had taken to the air over the naval base in Fort Lauderdale, USA, when five Avenger bombers suddenly went missing. Skilled pilot Lieutenant C Taylor was in command of Flight 19. Through correspondence exchanged between those who suddenly vanished from the radar and the base, we can piece it together that Flight 19 had completely lost sight of their current surroundings and flew into a panic. "I can't tell which way is west," "The clouds around us look different from usual..." Even more shockingly, the Martin Mariner sent to the rescue of Flight 19 also suddenly vanished from the radar.

One after the other, several warplanes went missing with no known cause. Curiously, despite the authorities conducting an earnest search, not a single piece of wreckage from either Flight 19 or its rescuer was ever located. The place where they had unexpectedly vanished? It is an evil part of the ocean, the Devil's Triangle, which has beckoned countless ships and aircraft to their doom, commonly known as the Bermuda Triangle. It is a vast stretch of ocean which ties together the tip of the Florida peninsula, Puerto Rico in the Atlantic Ocean, and the islands of Bermuda to form a triangle. Shipwrecks have been a frequent occurrence here for more than a century. The Sargasso Sea, feared by seamen in the age of sailing ships as the "sticky sea", is also actually part of the "Devil's Triangle".

Examples of oddities within the Bermuda Triangle are too numerous to count; aside from Columbus leaving a record of compass abnormalities in the same region long ago, there was the disappearance of the battleship Sandra during calm weather in June 1950, and the loss of the Marine Sulphur Queen in February 1963, carrying 15,000 tonnes of sulphur, also under favourable conditions. Just like the aforementioned Flight 19 incident, there have been many reports of the unexplained disappearances of aircraft, with issues involving man-made satellites above the area also said to be common.

Just what is it that makes the Bermuda Triangle into such a cursed spot?

There has long been a debate on the matter between researchers. Could it be powerful electromagnetic waves that occur only in this area, the effects of high-energy methane hydrate at the bottom of the sea, or perhaps that a gateway to another dimension exists in the Bermuda sea? The truth, however, still slumbers within the depths of the mysterious Bermuda Sea, along with the countless aircraft, vessels and people that have vanished there.

The large number of disappearances of unknown cause that have occurred frequently worldwide

The phenomenon of people vanishing without warning is not limited to the Bermuda Triangle. Such large-scale vanishings are actually reported all over the world.

During August 1915, in the midst of World War I, 341 members of the Norfolk regiment of the British Army vanished before the eyes of 22 New Zealand soldiers who were operating nearby whilst marching towards the Turkish village of Suvla Bay. According to the testimony of the New Zealanders, the soldiers of the Norfolk regiment "marched into the clouds, and vanished along with them". Of course, even after the sky had cleared, not one single trace to indicate the soldiers' presence was ever located.

Then, in October 1939, during World War II, 3,000 Chinese soldiers camped on the outskirts of Nanking all vanished without a trace during the span of a few hours, and during the winter of 1930, 30 residents of a Canadian Inuit village disappeared overnight. Per the police officer who visited the village, sled dogs had starved to death while still tethered to the trees, and items indispensable to polar life such as seal skins and hunting rifles had been left inside their homes. Just where could they have disappeared to, leaving behind their protection from the cold, weapons and sleds...?

It happened in Japan, too! The puzzle of large-scale disappearances of residents

These mysterious mass disappearances actually occur in Japan, too. One of the most widely known of these is the mass disappearances of the islanders of Yamijima, which occurred 29 years ago. As sensationally reported at the time, the residents of Yamijima, an outlying island in the ** region, all went missing overnight.

Nothing is known about this baffling incident aside from the fact that the undersea cable linking Yamijima and the mainland was severed on the night that all of the islanders vanished, sending the world into an uproar over this unprecedented mystery. Yamijima ("the isle of darkness"), also known as "Imijima" ("the isle of taboo") and "Yomijima" ("the isle of the underworld") and with its eerie scenery, was also the site later on of further unexplained incidents, such as the disappearance of a police officer, and in a way it may be appropriate to refer to it as a mystery spot that remains active in the modern day.

Now, if you take a look at the number of examples provided herein of mass disappearances, you should be able to spot that most of them are related to a single keyword. Do you see it? That keyword is... "sea". The Bermuda Triangle, mentioned at the start, is the most famous of these, but you must also note that Yamijima, too, is a place surrounded on all sides by sea.

Could there be some sort of connection between these mysterious mass disappearances and the sea...? Here, let us take a look at the case of the ship Mary Celeste as an example of a mystery set at sea.

5 December, 1872. The Dei Gratia, making its way from New York to the Strait of Gibraltar, sighted a lone vessel sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Its sails appeared to be hoisted, but its course was meandering and erratic, almost as though it were adrift. Finding this strange, the captain of the Dei Gratia brought a boat up alongside the Mary Celeste with several members of his crew and boarded it.

No one came to greet them. The men cautiously entered the captain's cabin, where a curious sight awaited them: a half-eaten breakfast, set neatly upon the table; warm, buttered bread; a still-steaming cup of coffee by its side...

This strange sight was observed in the other cabins, too. A chart was spread across the navigator's desk, a half-smoked pipe lying beside a piece of paper that had been used to calculate their course.

Had the Mary Celeste been assaulted by pirates just before her discovery by the Dei Gratia? Yet money and jewels remained untouched in the ship's safe, and enough provisions were left in the hold to last for six months. These facts pointed to one conclusion: the Mary Celeste's crew had suddenly vanished from their vessel like mist.

Including children, ten crew members went missing in the Mary Celeste incident. It is said that their dinner tables were still warm, as if they had just been prepared moments before.

Since time immemorial, countless lives have been sacrificed to the sea. Some are tossed overboard by violent waves and winds, while others have lost their lives to pirate raids. However, what about the people who continue to vanish due to phenomena that go beyond human understanding and can't be explained away by such causes? Is there truly some sort of mystery lurking on the seabed?

In actual fact, many people have testified that when these large disappearances occur at sea, the sea itself appears in a different form. It's often said when shipwrecks occur in the Bermuda Triangle that the sea is as smooth as a mirror, and bizarre luminescent phenomena are frequently reported to have been observed on its surface. Even in the case of Japan's Hanuda Village, generally said to have been destroyed in a landslide yet rumoured in some urban legends to have been pulled into some terrible other world, it is pointed out that a strange "red sea" was witnessed in neighbouring areas immediately before and after the landslide in question. Yes, the keyword here, too, is "sea". Could this possibly be a coincidence...?

Perhaps, if some sort of conditions are met - whether by chance or by intention - on the sea, the gate to the underworld opens and drags people inside? What would be on the other side of that gate? Another universe, a completely different world of nothingness, or even the "land of the dead" as we have known it since ancient times...?

"Something" that sleeps in the ocean depths that must not be disturbed

In October 1943, a top-secret experiment was conducted in the sea off Philadelphia, on the east coast of America, which would later become known as the Philadelphia Experiment. The experiment was an attempt to use immensely powerful electromagnetic waves to stealth cloak the destroyer Eldridge, but the sea's surface was enveloped in a dazzling light, and it is said that the next moment, the Eldridge had teleported to an area 1,600 kilometres away, shrouded in a mysterious fog. The events that occurred on board the Eldridge during its curious long-distance journey are a military secret, and as such remain shrouded within a thick veil of mystery to this day. However, aside from the testimony of a crew member claiming that the entire ship slipped through time and landed 40 years in the future, others say that it was flung into another universe and made contact with alien life. When it teleported, the bodies of the Eldridge's crew fused with the ship, killing most of them... or so they say.

Perhaps these odd occurrences are due to interference within the forbidden territory that joins the sea and the underworld - some sort of punishment by something on humans who try to get too close to something that must not be disturbed... Perhaps all of these mysteries sleep deep in the heart of the sprawling sea.

Notable historical disappearances

December 1872
 The Dei Gratia encounters the Mary Celeste adrift on the Atlantic Ocean with ten crew members missing.
August 1915
 341 members of the British Army's Norfolk regiment vanish in Turkey.
October 1939
 3,000 Chinese soldiers disappear without a trace whilst camped.
December 1943
 Five of the US Army's Avenger bombers disappear over the Bermuda Triangle.
August 1977
 A mass blackout occurs late at night on Yamijima, an outlying island in the sea near Japan. At the same time, all of the islanders vanish.
August 2003
 Hanuda Village is devastated by a large-scale landslide. There is only one survivor. The many missing are supposed to have been spirited away or killed by a psychotic murderer.