Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil's Triangle, is a region of the northwestern Atlantic Ocean in which a number of aircraft and surface vessels have disappeared. Some people have claimed that these disappearances fall beyond the boundaries of human error or acts of nature. Some of these disappearances have been attributed to the paranormal, a suspension of the laws of physics, or activity by extraterrestrial beings by popular culture. Though a substantial documentation exists showing numerous incidents to have been inaccurately reported or embellished by later authors, and numerous official agencies have gone on record as stating the number and nature of disappearances to be similar to any other area of ocean, many have remained unexplained despite considerable investigation.
The Triangle Area:
The boundaries of the Triangle vary with the author; some stating its shape is akin to a trapezoid covering the Straits of Florida, the Bahamas, and the entire Caribbean island area east to the Azores; others add to it the Gulf of Mexico. The more familiar, triangular boundary in most written works has as its points somewhere on the Atlantic coast of Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda, with most of the accidents concentrated along the southern boundary around the Bahamas and the Florida Straits.
The area is one of the most heavily-sailed shipping lanes in the world, with ships crossing through it daily for ports in the Americas, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands. Cruise ships are also plentiful, and pleasure craft regularly go back and forth between Florida and the islands. It is also a heavily flown route for commercial and private aircraft heading towards Florida, the Caribbean, and South America from points north.
The Gulf Stream ocean current flows through the Triangle after leaving the Gulf of Mexico; its current of five to six knots may have played a part in a number of disappearances. Sudden storms can and do appear, and in the summer to late fall hurricanes strike the area. The combination of heavy maritime traffic and tempestuous weather makes it inevitable that vessels could founder in storms and be lost without a trace ­ especially before improved telecommunications, radar, and satellite technology arrived late in the 20th century.
History of the Triangle Story:
According to the Triangle authors, Christopher Columbus was the first person to document something strange in the Triangle, reporting that he and his crew observed "strange dancing lights on the horizon", flames in the sky, and at another point he wrote in his log about bizarre compass bearings in the area. From his log book, dated October 11, 1492 he wrote:
The land was first seen by a sailor (Rodrigo de Triana), although the Admiral at ten o'clock that evening standing on the quarter-deck saw a light, but so small a body that he could not affirm it to be land; calling to Pero Gutiérrez, groom of the King's wardrobe, he told him he saw a light, and bid him look that way, which he did and saw it; he did the same to Rodrigo Sánchez of Segovia, whom the King and Queen had sent with the squadron as comptroller, but he was unable to see it from his situation. The Admiral again perceived it once or twice, appearing like the light of a wax candle moving up and down, which some thought an indication of land. But the Admiral held it for certain that land was near...
Modern scholars checking the original log books have surmised that the lights he saw were the cooking fires of Taino natives in their canoes or on the beach; the compass problems were the result of a false reading based on the movement of a star.
The first article of any kind in which the legend of the Triangle began appeared in newspapers by E.V.W. Jones on September 16, 1950, through the Associated Press.
Two years later, Fate magazine published "Sea Mystery At Our Back Door", a short article by George X. Sand in the October 1952 issue covering the loss of several planes and ships, including the loss of Flight 19, a group of five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger bombers on a training mission. Sand's article was the first to lay out the now-familiar triangular area where the losses took place. Flight 19 alone would be covered in the April 1962 issue of American Legion Magazine.
The article was titled "The Lost Patrol", by Allen W. Eckert, and in his story it was claimed that the flight leader had been heard saying "We are entering white water, nothing seems right. We don't know where we are, the water is green, no white." It was also claimed that officials at the Navy board of inquiry stated that the planes "flew off to Mars." "The Lost Patrol" was the first to connect the supernatural to Flight 19, but it would take another author, Vincent Gaddis, writing in the February 1964 Argosy Magazine to take Flight 19 together with other mysterious disappearances and place it under the umbrella of a new catchy name: "The Deadly Bermuda Triangle"; he would build on that article with a more detailed book, Invisible Horizons, the next year. Others would follow with their own works: John Wallace Spencer (Limbo of the Lost,1969); Charles Berlitz (The Bermuda Triangle, 1974); Richard Winer (The Devil's Triangle, 1974), and many others, all keeping to some of the same supernatural elements outlined by Eckert.
Kusche's Explanation:
Lawrence David Kusche, a research librarian from Arizona State University and author of The Bermuda Triangle Mystery: Solved (1975) has challenged this trend. Kusche's research revealed a number of inaccuracies and inconsistencies between Berlitz's accounts and statements from eyewitnesses, participants, and others involved in the initial incidents. He noted cases where pertinent information went unreported, such as the disappearance of round-the-world yachtsman Donald Crowhurst, which Berlitz had presented as a mystery, despite clear evidence to the contrary.
Another example was the ore-carrier Berlitz recounted as lost without trace three days out of an Atlantic port when it had been lost three days out of a port with the same name in the Pacific Ocean. Kusche also argued that a large percentage of the incidents which have sparked the Triangle's mysterious influence actually occurred well outside it. Often his research was surprisingly simple: he would go over period newspapers and see items like weather reports that were never mentioned in the stories.
Kusche came to several conclusions:
The number of ships and aircraft reported missing in the area was not significantly greater, proportionally speaking, than in any other part of the ocean.
In an area frequented by tropical storms, the number of disappearances that did occur were, for the most part, neither disproportionate, unlikely, nor mysterious; furthermore, Berlitz and other writers would often fail to mention such storms.
The numbers themselves had been exaggerated by sloppy research. A boat listed as missing would be reported, but its eventual (if belated) return to port may not be reported.
Some disappearances had in fact, never happened. One plane crash was said to have taken place in 1937 off Daytona Beach, Florida, in front of hundreds of witnesses; a check of the local papers revealed nothing.
Kusche concluded that:
The Legend of the Bermuda Triangle is a manufactured mystery ... perpetuated by writers who either purposely or unknowingly made use of misconceptions, faulty reasoning, and sensationalism.
Natural Explanations:
Methane Hydrates:
An explanation for some of the disappearances focuses on the presence of vast fields of methane hydrates on the continental shelves. A paper was published by the United States Geological Survey about the appearance of hydrates in the Blake Ridge area, offshore southeastern United States, in 1981. Periodic methane eruptions are capable of producing ship-sized bubbles, or regions of water with so much dissolved gas, that the fluid density is no longer capable of providing adequate buoyancy for ships to float. If this were the case, such an area forming around a ship could cause it to sink almost directly and without warning. Experiments have proven that a methane bubble can indeed sink a ship by decreasing the density of the water.
Methane gas can also crash planes. The less dense air causes planes to lose lift. Also, the altimeter of planes (the instrument that measures the altitude) functions on the density of air. Because methane is less dense, the altimeter assumes the plane is climbing. Planes at night or in the clouds, where they can't see the ground, assume that they are climbing and dive, causing them to crash. Also, methane in the engine throws off the mix of fuel and air. Aircraft engines burn hydrocarbons (gasoline or jet fuel) with oxygen provided by the air. When the ambient oxygen levels drop, combustion can stop, and the engine stalls. All of these effects of methane gas have been shown experimentally.
Laboratory experiments carried out in Australia have proven that bubbles can, indeed, sink a scale model ship by decreasing the density of the water; any wreckage consequently rising to the surface would be rapidly dispersed by the Gulf Stream. It has been hypothesized that periodic methane eruptions (sometimes called "mud volcanoes") may produce regions of frothy water that are no longer capable of providing adequate buoyancy for ships. If this were the case, such an area forming around a ship could cause it to sink very rapidly and without warning.
A white paper was published in 1981 by the United States Geological Survey about the appearance of hydrates in the Blake Ridge area, off the southeastern United States coast. However, according to a USGS web page, no large releases of gas hydrates are believed to have occurred in the Bermuda Triangle for the past 15,000 years.
Hurricanes are extremely powerful storms which are spawned in the Atlantic near the equator, and have historically been responsible for thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars in damage. The sinking of Francisco de Bobadilla's Spanish fleet in 1502 was the first recorded instance of a destructive hurricane. In 1988, Hurricane Gilbert, one of the most powerful hurricanes in history, set back Jamaica's economy by three years. These storms have in the past caused a number of incidents related to the Triangle.
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream is an ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico, and then through the Straits of Florida, into the North Atlantic. In essence, it is a river within an ocean, and like a river, it can and does carry floating objects. A small plane making a water landing or a boat having engine trouble will be carried away from its reported position by the current, as happened to the cabin cruiser Witchcraft on December 22, 1967, when it reported engine trouble near the Miami buoy marker one mile (1.6 km) from shore, but was not there when a Coast Guard cutter arrived.
Freak Waves
Extremely large waves can appear seemingly at random, even in calm seas. One such rogue wave caused the Ocean Ranger, then the world's largest offshore platform, to capsize in 1982. There is, however, no particular reason to believe rogue waves are more common in the Bermuda region, and this explanation cannot account for the loss of airplanes.
Research has shown that freak waves up to 30 m (100 feet) tall, capable of sinking the largest ships within moments, can and do happen. Although these are very rare, in some areas ocean currents mean they happen more often than the norm. Such waves have now been hypothesized as a cause for many unexplained shipping losses over the years.
The book was a best seller, and many interested readers offered theories to explain the nature of the disappearances. The list includes natural storms, transportation by extraterrestrial technology, high-traffic volumes (and correspondingly high accident rates), a "temporal hole," the lost Atlantis empire from the bottom of the ocean, and other natural and supernatural causes.
Glowing Water :

Aerial photos taken in 2005 show the phenomenon of glowing water. Whatever causes this phosphorescence to vent up from the Bahama Bank bottoms, if that is its cause, remains a mystery.
The Triangle's location in the Caribbean makes it subject to unpredictable weather patterns. This takes us to Earth changes and the excalation of intense hurricanes in 2005 with more to come in the years ahead.
These weather extremes prey on inexperienced navigators and smaller boats and planes. Water spouts, sudden electrical and thunder storms, and the like, can cause havoc in the area. The Gulf Stream can also be brutal in that region and perhaps has swept away evidence of natural disasters.

Electronic Fog: Many people have reported seeing portals opening in cloudy skies - strange swirling lights sometimes accompanied by sounds - temporal distortions - electromagnetic distortions called 'electronic fog' that can cause a time storm, and the disappearance of planes and ships. There is something about this fog that is important and gives one the sense of all things paranormal. Something unexplained is definitely happening in that region of the Atlantic. This goes back to ancient explorers such as Christopher Columbus and his crew who experienced the phenomenon.
Acts of Man
Human Error
One of the most cited explanations in official inquiries as to the loss of any aircraft or vessel is human error. Whether deliberate or accidental, humans have been known to make mistakes resulting in catastrophe, and losses within the Bermuda Triangle are no exception. For example, the Coast Guard cited a lack of proper training for the cleaning of volatile benzene residue as a reason for the loss of the tanker V.A. Fogg in 1972. Human stubbornness may have caused businessman Harvey Conover to lose his sailing yacht, the Revonoc, as he sailed into the teeth of a storm south of Florida on January 1, 1958. It should be noted that many losses remain inconclusive due to the lack of wreckage which could be studied, a fact cited on many official reports.
Deliberate Acts of Destruction
This can fall into two categories: acts of war, and acts of piracy. Records in enemy files have been checked for numerous losses; while many sinkings have been attributed to surface raiders or submarines during the World Wars and documented in the various command log books, many others which have been suspected as falling in that category have not been proven; it is suspected that the loss of USS Cyclops in 1918, as well as her sister ships Proteus and Nereus in World War II, were attributed to submarines, but no such link has been found in the German records.
Piracy, as defined by the taking of a ship or small boat on the high seas, is an act which continues to this day. While piracy for cargo theft is more common in the western Pacific and Indian oceans, drug smugglers do steal pleasure boats for smuggling operations, and may have been involved in crew and yacht disappearances in the Caribbean. Historically famous pirates of the Caribbean (where piracy was common from about 1560 to the 1760s) include Edward Teach (Blackbeard) and Jean Lafitte. Lafitte is sometimes said to be a Triangle victim himself.
Another form of pirate operated on dry land. Bankers or wreckers would shine a light on shore to misdirect ships, which would then founder on the shore; the wreckers would then help themselves to the cargo. It is possible that these wreckers also killed any crew who protested. Nags Head, North Carolina, was named for the wreckers' practice of hanging a lantern on the head of a hobbled horse as it walked along the beach.
Popular Theories
Triangle writers have used a number of supernatural theories to explain the events. One explanation pins the blame on leftover technology from the lost continent of Atlantis. Sometimes connected to the Atlantis story is the submerged rock formation known as the Bimini Road off the island of Bimini in the Bahamas, which is in the Triangle by some definitions. Followers of the purported psychic Edgar Cayce take his prediction that evidence of Atlantis would be found in 1968 or '69 as referring to the discovery of the Bimini Road. Believers describe the formation as a road, wall, or other structure, though geologists consider it to be of natural origin.
Other writers attribute the events to UFOs. This idea was used by Steven Spielberg for his film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which features the lost Flight 19 as alien abductees.
Charles Berlitz, grandson of a distinguished linguist and author of various additional books on anomalous phenomena, has kept in line with this extraordinary explanation, and attributed the losses in the Triangle to anomalous or unexplained forces. :

Flight 19 was a training flight of TBM Avenger bombers that went missing on December 5, 1945 while over the Atlantic. The impression is given that the flight encountered unusual phenomena and anomalous compass readings, and that the flight took place on a calm day under the supervision of an experienced pilot, Lt. Charles Carroll Taylor. Adding to the intrigue is that the Navy's report of the accident was ascribed to "causes or reasons unknown." It is believed that Taylor's mother wanted to save her son's reputation, so she made them write "reasons unknown" when actually Taylor was 50 km NW from where he thought he was.
While the basic facts of this version of the story are essentially accurate, some important details are missing. The weather was becoming stormy by the end of the incident; only Taylor had any significant flying time, but he was not familiar with the south Florida area and had a history of getting lost in flight, having done so three times during World War II, and being forced to ditch his planes twice into the water; and naval reports and written recordings of the conversations between Taylor and the other pilots of Flight 19 do not indicate magnetic problems.
On December 5th, 1945, five Avenger torpedo bombers lifted into the air from the Navel Air Station at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at 2:10 in the afternoon. It was a routine practice mission and the flight was composed of all students except for the Commander, a Lt. Charles Taylor.
The mission called for Taylor and his group of 13 men to fly due east 56 miles to Hens and Chicken Shoals to conduct practice bombing runs. When they had completed that objective, the flight plan called for them to fly an additional 67 miles east, then turn north for 73 miles and finally straight back to base, a distance of 120 miles. This course would take them on a triangular path over the sea.
About an hour and a half after the flight had left, a Lt. Robert Cox picked up a radio transmission from Taylor. Taylor indicated that his compasses were not working, but he believed himself to be somewhere over the Florida Keys (the Keys are a long chain of islands south of the Florida mainland). Cox urged him to fly north, toward Miami, if Taylor was sure the flight was over the Keys.
Planes today have a number of ways that they can check their current position including listening to a set of GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) in orbit around the Earth. It is almost impossible for a pilot to get lost if he has the right equipment and uses it properly.
In 1945, though, planes flying over water had to depend on knowing their starting point, how long and fast they had flown, and in what direction. If a pilot made a mistake with any of these figures, he was lost. Over the ocean there were no landmarks to set him right.
Apparently Taylor had become confused at some point in the flight. He was an experienced pilot, but hadn't spent a lot of time flying east toward the Bahamas which was where he was going on that day. For some reason Taylor apparently thought the flight had started out in the wrong direction and had headed south toward the Florida Keys, instead of east. This thought was to color his decisions throughout the rest of the flight with deadly results.
The more Taylor took his flight north to try to get out of the Keys, the further out to sea the Avengers actually traveled. As time went on, snatches of transmissions were picked up on the mainland indicating the other Flight 19 pilots were trying to get Taylor to change course. "If we would just fly west," one student told another, "we would get home." He was right.
By 4:45 P.M. it was obvious to the people on the ground that Taylor was hopelessly lost. He was urged to turn control of the flight over to one of his students, but apparently he didn't. As it grew dark, communications deteriorated. From the few words that did get through it was apparent Taylor was still flying north and east, the wrong directions.
At 5:50 P.M. the ComGulf Sea Frontier Evaluation Center managed get a fix on Flight 19's weakening signals. It was apparently east of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. By then communications were so poor that this information could not be passed to the lost planes.
At 6:20 a Dumbo Flying Boat was dispatched to try and find Flight 19 and guide it back. Within the hour two more planes, Martin Mariners, joined the search. Hope was rapidly fading for Flight 19 by then. The weather was getting rough and the Avengers were very low on fuel.
The two Martin Mariners were supposed to rendezvous at the search zone. The second one, designated Training 49, never showed up.
The last transmission from Flight 19 was heard at 7:04 P.M. Planes searched the area through the night and the next day. There was no sign of the Avengers.

Nor did the authorities really expect to find much. The Avengers, crashing when their fuel was exhausted, would have been sent to the bottom in seconds by the 50 foot waves of the storm. As one of Taylor's colleagues noted, they didn't call those planes 'Iron Birds' for nothing. They weighed 14,000 pounds empty. So when they ditched, they went down pretty fast.
What happened to the missing Martin Mariner? The crew of the SS Gaines Mill observed an explosion over the water shortly after the Mariner had taken off. They headed toward the site and there they saw what looked like oil and airplane debris floating on the surface. None of it was recovered because of the bad weather, but there seems little doubt this was the remains of the Mariner. The plane had a reputation as being a 'flying bomb' which would burst into flame from even a single, small spark. Speculation is that one of 22 men on board, unaware that the unpressurized cabin contained gas fumes, lit a cigarette, causing the explosion.
So how did this tragedy turn into a Bermuda Triangle mystery? The Navy's original investigation concluded the accident had been caused by Taylor's confusion. Taylor's mother refused to accept that and finally got the Navy to change the report to read that the disaster was for "causes or reasons unknown." This may have spared the woman's feelings, but blurred the actual facts.
The saga of Flight 19 is probably the most repeated story about the Bermuda Triangle. The planes, and their pilots, even found their way into the science fiction film classic, 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind.'
Where is Flight 19 now? In 1991 five Avengers were found in 600 feet of water off the coast of Florida by the salvage ship Deep Sea. Examination of the planes showed that they were not Flight 19, however, so the final resting place of the planes, and their crews is still the Bermuda Triangle's secret.
The Mary Celeste:
The mysterious abandonment in 1872 of the Mary Celeste is often but inaccurately connected to the Triangle, the ship having been abandoned off the coast of Portugal. Many theories have been put forth over the years to explain the abandonment, including alcohol fumes from the cargo and insurance fraud. The event is possibly confused with the sinking of a ship with a similar name, the Mari Celeste, off the coast of Bermuda on September 13, 1864, which is mentioned in the book Bermuda Shipwrecks by Dan Berg.
Ellen Austin:
The Ellen Austin supposedly came across an abandoned derelict, placed on board a prize crew, and attempted to sail with it to New York in 1881. According to the stories, the derelict disappeared; others elaborating further that the derelict reappeared minus the prize crew, then disappeared again with a second prize crew on board. A check of Lloyd's of London records proved the existence of the Meta, built in 1854; in 1880 the Meta was renamed Ellen Austin. There are no casualty listings for this vessel, or any vessel at that time, that would suggest a large number of missing men placed on board a derelict which later disappeared
USS Cyclops:
The incident resulting in the single largest loss of life in the history of the U.S. Navy not related to combat occurred when USS Cyclops under the command of Lieutenant Commander G. W. Worley, went missing without a trace with a crew of 306 sometime after March 4, 1918, after departing the island of Barbados. Although there is no strong evidence for any theory, storms, capsizing and enemy activity have all been suggested as explanations.
Theodosia Burr Alston:
Theodosia Burr Alston was the daughter of former United States Vice President Aaron Burr. Her disappearance has been cited at least once in relation to the Triangle, in The Bermuda Triangle by Adi-Kent Thomas Jeffrey (1975). She was a passenger on board the Patriot, which sailed from Charleston, South Carolina to New York City on December 30, 1812, and was never heard from again. Both piracy and the War of 1812 have been posited as explanations, as well as a theory placing her in Texas, well outside the Triangle.
Captain Joshua Slocum's skill as a mariner was beyond argument; he was the first man to sail around the world solo. In 1909, in his boat Spray he set out on a course to take him through the Caribbean to Venezuela. He disappeared; there was no evidence he was even in the Triangle when Spray was lost. It was assumed he was run down by a steamer or struck by a whale, the Spray being too sound a craft and Slocum too experienced a mariner for any other cause to be considered likely, and in 1924 he was declared legally dead. While a mystery, there is no known evidence for, or against, paranormal activity.
Carroll A. Deering
A five-masted schooner built in 1919, the Carroll A. Deering was found hard aground and abandoned at Diamond Shoals, near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on January 31, 1921. Rumors and more at the time indicated the Deering was a victim of piracy, possibly connected with the illegal rum-running trade during Prohibition, and possibly involving another ship, S.S. Hewitt, which disappeared at roughly the same time. Just hours later, an unknown steamer sailed near the lightship along the track of the Deering, and ignored all signals from the lightship. It is speculated that the Hewitt may have been this mystery ship, and possibly involved in the Deering crew's disappearance.
Douglas DC-3:
On December 28, 1948, a Douglas DC-3aircraft, number NC16002, disappeared while on a flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Miami. No trace of the aircraft or the 32 people onboard was ever found. From the documentation compiled by the Civil Aeronautics Board investigation, a possible key to the plane's disappearance was found, but barely touched upon by the Triangle writers: the plane's batteries were inspected and found to be low on charge, but ordered back into the plane without a recharge by the pilot while in San Juan. Whether or not this led to complete electrical failure will never be known. However, since piston-engined aircraft rely upon magnetos to provide electrical power and spark to their cylinders rather than batteries, this theory is unlikely.
Star Tiger and Star Ariel:
These Avro Tudor IV passenger aircraft disappeared without trace en route to Bermuda and Jamaica, respectively. Star Tiger was lost on January 30, 1948 on a flight from the Azores to Bermuda. Star Ariel was lost on January 17, 1949, on a flight from Bermuda to Kingston, Jamaica. Neither aircraft gave out a distress call; in fact, their last messages were routine. A possible clue to their disappearance was found in the mountains of the Andes in 1998: the Star Dust, an Avro Lancastrian airliner run by the same airline, had disappeared on a flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Santiago, Chile on August 2, 1947.
The plane's remains were discovered at the melt end of a glacier, suggesting that either the crew did not pay attention to their instruments, suffered an instrument failure or did not allow for headwind effects from the jetstream on the way to Santiago when it hit a mountain peak, with the resulting avalanche burying the remains and incorporating it into the glacier. However, this is mere speculation with regard to the Star Tiger and Star Ariel, pending the recovery of the aircraft. It should be noted that the Star Tiger was flying at a height of just 2,000 feet (610 m), which would have meant that if the plane was forced down, there would have been no time to send out a distress message. It is also far too low for the jetstream or any other high-altitude wind to have any effect.
KC-135 Stratotankers:
On August 28, 1963 a pair of U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft collided and crashed into the Atlantic. The Triangle version (Winer, Berlitz, Gaddis) of this story specifies that they did collide and crash, but there were two distinct crash sites, separated by over 160 miles (260 km) of water. However, Kusche's research showed that the unclassified version of the Air Force investigation report stated that the debris field defining the second "crash site" was examined by a search and rescue ship, and found to be a mass of seaweed and driftwood tangled in an old buoy.
SS Marine Sulphur Queen:
SS Marine Sulphur Queen, a T2 tanker converted from oil to sulfur carrier, was last heard from on February 4, 1963 with a crew of 39 near the Florida Keys. Marine Sulphur Queen was the first vessel mentioned in Vincent Gaddis' 1964 Argosy Magazine article, but he left it as having "sailed into the unknown", despite the Coast Guard report which not only documented the ship's badly-maintained history, but declared that it was an unseaworthy vessel that should never have gone to sea.
SS Marine Raifuku Maru:
One of the more famous incidents in the Triangle took place in 1921 (some say a few years later), when the Japanese vessel Raifuku Maru (sometimes misidentified as Raikuke Maru) went down with all hands after sending a distress signal which allegedly said "Danger like dagger now. Come quick!", or "It's like a dagger, come quick!" This has led writers to speculate on what the "dagger" was, with a waterspout being the likely candidate (Winer). In reality the ship was nowhere near the Triangle, nor was the word "dagger" a part of the ship's distress call ("Now very danger. Come quick."); having left Boston for Hamburg, Germany, on April 21, 1925, she got caught in a severe storm and sank in the North Atlantic with all hands while another ship, RMS Homeric, attempted an unsuccessful rescue.
Connemara IV:
A pleasure yacht found adrift in the Atlantic south of Bermuda on September 26, 1955; it is usually stated in the stories (Berlitz, Winer) that the crew vanished while the yacht survived being at sea during three hurricanes. The 1955 Atlantic hurricane season lists only one storm coming near Bermuda towards the end of August, hurricane "Edith"; of the others, "Flora" was too far to the east, and "Katie" arrived after the yacht was recovered. It was confirmed that the Connemara IV was empty and in port when "Edith" may have caused the yacht to slip her moorings and drift out to sea.
Skeptical Responses
The marine insurer Lloyd's of London has determined the Triangle to be no more dangerous than any other area of ocean, and does not charge unusual rates for passage through the region. United States Coast Guard records confirm their conclusion. In fact, the number of supposed disappearances is relatively insignificant considering the number of ships and aircraft which pass through on a regular basis.
The Coast Guard is also officially skeptical of the Triangle, noting that they collect and publish, through their inquiries, much documentation contradicting many of the incidents written about by the Triangle authors. In one such incident involving the 1972 explosion and sinking of the tanker V.A. Fogg in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard photographed the wreck and recovered several bodies despite one Triangle author stating that all the bodies had vanished, with the exception of the captain, who was found sitting in his cabin at his desk, clutching a coffee cup (Limbo of the Lost by John Wallace Spencer, 1973 edition).
The NOVA / Horizon episode The Case of the Bermuda Triangle (June 27, 2006) was highly critical stating that "When we've gone back to the original sources or the people involved the mystery evaporates. Science does not have to answer questions about the Triangle because those questions are not valid in the first place. ... Ships and planes behave in the Triangle the same way they behave everywhere else in the world"
Skeptical researchers, such as Ernest Taves and Barry Singer, have noted how mysteries and the paranormal are very popular and profitable. This has led to the production of vast amounts of material on topics such as the Bermuda Triangle. They were able to show that some of the pro-paranormal material is often misleading or not accurate, but its producers continue to market it. They have therefore claimed that the market is biased in favour of books, TV specials, et cetera. which support the Triangle mystery and against well-researched material if it espouses a skeptical viewpoint.
Finally, if the Triangle is assumed to cross land, such as parts of Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, or Bermuda itself, there is no evidence for the disappearance of any land-based vehicles or persons. Located inside the Triangle, Freeport operates a major shipyard, an airport which yearly handles 50,000 flights and is visited by over a million tourists annually.
Compass Variations
Compass problems are one of the cited phrases in many Triangle incidents. Some have theorized the possibility of unusual local magnetic anomalies in the area, however these have not been shown to exist. It should also be remembered that compasses have natural magnetic variations in relation to the Magnetic poles. For example, in the United States the only places where magnetic (compass) north and geographic (true) north are exactly the same are on a line running from Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico. Navigators have known this for centuries. But the public may not be as informed and think there is something mysterious about the compass "changing" across an area as large as the Triangle, which it naturally will.
Located on the 80th degree longitude, the Bermuda Triangle is one of the two areas on Earth where a compass will point at true north rather than magnetic north. This compass variation can be as much as 20 degrees, enough to throw one catastrophically off course. The other is the Devil's Sea.

Devil's Sea - Devil's Triangle - Dragon's Triangle :
The Devil's Sea is classified by many as having the same paranormal effects as the Bermuda Triangle. It is located in a region of the Pacific around Miyake Island, about 100 km south of Tokyo. Although the name is used by Japanese fishermen, it does not appear on nautical maps. In popular culture, especially in the United States, the Devil's Sea is widely believed to be, together with Bermuda Triangle, an area where ships and planes particularly often disappear mysteriously. The Japanese, on the other hand, do not consider the Devil's Sea to be any more mysterious or dangerous than other coastal waters of Japan.
Contrary to several claims, neither the Devil's Sea nor the Bermuda Triangle is located on the agonic line, where the magnetic north equals the geographic north. The magnetic declination in this area is about 6°. As is the case with all things mysterious, there are many theories regarding the Devil's Sea. One of the most prominent is that there is a large amount of volcanic activity around the area, and an underwater volcano could obliterate a ship without a trace

The Sargasso Sea is located in the east side of the triangle in the middle of the Atlantic. It houses a few small islands and masses of clumped floating seaweed. A warm water current within it swirls clockwise, affecting the weather of the area, keeping it calm and steamy. Having little wind, this area greatly affects unpowered ships.
Christopher Columbus wrote in his diary about this sea. In fact, it so fooled his crew that it almost led them to mutiny. There exists the possibility exists of never leaving this legendary sea, he wrote. Another fascinating feature he noted is its ability to draw things in from all over the Atlantic. Some even claim it to be the "catch-basin" of the Atlantic.
Columbus' crew was greatly disappointed when seaweed and land birds were sighted, but after a few days no land was to be seen. Soon after, Columbus wrote, My compass acts strangely. I will not report this to my crew because of their deep superstitions about the area. Days later, Columbus saw a large meteor fall from the sky. He wrote, A large ball of light has fallen from the sky. It is unsure whether he mentions this occurrence in awe, because of its great size, or in fright. Later on their journey, in that area, Columbus and several of his crew members sighted unexplained dancing lights on the horizon. They wandered around for over a week before finally sighting land.
The Michigan Triangle:
According to Linda S. Godfrey in her book Weird Michigan, the Michigan Triangle is located over central Lake Michigan. One side stretches from the town of Ludington to Benton Harbor in Michigan; another links from Benton Harbor to Manitowoc, Wisconsin; the final side connects Manitowoc back to Ludington.
There are numerous stories of the supposed appearance of strange creatures, unexplained vanishings, time standing still, slowing to a crawl, or speeding up, or other weird happenings.
One well-documented and well-known case includes that of Captain George R. Donner, who commanded the Great Lakes freighter O.M. McFarland. While on a journey back from Erie, Pennsylvania after picking up 9,800 tons of coal, the ship made course westward through the lakes. It was slow going due to late-spring ice floes, but the ship was making steady progress toward its destination, Port Washington, Wisconsin, when Donner disappeared.
On the night of April 28, 1937, the captain took to his cabin, with instructions to be awakened as the ship drew near to port. About three hours later, with Port Washington growing close, the second mate appeared at the captain's cabin, prepared to awake him, but found no one. He and the crew searched the ship, but the captain was nowhere to be seen. The mate reported that the cabin door was locked from the inside, adding to the mystery of the triangle. Reportedly, the ship was in the dead center of the triangle when the captain disappeared.
Another disappearance took place on June 23, 1950, and involved a Northwest Airlines DC-4 aircraft carrying fifty-five passengers and three crew members. This flight 2501 had departed from New York City and was due to land at Minneapolis. The last radio contact recorded with the plane was that it was 3,500 feet over Battle Creek, Michigan and was going to change its course to a northwesterly path over Lake Michigan, due to bad weather near Chicago. After this, the plane was never seen again, nor were the occupants. Even after an extensive search by the Coast Guard, only a blanket with the airline's logo was found. Once again, the aircraft was in the center of the supposed triangle when it disappeared.
Formosa Triangle:
The Formosa Triangle is a roughly 5 million square kilometer region of the Pacific between Gilbert Islands, Taiwan, and Wake Atoll, where, allegedly, ships frequently disappear under mysterious circumstances. It is supposed to have similar paranormal properties to the Bermuda Triangle. According to Muhammad Isa Dawud, it also has an increased activity of the jinni. The name is not used by the inhabitants of the area, nor does it appear on nautical maps.
Paranormal Theories:
Edgar Cayce on Atlantis
In 2005, as part of a Sci Fi Channel documentary on the Bermuda Triangle, researcher David Childress explored underwater artifacts called the Scott Stones which he and others believe is linked to Atlantis - one of its locations being the heart of the Bermuda Triangle. No one is certain what the 'stone looking' formations are. Chisel marks would have to be found for them to be determined as manmade, not to mention dating their age.
Edgar Cayce said that the Bahama Banks were the last part of Atlantis to sink, and the last place where these glorious advanced electromagnetic machines went below the ocean. He prophezied that elements of Atlantis would rise in 1968 and 1969. The Bimini Wall or Road was discovered off the coast of Bimini in 1968.
The electromagnetic anomalies in the area, Childress states, are linked to advanced technologies under the water in the Bermuda Triangle that are still active. This goes to ancient mysteries, and perhaps ancient astronauts, about powerful Atlantean crystal technology developed being buried beneath the ocean floor when Atlantis sank into the sea due to cataclysmic events over 10,000 years ago.
Dr. Raymond's Brown's Experience:
This theory is pure speculation as far as I am concerned, though I have heard from readers of Crystalinks who say they actually saw the crystal. In a world where anything is possible and Brown's story may have some basis in fact, as well as subjective interpretation.
Version 1:
A diving experience in Bahama waters, related by Dr. Ray Brown, a diver and lecturer of Mesa, Arizona, indicated how the sea can change as a result of a violent storm. Within the Bermuda Triangle such a storm can sometimes uncover ruins for a short time only before they are buried again under the seafloor.
Dr. Brown, who was familiar with the Berry Islands of the Bahamas, where he had previously searched for Spanish treasure galleons, returned there in 1970. He detailed his experience in an interview with the author Charles Berlitz.
When we returned to where we had been before, looking for the sunken galleons, a violent squall came up. we had to hang on to mangroves on the island, it was so violent. Six to eight foot waves broke over us and we lost most of our equipment. In the morning we saw that our compasses were spinning and our magnometers were not giving readings. We took off north east from the island. It was murky but suddenly we could see outlines of buildings under the water. It seemed to be a large exposed area of an underwater city.
We were five divers and we all jumped in and dove down, looking for anything we could find. As we swam on, the water became clear. I was close to the bottom at 135 feet and was trying to keep up with the diver ahead of me. I turned to look toward the sun through the murky water and saw a pyramid shape shinning like a mirror. Thirty-five to forty feet from the top was an opening. I was reluctant to go inside... but I swam anyway. The opening was like a shaft debouching into an inner room. I saw something shinning. It was a crystal, held by two metalic hands. I had on my gloves and I tried to loosen it. It became loose. As soon as I grabbed it I felt this was the time to get out and not come back.
Reports from the other divers who were with Dr. Brown at the time are unavailable since three of them have died or disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle while diving. Dr. Brown allegedly still has the crystal, which he sometimes shows to lecture audiences. Inside the round crystal can be seen a series of pyramidal forms. When one holds the crystal, a throbbing sensation is felt in the hand of the holder, whether by autosuggestion or some quality inherent in the object.
Dr. Brown does not express an opinion as to the identity of the place that he visited except to say that it was an underwater pyramid surrounded by ruined buildings. He believes that the pyramid and the other buildings extend farther down under the sea floor, with only the upper portions visible. Brown did not reveal the coordinates of the pyramid.
Version 2:
In 1970, Dr. Ray Brown, a naturopathic practitioner from Mesa, Arizona, went scuba diving with some friends near the Berry Islands in the Bahamas, close to a popular area known as the Tongue of the Ocean. During one of his dives, Brown became separated from his friends and while searching for them he was startled when he came across a strange pyramid shape silhouetted against the aquamarine light.
Upon investigating further, Brown was surprised by how smooth and mirror-like was the stone surface of the whole structure, with the joints between the individual blocks almost indiscernible. Swimming around the capstone, which Brown thought might have been made of lapis lazuli, he discovered an entrance and decided to explore inside. Passing along a narrow hallway, Brown finally came to a small rectangular room with a pyramid-shaped ceiling. He was totally amazed that this room contained no algae or coral growing on the inner walls. In addition, though Brown had brought no torch with him, the area was well lit by an unknown source.
Brown's attention was drawn to a brassy metallic rod three inches in diameter hanging down from the apex of the center of the room and at its end was attached a many-faceted red gem, which tapered to a point. Directly below this rod and gem, sitting in the middle of the room, was a stand of carved stone topped by a stone plate with scrolled ends. On the plate there was a pair of carved metal bronze-colored hands, life-sized, which appeared blackened and burnt, as if having been subjected to tremendous heat.
Nestled in the hands, and situated four feet directly below the ceiling rod gem point, was a crystal sphere four inches in diameter. Brown tried to loosen the ceiling rod and red gemstone but neither would budge. Returning to the crystal sphere, he found, to his amazement, that it separated easily from the bronze hand holders. With the crystal sphere in his right hand he then made his way out of the pyramid. As he departed, Brown felt an unseen presence and heard a voice telling him never to return.
Fearing that his unusual prize might be confiscated as salvage-treasure by the American Government, Dr. Brown did not reveal the existence of his strange crystal sphere, nor did he relate his experiences until 1975, when he exhibited his crystal for the first time at a psychic seminar in Phoenix. Since that time, the crystal sphere has made only a very few public appearances but on each occasion people who have seen it have experienced strange phenomena directly associated with it. Deep inside the crystal form, one gazes upon three pyramidical images, one in front of the other, in decreasing sizes. Some people who enter a deep meditative state of consciousness are able to discern a fourth pyramid, in the foreground of the other three.
Crystal Skulls- Mitchell Hedges Crystal Skull
Comet Theory:
The Comet Theory proposes that a comet, of unknown composition, crashed to Earth 11,000 + years ago and embedded itself in the area of the Bermuda Triangle, beneath the ocean floor. If such an object exists there, it could still possess electromagntic properties that we don't entirely understand causing the anomalies in the Bermuda Triangle.

Conspiracy Theory and Government Cover-ups - AUTEC
The Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center is allegedly located in the Bermuda Triangle and is sometimes called Underwater Area 51. This US Navy Research Center is a top-secret facility whose exact mission statement is not known to the general public. No one is allowed to visit there or film in or near the facility. Conspiracy theorists suspect they make have created or reproduced these electromagnetic anomalies.
This theory takes the viewer to the events of the Philadelphia Experiment in 1943 - rips in space-time in the Atlantic region - government secret projects and more

USO's - Unidentified Submerged Objects :
Could extraterrestrials have anything to do with the Bermuda Triangle, perhaps using it as a vortex - indwells and outwells for spaceships, perhaps since the beginning of time?

Planetary Grid Points :
Major planetary grid points pass through the Bermuda Triangle

Saturday, June 13, 2009


In Cappadocia magical landscape of fairy chimneys, in the ancient village of Urgup, is a luxurious hotel carved into a mountain cliff, the Yunak Evleri. This hotel includes six cave houses, 30 rooms dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries and a 19th century Greek Mansion. Yunak Evleri is an inspiring hotel an ideal base for exploring Cappadocia elaborate underground cities, hidden cavernous churches and enchanting rock terrain.


Mecca (Makkah in Arabic) is the center of the Islamic world and the birthplace of both the Prophet Muhammad and the religion he founded. Located in the Sirat Mountains of central Saudi Arabia and 45miles inland from the Red Sea port of Jidda (Jeddah), ancient Mecca was an oasis on the old caravan trade route that linked the Mediterranean world with South Arabia, East Africa, and South Asia. By Roman and Byzantine times it had developed into an important trade and religious center, and was known as Macoraba. The sacred land in which Mecca and Medina are located, known as the Hijaz, is the western region of the Arabian peninsula, a narrow tract of land about 875 miles long east of the Red Sea with the Tropic of Cancer running through its center. The land is called Hijaz, meaning barrier, because its backbone, the Sarat Mountains consist of volcanic peaks and natural depressions creating a stark and rugged environment dominated by intense sunlight and little rain fall.
According to ancient Arabian traditions, when Adam and Eve were cast from Paradise they fell to different parts of the earth; Adam on a mountain on the island of Serendip, or Sri Lanka, and Eve in Arabia, on the border of the Red Sea near the port of Jeddah. For two hundred years Adam and Eve wandered separate and lonely about the earth. Finally, in consideration of their penitence and wretchedness, God permitted them to come together again on Mt. Arafat, near the present city of Mecca (previously called Becca or Bakkah, meaning narrow valley). Adam then prayed to God that a shrine might be granted to him similar to that at which he had worshipped in Paradise. Adam's prayers were answered and a shrine was built. (This is a pre-Islamic legend and the Koran, the Islamic Holy Scripture, says nothing whatsoever of Adam’s connection with Mecca or of a shrine he prayed at). Adam is said to have died and been buried in Mecca and Eve in Jeddah by the sea which still bears her name, jiddah, meaning maternal ancestor in Arabic.
This shrine passed away during the era of the flood, at which time the body of Adam began to float on the water while the Ark of Noah circumambulated around it and the Ka’ba seven times before journeying north where it landed after the flood. A thousand years later, according to one Islamic tradition in 1892 BC, the great patriarch of monothesism, Abraham, or Ibrahim, came to Mecca with his Egyptian wife Hagar and their child Ishmael. Here Hagar lived with her son in a small house, at the site of the earlier shrine, and Abraham came to visit her on occasion.
Nearly all scholars trace the sanctity of Mecca to the Ka’ba edifice later rebuilt at God’s express command by Abraham and Ishmael. Mention must be made, however, of the Zamzan spring and the nearby holy hills of Safa and Marwa (these hills have since disappeared under the leveling topography of modern Mecca). These geographical formations certainly predated the mythical construction of the Ka’ba and could therefore have given birth to the original sanctity of the place. According to Islamic legend, Abraham had left Mecca on God’s command, leaving Hagar and Ishmael with only some water and dates. Hagar nursed her son and they drank the remaining water. Soon thereafter, faced with great thirst, Ishmael started to cry and Hagar began to run between the hills of Safa and Marwa looking for water. She repeated the journey seven times until an angel appeared to her, striking the ground with his wing, with the result that the Zamzam spring, which Muslims consider as a tributary of the waters of Paradise, sprang forth. Henceforth Mecca was graced with a source of water which has continued flowing to this day.
After the departure and return of Abraham to Mecca, and his discovery that Hagar had died, Abraham was then ordered by God to make Hagar’s house into a temple where people could pray. Therefore, he demolished the house and began construction of the Ka’ba. God gave Abraham precise instructions concerning how to rebuild the shrine and Gabriel showed him the location. It is said that by the grace of God the Divine Peace (al-sakinah) descended in the form of a wind which brought a cloud in the shape of a dragon that revealed to Abraham and Ishmael the site of the old temple. They were told to construct the shrine directly upon the shadow of the cloud, neither exceeding nor diminishing its dimensions. Legends say the shrine was built from the stones of five sacred mountains: Mt. Sinai, the Mount of Olives, Mt. Lebanon, Al-Judi, and nearby Mt. Hira. Upon the completion of the shrine, Gabriel brought a magic stone for the sanctuary. Different sources speculate that this stone was a meteorite or a great white sapphire from the Garden of Eden, that it had been concealed on the nearby sacred mountain of Abu Qubays during the period of the flood, and that it was later restored to Abraham for inclusion in his version of the Ka’ba. Whatever its ultimate origin, the stone was most probably a sacred object of the pre-Islamic Arabian nomads who had settled around the Zamzam spring that flows at the center of old Mecca. Upon completion of the Ka’ba, Abraham and Ishmael, accompanied by the archangel Gabriel, then performed all the elements which constitute the Hajj ritual of today. The Ka’ba they had constructed was destined to become the most important sacred site of the nomadic tribes that inhabited the great Arabian deserts. (Abraham was later to leave Mecca to die in Palestine in al-Khalil).
With the passage of centuries, the original Abrahamic observances at the Ka’ba were progressively diluted by the addition of various pagan elements (these arriving via the caravan routes that led to Mecca). The pilgrims of pre-Islamic times visited not only the house of Abraham and the sacred stone of Gabriel but also the collection of stone idols (representing different deities) housed in and around the Ka’ba. There were said to be 360 different deities including Awf, the great bird, Hubal the Nabatean god, the three celestial goddesses Manat, al-Uzza and al-Lat, and statues of Mary and Jesus. The most important of all these deities, and chief of the Meccan pantheon, was known as Allah (meaning “the god”). Worshipped throughout southern Syria and northern Arabia, and the only deity not represented by an idol in the Ka’ba, Allah would later become the sole god of the Muslims.
The city of Mecca achieved its major religious significance following the birth and life of the Prophet Muhammed (570-632AD). In 630 Muhammad took control of Mecca and destroyed the 360 pagan idols, with the notable exception of the statues of Mary and Jesus. The idol of Hubal, the largest in Mecca, was a giant stone situated atop the Ka’ba. Following the command of the Prophet, Ali (the cousin of Muhammad) stood on Muhammad’s shoulders, climbed to the top of the Ka’ba and toppled the idol.
Following his destruction of the pagan idols, Muhammad joined certain of the ancient Meccan rituals with the Hajj pilgrimage to Mt. Arafat (another pre-Islamic tradition), declared the city a center of Muslim pilgrimage and dedicated it to the worship of Allah alone. Muhammad did not, however, destroy the Ka’ba and the sacred stone it housed. Rather, he made them the centerpiece of the Muslim religion based on his belief that he was a prophetic reformer who had been sent by god to restore the rites first established by Abraham that had been corrupted over the centuries by the pagan influences. Thus, by gaining both religious and political control over Mecca, Muhammad was able to redefine the sacred territory and restore Abraham's original order to it.
According to the original words of Muhammad, the Hajj pilgrimage is the fifth of the fundamental Muslim practices known as the 'Five Pillars of Islam'. The Hajj is an obligation to be performed at least once by all male and female adults whose health and finances permit it. The pilgrimage takes place each year between the 8th and 13th days of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Before setting out, a pilgrim should redress all wrongs, pay all debts, and plan to have enough money for their journey and the support of their family while away.
As pilgrims undertake the journey they follow in the footsteps of many millions before them. When the pilgrim is about 10 kilometers from Mecca he enters the state of holiness and purity known as Ihram, and dons special garments consisting of two white seamless sheets that are wrapped around the body. Entering the great Mosque in Mecca, the pilgrim first walks seven times around the Ka’ba shrine in a counterclockwise direction; this ritual is called turning, or tawaf. Next, entering into the shrine, the pilgrim kisses the sacred stone. The stone is mounted in a silver frame in the wall, four feet above the ground, in the southeast corner of the shrine. It is of an oval shape about twelve inches in diameter, composed of seven small stones (possibly basalt) of different sizes and shapes joined together with cement. Legend tells that the stone (Hajarul Aswad, the ‘Black Stone’) was originally white but became gradually darkened by the kisses of sinful mortals (some traditions say by the sins of 'offsprings of Adam').
During the next few days the pilgrim walks a ritualized route to other sacred places in the Mecca vicinity (Mina, Muzdalifah, Arafat, the Mount of Mercy and Mt. Namira) and returns to the Ka’ba on the final day (the word Hajj probably derives from an old Semitic root meaning 'to go around, to go in a circle'). The plain of Arafat where millions of pilgrims assemble in a vast congregation symbolizes the plain of Mahshar or Resurrection where everyone will stand before God on the Day of Judgement. In the middle of Arafat stands Jabal al-Rahmah or the Mount of Mercy where the last verses of the Koran were revealed and where one of the famous farewell addresses of the Prophet was delivered. It is here that the alchemy of union between various aspects of human nature takes place and where men and women regain their primordial spiritual wholeness, for it was here that Adam and Eve found each other again after their fall to earth from Paradise. At Mina, where the Prophet delivered his last words during his final pilgrimage, pilgrims cast stones against three large stone pillars representing Satan (al-Shaytan) as a symbol of the eternal battle that must be waged against the demons within. Finally there is the sacrifice of an animal, a sheep or a camel, in emulation of Abraham’s preparation to sacrifice his son Ishmael.
Once a believer has made the pilgrimage to Mecca men may add the title al-Hajji to their name, hajjiyah for females. In different Islamic countries returning pilgrims will use a variety of signs to indicate they have made the Hajj; these include painting pictures of the Ka’ba (and the pilgrim’s means of transportation to the shrine) upon the walls of their homes, painting the entrance doorway of the house bright green, and wearing hats or scarves of green color. A so-called Minor Pilgrimage, known as the Umra, contains some but not all of the rites of the Hajj and may be performed at any time of the year.
The Ka’ba, The Great Mosque, Mecca

The area around the Ka’ba was enclosed by a wall in 638 to create a defined space for the tawaf ritual of circumambulation. In 684 the mosque was further enlarged and ornamented with numerous mosaic and marble decorations. In 709 the Umayyad caliph Al-Walid placed a wooden roof upon marble columns to protect the arcades of the mosque, and between 754 and 757 the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mansur carried out further enlargements, including the first minaret. During the next 700 years numerous modifications were carried out although no major alterations to the form of the building occurred until the Ottoman period in the 16th century (in the 10th century the Black Stone was actually stolen for a period of twenty-one years by the Carmathians). Large-scale renovations and remodeling was undertaken in 1564 during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent, who rebuilt the minarets and replaced the wooden roofs of the arcades with stone domes. The next major rebuilding of the mosque occurred in the 20th century under the direction of the Saudi royal family and resulted in the Mecca mosque becoming the largest in the world.
The Ka’ba today stands in the midst of an open courtyard known as the al-masjid al-haram, the ‘sanctuary’. The cubical (the word Ka’ba means “cube”), flat-roofed building rises fifty feet from a narrow marble base on mortared bases of a local blue-gray stone. Its dimensions are not exactly cubical: the northeastern and southwestern walls are forty feet long, while the other two walls are five feet shorter (12 meters long, 10 meters broad, 16 meters high). The structure’s corners, rather than the walls, are oriented toward the compass points. The east and west walls are aligned to the sunrise at the summer solstice and sunset at the winter solstice. The south wall is directed to the rising of the bright star Canopus. The northeastern wall has the only door of the building, about seven feet above the ground level. Inside is an empty room with a marble floor and three wooden pillars supporting the roof. There are some inscriptions on the walls, hanging votive lamps, and a ladder leading up to the roof. The entire Ka’ba structure is draped with a black silk covering, called a kiswa, upon which passages from the Koran are embroidered in gold. The kiswa is renewed every year and the old kiswah is cut up and distributed so as to allow the barakah of the ka’ba to emanate among those to whom the pieces of the cloth are given. During the early centuries of Islamic history the kiswah was made in Egypt and carried with great ceremony to Mecca but now it is fashioned near the holy city itself.
Opposite the northwestern wall of the Ka’ba is an area of special sanctity called the Hijr, which Muslim tradition identifies as the burial place of Hagar and Ishmael (and here, too, Ishmael had been promised by God that a gate into heaven would be opened for him). In Muhammad’s time, the Hijr was a place used for discussion, prayer and, significantly, for sleep. The sleepers in the Hijr appear to have gone there specifically to have dreams of divine content: Muhammad’s grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib, was inspired to discover the Zamzam well while sleeping there; the mother of the Prophet had a vision of her son’s greatness; and at the Hijr Muhammed himself was visited by Gabriel before beginning his miraculous Night Journey to Jerusalem.
The Ka’ba, the Zamzan well, the Hijr and the hills of Safa and Marwa are now all enclosed in a vast structure called the Haram al-Sharif, ‘The Noble Sanctuary’. Ringed by seven towering minarets and sixty-four gates, this truly monumental building has 160,000 yards of floor space, is capable of holding more than 1.2 million pilgrims at the same time, and is the largest mosque in the Islamic world. The sa’y, or ritual walk between the hills of Safa and Marwa, celebrating the rapid movement of Hagar and her son Ishmael in search of water and being an integral part of the Hajj rituals, is understood to represent mans quest in this world for the life-bestowing bounties of God
It is interesting to note that prior to the age of the European world explorations, the pilgrimage to Mecca was the single largest expression of human mobility. As the religion of Islam rapidly spread across the world from Indonesia and China in the Far East to Spain, Morocco and West Africa in the west, ever increasing numbers of pilgrims made the long, and often dangerous, journey to Mecca. Some came by boat, braving the Red Sea, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. Others spent months in camel caravans slowly crossing great tracts of land. The most important pilgrimage caravans were the Egyptian, the Syrian, the Maghribi (the trans-Saharan route), the Sudanese (the sub-Saharan, savanna route), and those from Iraq and Persia.
Forbidden to persons not of the Muslim faith, Mecca came to symbolize for Europeans the secrets and mysteries of the orient, and as such became a magnet for explorers and adventurers. A few of these daring travelers, such as John Lewis Burckhardt from Switzerland (who, in 1812, was also the first European to visit the ruins of Petra) and Sir Richard Burton from Great Britain were able to convincingly impersonate Muslim pilgrims, gain entrance to Mecca, and write wonderfully of the holy city upon their return to Europe. Other explorers were neither so lucky nor divinely guided; many of them disappeared or were caught and sold into slavery. To this day, Mecca remains strictly closed for persons not of the Muslim faith.
Nowadays about 2,000,000 persons perform the Hajj each year, and the pilgrimage serves as a unifying force in Islam by bringing together followers from diverse countries and language groups. In a certain sense Mecca is said to be visited by all Muslims every day; this because five times each day (three times in the Shi’a sect) millions upon millions of devout believers kneel to pray. Wherever the place of prayer - be it an established mosque, a remote place in the wilderness or the interior of a home - Muslims face towards Mecca and are united to the Ka’ba by an invisible line of direction called the qibla

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Marcio Kogan’s Panama House is a residence designed for art. Located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the house makes a powerful but subdued statement in its low, open, elongated elegance a hallmark of Kogan’s architecture.In the past few years, the award-winning, Brazilian-born architect’s Studio MK27 has produced a steady stream of low-rise, boxy work all with an uncanny intimacy, yet without any of the usual stuffy treatments that supposedly create intimacy.

At the Panama House, there are no cozy nooks, no soft furnishings, no homey touches. And yet, there is a feeling of comfort and livability in this art-gallery-of-a-house that makes you want to move in tomorrow.

All levels of the three-storey house including the bedrooms, office, gardens and patio are used to display the owner’s substantial collection of predominantly modern Brazilian art and sculpture

An uninterrupted connection between inside and out makes the entire space seem unlimited, translucent, as if without walls, although the structure is essentially a wooden box inside a C-shaped concrete cask made of cement slabs and a wall.

The sliding vertical wood lathes that form the brise soleils for each room’s facade, are also an important part of establishing the prevailing openness. The brise soleils also provide comfort and privacy, and enable the control of the artworks exposure to direct sun.

Most beautifully, they also create the soft play of light that matches the overall linear shapes - created by creases in window treatments, the floor boards, the rows of pillows on long sofas, the stone work outside - continuing the elongated language of the entire building.

The Sao Paulo-born architect Marcio Kogan graduated from Mackenzie University in 1976 and created films until the age of 30. His considerable talents of creating drama, understanding a setting and leading the eye are certainly evident in the award-winning Panama House.


Reflection of Mineral is a 480-square-foot (about 45 square meters) residence located in downtown Tokyo's Nakano ward. Designed by architect Yasuhiro Yamashita Reflection of Mineral has received wide architecture and design media attention and numerous international awards.
Depending on viewpoint, the house looks like a bulky camper van about to take off. Or it seems to be the result of a giant`s frustrated attempt to fashion a house from a square box. Realizing that the site is too small and the wrong shape for his house, the giant just stuffed the house into the site by force. The whimsy of this beautiful residence is a big part of its charm. At the same time, the house is also an elegant expression of modern Japanese minimalism, and an example of brilliant use of a sparse site, a requirement in the tight space of downtown Tokyo

Also beautiful is the way in which the interior appointments the lines of the bathtub, the curves of the waste bins, the wavy length of the utilitarian shelves respond to the lines of the building. This makes the interior seem larger and much less boxy than one would assume from the outside.

Yasuhiro Ymashita who was born in Kagoshima in 1960. He established Atelier Tekuto in Tokyo in 1991


Sommarnöjen provides the houses ready-built on site. Some are suitable for year-round use as well. The mini-houses are also great as additions to a larger dwelling — as guest houses, studios, workshops, separate bedrooms and of course, saunas. For those of us with Scandinavian backgrounds, these cottages look like home. They look perfectly suited to join the thousands of tiny cottages that dot the small islands, rocky seashores and lakesides of Scandinavia where people take July off and also spend every weekend from April till September (or more) at the cottage, rain or shine.


The house that made of arrangement of timber boxes with the barrow extension, each part independently rotated and subjected to varying amount of extruding and manipulating forces. The result is a stunning house with a variety of shapes, different volumes of interior and an interesting double story addition to this weatherboard house. See the structure animation to have more detail about this house.


The world largest Barbie Flagship store and café built on the 35,000 square foot areas and most comprehensive collection of Barbie dolls and licensed Barbie products. The design concept of this store is how to make a figure where “Barbie is hero”; expression Barbie as a global lifestyle brand by building on the brand historical link to fashion.
All the exterior, interior, fixtures and furnishings are designed by Slade Architecture. It’s designed to create a sleek, fun, unapologetically feminine interpretation of Barbie: past, present, and future. The main color of this store interior and exterior is pink expressing Barbie’s cutting-edge fashion sense and history.

For the new facade, Slade Architecture combined references to product packaging, decorative arts, fashion and architectural iconography to create a modern identity for the store.
The facade is made of two layers: molded, translucent polycarbonate interior panels and flat exterior glass panels printed with a whimsical lattice frit pattern. Slade collaborated with designers at BIG, who created the final exterior frit graphics. The two layers reinforce each other visually and interact dynamically through reflection, shadow and distortion

The Barbie Cafe, a beautiful restaurant and gelato bar on the top floor, offers guests the opportunity to take a break and enjoy both local comfort food and Barbie-inspired refreshments. Mattel and David Laris Concept planned both the Fashion Cafe and the Barbie Cafe. Both spaces were designed by Slade Architecture.