Introduction | History
and Famous Incidents | Theories | Links and Resources
Countless theories attempting to explain the many disappearances
have been offered throughout the history of the area called Bermuda
Triangle. The most practical seem to be environmental and those
citing human error. However, the most attractive to the public are
Supernatural and Paranormal Explanations
- A time warp in the Bermuda Triangle
The time warp’s location is not known.
- UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) and/or Alien Astronauts
The disappearances have to do with beings from another world.
The Bermuda Triangle is a collecting station where aliens take our
people, ships, planes and other objects back to their planet to
study, or perhaps to save them from a holocaust. Others think that
the planes and ships are sent to another dimension.
- Sea Monsters
Some believe in sea monsters that supposedly sink the ships.
- Death Rays from Atlantis
It could be death rays from Atlantis.
Proponents of this idea believe there are
magic crystals, left from the time of Atlantis, that make the
ships sink. Scuba divers have found places under the ocean that
look man-made, but have not found any crystals, or even any real
proof that Atlantis existed.
Remnants of Atlantis - click to enlarge
- Bermuda Triangle Stargate? A CONNECTION TO ATLANTIS? Do
Newly Mapped Magnetic Anomalies Point to the Stars?
An American archaeological team has discovered definitive
evidence of underwater ancient harbor remains at two separate
locations at Bimini. A hoax begun in 1978 by skeptics has also
11-12-05 (I-Newswire) - Archaeologist William Donato and a team of
researchers have confirmed a complex of ancient harbor works in
shallow water off Bimini, 50 miles from Miami. In May 2005, the
team investigated a little-known line of underwater stones located
a mile from a controversial site known as the “Bimini Road.” The
new mile-long line of stones was found and videotaped from the
air. Subsequent dives revealed several large stone circles on the
bottom, formed from large blocks of limestone arranged into
circular patterns. The circles were spaced at regular intervals.
Stone anchors, identical to ancient Phoenician, Greek, and Roman
anchors, were also found. “These finds took us by surprise,”
stated Dr. Greg Little, who organized the expedition. “The circles
may be similar to ancient Mediterranean harbor ‘mooring circles.’”
Near the new site is the Bimini Road, a misnamed J-shaped
underwater formation of stone blocks. A careful search there
yielded two stone anchors in the 1800-foot long stone formation.
“One of these is identical to unusual ancient Greek anchors found
at Thera,” Little related. Several other artifacts were found,
“but the most important finds directly contradict skeptical
claims.” The team found numerous multiple tiers of blocks
including one set of three on top of each other. “The top block
has a U-shaped channel cut all the way across its bottom,” Little
said. “The most definitive evidence was found under the massive
blocks. We found rectangular slabs of smooth, cut stone literally
stacked under several blocks. These were used as leveling prop
stones. This is proof that the so-called Bimini Road was a
breakwater forming an ancient harbor.”
The team took 20 hours of underwater video and 1000 photos. “It’s
taken us five months to process the information and organize the
evidence,” Little stated. “While the finds are definitive, the
real problem is that a few skeptics wrote articles asserting the
main formation was simply natural limestone. A hoax was
perpetrated at Bimini by the skeptics, but you have to examine a
1978 report to understand it. Academic archaeologists and
geologists don’t read that report. They cite later summaries,
which are based on falsified data. The hoax is a disgrace, but
it’s been actively supported by key people.”
Little prepared a free 30-page pdf report on the expedition and
the hoax and produced a 73-minute DVD documentary. The report,
containing 70 photos, can be downloaded at: http://www.mysterious-america.net/biminihoax.html
Dr. Greg Little
ATA-Memphis A-Productions Ph: 901-336-9316
There are live bombs under the ocean from past wars
These bombs have exploded, causing ships to sink.
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 in 1981 by the United States
Geological Survey about the appearance of hydrates in the Blake
Ridge area, off the southeastern United States coast. Periodic
methane eruptions 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. Laboratory experiments have
proven that bubbles can, indeed, sink a scale model ship by
decreasing the density of the water.
Hypothetically, methane gas might also be involved in airplane
crashes, as it is not as dense as normal air and thus would not
generate the amount of lift required to keep the airplane flying.
Methane can cut out an aircraft engine with very little levels of it
in the atmosphere.
Research has shown that tidal, freak, or rogue waves can reach up
to 30 m (100 feet) in height and are capable of sinking large ships
within moments. Although these are very rare, in some areas ocean
currents mean they happen more often than the normal. Such waves
have now been hypothesized as a cause for many unexplained shipping
losses over the years.
Tsunami Wave. Image source:
Some research suggests that some of these waves are caused by
giant bubbles of methane rising to the surface. These giant bubbles
are created when methane vents at the ocean bottom become clogged;
then pressure builds up and eventually the gas bursts out and rises
rapidly to the surface thus generating the wave. Research has shown
that such bubbles are able to sink scale sized ships with great ease
Related Tsunami links:
Related Theories links:
Exorcizing the Devil's Triangle
By Howard L. Rosenberg ©
Sealift no. 6 (Jun. 1974): 11-15.
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060
During the past century more than 50 ships and 20 aircraft sailed
into oblivion in the area known as the Devil's Triangle, Bermuda
Triangle, Hoodoo Sea, or a host of other names.
Exactly what happened to the ships and aircraft is not known.
Most disappeared without a trace. Few distress calls and little, if
any, debris signaled their disappearance.
Size of the triangle is dictated by whoever happens to be writing
about it, and consequently what ships and the number lost depends
largely on which article you read.
Vincent Gaddis, credited with putting the triangle "on the map"
in a 1964 Argosy feature, described the triangle as extending from
Florida to Bermuda, southwest to Puerto Rico and back to Florida
through the Bahamas. Another author puts the apexes of the triangle
somewhere in Virginia, on the western coast of Bermuda and around
Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Sizes of the areas
described ranged from 500,000 to 1.5 million square miles.
Whatever the size or shape, there supposedly is some inexplicable
force within it that causes ships and planes to vanish.
According to Richard Winer, who recently completed a TV film
documentary on the area, one "expert" he interviewed claims the
missing ships and planes are still there, only in a different
dimension as a result of a magnetic phenomenon that could have been
set up by a UFO (Unidentified Flying Object).
Winer is currently writing a book on the subject and has traveled
most of the area in his sailboat. He confesses he "never saw
Winer's TV program dealt mostly with the strange disappearance in
1945 of five Navy TBM Avengers with 14 fliers who flew from Ft.
Lauderdale into the triangle never to return. A PBM Mariner with a
13-man crew was sent out to search for the fliers. It too, never
Few have really dug into all the aspects of this mystery, but
many are content to attribute the loss of Flight 19 to some
mysterious source, like UFOs. Michael McDonnel did do some digging.
In an article he wrote for the June 1973 edition of Naval Aviation
News, he suggested the most realistic answer to the loss of Flight
19 was simple, that after becoming lost, they ran out of gas. Many
question that possibility by asking, "How could such experienced
pilots get lost? How could all the compasses be wrong?"
If the planes were flying through a magnetic storm, all compasses
could possibly malfunction. Actually, man's knowledge of magnetism
is limited. We know how to live with it and escape it by going into
space, but, we really don't know what exactly it is.
As for the pilots' experience, Flight 19 was a training flight.
Though advanced, it was still training. Even the most "experienced"
pilots make mistakes.
McDonnel concludes his article with the statement, "Former TBM
pilots that we questioned express the opinion that the crew of an
Avenger attempting to ditch at night in a heavy sea would almost
certainly not survive the crash. And this, we feel was the case with
Flight 19. The aircraft most probably broke up on impact and those
crewmen who might have survived the crash would not have lasted long
in cool water."
The PBM Mariner was specifically designed as a rescue plane with
the ability to remain aloft for 24 hours. But the Mariners
were nicknamed "flying gas tanks" by those who flew them. It was
common for a pilot to search the crew members before each flight for
matches or cigarette lighters because gas fumes often were present.
After this Mariner disappeared, the Navy soon grounded all others.
Another mysterious disappearance that baffles researchers is that
of the SS Marine Sulphur Queen. Bound for Norfolk, Va. from
Beaumont, Texas, the tanker was last heard from on Feb. 3, 1963,
when she routinely radioed her position. The message placed her near
Key West in the Florida Straits.
Three days later, Coast Guard searchers found a solitary life
jacket bobbing in a calm sea 40 miles southwest of the tanker's last
known position. Another sign of the missing tanker or her 39-man
crew has ever been found.
The absence of bodies might be explained by the fact that the
waters are infested with sharks and barracuda. As for the tanker,
she was carrying 15,000 long tons of molten sulphur contained in
four metal tanks, each heated to 275 degrees Fahrenheit by a network
of coils connected to two boilers.
No one knows for sure whether she blew up, but it is a
possibility. If gas escaped from the tanks and poisoned the crew,
the radio officer may have not had time to send a distress call
before being overcome. The slightest spark could have set the
leaking sulphur afire in an instant.
Writing in the Seamen's Church Institute of New York's magazine,
The Lookout, Paul Brock said that officers on a Honduras flag banana
boat "reported to the Coast Guard that their freighter ran into a
'strong odor' 15 miles off Cape San Antonia, the western tip of
Cuba, just before dawn on February 3. The odor was acrid.'"
Brock speculates that they could have smelled the fumes coming
from the Sulphur Queen "floating somewhere over the horizon, her
crew dead and her cargo blazing."
According to Brock, T-2 tankers like the Sulphur Queen had a history
of battle failure. He said that "during the preceding years, three
T-2s had split in half." Brock also cites a case in December 1954
when a converted Navy LST, the Southern District, was heading up the
North Carolina coastline when she disappeared without a trace or
distress call. Her cargo was powdered sulphur.
One of the most celebrated stories of Devil's Triangle victims, is
that of USSCyclops which disappeared in March of 1918.
In his television program, Richard Winer indicated the captain of
the Cyclops was rather eccentric. He was reputedly fond of pacing
the quarterdeck wearing a hat, a cane and his underwear. Prior to
the Cyclops disappearance there was a minor mutiny by some members
of the crew which was promptly squelched by the captain and the
perpetrators were sent below in irons. None of this really offers a
clue to what happened to the collier Cyclops, but it suggests
something other than a mysterious force might have led to her doom.
According to Marshall Smith writing in Cosmopolitan, September
1973, "theories ranged from mutiny at sea to a boiler explosion
which carried away the radio shack and prevented any distress call."
One magazine, Literary Digest, speculated that a giant octopus rose
from the sea, entwined the ship with its tentacles and dragged it to
the bottom. Another theory was that the shipped suddenly turned
turtle in a freak storm, trapping all hands inside.
Fifty years later, novelist Paul Gallico used the idea as the peg
for a novel called The Poseidon Adventure which was made into a
successful movie in 1972.
Cyclops was assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation
Service, which became the Naval Transportation, which merged with
the Army Transport Service to become the Military Sea Transportation
Service and then Military Sealift Command. When she sailed she was
loaded with 10,800 tons of manganese ore bound for Baltimore from
Barbados in the West Indies.
Information obtained from Germany following World War I disproved
the notion that enemy U-boats or mines sank the Cyclops. None were
in the area.
Another story concerns the loss of the nuclear submarine USS
Scorpion in the Devil's Triangle. It is impossible to stretch even
the farthest flung region of the triangle to include the position of
the lost sub.
Truth is, Scorpion was found by the MSC oceanographic ship USNS
Mizar about 400 miles southwest of the Azores, nowhere near the
Devil's Triangle. Its loss was attributed to mechanical failure, not
some demonic denizen of the deep.
There are literally thousands of cases of lost ships ever since
primitive man dug a canoe out of the trunk of a tree and set it in
the water. Why all this emphasis on the Devil's Triangle? It's
difficult to say.
It would seem that, historically, whenever man was unable to
explain the nature of the world around him, the problems he faced
were said to be caused by gods, demons, monsters and more recently,
Before Columbus set sail and found the Americas, it was believed
that the world was flat and if you sailed too far west, you would
fall off the edge. That reasoning prevails concerning the Devil's
Triangle. Since not enough scientific research has been done to
explain the phenomenon associated with the area, imagination takes
over. UFOs, mystical rays from the sun to the lost Continent of
Atlantis, giant sea monsters and supernatural beings are linked to
the mysterious disappearances in the triangle.
To someone unprepared to take on the immense work of scientific
research, supernatural phenomenon make for an easy answer. But, it
is amazing how many supernatural things become natural when
There are a number of natural forces at work in the area known as
the Devil's Triangle, any of which could, if the conditions were
right, bring down a plane or sink a ship.
Many reputable scientists refuse to talk to anyone concerning the
Devil's Triangle simply because they do not want their good names
and reputations associated with notions they consider ridiculous.
One expert on ocean currents at Yale University, who asked not to
be identified, exploded into laughter at the mention of the triangle
and said, "We confidently, and without any hesitation, often go to
sea and work in that area." Another scientist refused to talk about
Atmospheric aberrations are common to jet age travelers. Few have
flown without experiencing a phenomenon known as clear air
turbulence. An aircraft can be flying smoothly on a beautifully
clear day and suddenly hit an air pocket or hole in the sky and drop
200 to 300 feet.
Lt. Cmdr. Peter Quinton, meteorologist and satellite liaison
officer with the Fleet Weather Service at Suitland, Md., said, "You
can come up with hundreds of possibilities and elaborate on all of
them and then come up with hundreds more to dispute the original
"It's all statistical," he said, "there's nothing magical about
it." According to Quinton, the Bermuda Triangle is notorious for
unpredictable weather. The only things necessary for a storm to
become a violent hurricane are speed, fetch (the area the wind blows
over) and time. If the area is large enough, a thunderstorm can whip
into a hurricane of tremendous intensity. But hurricanes can usually
be spotted by meteorologists using satellite surveillance. It is the
small, violent thunderstorms known as meso-meteorological storms
that they can't predict since they are outside of normal weather
patterns. These are tornadoes, thunderstorms and immature tropical
They can occur at sea with little warning, and dissipate
completely before they reach the shore. It is highly possible that a
ship or plane can sail into what is considered a mild thunderstorm
and suddenly face a meso-meteorological storm of incredible
Satellites sometimes cannot detect tropical storms if they are
too small in diameter, or if they occur while the satellite is not
over the area. There is a 12-hour gap between the time the satellite
passes over a specific part of the globe until it passes again.
During these 12 hours, any number of brief, violent storms could
Quinton said, "Thunderstorms can also generate severe electrical
storms sufficient to foul up communication systems." Speaking of
meso-meteorological storms, which she dubbed "neutercanes," Dr.
Joanne Simpson, a prominent meteorologist at the University of
Miami, said in the Cosmopolitan article that "These small hybrid
type storm systems arise very quickly, especially over the Gulf
Stream. They are several miles in diameter, last a few minutes or a
few seconds and then vanish. But they stir up giant waves and you
have chaotic seas coming from all directions. These storms can be
An experienced sailor herself, Dr. Simpson said on occasion she
has been "peppered by staccato bolts of lightning and smelled- the
metallic odor of spent electricity as they hit the water, then
frightened by ball lightning running off the yards." Sailors have
been amazed for years by lightning storms and static electricity
called "St. Elmo's Fire."
Aubrey Graves, writing in This Week magazine, August 4, 1964,
quotes retired Coast Guard Capt. Roy Hutchins as saying, "Weather
within the triangle where warm tropical breezes meet cold air masses
from the arctic is notoriously unpredictable." "You can get a
perfectly good weather pattern, as far as the big weather maps go,
then go out there on what begins as a fine day and suddenly get hit
by a 75-knot squall. They are localized and build up on the spot,
but they are violent indeed."
Many boatmen, Hutchins said, lack understanding of the velocity
of that "river within the ocean" (Gulf Stream) which at its axis
surges north at four knots. "When it collides with strong northeast
winds, extremely stiff seas build up, just as in an inlet when the
tide is ebbing against an incoming sea."
"The seas out there can be just indescribable. The waves break
and you get a vertical wall of water from 30 to 40 feet high coming
down on you. Unless a boat can take complete submergence in a large,
breaking sea, she can not live."
Last year, the Coast Guard answered 8,000 distress calls in the
area, 700 a month or 23 a day. Most problems could have been avoided
if caution had been used. The biggest trouble comes from small boats
running out of gas. According to the Coast Guard, an inexperienced
sailor is looking for trouble out there. A small boat could be
sucked into the prop of a big tanker or swamped in a storm and never
be seen again.
Another phenomenon common in the region is the waterspout. Simply
a tornado at sea that pulls water from the ocean surface thousands
of feet into the sky, the waterspout could "wreck almost anything"
said Allen Hartwell, oceanographer with Normandeau Associates.
Hartwell explained that the undersea topography of the ocean
floor in the area has some interesting characteristics. Most of the
sea floor out in the Devil's Triangle is about 19,000 feet down and
covered with deposition, a fine-grained sandy material. However, as
you approach the East Coast of the United States, you suddenly run
into the continental shelf with a water depth of 50 to 100 feet.
Running north along the coast is the Gulf Stream which bisects the
triangle carrying warm tropical water.
Near the southern tip of the triangle lies the Puerto Rico Trench
which at one point is 27,500 feet below sea level. It's the deepest
point in the Atlantic Ocean and probably holds many rotting and
decaying hulks of Spanish treasure galleons.
Many articles concerning the triangle have made the erroneous
statement that the Navy formed Project Magnet to survey the area and
discover whether magnetic aberrations do limit communications with
ships in distress, or contribute to the strange disappearance of
ships and aircraft.
Truth is that Navy's Project Magnet has been surveying all over
the world for more than 20 years, mapping the earth's magnetic
fields. According to Henry P. Stockard, project director, "We have
passed over the area hundreds of times and never noticed any unusual
Also passing through the Devil's Triangle is the 80th meridian, a
degree of longitude which extends south from Hudson Bay through
Pittsburgh then out into the Triangle a few miles east of Miami.
Known as the agonic line, it is one of two places in the world where
true north and magnetic north are in perfect alignment and compass
variation is unnecessary. An experienced navigator could sail off
course several degrees and lead himself hundreds of miles away from
his original destination.
This same line extends over the North Pole to the other side of
the globe bisecting a portion of the Pacific Ocean east of Japan.
This is another part of the world where mysterious disappearances
take place and has been dubbed the "Devil Sea" by Philippine and
Japanese seamen. Noted for tsunami, the area is considered dangerous
by Japanese shipping authorities. Tsunami, often erroneously called
tidal waves, are huge waves created by underground earthquakes.
These seismic waves have very long wave lengths and travel at
velocities of 400 miles per hour or more. In the open sea they may
be only a foot high. But as they approach the continental shelf,
their speed is reduced and their height increases dramatically. Low
islands may be completely submerged by them. So too may ships
sailing near the coast or above the continental shelf.
Quite a bit of seismic activity occurs off the northern shoreline
of Puerto Rico. Seismic shocks recorded between 1961 and 1969 had a
depth of focus ranging from zero to 70 kilometers down. Relatively
shallow seaquakes could create tsunamis similar to those in the
Pacific Ocean, but few have been recorded.
A distinct line of shallow seaquake activity runs through the
mid-Atlantic corresponding with the features of the continental
shelf of the Americas.
Some claim we know more about outer space than we do about inner
space, including the oceans. If that is true, much information has
yet to be developed concerning the Devil's Triangle. As recently as
1957 a deep counter-current was detected beneath the Gulf Stream
with the aid of sub-surface floats emitting acoustic signals. The
Gulf Stream and other currents have proved to consist of numerous
disconnected filaments moving in complex patterns.
What it all adds up to is that the majority of the supernatural
happenings offered as explanations for the Devil's Triangle
mysteries amount to a voluminous mass of sheer hokum, extrapolated
to the nth degree.
Mysteries associated with the sea are plentiful in the history of
mankind. The triangle area happens to be one of the most heavily
traveled regions in the world and the greater the number of ships or
planes, the greater the odds that something will happen to some.
Each holiday season the National Safety Council warns motorists
by predicting how many will die on the nation's highways. They are
usually quite accurate, but, no monsters kill people on highways,
Seafarers and aircraft pilots also make mistakes. Eventually
scientists will separate fact from the fiction concerning the
Devil's Triangle. Until then, we can only grin and bear the
ministrations of madness offered by triangle cultists.
If you happen to be passing through the triangle while reading
this article, don't bother to station extra watches to keep a wary
eye out for giant squids. Better to relax and mull over the words of
poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
"Wouldst thou," so the helmsman answered,
"Know the secret of the sea?"
Only those who brave its dangers,
Comprehend its mystery.
12 May 1996
The Bermuda Triangle: A Selective Bibliography
- Adams, Michael R. "Texaco Oklahoma: Another Bermuda Triangle Victim?"
U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 102, no.3 (March 1976): 109-110.
The Bermuda Triangle: A Collection of Articles From the Brevard County
Federated Library System. Merritt Island FL: Brevard County Federated
Library System, cl975. OCLC 15432889.
The Bermuda Triangle: An Annotated Bibliography. Buffalo NY: B & ECPL
Librarians Assn. and the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, cl975. OCLC
- Brock, Paul. "They Sailed Into Oblivion." The Lookout [Seamen's Church
Institute of N.Y.] 62, no.3 (Apr. 1971): 3-4, 11.
- Burgess, Robert Forrest. Sinkings, Salvages, and Shipwrecks. New York:
American Heritage Press, cl970. OCLC 104609.
- Charroux, Robert. Forgotten Worlds: Scientific Secrets of the Ancients and
Their Warning for Our Time. New York: Popular Library, cl973. OCLC 10352111.
- Dolan, Edward F. The Bermuda Triangle and Other Mysteries of Nature. New
York: Bantam, cl980. OCLC 7899556.
- Edwards, Frank. Stranger Than Science. Secaucus NJ: Citadel Press, cl987.
- Gaddis, Vincent H. Invisible Horizons: True Mysteries of the Sea.
Philadelphia PA: Chilton, 1965. OCLC 681276.
- Gaffron, Norma. The Bermuda Triangle: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego CA:
Greenhaven Press, cl995. OCLC 29848261.
- Godwin, John. This Baffling World. New York: Bantam Books, cl968. OCLC
- Hoehling, Adolph A. They Sailed Into Oblivion. New York: T. Yoseloff,
C1959. OCLC 1675249.
- Keyhoe, Donald E. The Flying Saucer Conspiracy. New York: Holt, cl955.
- Kusche, Larry. The Bermuda Triangle Mystery--Solved. Buffalo NY:
Prometheus Books, cl986. OCLC 13439973.
- Landsburg, Alan. In Search of Ancient Mysteries. New York: Bantam Books,
cl974. OCLC 849943.
- McDonell, Michael. "Lost Patrol." Naval Aviation News (Jun. 1973): 8-16.
- Rosenberg, Howard L. "Exorcising the Devills Triangle" Sealift [Military
Sealift Command] 24, no.6 (June 1974): 11-16.
- Sanderson, Ivan Terence. Invisible Residents: A Disquisition Upon Certain
Matters Maritime, and the Possibility of intelligent Life Under the Waters of
This Earth. New York: World Pub. Co., cl970. OCLC 110221.
- More Things. New York: Pyramid Books, cl969. OCLC 6449730.
- Spencer, John Wallace. Limbo of the Lost -- Today: Actual Stories of the Sea.
New York: Bantam Books, cl975. OCLC 2472652.
- Stancil, Carol F. The Bermuda Triangle: An Annotated Bibliography. Los
Angeles: Reference Section, College Library, UCLA, cl973. OCLC 14197265.
- Stewart, Oliver. Danger in the Air. New York: Philosophical Library,
cl958. OCLC 1997220.
- Titler, Dale Milton. Wings of Mystery: True Stories of Aviation History.
New York: Dodd Mead, cl981. OCLC 7282120.
- Upchurch, C. Winn. "Jinxed Seas." U.S, Coast Guard Academy Alumni Bulletin
- Wilkins, Harold Tom. Strange Mysteries of Time and Space. New
York:Citadel Press, cl958. OCLC 1906564.
- Winer, Richard. The Devil's Triangle. New York: Bantam Books, cl974. OCLC
This bibliography is intended to provide research assistance only, and does
not imply any opinion concerning the subject on the part of the US Navy.
12 May 1996
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and Famous Incidents | Theories | Links and Resources