53 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 1999
To this day, the Bermuda Triangle is regarded by many as a mysterious zone of influence within which an unusual number of ships and planes disappear without a trace. At the very least, its reputation as a region associated with some unspecified danger remains. Why this is so, after the first publication of Mr. Kusche's book more than twenty years ago, is perhaps a more interesting question than whether or not the Bermuda Triangle's reputation is deserved. Regardless, it is this latter question that Kusche attempts to answer. His approach is simply to do the necessary research--whenever and wherever he encounters an account or tale of tragedy in the Bermuda Triangle, he looks up the relevant accounts and finds the facts. If the facts leave the fate of the ship or plane(s) ambiguous, he says so. If his research turns up a likely explanation, he is forthright and direct in proposing it.
What Kusche finds, in sum, is that the Bermuda Triangle is essentially a myth. Many of the Bermuda Triangle disappearances are not nearly as mysterious as has been suggested; some ships that were lost in supposedly calm seas were in fact sailing into fierce storms, while others were lost nowhere near the Triangle area itself. Several of the tragedies said to have occurred there are associated with no records at all--leaving one to wonder how popularizers of this "mystery" can be certain that there was anything to disappear. Before Mr. Kusche's research the Bermuda Triangle "mystery" melts away, leaving nothing more substantial than an urban legend. Writers such as Charles Berlitz are revealed as writers of fiction in thin disguise [Berlitz was co-author of the first published book on the alleged crash of a UFO at Roswell, New Mexico, which should do much to illuminate the reliability of that story as well]. This book is reasonably well written and easy to get through. If you want to read about the Bermuda Triangle, this is the only book I would recommend.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 1998
Author virtually goes case by case and gives the reader a pausible reason behind each "disappearance." The five aircraft of Flight 19, arguably the most famous Bermuda Triangle case, didn't "disappear." The five planes are probably rusting in a thousand feet of water southeast of Jacksonville, Florida. The case of the "disappearance" of the MARINE SULPHUR QUEEN is indicative. It didn't "disappear"; it blew up. Debris was recovered. Author's research is impeccable. It is a joy to read a researcher like Mr. Kusche prove his case with facts. His book is the only book worth reading in the whole Bermuda Triangle genre.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2000
This book is "just the facts" without the hyperbole and sermonizing that so many "debunking" authors relish indulging in. Kusche was the first to systematically and methodically study many of the "Bermuda Triangle" mysteries and his hard work is often cited in many publications and televised programs with no credit going to Kusche. If more Paranormal investigators took this much time and effort to substantiate their facts I suspect many more "mysteries" would be solved.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2002
I was given this book as a young teenager by my father when I was interested in the Bermuda Triangle. I am very lucky he did. The book carefully goes through dozens of "cases" of missing craft and convincingly shows them to be either the victims of storms, mechanical failure and in several instances, simply made up. By far the profoundest impact of this book was the exposition of the lies and mendacity of the writers of such books - a young person needs to hear and be shown in a non-condesending way that just because something appears on TV or in book form doesn't mean its true. Larry Kusche's book started me on the road to critical thinking, to ask "What does this mean?" to any given statement. I went on to read a book or two more debunking UFOs and other peudoscience, but Kusche's book did the main trick by getting across to me the importance of checking sources, asking if other motives are involved (like making money out of decent but unsuspecting people). I also recommend the *VHS tape of Nova's show, The Bermuda Triangle,* which is a debunking tape and promoter of critical thinking. I also recommend Carl Sagan's book *The Demon-Haunted World* which goes into incredible detail (in a non-condescending way) about why some people need to believe in such things as alien-abduction (or in an earlier era, demonic possession), false memories, the techniques of frauds like Uri Geller, and considers how we can encourage critical thinking in our society.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2003
Until I moved to the Bay Area of California in 1972, I had never heard of the Bermuda Triangle. This is significant because for the ten years previous I had lived in Indialantic, Florida, fished regularly in the Gulf Stream and had made a few passages to the Bahamas. What those of us who actually lived in the area and sailed the waters did not know was that some creative people had been generating a sensation, and a good bit of revenue, by spinning a wild myth out of misinformation and a few isolated disappearances. And let's face it, in the age before geolocators and satellite systems, there were several disappearances at sea every year. Actually, there still are. The ocean is a big, deadly pace.
Flight 19 is a classic example. On a training flight, the trainer's instrument panel went out. Not unheard of. He turns navigational duties over to a trainee; again not unheard of and understandable under the circumstances. The trainee has trouble with his readings, so the flight eyeballs the surface to see were they are. They see the Bahamas, but think they're looking at the Florida Keys. Going above the clouds, they sight by the sky and head for Florida. Tragically, that course carries them over the open Atlantic. Throughout all of this, ground control can hear their radio chatter, but the planes can not hear base. In those days this was a fairly common occurrence with the primitive radio systems available. A plane was dispatched to intercept and rescue the wayward pilots. What happened aboard that plane really is a mystery. According to witnesses, it exploded in midair over the ocean within sight of land. However, by the time it was verified the first plane was lost (remember, this was before or modern instant communications and flight transponders) and another could be dispatched it was too late. Though three position due east of New Smyrna had been calculated by those on shore, Flight 19 had gone down in the swiftly flowing currents of the Atlantic. Rescuers literally had no idea where to look.
Charlatans used this tragic story to manufacture a myth. The failed instrument panel became wildly spinning compasses, the instructor telling the other trainees to follow the one he designated navigator instead of him became a desperate warning to rescuers not to try and follow. A mysterious message about the sky and sea seeming "wrong" was manufactured. (Often quoted, by charlatans and true believers alike, but still false.)
Other examples include the Revnoc, which went down in 40-foot seas during one of the worst hurricanes of the decade. In legend, it disappeared in front of witnesses in bright sunlight while sailing on a calm sea. A sulfur ship which sank in the Gulf and a freighter that disappeared off the coast of Africa are also included in the chronicle.
Some disappearances are not explained. The ocean is very big, very secretive, and very unforgiving. The nature of the environment -- not any mysterious forces -- means there will always be questions we can never answer. This book does a lot to seperate the genuine mysteries from the hype.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2001
Many years ago, this marvelous book served as my introduction to skeptical literature, along with Ronald Story's "The Space-Gods Revealed." Truth may not always be stranger than fiction, but it's a lot more fun. And the truth, ultimately, is that factual omissions, outright lies, and lazy scholarship are the real stuff of legends like that of the Bermuda Triangle. Of course, television specials narrated by Rod Serling help, too--not to mention the endless hyping of the paranormal on various cable channels.
Larry Kusche may have saved me from a lifetime of belief in idiotic, media-generated poplore, and how can I thank him enough? Possibly the most enjoyable piece of skeptical detective work in print.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2010
I read this book years ago and remember thinking at the time that I wished there were more book like this written on other topics. The book is simple, straightforward, and written in such a way that if you have access to a good library with good research facilities you can retrace many of the authors research steps yourself. I was in graduate school at the time and would take breaks in the library from my real course work to look up some of his claims in the book, and I didn't find even one that was remotely incorrect. Since then that's an approach I take when trying to decide which side of an issue I'm going to agree with when I don't have the time or inclination to do a lot of research on my own. What I do is take a random sample of the claims being made by both sides of an issue, then first I decide if any of the claims by either side don't make much logical sense. If one side or another makes a lot of claims that don't make logical sense and the other side doesn't, then I don't really go any farther in my own research. Why should I waste my time researching somebody's point of view if they can't even construct logical arguments? Then I look up the easy to verify factual claims. If one side makes a lot of factual claims that turn out to be incorrect and the other side doesn't once again I don't go any farther. Why should I waste my time with what somebody has to say when they can't even get their simple fact straight? If somebody comes up with a new book about the Bermuda Triangle that gets rid of ALL the nonsense that Kusche's book exposes, but I'm not wasting my time on any book that has the usual nonsense in it.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 1999
Mr Kusche finally puts to rest the legend of the Bermuda Triangle. He takes all the stories and legends on a case-by-case basis and explains and proves 90% of them. The other 10% simply don't have enough information available to draw any conclusion. His chapter on Flight 19 is excellent and compelling and leaves no question to what happend to the legendary "Lost Patroll".
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 1998
First published in 1975, this book is a grand accomplishment which has dug out of the rubble of all the crap that has been written about the infamous Bermuda Triangle. After reading this book, I found that a good number of the dissapearances occured outside of the alleged area. The sources were right there, but why Kusche and his book is neglected still today by fans and loyalists to the Triangle is a mystery. This book is essential and should be made cumpolsory reading for all students that wish to take a more radical and realist approach to this mystery. We should all be grateful that we still have writers that wish to state FACTS and not plain FICTION!
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2002
There are always going to be some folks who cling to fiction rather than accept fact. You'll see reviews that quote the supposed Flight 19 radio report that "even the ocean doesn't look right". If you do you own research you'll know that this is pure bunkum - and that's precisely what Larry Kusche did: his own research, and found the vast majority of reports to be pure bunkum.
In the search for truth, some people go so far and no further. Thankfully for us, Kusche went all the way as often as he could, and his work here is a confirmation of the principle of Occam's Razor: all other things being equal, the simplest explanation tends to be the right one.
I recommend this book as a reality check, especially in an age where the Internet has spawned an avalanche of conspiracy theories and misinformation, and educational systems have failed for years to give students the basic skills to investigate, analyse and draw sensible conclusions. Kusche shows you how.