Sand’s article recounted the latest disappearance (the Sandra in 1950) and went on to discuss some of the other recent baffling mysteries like the disappearance of airliners NC16002, Star Tiger and Star Ariel . The rest of the article was essentially devoted to Flight 19.
The Triangle remained a colloquial expression throughout the 1950s, employed by locals when another disappearance or unexplained crash happened.
By the early 1960s, it had acquired the name The Deadly Triangle. In his 1962 book, Wings of Mystery, author Dale Titler also devoted pages in Chapter 14— “The Mystery of Flight 19”— to recounting the most recent incidents of disappearances and even began to ponder theories, such as electromagnetic anomalies. His book would set the tempo for Triangle discussions thereafter largely because of a sensational bit in the April 1962 edition of American Legion magazine by Allan W. Eckert. The article was devoted to Flight 19 (“The Mystery of the Lost Patrol”) and Eckert introduced some of the most popular but erroneous dialogue purported coming from Flight 19, including lines like the ocean looks strange, all the compasses are going haywire, and that they could not make out any directions. Titler was the first to seriously contemplate that natural but very unusual forces contributed to Flight 19’s disappearance and thus could also be the cause of the other disappearances in the area.
The popularity of the subject was beginning to spread beyond the area of the Atlantic seaboard. But the moniker “Deadly Triangle” contained absolutely no geographic reference in it— in other words “Deadly Triangle” could be anywhere.
Then in February 1964 a largely obscure journalist named Vincent Gaddis wrote an article for Argosy magazine. The article was little different from others, though it added a few more recent cases like the disappearance of the 504-foot sulphur tanker Marine Sulphur Queen. However, it was his title that finally clicked with the public: “The Deadly Bermuda Triangle.” Adding “Bermuda” finally materialized the location for everybody.
In his popular 1965 book Invisible Horizons, Gaddis devoted chapter 13 to “The Triangle of Death.” The concept of the Bermuda Triangle was spreading rapidly.
Ironically, the first book entirely devoted to the subject was entitled Limbo of the Lost (1969). The author, John Spencer, proposed the area had no real shape at all and elaborately tried to include the Gulf of Mexico as well as the New Jersey coasts. It sold in limited quantities, but was later reproduced in paperback in the early 1970s and sold over 1,000,000 copies.
- The Deadly Triangle as it appeared in a 1962 book Wings of Mystery
by Dale Titler. The idea that Vincent Gaddis invented the shape
and mystery is nonsense. It had long been popular before his time.
Dozens of magazine and newspaper articles came out in the late ’60s and early ’70s, each author offering a general shape. Argosy scored again with a popular article by naturalist Ivan Sanderson in 1968. The cover has gone down in Triangle art history. In Turkey bumper stickers were even copied from it. Sanderson was sure the “Triangle” was an oblong shape centered almost entirely north of Bermuda. In 2 small Bantam paperbacks entitled The Devil’s Triangle I and Devil’s Triangle II Miami local Richard Winer proposed it was a trapezium and extended it nearly to the Azores.
But no book sold as well as Charles Berlitz’s 1974 bestseller, The Bermuda Triangle. Selling way over 5,000,000 copies in hardback, it became a phenomenon. Berlitz also cautioned about the exact shape, as had the others. But to this day Bermuda Triangle is deferred to for the same reason “Deadly Triangle” failed— there is simply no other name that calls to mind the general area as does Bermuda Triangle.
But the enormous popularity of the subject brought into vogue an art that is still trying to flourish today— debunking. Debunkers harped on one thing: that some of the “Triangle’s” most famous disappearances happened outside of the strict Triangle. It seems only for them that the Triangle was so strict. Vincent Gaddis himself introduced the whole concept of his new moniker with “in and about this area.” The entire purpose was to bring to reader’s understanding that a section of ocean in this general area stood out from all others in number of disappearances, and in this he succeeded right well.