Episode 4: Deep Sea Punch (The Bermuda Triangle)

Updated: Feb 20

Part 1 ~ Stacie: What is the Bermuda Triangle?

More than 150 vessels have vanished from here, claiming over 8,000 lives. It is known for sudden storms, towering waves, and unexplained lights in the sky. Compasses go haywire here, and to this day, modern communication methods have failed the souls on board the ships and planes that have disappeared without a trace. Despite all of these concerns, this roughly 500,000 square mile area of ocean remains one of the most popular destinations for tourists and is noted as one of the most heavily-traveled areas. It is known to some as The Devil’s Triangle: today, I am talking about the illusive Bermuda Triangle.

High Traffic Area

Since the Bermuda Triangle is a high-traffic area, some claim that there is nothing special about the disappearances. There is a correlation between the amount of ships and planes traveling this area and the amount of tragic accidents. However, as we all know, correlation does not always equal causation. Let’s go over a few more naturally occurring tragedies before talking about the more “plausible” theories.

Naturally Occurring Tragedies

Human Error

Unfortunately, the area of the Bermuda Triangle has very little land mass, and when land is visible, it looks similar to other land masses. Sometimes people confuse one land mass for the other and end up getting lost.

Water Spouts & Blue Holes

Strange weather phenomena like water spouts--or water tornadoes--can come up seemingly out of nowhere. This could explain why both planes and boats are victims. Furthermore, the whirlpools could be made worse by what’s known as “blue holes.” Think of them kind of like black holes, but for the ocean. On the seafloor are random deep pits that don’t seem to lead anywhere. Sometimes water gets sucked into them, and they form a kind of whirlpool. Some even theorize that these could be mass graves for the missing vessels. Unlike the water spouts, this theory doesn’t explain why a large ship or airplane would be affected. For one, planes are in the sky. Obviously. Secondly, these blue holes are near the land, and they would only be powerful enough to bring in small boats. Remember these blue holes, though, because there are other theories for their role in the disappearance of watercraft and aircraft.

Rogue Waves

For years, scientists believed that rogue waves were a myth, but in 1995, the Draupner Wave was discovered. The Draupner Wave was the first ever rogue wave recorded with instruments (that’s my research’s way of saying “a lot of different instruments”). The wave reached, at its peak, about 80 ft high, which is about like stacking Shaquille O’Neal on top of 10 other Shaq clones! That’s 11 Shaqs! Rogue waves are different from tsunamis because tsunamis are caused by earthquakes and are really only noticeable when they hit land. A rogue wave occurs when either a bunch of little waves come together to form a massive wave or when two competing wave systems crash into each other perpendicularly. When this happens, the sea gives little time for humans to react, meaning that they can show up suddenly and silently take out an entire ship. Scientists have theorized the highest a rogue wave could reach would be about 198 ft tall, or half the size of the Pyramid of Giza. That being said, they haven’t recorded any rogue waves that far over 100 ft. This means that it could not reach high enough to take down an airplane.

Air Bombs & Weather Systems

As I have mentioned time and time again, the Bermuda Triangle is often affected by multiple weather systems colliding, which cause crazy storms to pop up, making it difficult to navigate and can sometimes throw people off course. One particularly strange weather phenomenon includes hexagonal hurricanes. That’s right. The Bermuda Triangle seems to be the only place where clouds form straight edges as seen on weather maps. These hexagon-shaped clouds are known as “air bombs”, which can cause savage gusts of wind that are as powerful as hurricanes.

So, we can all agree now that the weather there is messed up, right? Well, now it’s time to talk a little bit more about the more “plausible” theories, starting with the possibility of a cursed sunken city.

Theories That are More Plausible

Sunken City

Divers in the Bermuda Triangle have discovered different structures on the ocean floor. They appear to be almost like pieces of structures, but they do not show any signs of masonry. Furthermore, they seem to be on top of bedrock, meaning no structures could be underneath. The other part of this theory is that perhaps this isn’t a structure at all, but a road. In fact, it is named the “Bimini Road.” Some people say that this is evidence of the Lost City of Atlantis. Those who know of the legend may know that the residents of Atlantis had a power source that eventually led to their demise. The power they had corrupted them, sinking them to the bottom of the ocean. Theories state that whatever their source of power was sits on the seafloor and disrupts the ocean and air above.

Sea Monsters

Remember those blue holes I mentioned earlier? They are quite possibly underwater tunnel systems that allow for various sea monsters to travel undetected--along with the constant threat of storms. You could let your imagination run wild when thinking about what kinds of creatures might be lurking below the surface and whether or not they could launch themselves out of the water and take down an airplane. However, I’m going to hone in on one in particular: a giant octopus. On Andros Island, there is a legend of a giant octopus named Lusca. Sometimes described as half shark, half octopus, Lusca is often simply described as a giant octopus that lurks near the Bahamas. It is true that large octopuses have been found, but none have been seen that are big enough to take down large cargo ships or snatch planes out of the sky. Or at least, no one has seen them and lived to tell the tale.

Aliens & Wormholes

Now to get to my favorite theory: aliens are using a wormhole located in the Bermuda Triangle for interdimensional and intergalactic space travel. In order to help illustrate why this may be possible, let me first tell you the story of Bruce Gernon, a pilot who often flew over the Bermuda Triangle for work. Bruce had his father and an associate on board who corroborate his story, which is as follows. In 1970, Bruce set off for his 90 minute flight from Andros Island to Miami. During his voyage, Bruce noticed a strange cloud in his path. He tried to avoid it, but Bruce soon discovered that he would have to fly through it. While his aircraft was in the cloud, Bruce noticed a grayish/yellowish fog, what he calls “electric fog”, swirling around the plane. This cloud became more of a cylinder of flashing lights. It appeared as though he was seeing the same cloud formations over and over again, and he became a bit confused. Suddenly, Bruce noticed the other end of the cylinder became narrower, and he felt an urge to get out immediately. The plane finally burst through the other side of the cloud, and he called air traffic control to ask for his location. They couldn’t find him on the radar. However, air traffic control shortly reported to Bruce that he was entering Miami airspace. Bruce was gobsmacked as he looked at his watch to find that only 33 minutes had passed. How could he have made it that far when it was just not physically possible?

There are quite a few theories as to how this happened, like perhaps he had caught a tailwind that happened to shave an hour off his trip and in the correct path? Unlikely. The more reasonable explanation is clearly that Bruce had accidentally stumbled upon a wormhole used by aliens. Wormholes are still considered theoretical, but that’s also because it might be difficult to believe that there is one on this planet that we don’t know how to control. People quote Einstein’s Theory of Relativity when discussing wormholes and how they can bend reality. When there is a burst of energy, or when we experience warp speed, it looks like a spinning vortex. This is what would cause a wormhole like what Bruce had experienced. Furthermore, people have theorized that missing people and/or ships have ended up in this other dimension or other part of the universe.

It All Makes Too Much Sense

One final thing I’d like to mention with the alien theory is that the Bermuda Triangle goes from Bermuda, to Miami, to Puerto Rico. Do you remember what we talked about last week? That’s right. El Chupacabra was first discovered in Puerto Rico, and it was possibly an alien. Perhaps aliens were using the wormhole in the Bermuda Triangle as a means of travel, and one of their ships crashed into our planet. All I’m saying is that there are a lot of mysteries of the world, but a lot of them happen to intersect as well.

Part 2 ~ Rachel: The Disappearance of the USS Cyclops

The USS Cyclops is the first major disappearance in the Bermuda Triangle. It wasn’t until the five planes disappeared in 1945 that the Bermuda Triangle conspiracy came into existence. Then, someone was like, “Hey, isn’t that around the same place that the USS Cyclops disappeared in 1918?”

It was.

And over a hundred years later, even with all the resources of the US Navy and all our technical advancements, there is still no answer as to what happened to this massive ship.

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Here are the basics: The U.S. entered World War I in 1917, and the Navy commissioned the Cyclops in May of that year. The Cyclops was a collier, not a warship, so it was used to transport coal and other fuels. It was also run not by the Navy proper, but by the Auxiliary Navy, which is this weird combination of civil and Navy service that I don’t quite understand. On February 20th, 1918, the ship was docked in Bahia, Brazil and loaded up with manganese ore. On February 22nd, two days later, the Cyclops left for what was supposed to be a direct route to Baltimore, which should have taken about three weeks. However, on March 3rd, the Cyclops randomly showed up in Barbados. It left from this unscheduled stop on March 4th, and was never seen or heard from again. With 306 passengers and crew, it remains the Navy’s single largest loss of life outside of combat.

It turns out that the story of this ship is nuts, even without the added mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. Every time I researched something, another question would pop up, ranging from “What are these mysterious manganese deposits on the ocean floor?” to “Why did the USS Cyclops make an unscheduled stop in Barbados?” and, most intriguing, “Who is George Worley?” All the accounts I’ve read put Lieutenant Commander George W. Worley in the center of this mystery. Naval officer Conrad Nervig, who had the good fortune of being transferred off the ship in Brazil, had this to say about Worley: he was a “gruff, eccentric salt of the old school, given to carrying a cane, but possessing few other cultural attainments. He was a very indifferent seaman and a poor, overly cautious navigator. Unfriendly and taciturn, he was generally disliked by both his officers and men.” So, an indifferent seaman whose only cultural attainment was a cane was running this ship.

George Worley

I was so curious about Worley that I read a whole ass book called A Passage to Oblivion by Gian Quasar, who agreed with me that “It always comes down to George Worley.”

George Worley stands on the deck of a ship.
Portrait of an indifferent seaman.

The first red flag is that George Worley isn’t even this guy’s real name. His given name was Johann Frederick Wichman, and he wasn’t an Englishman like the surname “Worley” suggests. In fact, he was born in Sandstadt Germany in 1865. He also wasn’t much of a sailor, but he was apparently a great swimmer. When he was 15, he jumped off a German ship that was sailing off the east coast and swam to New York. From there, he trekked across the nation where he ended up in San Francisco.

Instead of actually becoming a captain, Wichman eventually opened a tavern that he named “Captain Wichman’s Roadhouse,” where he apparently duped customers out of money by cheating at cards and stealing from them. There is also a theory that he didn’t only steal money—he stole a whole identity. Maybe the o.g. George Worley was a captain who partied a little too hard at the Roadhouse, and upon Worley’s death, Wichman saw his chance—captain’s papers! It’s speculation, of course, but it’s true that by 1897, Wichman had become Captain Worley, even though there are no records of him as Wichman doing much beyond taking a few night classes in sailing. But the new Captain Worley was now certified to become a member of the Navy Auxiliary, so that’s what he did.

In fact, the Navy didn’t even realize that Worley wasn’t who he said he was until about a year before he died, when they investigated him for a Board of Inquiry that was launched into his conduct on the U.S.S. Cyclops. But they couldn’t even prove he was a naturalized citizen because of bad timing—the Great Earthquake in 1906, and its subsequent fires, had destroyed the records in San Francisco. I guess the Navy was like, “Shrug, we’ll never know, oh well. Have a ship!”

This Board of Inquiry happened about seven months before what would be the Cyclops’s last assignment. 40 of Worley’s crew had signed a petition alleging that he was drunk all the time, foul-mouthed, and unfit for command. Quartermaster Langren recounted a run-in with Worley to his Commander during the inquiry:

“I approached captain Worley, sir, about the Mess. The fish we had for dinner had not even been cleaned and smelled bad. Captain Worley was lying on his bed. He got up and put on his trousers.”

Apparently, this pissed captain Worley off, so he said: “The whole God-damned lot of yous are only a lot of God-damned sons of bitches.”

Langren then testified: “I told him I resented being called by a name which no man born of a woman could stand. Captain Worley insisted he had never called me nor any man aboard--ever-- a son of a bitch.” And then Langren said he asked for an apology. The Commander of the inquiry asked how that went, and Langren said “[Worley] then called me a son of a bitch and confined me for two days.”

Beyond calling his men names, stories of Worley abound. Apparently, he walked around in his long johns, a top hat, and cane, even when the dress code specified Navy Whites. (I guess this is actually a really big deal.) He also chased his crew with a pistol, was his own mixologist and the creator of a cocktail he named “Deep Sea Punch,” was linked to at least four suspicious deaths, had an unauthorized signal light (which could have been used to give away their position to bad guys), and re-coaled his ship unnecessarily. Also, not only was he actually German, but apparently he was not-so-secretly pro-German, which wasn’t a great attitude to have in World War I. (Or World War II, for that matter.)

He was cleared of all charges brought against him at the Inquiry, and between then and the Cyclops’s final voyage, virtually nothing had changed—it was the same crew, and the same old/new Worley. All of this points to the main theories of what happened to the ship and crew in March of 1918. Some suggest that Worley was a traitor, and he had given up the ship to the Germans. Others suggest that there was mutiny that ended in total destruction. But there are absolutely no records, anywhere, of German activity in the area, and I’m sure Angela Merkel would’ve told us by now if she knew anything. And as far as mutiny, sure, that is plausible, but that doesn’t explain why there is NO TRACE of the ship left. I mean, it was the size of a football field, and had tons of furniture and supplies bearing its mark.

I think the answer here is clear. Perhaps Worley did give up the ship to the enemy. But the enemy wasn’t Germany.

The enemy was aliens.

Worley Never Planned to to Return on the Cyclops

First, the evidence that Worley had no intention of getting the USS Cyclops back to the States: There were rumors that he had executed a crewman at sea prior to finding port in Brazil. This is of course, super duper illegal, even for a swashbuckling Auxiliary Navy man like Worley. It’s not something he would do if he knew he’d face the consequences, possibly the death penalty, upon returning to the States.

Next, he sold his house. Prior to this last mission, he put his house for sale in Norfolk and told his wife they would be moving back to San Francisco. Then his baby daughter got sick—so sick that they were worried it was scarlet fever—and his wife begged him not to go on this last voyage. But he insisted. What was so important about making this seemingly mundane trip that he’d be willing to leave his daughter at death’s door?

The big one is, of course, the unexplained and unscheduled stop to Barbados.

He claimed that he had stopped because the ship was overloaded, but investigations found this to be unequivocally false. What’s more, he loaded it with an extra 500 tons of coal. Remember that the Cyclops was carrying manganese ore, but itself ran on coal. However, he had more than enough coal to make it from Barbados to Baltimore without having to refuel, even if he went hundreds of miles off course as he was wont to do. So why would he add MORE weight to a ship he claimed was “overloaded”? Why would he need extra coal unless he was planning on going much farther than Maryland? Finally, he didn’t fly the “homeward bound” pennant upon leaving Barbados. This might not seem like a big deal, but consider how important rituals are to the Navy.

Two NON extraterrestrials affix a homeward bound pennant, per custom.

Worley Was an Alien

So there is plenty to indicate that Worley wasn’t ever planning on returning to Maryland. So of course, this pro-German German gave up his ship to the Germans!


Beyond there being no hint of proof for this, there is also the significant detail that there was no SOS. Since the invention of wireless communication in 1901, no US Navy ship had ever been lost that had not gotten off some message. And if a bunch of bad guys were boarding a ship to meet up with a treasonous captain that was hated by at least half his crew, you can bet your sweet ass someone would have sent at least something to the Navy. No human would have been able to keep Navy men from sending a message to shore.

There’s also a matter of the cargo—manganese ore. This was not the Cyclops’s usual cargo, and perhaps this is why it was so important for Worley to go on this particular mission. The aliens needed that ore.

Let’s talk some manganese. Not only is it useful for creating weapons, but it’s a mineral that all known living organisms need to survive because it detoxifies free radicals in oxygen.

Alien balls. ;)

Now all across the ocean floor, there are manganese nodules, which are sometimes referred to as “alien balls.” They were first discovered in 1873, which is about eight years after Worley arrived on this planet—er, I mean, was born. The thing is, even now, scientists don’t know where these nodules came from. It’s a mystery! To make things weirder—they discovered a huge patch of them in the Atlantic, larger than any other patch in this ocean. Guess where? Just east of Barbados.

Do I need to remind you that Barbados is where Worley made his unscheduled stop?

You might be surprised to learn that I’m not a scientist. But here’s what I have learned about some science stuff this week. In our universe, oxygen is the third most common element, which explains why all complex organisms are dependent on it. However, there are bacteria that can “breathe” other elements and compounds—including manganese. So we do already know about some lifeforms that rely on manganese instead of oxygen. There’s also a phenomenon called “desert varnish,” which is this layer of manganese and other minerals that forms in, guess where, deserts—and nobody knows how. One honest to goodness scientist, Professor Carol Cleland, says, “On Earth we may be co-inhabiting with microbial lifeforms that have a completely different biochemistry from the one shared by life as we currently know it." So basically, there’s a whole other world on our world connected to manganese that also has a cool name because scientists are the coolest. It’s called the “shadow biosphere.” Anyway, all this goes to show that manganese could possibly be an important element for alien life to traverse our oxygen obsessed universe.

So in Barbados, Worley got enough coal to fuel his ship through the wormhole, and that ship was ladened with enough manganese to get him out of the universe. I’m guessing the large patch of the Manganese nodules found at the bottom of the Atlantic is a byproduct of getting the Cyclops through the wormhole.

It All Makes Too Much Sense

Naval Officer Conrad Nervig wrote that Worley “was the perfect example of the tyrannical bucko sailing ship captains who considered their crew not as human beings but only as a means of getting their vessels to the next port.” Maybe the truth is that Worley considered his crew as merely human beings, and therefore only as a means of getting his vessel to the next port. Or portal.

So today I have proven that Captain Worley was a space alien who abducted the USS Cyclops in order to get back home through the wormhole in the Bermuda Triangle.

Tell Us Your Story!

Have you ever gotten lost at sea or traveled through an alien wormhole? OMG are you related to captain Worley? Let us know in the comments or at fakebelievepodcast@gmail.com.