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B4-U5-Surfing the internet: http://www.bermuda-triangle.org
Welcome to Bermuda-Triangle

No doubt you have wondered about the Bermuda Triangle. It is the greatest modern mystery of our supposedly well understood world: a region of the Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Miami, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, where explanation.
The purpose of Bermuda-Triangle.Org is to provide a sober look at this phenomenon. It is not a site based on synthesizing hearsay, tabloid news or 30 year old books. What you will see on this Web Site is based on official documentation gleaned over the last decade. I began this as an innocent hobby before it escalated into a vast project, a project to get almost every report possible, to track down every clue, to verify every claim. . . and often to get the figurative door slammed in my face. These official reports form the bulk of the evidence used herein. Carefully sifting through these, with lines censored, pages cut out and paragraphs deleted, has brought to light a pattern interwoven with mystery and tragedy, as one disappearance illustrates.
It was Halloween, 1991. Radar controllers checked and rechecked what they had just seen. The scope was blank in a spot now. Everywhere else all seemed normal. Routine traffic was proceeding undisturbed, in their vectors, tracked and uninterrupted. But just moments earlier they had been tracking a Grumman Cougar jet. The pilot was John Verdi. He and trained co-pilot, Paul Lukaris, were on a flight toward Tallahassee Moments before Verdi's voice had crackled over the receiver at the flight center: "Uh, this is November two four Whiskey Juliet (N24WJ). I am at, uh, two five three zero zero. Request ascent two niner zero. Over."
Permission was quickly granted. The turbo jet was then seen ascending from 25,300 feet to its cruising altitude of 29,000. All seemed normal.
They were still ascending. Verdi had not yet rogered reaching his new altitude. Radar continued to track the Cougar until, for some unknown reason, it simply faded away. Verdi and Lukaris answered no more calls to respond. They had sent no MAYDAY to indicate a problem. Read-outs of the radar observations confirmed the unusual: The Cougar had not been captured at all descending or falling to the sea. Frankly, it had just vanished while climbing; it simply faded away. One sweep they were there . . . the next?
One well known case in 1962 vividly brings home the need for careful behind-the-scenes probing. Once again, it involves an aircraft.
The date was January 8, 1962. A huge 4 engine KB-50 aerial tanker was en route from the east coast to Lajes in the Azores. The captain, Major Bob Tawney, reported in at the expected time. All was normal, routine. But he, his 8 crew and big tanker, never made the Azores. Apparently, the last word from the flight had been that routine report, a report which had placed them a few hundred miles off the east coast.
FLASH! the media broadcasted, fed by a sincere Coast Guard issued press statement, that a large oil slick was sighted 300 miles off Norfolk, Virginia, in the plane’s proposed route. The mystery could be breaking. . . .
But that was the only clue ever found. Although never proved it was from the plane, publicly the suspicions were obvious: the tanker and its qualified crew met a horrid and sudden death by crashing headlong into the sea.
However, the report-- finished months later-- confirmed no such thing. Tawney had been clearly overheard by a Navy transport hours after his last message. This placed him north of Bermuda, hundreds of miles past the spot of the oil slick. There is no evidence, therefore, that the plane and its crew ever met any known fate.
The contradiction was hardly the press's fault. Nor was it totally the blame of the Coast Guard. As soon as scratchy information came in, it was directed to the by-standing media. But this had misleading effects, as the KB-50 case demonstrated.
With almost every case the same thing has happened. By the time concrete information is obtained, the story has lost its appeal, and no follow-ups ever find their way into the papers. I have tried to stay away, therefore, from relying on any newspaper accounts. These, unfortunately, have almost always been the exclusive source for any popular account of an incident, whether in a magazine or book, previous to this web site.
Approaching the subject from the back door, so to speak, free of the hype and public forum, has yielded more startling information. For instance, no more than a few disappearances of airplanes have been reported in the last 2 decades, yet mystery has struck with skillful hands. Searches of the database of National Transportation Safety Board reveal some 75 aircraft have gone missing. Projecting Coast Guard statistics on missing boats is truly mind boggling, perhaps reaching over 2,000.
Often when faced with what these reports contain, I have come away badly jolted. It has caused me to revise several well-known cases, and has made it possible to present accurate accounts of what has transpired in the last 20 years. These last, I must presume, are here to the public presented for the first time since I know of no other research done in this period.
If you are interested in reading about all this, this web site provides dozens of pages to whet your appetite. Investigations gives you detailed investigations into some of the more interesting and provocative cases and, of course, profiles most any incident, old and new.
Bermuda Triangle.Org tries to bring you much more than just the facts on incidents. Charts & Maps guide you to the geography of the Triangle, plus marking possible locations for the missing.
Accurate diagrams of the types of vessels and planes allows you to visualize every type of ship and plane to disappear. Photographs bring the actual victims to life, and original artwork recreates the circumstances in which many of the victims vanished.
In Search Of . . . takes you below the silent waters of the Triangle in an attempt to find the grave of the lost.
Theories recalls all the conjecture on the Triangle, both old and new, some startling possibilities and some basic concepts, plus exposing some outright mistakes.
Featured Articles highlights some of the most famous cases and other news subjects relevant to the Bermuda Triangle. Go to the Archives now for a look at all of them.
Surfing the internet: http://www.loch-ness.org
Welcome to the Loch Ness and Loch Ness Information Website
For those of you planning to visit the area please check out the GUIDED TOURS & ACCOMMODATION sections.
Loch Ness
I have been commenting on Loch Ness and the researchers investigating the Loch Ness monster for more than thirty years. As part of this I have appeared in numerous documentaries as well as on Good Morning America, West 57th, Wogan and many news programmes. In the eighties I conceived, designed, researched and ran the Loch Ness Monster Exhibition in Drumnadrochit, was administrative co-ordinator of Operation Deepscan, wrote the Loch Ness Story documentary and staged the Loch Ness Monster Video Show in Inverness. I wrote "Loch Ness, The Monster" and "Mysterious Monsters of Loch Ness" and in the late nineties staged the Loch Ness Diorama at Fort Augustus Abbey. Recently I have completed my Loch Ness book which should be in print by the end of 2009. In Second Life® I have set up a very comprehensive Loch Ness Exhibition and also a game which teaches about Loch Ness through an actual search of a simulated Loch Ness environment. See the ON-LINE GAME link in the top index.
I mention the above in order to demonstrate my credentials for running this website. Anything you find within these pages has been verified to the best of my ability and can be used with confidence as a point of reference or for use within school projects. The site can be quoted without permission if credit is given to Loch-Ness.org and it is not done for financial gain.
Why other sites appear above ours in searches for Loch Ness is a mysterious fault with the search engine system, but I'm glad you managed to find my website eventually and I hope it lives up to your expectations.
However, brace yourselves for the truth about the subject too. Also, you will not find many of the new Loch Ness Monster pictures on this site as, in my opinion, the most recent are not real images. The photographers want megabucks to display them and they are just not worth it. If you are looking for an understanding of the the Loch Ness monster mystery, however, this may just be the site for which you have been searching.
Mankind has always had an interest in a good mystery. The monster, sea serpent, kraken and other mythological creatures have formed a part of folklore since the beginning of time.
Around the world there are reputed to be sea serpents or monsters in many bodies of fresh water. Nessie in Loch Ness, Morag in Loch Morar, Shielagh in Loch Shiel, Lizzy in Loch Lochy, Champ in Lake Champlain, Ogopogo in Lake Okanagan and, would you believe, Wally in Lake Wallowa (stories of Wally appear to have been a university prank) but you get the idea ... and these are just a few.
While research has been conducted at many of these lakes, Loch Ness is the icon for monsters and Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster is, without doubt the granddaddy of them all. It is to Loch Ness where myriad researchers, professional and amateur, from all walks of life, have flocked with their cameras and sonars, hopes, fears and aspirations to solve the greatest mystery on Earth. Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.
Loch Ness investigations have included lures, fish baits, exploding light bulbs, submarines, scanning sonars, echo sounders, telephoto cameras, underwater cameras with strobe flashes, movie cameras, video and, now, digital cameras too.
The history of the search at Loch Ness gives us clues to all of the other lake monsters too. It should be appreciated, however, that there are many red herrings among the evidence and numerous false trails have been followed. It is easy for someone new to this subject to fall into all the traps and pitfalls which we seasoned commentators have encountered ourselves so I must ask you to try to avoid preconceptions, put out of your minds the fanatical and more far-fetched stories you may have heard and approach the subject with a detached interest. You may find that there is more to the subject than meets the eye.
On this Loch Ness Information site I have tried to lay out much of the Loch Ness evidence as we know it today. I have been the most active commentator on the happenings at Loch Ness for more than twenty-five years and want the Loch Ness Information Site to become a comprehensive information resource on the Loch Ness area and, of course, the Loch Ness phenomenon. It is not a refuge for "nutters" and the fanatical will find little to please them within these pages. Those with a genuine interest in the Loch Ness mystery, however, will find these pages fascinating.
While creating these pages I have had to earn a living so I apologise in advance that there will be a number of gaps in these pages for some time.
I have tried to present Loch Ness sightings, Loch Ness photographs, Loch Ness films, Loch Ness sonar charts and everything in these pages honestly and fairly. Unlike other commentators on the Loch Ness Monster, some of whom should know better, I have not been afraid to take poor researchers to task and tell the truth about their activities.
Crucially, I offer all visitors this challenge - if you believe anything I have said is inaccurate or incorrect I would be delighted to hear from you and will certainly spend time investigating your views or criticisms if that is warranted. I would ask, however, that criticism is accompanied by references to accurate information so that I do not have to waste time tracking material down.
I want this Loch Ness Information Site to be the most accurate on the web and will be delighted to make changes, additions or correct omissions when necessary.
If you find the pages of value please take a moment to check out some of the items we have for sale. Without sales revenue this site would not be possible.
The Stone Spheres of Costa Rica
One of the strangest mysteries in archaeology was discovered in the Diquis Delta of Costa Rica. Since the 1930s, hundreds of stone balls have been documented, ranging in size from a few centimetres to over two meters in diameter. Some weigh 16 tons. Almost all of them are made of granodiorite, a hard, igneous stone. These objects are monolithic sculptures made by human hands.
The Stone Spheres of Costa Rica
Balls in the Courtyard of National Museum, San Jos Costa Rica.
Photo courtesy of John W. Hoopes.
Copyright 2001 John W. Hoopes. All rights reserved.
The spheres number over 300. The large ones weigh many tons. Today, they decorate official buildings such as the Asamblea Legislativa, hospitals and schools. You can find them in museums. You can also find them as ubiquitous status symbols adorning the homes and gardens of the rich and powerful.
The stones may have come from the bed of the Térraba River, to where they were transported by natural processes from sources of parent material in the Talamanca mountains. Unfinished spheres were never found. Like the monoliths of the Old World, the Costa Rican quarry was more than 50 miles away from the final resting place of these mysteries.
Debunking the "Mystery" of the Stone Balls
by John W. Hoopes
The stone balls of Costa Rica have been the object of pseudoscientific speculations since the publication of Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods in 1971. More recently, they have gained renewed attention as the result of books such as Atlantis in America-Navigators of the Ancient World, by Ivar Zapp and George Erikson (Adventures Unlimited Press, 1998), and The Atlantis Blueprint: Unlocking the Ancient Mysteries of a Long-Lost Civilization, by Colin Wilson and Rand Flem-Ath (Delacorte Press, 2001). These authors have been featured on television, radio, magazines, and web pages, where they do an incredible disservice to the public by misrepresenting themselves and the state of actual knowledge about these objects.
Although some of these authors are often represented as having "discovered" these objects, the fact is that they have been known to scientists since they first came to light during agricultural activities by the United Fruit Company in 1940. Archaeological investigation of the stone balls began shortly thereafter, with the first scholarly publication about them appearing in 1943. They are hardly a new discovery, nor are they especially mysterious. In fact, archaeological excavations undertaken at sites with stone balls in the 1950s found them to be associated with pottery and other materials typical of the Pre-Columbian cultures of southern Costa Rica. Whatever "mystery" exists has more to do with loss of information due to the destruction of the balls and their archaeological contexts than lost continents, ancient astronauts, or transoceanic voyages.
Hundreds of stone balls have been documented in Costa Rica, ranging in size from a few centimeters to over two meters in diameter. Almost all of them are made of granodiorite, a hard, igneous stone. These objects are not natural in origin, unlike the stone balls in Jalisco, Mexico that were described in a 1965 National Geographic article. Rather, they are monolithic sculptures made by human hands.
The balls have been endangered since the moment of their discovery. Many have been destroyed, dynamited by treasure hunters or cracked and broken by agricultural activities. At the time of a major study undertaken in the 1950s, fifty balls were recorded as being in situ. Today, only a handful are known to be in their original locations.
Frequently Asked Questions
by John W. Hoopes
Where are the balls found?
They were originally found in the delta of the Térraba River, also known as the Sierpe, Diquís, and General River, near the towns of Palmar Sur and Palmar Norte. Balls are known from as far north as the Estrella Valley and as far south as the mouth of the Coto Colorado River. They have been found near Golfito and on the Isla del Caño. Since the time of their discovery in the 1940s, these objects have been prized as lawn ornaments. They were transported, primarily by rail, all over Costa Rica. They are now found throughout the country. There are two balls on display to the public in the U.S. One is in the museum of the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. The other is in a courtyard near the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
How big are they?
The balls range in size from only a few centimeters to over two meters in diameter. It has been estimated that the largest ones weigh over 16 tons (ca. 15,000 kg).
What are they made of?
Almost all of the balls are made of granodiorite, a hard, igneous stone that outcrops in the foothills of the nearby Talamanca range. There are a few examples made of coquina, a hard material similar to limestone that is formed from shell and sand in beach deposits. This was probably brought inland from the mouth of the Térraba-Sierpe delta. (The background image for these pages is a photograph of the surface of a stone ball in Palmar Sur, Costa Rica.)
How many of them are there?
Samuel Lothrop recorded a total of approximately 186 balls for his 1963 publication. However, it has been estimated that there may be several hundred of these objects, now dispersed throughout Costa Rica. It was reported that one site near Jalaca had as many as 45 balls, but these have now been removed to other locations.
How were they made?
The balls were most likely made by reducing round boulders to a spherical shape through a combination of controlled fracture, pecking, and grinding. The granodiorite from which they are made has been shown to exfoliate in layers when subjected to rapid changes in temperature. The balls could have been roughed out through the application of heat (hot coals) and cold (chilled water). When they were close to spherical in shape, they were further reduced by pecking and hammering with stones made of the same hard material. Finally, they were ground and polished to a high luster. This process, which was similar to that used for making polished stone axes, elaborate carved metates, and stone statues, was accomplished without the help of metal tools, laser beams, or alien life forms.
Who made them?
The balls were most likely made by the ancestors of native peoples who lived in the region at the time of the Spanish conquest. These people spoke Chibchan languages, related to those of indigenous peoples from eastern Honduras to northern Colombia. Their modern descendants include the Boruca, Téribe, and Guaym? These cultures lived in dispersed settlements, few of which were larger than about 2000 people. These people lived off of fishing and hunting, as well as agriculture. They cultivated maize, manioc, beans, squash, pejibaye palm, papaya, pineapple, avocado, chilli peppers, cacao, and many other fruits, root crops, and medicinal plants. They lived in houses that were typically round in shape, with foundations made of rounded river cobbles.
How old are they?
Stone balls are known from archaeological sites and buried strata hat have only pottery characteristic of the Aguas Buenas culture, whose dates range from ca. 200 BC to AD 800. Stone balls have reportedly been found in burials with gold ornaments whose style dates from after about AD 1000. They have also been found in strata containing shreds of Buenos Aires Polychrome, a pottery type of the Chiriqu?Period that was made beginning around AD 800. This type of pottery has reportedly been found in association with iron tools of the Colonial period, suggesting it was manufactured up until the 16th century. So, the balls could have been made anytime during an 1800-year period. The first balls that were made probably lasted for several generations, during which time they could have been moved and modified.
What were they used for?
Nobody knows for sure. The balls had ceased to be made by the time of the first Spanish explorers, and remained completely forgotten until they were rediscovered in the 1940s. Many of the balls were found to be in alignments, consisting of straight and curved lines, as well as triangles and parallelograms. One group of four balls was found to be arranged in a line oriented to magnetic north. This has led to speculation that they may have been arranged by people familiar with the use of magnetic compasses, or astronomical alignments. Unfortunately, all but a few of these alignments were destroyed when the balls were moved from their original locations, so measurements made almost fifty years ago cannot be checked for accuracy. Many of the balls, some of them in alignments, were found on top of low mounds. This has led to speculation that they may have been kept inside of houses built on top of the mounds, which would have made it difficult to use them for making observations. Ivar Zapp's suggestions that the alignments were navigational devices pointing to Easter Island and Stonehenge are almost certainly wrong. Lothrop's original measurements of alignments of balls only a few meters apart were not accurate or precise enough to allow one to control for errors in plotting such long distances. With the exception of balls located on the Isla del Caño, most of the balls are too far from the sea to have been useful to ocean-going navigators.
Why are the balls endangered?
Virtually all of the known balls have been moved from their original locations, destroying information about their archaeological contexts and possible alignments. Many of the balls have been blown up by local treasure hunters who have believed nonsensical fables that the balls contain gold. Balls sitting in agricultural fields have been damaged by periodic burning, which causes the once smooth surface of the balls to crack, split, and erode--a process that has contributed to the destruction of the largest known stone ball. Balls have been rolled into gullies and ravines, or even into underwater marine locations (as at Isla del Caño). The vast majority have been transported far from their zone of origin, separating them even further from the consciousness of the descendants of the people who made these balls.


Common Misconceptions
by John W. Hoopes
Several authors have now contributed to widespread misinformation about the stone balls of Costa Rica, leading to unfounded speculation about their nature and origin.
The Size of the Balls
In an article in Atlantis Rising Online, George Erikson makes exaggerated claims for the size of the stone balls, writing that they are "weighing up to 30 tons and measuring up to three meters in diameter" According to Samuel Lothrop, author of the most extensive study of the balls, "A 6-foot ball is estimated at about 7.5 tons, a 4-foot ball at 3 tons and a 3-foot specimen at 1.3 tons" (1963:22). Lothrop estimated the maximum weight for ball was around 16 tons. The largest known ball measures 2.15 m in diameter, which is substantially smaller than three meters.
The Roundness of the Balls
Erikson also states that these objects "were perfect spheres to within 2 millimeters from any measurement of both their diameter and circumference." This claim is false. No one has ever measured a ball with a sufficient degree of precision to make it. Neither Ivar Zapp nor George Erikson has proposed a methodology by which such measurements could be made. Lothrop (1963:17) wrote: "To measure the rotundity we used two methods, neither completely satisfactory. When the large balls were deeply buried in the ground, it might take several days to trench around them. Hence, we exposed the upper half only and then measured two or three more diameters with tape and plumb bob. This revealed that the poorer specimens, usually with diameters ranging between 2 and 3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters), varied in diameters as much as one or 2 inches (2.5-5.1 centimeters)." It should be clear that this method assumed that the portion under ground was spherical. Lothrop also measured balls that were more completely exposed by taking up to five circumferences with a tape measure, from which he then calculated their diameters. He writes, "Evidently, the larger balls were the product of the finest craftsmanship, and they were so nearly perfect that the tape and plumb-bob measurements of diameters did not reveal imperfections. Therefore, we measured circumferences horizontally and, if possible, at a 45-degree upward slant toward the four cardinal points. We did not usually ascertain the vertical circumference as the large balls were too heavy to move. This procedure was not as easy as it sounds because several people had to hold the tape and all measurements had to be checked. As the variation in diameters was too small to be detected by eye even with a plumb bob, the diameters have been computed mathematically". The source of claims for precise measurements may stem from misinterpretations of Lothrop's tables, in which he presents the calculated diameters in meters to four decimal places. However, these are mathematically calculated estimates, not direct measurements. They have not been rounded to reflect the actual precision with which the actual measurements were taken. It should be obvious that differences "too small to be detected by eye" cannot be translated into claims about precision "to within 2 millimeters". In fact, the surfaces of the balls are not perfectly smooth, creating irregularities that plainly exceed 2 millimeters in height. As noted above, some balls are known to vary over 5 cm (50 mm) in diameter. In the photograph of the largest ball on this web site, it is clear that the surface has been badly damaged. It is therefore impossible to know how precisely formed this ball might have been.
The Makers of the Balls
George Erikson states that "archaeologists attributed the spheres to the Chorotega Indians". No archaeologist familiar with the evidence has ever made this claim. The Chorotega were an Oto-Manguean speaking group that occupied an area of Guanacaste, near the Gulf of Nicoya in northwestern Costa Rica. The peoples who lived in the area where the balls are found were Chibchan speakers. The balls have been found in association with architectural remains, such as stone walls and pavements made of river cobbles, and both whole and broken pottery vessels that are consistent with finds at other sites associated with the Aguas Buenas and Chiriqu?cultures. These are believed to represent native peoples ancestral to historical Chibchan-speaking group of southern Costa Rica.
The Dating of the Balls
George Erikson and others have implied that the balls may date as early as 12,000 years ago. There is no evidence to support this claim. Since the balls cannot be dated directly by methods such as radiocarbon dating, which can be applied directly only to organic materials, the best way to date them is by stratigraphic context and associated artifacts. Lothrop excavated one stone ball that was located in a soil layer separated from an underlying, sherd-bearing deposit that contained pottery typical of the Aguas Buenas culture (200 BC - AD 600). In the soil immediately beneath this ball he found the broken head of a painted human figurine of the Buenos Aires Polychrome type, dated to AD 1000-1500 (examples have reportely been found associated with iron tools). This suggests the ball was made sometime between AD 600 and 1500.
The Balls are "Out of Context"
Since their discovery in 1940, the vast majority of these balls have been removed from their archaeological contexts to serve as lawn ornaments across Costa Rica. Many of the balls studied by Lothrop appeared to have rolled off of nearby mounds. Several had been covered by layers of fine silt, apparently from flood deposits and natural erosion. Naturally, they are "out of context" in the sense of having few good archaeological associations.
Scholars Have Ignored Them
It is not unusual for authors who write about the stone balls to claim that these objects have received inadequate attention from serious scholars. While this is undoubtedly true, it is not true that these objects have been ignored. It is also not true that scholarship regarding them has been somehow hidden from the general public. The first scholarly study of the balls was undertaken by Doris Stone immediately upon their discovery by workers for the United Fruit Company. Results of her investigation were published in 1943 in American Antiquity, the leading academic journal for archaeology in the United States. Samuel Lothrop, an archaeologist on the staff of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography at Harvard University, undertook major fieldwork concerning the balls in 1948. The final report on his study was published by the Museum in 1963. It contains maps of sites where the balls were found, detailed descriptions of pottery and metal objects found with and near them, and many photographs, measurements, and drawings of the balls, their alignments, and their stratigraphic contexts. Additional research on the balls by archaeologist Matthew Stirling was reported in the pages of National Geographic in 1969. In the late 1970s, archaeological survey on Isla del Caño (published in 1986) revealed balls in offshore contexts. Sites with balls were investigated and reported in the 1980s by Robert Drolet in the course of surveys and excavations in the Térraba Valley. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Claude Baudez and his students from the University of Paris returned to the locations of Lothrop's earlier fieldwork in the Diquís delta to undertake a more careful analysis of the pottery of the area, producing more refined dates for the contexts of the balls. This research was published in Spanish in 1993, with an English summary appearing in 1996. Also in the early 1990s, the author undertook fieldwork around Golfito, documenting the existence of the easternmost examples of these balls. At this time, Enrico Dal Lago, a student at the University of Kansas, defended a Master's thesis on the subject of the balls. The most careful study of the balls, however, has been fieldwork undertaken from 1990-1995 by archaeologist Ifigenia Quintanilla under the auspices of the National Museum of Costa Rica. She was able to excavate several balls in situ, documenting the process of their manufacture and their cultural associations. Quintanilla's research has been the most complete field study of these objects since Lothrop. While still mostly unpublished, the information she collected is currently the subject of her graduate research at the University of Barcelona. Even with current research pending, the list of references on this Web site makes it clear that the stone balls have received a great deal of serious, scholarly attention.
The content of the article above is 2001 by John W. Hoopes.
All rights reserved. Reprinted by Permission.