Chapter 4.  The Puerto Rico Lozenge

We have seen elsewhere the view that UFOs are flying machines from the Earth’s interior. Here we consider the view that they – or at least some of them – come from the bottom of the sea. This is the startling idea put forward by Ivan T. Sanderson in his book Invisible Residents (1970).

Over 50% of UFO sightings have occurred over, coming out of, or diving into water, and, in the words of Mr Sanderson, “the authorities are keeping damned quiet about them.”

Furthermore, Mr Sanderson produces an impressive catalogue of UFOs diving into or emerging from the sea, as well as another list of curious sightings of UAOs – Unidentified Aquatic Objects – objects which are observed either on ship radar screens or are visible beneath the waves as sinister lights of one sort or another.

Could it be, Mr Sanderson argues, that these things pop in and out of the sea, or hover above or below its surface at will because that is where they come from? Could there be an Undersea Civilisation?

It is an extraordinary idea and by no means as outrageous as it first appears. Three quarters of the world’s surface is occupied by water to only one quarter land. Heaven only knows the full extent of what goes on down there, and many of our oceanologists would be the first to admit it.

So let us consider the evolution of Homo sapiens – us, in other words. Where did we come from in the first instance? The answer is: the sea. Of course, between the first water-bound blob of jelly and a fully-fledged air-breathing, tax-paying human, there are an awful lot of intermediate stages spanning millions of years – but the sea is first and foremost where we came from.

Next, Mr Sanderson asks if we can be sure that evolution led to intelligent life only on the dry quarter of this planet?

Not only that, but suppose that intelligent life simultaneously developed in the oceans but along a different evolutionary track. We land-bound creatures wasted hundred of millions of years of evolution in learning to breathe and stand upright. But they – assuming they exist – would have been getting on with more interesting jobs. Consequently they would have had hundreds of millions of years ‘start’ on us.

It has been said that sciences like metallurgy, electromagnetism, or atomic physics could never have been developed had the human race continued to evolve under the sea. But as Mr Sanderson says, since we have never actually lived there, we can’t be too sure of that!

Very well, then, suppose there is an underwater civilisation. Why has it taken so long for us to find out about it? And what are the undersea inhabitants like?

Mr Sanderson calls them OINTs, short for “Other Intelligences”, and by which he means that he doesn’t really know who they are at all. He is not even sure that these OINTs evolved in our oceans. They might have come from space, he admits, and simply taken up long-term residence there. But what he is reasonably sure of is that they have been here a long time and that they are technologically far in advance of us.

Given their millions of years evolutionary start on us, or even an extra-terrestrial leg-up, as it were, then it is not difficult to visualise them having developed sophisticated craft for popping out of the sea and up into the atmosphere. If we can get to the Moon and back, then they would surely have no problem in conquering our atmosphere.

So why do they bother with us? Research, possibly. To them we are interesting biological specimens. Examples of what can happen when evolutions sets foot on dry land.

So why have we failed to learn about them before Mr Sanderson’s book came out? Two answers here. Firstly, we dry-land dwellers are a conceited lot. We view ourselves as the very pinnacle of evolution and pooh-pooh the idea that beneath our feet or above our heads are beings more wonderful than we are. If someone sees something mysterious in either sea or sky, and he dares to suggest that superior beings are afoot, then he is likely to find himself labelled as a nut-case, because, of course, no being could possibly be so superior! Consequently, not only are we not looking for evidence of such beings, we subconsciously ignore it, or dismiss it, or, at the very least, fail to recognise it when it does appear. Secondly, as long as we were a bunch of reasonably incompetent landlubbers, the OINTs might not have bothered much with us, beyond collecting the odd specimen now and again. But as soon as we started getting smart and firing rockets to the Moon, or sending queer-looking machines down to the depths of the ocean, or, worse, drilling for oil through the main street of some underwater city, then the OINTs would start to get a bit uneasy. They would want to keep a closer eye or three on us – thus explaining the dramatic increase in UFOs and UAOs in the latter half of the twentieth century – and they might even try to put us off getting too close to their underwater cities (which Mr Sanderson believes are possibly built into the rock of the continental shelves.)

How would they put us off? Perhaps by inducing us to believe that the areas of ocean immediately surrounding their major residences are ‘haunted’. There is nothing like a bit of superstitious dread to keep the savages in check – and what better way to spread such beliefs than by causing a few of the savages to ‘vanish’ mysteriously at sea. Such is Mr Sanderson’s interpretation of the Bermuda Triangle.

The Bermuda Triangle needs no introduction. Roughly speaking it is the triangular area of sea defined by Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Florida into which multitudes of ships and planes are supposed to have mysteriously vanished without trace.

Why legend has called this area of sea the Bermuda Triangle is itself a mystery – it is actually more of an ill-defined lozenge shape and is as much associated with Puerto Rico as Bermuda. Hence the title of our chapter. It has also picked up a fistful of other dramatic names – like the Hoodoo Sea, the Limbo of the Lost and the Pentagon of Death.

The legend appears to have originated with a writer called Vincent Gaddis, who wrote an article called The Deadly Bermuda Triangle in the February 1964 issue of the magazine Argosy. It also seems to have gathered a good deal of momentum from sailors’ yarns about the Sargasso Sea, a myth that has been with us since the days of Columbus himself. There is nothing like a good sea mystery to set a good legend in motion – the Mary Celeste is ample testimony to that – and the Bermuda Triangle is no exception.

Probably the most famous book in this vein is the best-seller by Charles Berlitz, The Bermuda Triangle (1975). Mr Berlitz tackles the mystery with electromagnetic forces, time-warps, anti-gravity, black holes, crystal lasers, UFOs, Hindu legends, sacred sites and the underwater relics of Atlantis. At the end of it all one of his conclusions is that if the whole thing is stage-managed by UFO intelligences, then we may be wasting our time trying to figure it out at all! The UFO intelligences are so far in advance of us that we may be incapable of understanding their motives, and our ‘disappearances’ in the Bermuda Triangle may happen ‘inadvertently’. If we may use an analogy, it would be rather like a dog trying to puzzle out why so many other dogs are run-over by mysterious man-operated craft called ‘cars’.

Fascinating as all this speculation is, a large quantity of ice-cold water was poured onto the proceedings by a librarian called Lawrence Kusche. In his book The Bermuda Triangle Mystery – Solved (1975), Mr Kusche took the ‘evidence’ for the mystery and traced it back to its factual roots, where these were still available. He found that in a distressing number of instances ‘facts’ had been misquoted, misread, misunderstood and even deliberately tampered with in order to promote the legend of the Triangle. There were mysteries, to be sure, but not quite on the dramatic scale as the hoodoo addicts claimed.

Mercifully, in spite of Mr Kusche’s interference, the legend continues to go its own sweet way, so let’s get back to Mr Sanderson and his theories about the Bermuda Triangle and UAOs.

Mr Sanderson and a group of his associates happened to notice that the Bermuda Triangle had much the same latitude (30° to 40° north) as another mystery zone known as the Devil’s Sea. This zone was a couple of hundred miles south of the Japanese island of Honshu, and about longitude 140° east. Furthermore, it too had the same sort of shape as the Puerto Rico lozenge.

Mr Sanderson heard that the Devil’s Sea had been feared by Japanese sailors for years, which was a great mystery, because when Mr Kusche took the trouble to ask a few Japanese authorities about the matter, none of them had ever even heard of it!

Nevertheless, into the theory it went, closely followed by the Mediterranean Sea. It too lay between latitudes 30° and 40° north, and was sort of lozenge shaped. As to mysterious disappearances, well, these were a bit thin on the ground, but it was known that a few fishing boats and a couple of submarines had disappeared over the years, and that was enough.

The reasoning may seem a little loose here, it is true, but when we point out that all three lozenges seemed to be orientated in the same direction and also to have the same longitudinal width of about 30°, then we hope our readers will feel reassured.

Now of course it would be unreasonable to expect three lozenges in the northern hemisphere without three mirror images in the southern. So Mr Sanderson pretty soon found himself with no less than six “vile vortices” on his hands.

Then, in August 1968, an unnamed young lady told him some yarns of the sea that had been told to her by her brothers, and, bingo, then there were eight lozenges, the extra two being in the north and south Pacific.

The patterns formed by these eight vile vortices were not quite as symmetrical as Mr Sanderson felt they ought to be. So he called in some mathematical friends “with their slide rules and tridimensional trigonometry”. The result of this little conference was two more lozenges, bringing the total up to ten. Five of these formed an evenly spaced band at 30° to 40° north, and the other five a similar band at 30° to 40° south. The two bands were not mirror images of each other, being displaced some 40° with respect to each other (see Fig. 4.1). Later Mr Sanderson added the north and south poles to his list of vile vortices or lozenges, and that made twelve.

Locations of ten vile vortices, according to Sanderson

Fig. 4.1

The theory was neat, to be sure, and everyone seemed to be in such neat geometrical ecstasies that it hardly seemed to matter that there were hardly any reports at all of strange disappearances in the Indian Ocean lozenge (“probably because no ships or planes ever pass through or over it”) and that the Afghanistan lozenge owed its reputation to a rather vague and not terribly mysterious incident in World War II.

One would have thought that twelve vile vortices would have been quite enough to play with, but apparently not. In 1977 appeared Jay Gourley’s book The Great Lakes Triangle. You’ve guessed it, boats, planes and people were seen unaccountably to vanish there as well, though when asked what really makes them vanish, Mr Gourley freely admits that he doesn’t know for sure, but notes that there sure are a lot of UFOs about.…

Nearer to home, now, yet another vile vortex was discovered by Peter Paget, and described in his book The Welsh Triangle (1979).

Actually, this isn’t so much a triangle in which things disappear (though Mr Paget assures us that they have done so from time to time) as one in which UFOs and their giant alien pilots seem to like to appear.

The Welsh Triangle is in and around the south-westerly tip of the Pembrokeshire coast, an area rich in underground caves, tunnels and abandoned mine shafts as well as mysterious and ancient standing stones. All of these things feature in this enthralling saga.

Mr Paget is quite sure that the silver-suited giants who are reputed to stalk that neighbourhood are aliens from Outer Space and that they have at least two space stations orbiting the Earth, one of which passes directly over the Welsh Triangle. There is also an entrance to one of their subterranean bases on the rocky island of Stack Rocks, and Mr Paget located an eye-witness who had actually seen sliding doors in the rock face open wide to admit a hovering UFO. It would seem likely, then, that the aliens are using subterranean caverns as a base and Mr Paget points to various reports of strange “booming” noises as well as persistent humming sounds from under the sea as evidence for subterranean activity.

Now, why are they here? Mr Paget tells us that it seems to have something to do with an American base in the area which is supposed to be a sort of Oceanographic Institute, but which is probably something more sinister. Local residents told Mr Paget that the Americans are tunnelling away underneath their base for a start, which is hardly the way a respectable Oceanographic Institute would carry on. It is not quite clear whether the Americans are tunnelling to get at the aliens or the other way about, but Mr Paget assures us that UFO visitations in this area increased dramatically with the opening of the American base and that pretty peculiar things have been going on ever since. He cites TV interference, electrical installation faults, panic stricken dogs, strange lights, immobilised cars and encounters with silver-suited giants of a clone-like uniformity.

In fact, we’ll be quite frank and say that some of Mr Paget’s tales of the Welsh Triangle sound even taller than the alien giants they are all about. Still, funny things do happen.

Take the extraordinary case of the 158 cows and the missing half hour.

Mr Paget solemnly assures us that one night a farmer left his milking complex securely bolted and walked up to the farm house for a cup of tea. It took him less than a minute but by the time he got there the phone was ringing with an urgent message to the effect that his cows were causing havoc among the crops of a neighbouring farm nearly a mile away, and that they had been at it for about half an hour.

The farmer dashed back to the milking complex to find it empty. With his sons he went down to the neighbouring farm to find that they were indeed his cows that were doing the damage. “There was no rational explanation,” Mr Paget assures us. “The only explanation that seemed possible was that in some curious and unaccountable manner the cows had completely vanished from the milking complex and re-materialised over a mile away.” The inference seems to be that this teleportation was brought about by some passing alien, possibly inadvertently. Hence, we suppose, the legend of the cow that jumped over the moon.…

All this alien activity in Wales, needless to say, is the subject of a high-level government cover-up, and government denials of this claim are merely evidence in favour of this hypothesis. Mr Paget feels that open, official contact by the aliens is not made probably for political reasons, and that the aliens are watching us very closely prior to either integrating their civilisation with ours or else inviting us to join some sort of “cosmic club”. Invasion as such is unlikely. If the UFO-nauts had wanted that, then with their superior technology they could have done it already.

As to firm evidence for the existence of alien machines, he claims that the Norwegians have a complete UFO wreck and that the Russians even have the frozen body of a defunct alien.

Now what about those ancient standing stones we mentioned earlier? What have they to do with this tantalising plot?

Mr Paget tells us that for reasons which are not terribly clear, UFO activity seems to be more prolific in the vicinity of ancient structures. He also points out that no-one has ever explained why the bluestones of Stonehenge were transported all the way to Salisbury Plain from the Prescelly Mountains of South Wales, the neighbourhood of the Welsh Triangle.

So what is the link between the futuristic UFOs and the stones of the distant past? To the rescue comes the theory that Britain was once part of Atlantis and that the Old Stones were part of a sophisticated, but now dormant, power grid based on the piezo-electric properties of quartz crystals within the stones. The UFOs could be tapping this grid as a source of energy, though its original Atlantean purpose was probably that of an “effective telegraphic network, or Neolithic ‘crystal set’.”

As to the nature of the UFOs and their occupants, Mr Paget is quite firmly a nuts-and-bolts man, and will have none of the alternative view that UFOs are ‘psychic manifestations’:

Fragments of UFOs have to my knowledge been recovered from various countries in Scandinavia, North and South America, and France and appear to be small breakages that have fallen from the UFOs due to either minor damage on landing or to overheating in the propulsion system. I have myself seen a piece recovered by British investigators which appeared to be good old-fashioned aluminium. Everything that I have come across still confirms me in my assertion that UFOs are solid machines flown by flesh and blood operators. I think that it is only the advanced element of the technology which appears to give them their supernatural or ghostly qualities. It is very easy to dismiss the phenomena under the convenient heading of ‘psychic’, in order to diminish its importance or disregard its relevance to science and society. But I have yet to find a ghost who has successfully burnt circular patches on green grass, left radiation traces or bent steel brackets on overhead power pylons.

Other authors claim that there is more to the UFO phenomenon than meets the purely material eye. One such author is F.W. Holiday, whose book The Dragon and the Disc first appeared in 1973.

Mr Holiday believes that UFOs were a fundamental part of ancient and even prehistoric religion. He calls it the cult of the disc and he finds evidence for it in English cup-and-ring marks as well as a variety of French and Spanish cave drawings. English disc barrows, he says, are representative of what we today know as saucer shaped UFOs or ‘scout craft’, and long barrows representative of cigar shaped UFOs or ‘mother ships’.

Running parallel to the Disc Cult, apparently, was the cult of the serpent or Dragon. If the Disc Cult be likened to an equivalent of our Christian God, then the Dragon Cult becomes Devil Worship. Hence, in Christian mythology, dragons became synonymous with the evils of paganism and when St. George slew the dragon he was symbolising the triumph of Christ over the old gods. The Dragon Cult, like that of the Disc, was both widespread and ancient.

Of course, this doesn’t explain what these discs and dragons were, but they must have been pretty dramatic things to inspire such widespread and deeply rooted feelings.

We have already said that Mr Holiday believes the Disc Cult was based on the same sort of phenomena that we today call UFOs. The dragons, he believes, were based on what we today call sea serpents and lake monsters – the most famous case of the latter being the Loch Ness Monster.

Now, not only were the cults of the Dragon and the Disc closely linked in the past, as the diametrically opposed forces of good and evil, but so too are the UFOs and monsters of today, if you take the trouble to examine the facts closely.

If UFOs were machines from Outer Space and the Loch Ness Monster nothing more than a dinosaur that never got the news of its own extinction, then we would know more about the phenomena than we do. The existence of both would have been settled years ago, instead of, as they do, remaining on the borderline of fact and fiction.

Further, photographs of UFOs and monsters have been taken, but where these are not simply unworthy fakes, Mr Holiday claims, they have one and all been notoriously unclear and in some instances downright fuzzy.

Again, in spite of what Mr Paget and his followers might say, no-one is really in possession of an actual bit of UFO let alone a whole wreck. True, some people say they have seen scorched patches of earth where UFOs have landed, but this, argues Mr Holiday, might simply be some sort of mass-energy trickery induced by the phenomena, and they are not as conclusive as a physical chunk of saucer. UFOs may make things ‘hot’ in much the same way as ghosts make them traditionally ‘cold’.

On the dragon rather than the disc front, no dead bodies of any lake monsters have ever been retrieved, and neither have any of their droppings.

Likewise, radar sightings of UFOs or sonar sightings of monsters are only really secondary evidence of a physical nature and may only indicate the ability of the phenomena to manipulate our instrumentation by mass-energy force-fields.

Further, Mr Holiday notes that both UFOs and monsters, like ghosts and poltergeists, induce reactions of panic in animals such as dogs and horses (though not, apparently, in Mr Paget’s cows: they just went on munching in spite of their experience.) They also, he says, induce in humans a tendency to dismiss or explain away encounters with them.

Lastly, the phenomena are not just obscure, they are actively evasive. Time and again, Mr Holiday assures us, monsters and UFOs just disappear the moment one reaches for a camera. Or if one manages to get hold of a camera, it fails to function at the critical moment.

All these things, Mr Holiday claims, add up not to a simple nuts-and-bolts nature for UFOs and monsters, but to something distinctly other-worldly, a different order of reality that occasionally projects itself into our own. In this respect it is meaningless to ask whether or not UFOs come from Outer Space, or Inner Earth, or wherever, since such a question assumes a purely physical nature in the first place.

Mr Holiday admits that he doesn’t know for sure what either UFOs or monsters really are, but he is pretty sure of what they’re not – and that’s physical entities. He admits, too, that his book is very largely speculative. His answer to that, though, is quite firm:

If the Wright Brothers had waited for flight to be authenticated, we would still be crossing the Atlantic by frigate.

It seems that the alien machine supporters and the psychic manifestation champions will continue to do battle with each other for some time to come. Certainly there seems to be no end in sight, and we look forward keenly to future developments.