sports psychologist & clinical psychology

IS DEVIL’S TRIANGLE ALL IN THE MIND?

Nov 18, 2005 – JohnFMurray.com – Editorial by John F. Murray, Ph.D. – A recent Bermuda Triangle investigation rekindled mystery and prompted a House resolution as seen in the article below by David Barnes.

Now Dr. John F. Murray has new evidence about John F. Kennedy Jr.’s plane crash following discussions with pilots and air traffic controllers, and evidence to suggest that Bermuda Triangle type events may be explained by psychological factors.

First, the article by David Barnes:

WASHINGTON � Four months after the end of World War II, five Navy bombers took off into sunny skies from Fort Lauderdale on a routine training mission, never to be seen again. Soon after, a rescue plane was sent to find them. It, too, vanished.

Now a new NBC News investigation marking the 60th anniversary of Flight 19’s disappearance in the Bermuda Triangle is rekindling speculation on what happened that day. The anniversary also prompted a resolution in Congress by Rep. Clay Shaw, R-Fort Lauderdale, to commemorate the mission’s 27 vanished pilots and crewmembers.

“Perhaps someday we will learn what happened and lay this mystery to rest,” Shaw said Thursday, a day after the resolution passed the House 420-2.

The story of Flight 19 fixed the world’s attention on the Bermuda Triangle, a patch of open water between Fort Lauderdale, Bermuda and Puerto Rico in which dozens of boats and planes have mysteriously vanished.

On the afternoon of Dec. 5, 1945, Flight 19’s five Navy torpedo bombers took off from Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station, carrying 14 Marines and Navy airmen. Less than two hours later, the squadron’s leader alerted the control tower that they couldn’t tell which direction they were flying.

The planes had disappeared from the base’s radar. In fading transmissions, Flight 19’s leader said the squadron would fly northeast to make sure they were not over the Gulf of Mexico â€â€? on the other side of the Florida peninsula.

After about 90 minutes of wandering over open water with no land in sight, the lead pilot said the planes would fly west “until we hit the beach or run out of gas.” That was the last radio transmission.

The Navy scrambled to send a Mariner rescue plane to find the missing bombers, but soon after, the rescue plane and its crew of 13 also disappeared.

In the days that followed, hundreds of ships and planes scoured more than 200,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida peninsula in what remains the largest search effort in maritime history, according to Washington’s Naval Historical Center.

No crash debris, or even a single scrap of evidence that could have provided clues to the flight’s fate, were found.

In making its documentary � scheduled to air Nov. 27 on the Sci Fi cable network � NBC sent two research vessels to search the site where Flight 19 disappeared from the radar. The documentary failed to turn up new physical evidence on Flight 19.

Now the Editorial by John F. Murray, Ph.D.:

Much has been written and said over the past 60 years attributing the missing planes of 1945 to some mysterious zone called the Bermuda or Devil’s Triangle. It is described as some odd menace that gobbles up planes without leaving a trace. Some claim that it produces a natural magnetic force that throws off navigational instruments, while others believe an evil entity dooms them.

Hogwash! After investigating this story and discussing these and other strange events with two long-time military and commercial airplane pilots and two air traffic controllers, I’m convinced that psychological factors better explain these events.

According to a credible source, the media failed to report something about John F. Kennedy Jr.’s behavior on that fateful day of July 16, 1999. According to that source who was involved in an air traffic control tower in New York that day, “Kennedy’s plane blew right past the control tower without telling anyone at all!” It is standard procedure to check in properly and receive a code for identification purposes during a flight. He totally neglected this.

While Kennedy’s reckless behavior was not reported at the time, perhaps as a protection to his family, it indicates a very impatient mindset that day after he had to wait a long time for his passengers to arrive. It is also a preview to his later poor mental skills when he declined to turn on the auto-pilot, and then tried to rely on visual sight in a virtual soup of darkness with no horizon.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote in a New Yorker article that Kennedy’s panic led to his demise. He could not see the horizon, became spatially disoriented, and went into a graveyard spiral. This is simply deficient mental or psychological skills. I see it everyday in my work with pro athletes and teams. In short, if Kennedy had slowed down and relied on his instruments, he might be running for President today. In this context mental skills are extremely important.

But let’s go back to the mysterious devil’s triangle. My sources in aviation tell me that there have been B-52 and other military crashes never reported in the media as a result of pilot oversight. Again we see evidence of poor mental skills.

They also reveal that the area known as the Bermuda Triangle is the one area in the world full of amateur pilots, and more amateurs than anywhere else on the planet! The sheer volume of inexperienced pilots leads to more mistakes and crashes as a result of poor mental focus, panic, and choking.

I could find not one iota of verifiable evidence that this area produces any mysterious magnetic changes that would disturb the navigation of planes. The planes that disappeared in 1945 were led by a squadron leader who probably had trouble with his instruments for any number of reasons. If you simply place a screwdriver near a compass, it will do strange things. But it could have also been any number of psychological or medical factors such as a panic attack or seizure that caused him to lose focus. All the other pilots were instructed to focus only on the leader. When the leader was lost, they were doomed with him.

When this pilot tried to correct and come home by going west, he might have actually been out in the Gulf of Mexico and ended up going just further west into the Gulf. Or he might have been off the east coast of Florida and thought he was going west when he was actually traveling northwest. This would have put him near the Carolinas. In either case, the planes would have disappeared with no trace, far from where they were supposedly lost. The Gulfstream would take care of any remaining crash debris in the east.

What about the plane that was lost in trying to rescue the squadron? I am told that this was a very unreliable plane of which only 8 had been produced. It was most likely just a very coincidental crash. And this crash could have also been attributed better to psychological or mental factors than some sea monster or supernatural vortex.

What does all this mean? It means that whether we are talking about today’s newly released information about John F. Kennedy Jr.s behavior on July 16, 1999, the sheer volume of traffic and corresponding crashes in the Bermuda Triangle, the loss of a whole squadron led by one leader, or the loss of a rescue plane, the Devil’s Triangle is better explained by poor mental skills and reckless behavior than magical or mysterious forces.

I hope you enjoy the upcoming television feature. It should be educational. Just don’t forget that the Bermuda Triangle may really just be a function of underdeveloped mental training.

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.

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