On March 4, 1918, the USS Cyclops kept a date with destiny!
Cyclops, a US Navy coal carrier (collier) heading to Baltimore with a load of manganese ore.
The Cyclops had left from Rio De Janeiro on February 16, 1918 and was supposed to arrive in Baltimore on March 13, 1918. Mysteriously, she disappeared without a trace in the Bermuda Triangle and nothing of her or her crew has ever been found.
Chalk it up to the Bermuda Triangle? Or was she sunk by a U-Boat? Well, no U-Boat ever reported such a sinking and the German navy has repeatedly said they did not sink the Cyclops. At 542 feet long, the Cyclops would be a victim worth bragging about.
It is speculated by US Navy investigators that the cargo of manganese ore may have become wet and sloshed back and forth in the ship creating an uneven load and causing the ship to turn over, but without a wreck or survivor’s account no one can know.
The Captain of the ship, Capt. George Worley was not who he said he was! He was actually Johan Wichmann born in Germany and an illegal alien in the United States! He had snuck off a ship in San Francisco in 1878 and had changed his name to George Worley. Compounding the bizarre story is the Captain’s behavior. Tyrannical and petty, Worley was said to have run around the ship with a pistol in pursuit of one of the ensigns! Even creepier, he was known to make his rounds of the ship wearing long underwear and a Derby hat! His obvious pro-German bias also made him hated by non-German members of his crew.
Another twist to this incident, a passenger on this final voyage of the Cyclops was the US Consul General in Rio, Alfred Gottschalk, another well known and roundly disliked pro-German. Investigators speculated the Captain and Gottschalk may have turned the ship over to Germany, but this allegation is still denied by the German government.
The USS Cyclops AC-4 has also made its way into popular culture, becoming the star of Clive Cussler’s novel Cyclops, featured in the video game Dark Void, and appearing in television episodes of Quantum Leap and Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!
The loss of the Cyclops, a 20,000 ton ship over 500 feet long and carrying 306 people still stands as the worst US Navy non-combat disaster ever. As such, the Navy took a long hard look into what had happened, and came up empty!
The Bermuda Triangle has captured our imagination with mysterious vanishings of ships, planes, and people and become a world-class legend for a surprisingly short period of time. Only several decades has passed since the first oceanic enigma has been reported. Atlantic Ocean has always been a mysterious and very deadly place to humans. The nature of the ocean gives people plenty of ideas to speculate about mysterious circumstances, unknown forces, unexplained disappearances, such as extraterrestrial capturing humans; the influence of the lost continent of Atlantis; vortices that suck ships into other dimensions; and other imaginative ideas. The fact remains, Bermuda was once known as the Isle of Devils. Dangerous reefs that have skunked ships sailing too close to its shores surround Bermuda islands, and there are hundreds of shipwrecks in the waters that surround it.
However, let’s honor and list the real triangle catastrophes. Vanished or abandoned ships 1918-67 in chronological order: Meta renamed Ellen Austin; USS Cyclops, collier; Carroll A. Deering, five-masted schooner; SS Cotopaxi; USS Proteus (AC-9); USS Nereus (AC-10); SS Marine Sulphur Queen; Witchcraft, cabin cruiser. There has been several missing aircrafts as well: Flight 19 (five TBF Avengers pictured right); Avro Tudor G-AHNP Star Tiger; Douglas DC-3 NC16002; Avro Tudor G-AGRE Star Ariel. The only one narrative of the surrounding environment during the disappearing was recorded as a flight leader saying “We are entering white water, nothing seems right. We don’t know where we are, the water is green, no white.” Officials at the Navy board of inquiry stated that the planes “flew off to Mars.” As more incidents occurred, the triangle’s reputation grew and past events were reanalyzed and added to the legend. Articles, books, and movies have appeared, suggesting theories ranging from, hurricane tornados, and alien abductions to a giant octopus.