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Bruce Gernon's fantastic voyage in the Bermuda Triangle lasted only half an hour. But it was an experience that changed his life and eventually led to the discovery of a new theory about why planes and ships sometimes disappear on calm, sunny days in this notorious region of the Caribbean.
When I met Bruce early in 2001, he knew he had a great story to tell—one that needed to be told, one that could save lives. But he still hadn't reached any firm conclusions about his experience. A year passed before he came to realize something totally unexpected, something that if eventually proven by science, will change the way we look at weather and time.
Other pilots have experienced a strange fog in the Bermuda Triangle and lived to tell about it, but Bruce Gernon is the only pilot known to have entered the heart of the mother storm—the purported source of the fog—and come out alive on the other side. The enormous storm he describes in The Fog evolved within minutes from a lenticular cloud that hovered a mere five hundred feet above the ocean. Bruce spotted the cloud on an otherwise clear morning a few minutes after taking off from an airstrip on Andros Island in the Bahamas. The appearance of that cloud was an anomaly in itself. Lenticular clouds, which look like enormous UFOs with soft, silky edges, are usually seen at five thousand feet or higher.
Bruce, accompanied by his father and a friend, flew over the cloud. But he'd no sooner passed by it when the cloud extruded two arms that quickly reached out twenty miles, forming a closed circle, like the eye of a hurricane. When he considered flying above the cloud, he discovered it was rising up as well as extending out from the original lenticular cloud. He estimated that it reached forty thousand feet. When he tried to fly beneath the cloud, he found that it dipped down to the ocean's surface. In fact, it seemed that the cloud was rising directly from the ocean.
Eventually, he found a ten-mile-long tunnel in the cloud with blue sky visible on the other side. He decided to take a chance. He flew into it, expecting to exit in three minutes. Instead, he passed through the tunnel in twenty seconds, and during that time experienced several seconds of weightlessness.
When he escaped the cloud, the blue sky was gone, replaced with a gray fog that seemed to spread out for miles and miles. None of his electronic equipment worked. Even the compass rotated slowly around and around. Finally, the radio worked and he contacted the Miami Flight Center. At that point in the flight, he should have been near Bimini, eighty miles from Miami. But the flight center couldn't locate the Bonanza on radar. It was as if the plane had vanished.
Then, the air traffic controller said that he'd spotted a plane coming over Miami Beach. "No, that can't be us." Bruce had no sooner spoken when the fog cleared away and he glimpsed Miami Beach and the Florida mainland below. It was impossible. The plane couldn't fly that fast. It was as if they'd moved ahead half an hour. After Bruce landed at the Palm Beach International Airport, he discovered something else. He had too much gas left over. It was as if he'd leap-frogged ahead in time and space.
Years passed, and Bruce never forgot about that flight. Every day, it seemed, he thought about some aspect of it. He wrote an article for FATE Magazine about it in the early 1990s, and he was interviewed for several cable documentaries on the Bermuda Triangle. But the story wasn't all there.
One day he read an article in the Palm Beach Post about an author who lived only a couple of miles from his home in the Aero Club in Wellington, Florida, near West Palm Beach. As a result, Bruce contacted me and told me his story. I was busy with another project, but since we were neighbors and belonged to the same gym, we got together from time to time and talked about a possible book. I kept pushing him for an explanation about the fog, which apparently didn't appear on radar.
Then, one day, a year or so after we'd met, he told me about a second flight through the fog that occurred in the mid-1990s. He'd referred to it before, but since his instruments worked properly during that flight and it was above land, he hadn't related it directly to his first experience. However, a couple of puzzling things about that flight remained on his mind.
First, South Florida appeared to be covered by a dense fog. But when he contacted the weather bureau for an update, he was told it was a perfectly clear day. Yet, he and his wife Lynn were experiencing something altogether different. That was also the case of another pilot, a neighbor, who had turned back after encountering the same fog.
Something else baffled Bruce on that flight. He happened to look down and saw a clear tunnel in the fog that reached the ground. As he continued to fly through the fog, the tunnel remained with him. How was that possible? Finally, the fog dissipated as he and Lynn returned home. But a horizontal ring of fog encircled the plane and stayed with them until they landed on the grass strip near their home.
After re-thinking that experience and connecting it with others that he'd read about, Bruce suddenly realized that he understood the fog. It was an "electronic fog" that literally "attached" to the plane. While it appeared that the pilot was flying through a massive bank of fog, that wasn't the case at all. The fog probably extended no farther than a quarter of a mile in all directions and literally "flew" along with the plane.
When I heard that explanation, I knew that Bruce had struck on a new theory about the Bermuda Triangle … and that we had a book!