Greek Merchant Marine radio operator Polycarp Spentzas had an indescribably strange and unforgettable experience while working aboard the vessel “Pothiti SWJC” in 1978 off Bermuda.
But he certainly wasn’t the only person to observe these odd occurrences in the last few decades.
Over the years there have been a multitude of odd, unexplainable and unsettling occurrences in that famed area between Bermuda in the north, the Bahamas in the south and Miami Florida in the west, including the disappearance of twelve US Navy crewmembers on a seaplane patrolling there during the Second World War, on July 10, 1945.
They had left the Banana River Florida, Naval Air Station the night before for a training flight to Great Exuma in the Bahamas. The last time they were ever heard from was 1:16 AM the next day, at a position of 25.22N, 7734W, near Providence Island. No trace of the crew or their aircraft has ever been found.
Late that same year, another military flight, with 14 airmen aboard, was lost — and then the plane sent out to try to locate that aircraft, carrying thirteen men — was also lost. By some counts, there have been as many as 155 people who have perished in that otherwise idyllic, turquoise-hued stretch of water east of Miami.
For Spetzos, the merchant mariner, the legendary dangers of that area (Bermuda Triangle) suddenly became personal in 1978, when in the course of his normal duties he observed the following strange events unfold.
As he recalls it, “We started from Porto Matanzas, Cuba, bound for Algiers, with an average speed of 11 miles. Shortly before 12 noon local time, the officers of the ship’s bridge began to notice that it appeared to them that the ship was sailing at unusually high speed — but the instruments showed a constant speed of 10 to 11 nautical miles an hour.
“Some of my colleagues initially hypothesized maybe I had made a mistake in timing, since I was the radio operator. But that did not happen; and the ship continued to tear through the waves like a dolphin.
“At 12 noon,” Spentzas continued, “the captain asked the second officer to put a Pakistani sailor at the wheel, since he himself did not feel well. He could not lift his arms and his body felt too heavy all over.
“Soon the electrician arrived on the bridge after coming up from the engine room, upset that he had noticed that all the clocks on the boat had gone ahead two whole hours.
“Additionally, the helmsman was unable to hold a steady course, because the compass, which was gyroscopic and shielded from electromagnetic fields, was turning like crazy! So, he had to put on the autopilot and we managed to maintain a steady course.
The UFO sighting
The seasoned merchant mariner goes on to relate “But the strangest of all was something that happened a little after 5 pm. The cook and I were playing backgammon in the smoking room, when suddenly we looked back and saw, to the left of the ship, i.e., the northwest side, just a few miles away, a large, white unidentified flying object in the sky. Then there appeared two smaller flying objects to the west of the large one and indeed, one of them was attached to it. ‘Experiments of Americans,’ I assumed.
“I left immediately and went to the bridge to ask, full of anguish, if someone else had seen these bizarre devices. Not one had noticed. However, I was sure that something strange was happening with time and how we were affected by the acceleration of the movement of the UFOs.
Spentzas explains “I looked at my watch and time had passed. I put the Radio receiver to 500 KHz, to fill in the calendar and heard Morse code — but it was unnaturally quick. I put out a time request signal to 15 MHz RWM (Radio Moscow) and heard the answering time signals too quickly — so fast that I thought it was the station’s fault.
The Greek crew and the strange and inexplicable events of the Bermuda Triangle
“I jumped from my chair, opened the window of the chart room and looked at the Captain. I could use the Morse system, but noticed that my hands could not handle even or five letters per minute — and it took about two minutes to just walk to the chair for the transmitter.
“Upset, I told the captain: “My hands are just not working, they’re not listening to me!” He replied that nobody should touch the ship’s autopilot.
Spentzas relates that “The next day, the crew was discussing the strange events that had happened to everyone.
“A sailor complained that once he lit a cigarette, he didn’t have enough time to smoke, because it burned immediately. The Second Mate, who served on the midnight to four AM shift, had gone to his cabin and was brushing his teeth before he went to bed. He suddenly cried out that the time had just changed to 23:40, so he did not have time to sleep.
“All of us felt bradycardia, an abnormally slow heartbeat, as well as hypothermia, during that time.
“For years now,” Spentzas explained to interviewers, “I have tried to explain these curious occurrences. I believe that the bradycardia and reduced crew reflexes are due to what is called ‘gravitational time dilation.’ Gravitational waves (varyonia) emitted by the acceleration of UFO for take-off and other movements, caused a biochemical changes in the metabolism of the human body. This process occurs according to the theories of Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein,“ Spentzas concluded.
Whatever actually happened, it was experienced by more than one person that strange day in the Atlantic. Time will tell if any more evidence will ever be found of the bizarre happenings in this region of the ocean.
Information for this article was previously published in the Greek daily Adesmeftos Press on August 17, 1995.