The Legend of The Bermuda Triangle

ChristianRonzoni, Editorial Editor

 

The year was 1950. An article had just been published in multiple American newspapers highlighting numerous ‘unexplained disappearances’ between the coast of Florida and the island of Bermuda. The article mentioned in detail five separate incidents over the previous half-decade in which 1 boat, 9 planes and some 135 civilians as well as crewmen vanished without a trace. It was the first time this particular region of the ocean was suspected of being abnormally prone to nautical vanishings. Shockingly, as the author failed to provide a cause for this ‘supposed’ abnormality, a provocative mystery was born.

          In 1952, a magazine specializing in the paranormal outlined the region of interest as a triangle between Florida and the islands of Puerto Rico and Bermuda. If this supposed triangular shape seems almost arbitrarily selected, it’s because it was. The author made no attempt to justify their selection of this shape. Once this idea of an enigmatic triangle had been thrown upon the world, its eventual name was inevitable. A 1964 issue of the American pulp fiction magazine Argosy featured a cover with the caption “Lost in The Bermuda Triangle.” The article inside covers many of the same disappearances as the previous two, but with a severely embellished narrative complete with fictitious quotes and alarming suppositions, which is exactly what you should expect from a magazine predominantly about fiction. The Bermuda Triangle is, and has always been, a mystery for mystories sake — the very definition of a legend.

          One of the oldest stories said to exemplify the “mysterious” qualities of The Bermuda Triangle is that of the first transatlantic voyage by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Three events are said to be of note. The crew observed a fireball of some kind, their compasses inexplicably malfunctioned and a strange light seemed to be suspended above the ocean surface. The fireball was more precisely described as: “A marvelous branch of fire [that fell] from the sky into the sea.” While invoking aliens and UFOs would be more exciting, there’s really no need as a meteor would be more than qualified to account for that description. In fact, shooting stars are the most common in September due to the orbit and tilt of the Earth and this sighting occurred on Sep. 15th. On Sep. 17th, the crew noticed their compasses misaligned with the North Star. This was certainly alarming at the time but we’ve since learned that this is due to an effect known as magnetic declination. Simply put, the needle in a compass aligns with magnetic north while the North Star aligns with true north. More importantly however, neither of these two events occurred anywhere near The Bermuda Triangle, but in the middle of the North Atlantic. A fact that may seem to convenient to disregard. But it is worth noting that the strange light was indeed sighted within the confines of The Triangle. Columbus described the light as: “A small wax candle that rose and lifted up.” But he also believed it to be an indication of land and never described it as inexplicable. In fact, mere hours after observing the light, a crewman first caught sight of the American continent, supporting Columbus’s suspicion that the light emanated from a nearby landmass. Perhaps a torch or a bonfire from the indigenous population.

          As it should be evident by now, this is all very mysterious as long as you refrain from looking beneath the surface.  The Bermuda Triangle is nothing more than a made-up mystery surrounded a part of the ocean where the average number of disappearances is the same as any other “triangle” you could draw on our map. Instead of putting fear into people about this area of water, people should be educating people about the possible dangers of flying or sailing regardless. If this triangle is as deadly as they say, why don’t any of the local coast guards or Air Traffic Control warn or even prevent travel through the deadly Triangle?

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Vegas Shooter Update

 

Jayden Chin, Staff Reporter

It’s been over two months since a man by the name of Stephen Paddock committed the deadliest mass shooting in United States history on Oct. 1st, 2017. Paddock set up multiple semi-assault rifles in a bedroom on the 32nd floor of The Mandalay Bay Hotel and opened fire on a crowd of concert-goers attending the Route 91 Country Music Festival. He took the lives of 58 people and injured 546 others.

In recent news, there has been a lot of turmoil surrounding conspiracies about the shooter and the entire incident. One of the most popular conspiracies is centered around the death and injury tally that was locked in only a few hours after the shooting and somehow didn’t rise. This means that not a single one of the whopping 604 victims died from injuries while waiting on treatment in the overcrowded hospitals. The University Medical Center of Southern Nevada stated that they had almost no patients with nine empty trauma bays and three open operating rooms. Why would this nearby hospital be almost empty while a neighboring Hospital (Sunrise) overflowed with victims seeking immediate medical attention? Many claimed that UMC stopped taking in patients after a few hours, but representatives of the hospital have claimed that is not true.

The Las Vegas shooting story continues to get stranger. Coincidentally, last week an unnamed man fired multiple gunshots toward the street from the eighth floor of a condominium in Reno, Nevada. The shooter was eventually shot down, but what makes this story strange is that the unit the shooter opened fire from was recently owned by Stephen Paddock which he sold earlier that year. The incident almost mirrored the October shooting and was overlooked by almost all national media outlets. News continues to develop about the shooting and personal information about Paddock. His motives have yet to be determined but new information comes up almost everyday.

Taking “Christ” out of Christmas

Reindeers, Santa Claus, presents, ornaments, mistletoes, light shows, snow, cheerful songs, jingle bells, and decorations. What comes to mind besides the most wonderful time of the year? CHRISTMAS! According to Wikipedia, Christmas is a religious and cultural holiday, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ- a figure of Christianity. In fact, the name Christmas comes from Mass of Christ. But looking around, it seems as if EVERYONE celebrates this apparently religious holiday. So, the question remains: Is Christmas a religious holiday?

 

In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, it was found that “eight in ten non-Christians in the U.S. celebrate Christmas”. By the looks of this data, it hints at a wide acceptance of the religious holiday in America. However, after asking a fellow classmate, an atheist, why she celebrates this “religious” holiday, she replied “Why not? Everyone celebrates it even if you’re not religious. It’s like a cultural norm now.” It’s as if today’s culture has nulled the title of Christmas in a religious sense but heightened the holiday’s popularity as a cultural norm with movies and shows centered around the decorations and myths, Christmas baking challenges, and the extravagant light shows. Furthermore, celebrating Christmas over other holidays is almost inevitable due to its large selection of Christmas themed toys, snacks and decorations in almost any store as compared to the limited selection of other religious holiday decorations.

 

Formally known as a religious celebration, it can clearly be seen that in today’s society Christmas is in fact more of a cultural holiday celebrating a season of giving and communion.

The Dyatlov Pass Case

ChristianRonzoni, Editorials Editor

 

In 1959, a group of Russian hikers mysteriously died while traversing the snowy mountains of Siberia. Their deaths remain unexplained to this day. Cold, harsh, silence, you and the open wilderness. These nine experienced men and women were greatly familiar with the Siberian wilderness, yet, this adventure would prove to be their final expedition. Despite a criminal investigation, photographs and journal entries, this case remains unsolved after more than half a century. This is the case of Dyatlov Pass.

In the early morning of Jan. 23, 1959, a ski and hiking team of ten departed on a train for the Ural Mountains in the middle of the Soviet Union. The group was made up of eight men and two women with lgor Dyatolv as the group’s Leader. As the train slowly advanced deep into the mountainous Siberian taiga, the group diary received a final entry: “I wonder what awaits us on this hike? Will anything new happen?” Zinaida Kolmogorova. Over the next few days, the group continues to alternate between modes of transportation to reach the checkpoint. First a bus, then a truck, then horse and sleigh and eventually, they proceed on foot and skis. On Jan. 28, one of the hikers, named Yuri Yudin, begins to feel ill and eventually decides to head back while the rest of the group of nine continue on as planned. This would be the last time he would see his friends alive.

The group resumed their expedition across the snow-covered outback and documented everything noteworthy, using diaries as well as multiple cameras. Recovered photos and journal entries suggest that the trek progressed as one would expect with no unforeseen complications. On Feb. 1, they reached the foot of a mountain, known to the indigenous Mansi population as Dead Mountain. The group spent the better part of the day progressing up the slope and eventually decided to set up camp only a few hundred meters from the peak of the mountain. The last sentence from the final entry reads, “It is difficult to imagine such a comfort on the ridge, with shrill howling wind, hundreds of kilometers away from human settlements.”

A few weeks later, friends and relatives began to worry. Nobody had heard from Igor or any of the other members of the group. After much debate, a team of volunteers eventually head out to find them. On Feb. 26, the search party is finally able to locate the camp on the slope. It’s obvious to the first at the scene that something has gone horribly wrong. The tent is in shambles, covered by a thin coat of snow. The hikers’ belongings and equipment was found placed inside the tent in an orderly fashion, but the tent itself had been slashed open with a knife from the inside. The next day, nice pairs of footprints led the search volunteers down the slope towards the nearby woods. Given that the footprints left rather mild indentations in the snow, it suggests that they descended the slope in a rather calm and orderly fashion, as opposed to running away in panic. The footprints could be tracked for about half a kilometer from the tent until the trail was completely covered by snow. They continued in the direction of the trail and under a large cedar tree at the edge of the forest, next to the remains of an improvised campfire, they found the frozen bodies of Yuri Doroshenko and Yuri Krivonischenko.

It would take over two months for the bodies of all nine hikers to be recovered. The first two were found severely underdressed and lacked any essential gear one might expect given the frigid climate with only light shirts, underpants and socks. At the time of their death it would have been around -30 degrees C (-22 degrees F). The cedar tree had signs of damage, as if someone had climbed it, with branches broken up to five meters high. Perhaps they were attempting to locate the tent in the pitch-black darkness or maybe they were trying to hide from someone or something.

The next three hikers were found at varying distances between the tent and the tree, only covered by a few centimeters of snow. They were better dressed than the previous two but not by much, as they still lacked essential items such as boots, hats and gloves. They were all found facing the direction of the tent as if they were struggling to return at the moment of death. While some of them had sustained minor injuries, all five had died of hypothermia. It should be noted that four of them had died while intoxicated.

The last four hikers were found at the bottom of a small hill, covered by 3 meters of snow, 75 meters from the tree, in the opposite direction of the tent. Three of them had sustained fatal injuries. One had a fractured skull and two had fractured multiple ribs and suffered massive internal bleeding. The medical examiner believed the injuries had been sustained from a fall and compared it to a car crash. The injuries had been sustained antemortem (while they were alive), and could not have been inflicted by another person. Two had also been found with gaping eye sockets and one of the women had a missing tongue. The last of the four had a broken nose and a deformed neck but died of hypothermia. And most mysterious of all, three articles of clothing were later found to be abnormally radioactive.

On May 28, the criminal case was discontinued with a cryptic and incredibly vague conclusion. The lead investigator, Lev Ivanov, writes in the final report, “The cause of death was an unknown compelling force which the hikers were unable to overcome.” Not exactly the most satisfying answer and barely a conclusion at all.

The fact that Dubinina was missing her tongue has been a mysterious fact that isn’t as mysterious as it sounds. Some say that it was cut off or ripped out while she was still alive, others say it was eaten by scavengers after death, while some even claim the tongue was later found somewhere else. But in reading the medical report, the answer is as helpful as the lead investigator’s conclusion. It reads, “The diaphragm of the mouth and the tongue is missing.” That’s it. There’s nothing about cutting or ripping or anything like that. It is unclear where or how it began but there seems to be an exaggerated importance placed on the missing tongue while in reality it’s a rather minor detail. At least the medical examiner believed it to be a minor detail, otherwise he would likely have elaborated further. For example, the same section of the same report states: “Gaping orbits, the eyeballs are absent.” Equally mysterious, right? Well, not entirely because the medical examiner, B.A. Vozrozhdyonny, does provide an explanation for both. “Soft tissue injuries to the head […] are postmortem changes (putrefaction and decomposition), to Dubinina’s corpse, which was recently exposed to water prior to detection.” He even adds “(putrefaction and decomposition)” in parentheses to clarify exactly what he means. And this was not even exclusive to Dubinina, as the four last bodies were all damaged due to the melting snow. Although, some who claim that her tongue must have been removed while she was still alive have pointed to the fact that she had about 100 grams of blood in her stomach. But this isn’t exactly true either. The relevant portion of the forensic examination reads: “The stomach contained up to 100 cm3 of a dark red slimy mass.” That’s about 10 cl of something (most likely food), mixed with something red (most likely blood). So, we don’t know how much blood was in her stomach, just that there was blood in her stomach. This isn’t exactly that strange given that she was suffering from massive internal bleeding.

One of the most mysterious aspects of this case is that three separate articles of clothing, discovered on two of the bodies, were found to be radioactive. This does indeed sound a bit mysterious, but it should be noted that almost everything is slightly radioactive. The radiological studies claim that under normal circumstances an area of 150 cm2 should not exceed 5000 disintegrations per minute (dpm). Only three articles of clothing exceeded or equaled that limit at 5000 dpm, and 9900 dpm. The only explanation given in the report is that: “…the clothes were contaminated as radioactive dust fell from the atmosphere, or the clothes were susceptible to contamination when in contact with radioactive substances.” In other words, they were unable to determine exactly how the clothes were contaminated, but it’s not unrealistic to believe it to be a result of natural processes. But just in case it wasn’t due to the elements, there may be an alternative explanation. Kolevatov had previously worked at a facility developing nuclear materials and Krivonischenko had previously worked at a top-secret plutonium production plant for nuclear weapons. And the three articles of radioactive clothing belonged to Kolevatov and Krivonischenko.

Around the time of the hikers’ disappearance, numerous sources claimed to have seen UFOs in the form of orbs of light moving across the night sky for a few seconds up to several minutes. These include three soldiers and two different hiking groups. Some witnesses also claimed that the indigenous Mansi population, as well as a group of geologists, had told them that they had observed fireballs in the sky around the time of the incident. The problem with UFO sightings is that they are, simply, unidentified and often unverifiable as a result. Only one of the hiking groups reported to have seen a UFO during the night of the incident while the other sightings occurred before or after. Then there’s the picture. This photo is the very last photo taken with one of the hiker’s cameras. It appears to be a photo of some type of light source taken in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, the photo is about as undescriptive as the UFO it claimed to depict. It could, no doubt, be a photo of a UFO and it could, no doubt, be a photo of a candle, flashlight, fire, stove or anything else. But assuming that this photo is a photo of something in the night sky, what could it potentially be depicting? There are a few possibilities: A rocket, a piece of a rocket, a man-made space debris during reentry, a crashing aircraft or perhaps a meteor. None of which would be too surprising given that this is the Soviet Union in the middle of the Cold War as well as the Space Race. So, there would have been a lot of aerial activity. At a time when space exploration was about as fresh as a prince living in an affluent LA neighborhood, it’s not surprising that people were unable to identify the mysterious lights. Regardless it couldn’t have landed close to the hikers as it would’ve been found by the search teams. And if the object had already been recovered, there should have been evidence in the form of a crash site, footprints and other activity on the ground. So, given that the fact that there is no obvious connection between a UFO and the hikers disappearance, it would be hard to connect the two without physically being there that night.

So, what actually happened? Why did they leave the tent? Why was it slashed open from the inside? How did some of them of them sustain such major injuries while the others simply succumbed to the cold? Why were so many underdressed? The biggest mystery is how the case remains unsolved given the abundance of information.

First of all, why would they leave the tent? That seems to be the most important missing piece of the puzzle. It can be argued that the only thing that could make them leave would have had to be an immediate threat inside the tent.  If something were outside, such as an animal or a UFO, then there would be no reason to cut the tent open. There were no signs of an avalanche, but some suggest they could have escaped believing an avalanche was tumbling towards them. The problem with that theory is that the footprints showed them walking in a calm and orderly manner down the slope as opposed to running away in panic. So, something caused them to panic inside the tent but once outside they calmed down and made a conscious decision to walk down the slope.

There was a pipe sticking out of their tent entrance in a recovered photo. The pipe is the exhaust pipe of the internal stove. This was completely unique and homemade design as the leader of the group had built the stove himself. The investigator knew they had used the stove on the night of the incident before the incident took place as partially eaten pieces of fried ham and bacon were found inside the tent. The theory of what actually happened is that after disassembling the stove and removing the exhaust pipe, the embers inside the stove were accidentally reignited. As the exhaust pipe had been removed, the smoke would have filled the tent in seconds. As they attempted to get control of the flame, they cut a few holes at the top of the tent to vent the smoke out. When that didn’t work and it became increasingly difficult to breathe, the side of the tent was slashed open and they all escaped in a state of panic. There’s even more evidence to support this theory. Several members of the group were found with burn marks on both their bodies and clothing, which could definitely have been a result of the improvised fire under the tree or perhaps a scalding hot metal stove. Some of them were also found with blood around their mouths, and coughing up blood could be a symptom of smoke inhalation. There was a photo a day before the incident. The jacket on the hiker has obviously been burned but the question is how? It’s possible that sparks from the stove had accidentally set the jacket aflame. So, they make it outside and quickly realize what a terrible situation they’re in — sub-zero temps, no shelter, underdressed, in the middle of a snowstorm, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere.

At this point, one or more of them probably made the decision to head for the nearest shelter, which they would know to be the woods. The reason for this decision is likely multifaceted. The smoke from the tent could’ve made it impossible to stay within its proximity and/or the smoke may have caused them to believe that the tent was on fire. Some were intoxicated, which could’ve affected their judgment as well as their sensibility to the cold. This could’ve led them to believe they were closer to the woods than they actually were.  So they finally reached the woods and immediately set out to make a fire. Some climb the tree and scavenge the surrounding area while those who are more properly dressed head a bit deeper into the woods. About 75 meters from the tree, four of them trigger a minor avalanche taking them over the edge of a ravine with a drop of about 3-4 meters. As the bottom is filled with rocks and ice they sustained fatal injuries. Three of the other five hikers decide to head back for the tent, while the remaining two slowly freeze to death around a fading flame.  

One Last Glance at “The Dome”

RithikDoddla, Staff Reporter

The historic and revolutionary Georgia Dome saw its final day on Monday Nov. 20,  2017, as it was imploded to be replaced by a park next to the new Mercedes Benz Stadium. Throughout its 25 years, the dome served primarily as the home of the Atlanta Falcons, but still hosted thousands of other events as well. When the dome was built in 1992, the Atlanta Falcons immediately gained national attention, as it was the largest covered stadium at that time. The Georgia Dome hosted many historic events, and it is still the only facility in the world to host the Olympics, Super Bowl and Final Four.

After playing at the now-demolished Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium from 1966 to 1991, the Atlanta Falcons were thrilled to move to the Georgia Dome. There, the Falcons had 10 winning seasons and reached the playoffs 9 times. The dome even hosted the 2013 National Football League NFC Championship game where the Falcons were defeated by the San Francisco 49ers 28 to 24. But just this January, it hosted another conference championship game where Atlanta defeated the Green Bay Packers 44 to 21 to advance to the Super Bowl. It was the last NFL game held in the stadium and the city closed it in a winning fashion.

Aside from the Atlanta Falcons’ games, the Georgia Dome also housed two Super Bowls. In 1994, the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII. In arguably one of the greatest championship games ever, Super Bowl XXXIV was held there in 2000 when Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson was tackled one yard short of the endzone to give the St. Louis Rams the trophy.

One of the most iconic moments in US Olympic history took place at the Georgia Dome in 1996 whenKerri Strug nailed her second vault with broken ligaments in her ankle to give the US Women’s Gymnastics team their first ever gold medal. The men’s and women’s basketball teams both won gold medals here as well.

The stadium also hosted three NCAA men’s Final Four tournaments in 2002, 2007 and 2013 with Maryland, Florida and Louisville winning those respectively. Currently, the city wants to build a park in its place to commemorate and honor the stadium. Even though the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the first of its kind with advanced technology and architecture, the Georgia Dome will have a special place in the city’s heart. It will always be a place where millions of great memories were made.

Don’t be THAT Customer… Please?

As a Senior in high school, I recently got my first job as a hostess. Let me tell you it’s only been a couple of months but boy oh boy, a couple of months is more than enough time to realize the worst types of customers. So, don’t be THAT customer… please?

  1. The Babysitter
    1. I applaud you for not letting your kid get in the way of you living your life but maybe don’t bring little Jackson to a nice ambient restaurant for date night, yeah?!?!
  2. The Late Bird
    1. No one likes a customer that calls 15 min before and walks in at closing time saying “hey I called remember?”. Trust me no one’s happy and let’s be real you won’t get the best service either.
  3. The Locater
    1. Please don’t come up to me asking where I’m “actually” from because I am “actually” born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia
  4. The “Joined-at-the-hip” Couple
    1. C’mon people let’s save that for the motel not a nice restaurant
  5. The Preoccupied
    1. Your table is ready! You can follow me! “Janet Janet No I can’t close that deal with you right now. Janet. JANET.”
  6. The Extremely Temperature-Sensitive One
    1. “Excuse me, Why is it so HOTCOLDSTUFFYUCOMFORTABLYTEMPERATE in this restaurant?”
  7. The Nomad
    1. *Couple walks in* “Um can we actually move to the four top over there? No wait, maybe over there. Actually I think here is fine.” Does this look like your house??

 

Please, give us a holiday present by not being the “unwanted” at any restaurant. Thank you!

Playoff Drought Ended

RithikDoddla, Staff Reporter

As the fall sports come to an end, it is time to take a look at one of the best seasons Cougar football has had in a while. After a depressing playoff drought, Chattahoochee finally made it into the state playoffs by finishing 7-4 overall and third in the region.

One of the main reasons that the team was so successful this year was because their offseason training completely changed. The squad focused more on strength and quickness by dedicating time for speed and agility drills as well as for weight lifting every practice. This helped them enter the season in excellent condition. The players were also sold on the mantra “Be Elite,” which was preached every practice as coaches wanted each kid to give their best effort and play for their entire team rather than only themselves. This let the unit make great leaps and take their game to the next level as a team.

Something notable is that the Cougars had to persevere and triumph to make the playoffs as their season did not start as planned. Chattahoochee was defeated by Pickens at home in the season opener 54-30 in what was a very one-sided game. Fans believed this would again be a disappointing season, but the team grinded and believed in themselves to succeed. Following the loss, the Cougars got red-hot as they went on a four game win streak with Jack Corrigan (SR) and Max Webb (JR) leading them. Webb, who had a high ceiling going into the year, broke out and had over 1,000 rushing yards in the season.

Though Chattahoochee would only take two more losses in the regular season following the Pickens game, the team’s true colors showed when they lost their star quarterback, Jack Corrigan, for the season with a gruesome injury. The team managed to win a crucial game against Northview with a backup sophomore quarterback, Damon Stewart, using a strong running game and resilient defense to punch their ticket into the playoffs. Though the squad was dominated in their first playoff game by Winder-Barrow, fans were proud with how the team overcame obstacles and still made the playoffs.

Looking forward, the Cougars are expecting great things next season from a team led by star running back Max Webb going into his senior year. Though the team will lose Jack Corrigan, the former-backup quarterback, Damon Stewart, has more experience and is looking to make great strides during the offseason. The team is confident in their ability and is looking to make the playoffs and possibly even more next season.

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