Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for the Disappearance of the USS Cyclops & Underwater [M]WW, Plus Links

For [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, how about a quick glance underwater?

Now, U is for USS Cyclops, or rather, the disappearance of it. How could I address history's mysteries without bringing up the Bermuda Triangle?

In March of 1918, a Proteus-class collier, the largest in the U.S. Navy, disappeared without a trace. The USS Cyclops was carrying over 10,000 tons of manganese ore, having completed an exchange of goods in Rio de Janeiro.

USS Cyclops
Photographed by Sargent. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
No distress signal was ever sent out, no wreckage was found, despite the fact that ships from all over combed the ocean. She was overstuffed for what she was supposed to be carrying, so this could have contributed to the demise of the USS Cyclops. Not only did she carry tons of ore, but there were 309 people on board. This was considered the Navy's largest loss of life without conflict/war being involved.

The ship was in the middle of the area known as the Bermuda Triangle, an area said to suffer issues with navigational equipment going crazy.

It has been stated that one of her engines was having problems, so there could have been engine failure as a factor.

Theories state that a massive rogue wave may have come along and caused her to capsize. The wreckage may have been carried off by the gulf stream, causing the searchers to miss it. There is also a theory concerning methane pockets under the water. If a methane bubble bursts, it is thought that it can change the density of the water, causing anything floating on the surface to sink rapidly, and with no warning. Once again, the wreckage could have been caught up in the gulf stream. The USGS says these pockets don't exist in the general area the ship disappeared in, and haven't for thousands of years, but perhaps they're wrong.

Captain Worley
By probably United States Navy
 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
It has been claimed that Captain Worley, who commanded the ship, was a German who had changed his name. Perhaps he stole the ship for the goods, or he sunk it intentionally, picked up by a German boat. It was said that he picked up some additional crew in Rio, including a friend of his, one consul-general Gottschalk. Did they work together to steal the ship or sink it? Either that, or a German boat sunk the ship, and it had nothing to do with Worley. The issues with both of these are that it wasn't war time quite yet, and that they weren't in an area known to have a heavy German presence. Also, the Germans have found no record of attacking a ship in the area, nor was it documented that they obtained a U.S. ship resembling this one.

Worley was not a well-liked man. He abused his crew and acted insane at times. Could be there was a mutiny, but then what happened?

Then there are the aliens and the sea serpents. We can't forget about them!

What do you think happened to the USS Cyclops? Does anyone else have absolutely no desire to sail anywhere there might be methane pockets (because that thought freaks me right out)? Was it a pre-war move by the Germans or an act of nature? Or was it, simply, the Bermuda Triangle?

Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

Press 53 is seeking prose pieces of between 1000 and 7000 words for their anthology, Surreal South '13. Pays in copies and discount on more copies. Deadline May 1. Either the author or the work of fiction must have something to do with the south.

Over My Dead Body! is a mystery magazine open for submissions. 750-4000 words. Paying market.

Funny Times is looking for funny cartoons and stories. 500-700 words stories. Pays $60 for stories.


The Pikes Peak Branch of the NLAPW flash fiction contest is coming to a close May 1. Theme: Hidden Amongst These Worlds. $10 entry fee, $100 first prize.

The Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition closes on May 1. $1500 prize with publication. 3500 word maximum.

Blog Stuff:

C.M. Brown is holding a Blogger Buddy Appreciation Competition. Vote for your favorite blogger buddy who's always there for you, and they could win an Amazon GC.

Anything to add? Any of these you're interested in? Have you voted for your Blogger Buddy?

May you find your Muse.


  1. Cool jellyfish photos.
    What is it about the Bermuda Triangle?

  2. Very cool/weird! You'd think something would've washed up on shore at some point with the Gulf Stream theory... That's just a lot of people and a big ship to just vanish entirely.

  3. Is this the one they made the movie about?

  4. Very neat photos leading into the mystery at sea...I always think of Twilight Zone when the Bermuda Triangle comes up. Thanks for the links. I'll be sure to take a closer look at those.

  5. I find these stories intriguing. Even if there is a practical outcome, the unexplained does happen. Interesting post, Shannon.

  6. I've heard theories of a black hole under the area of the Bermuda Triangle, and that freaks me out even more than methane pockets. Ack! The ship must have sunk for some reason, since it was overloaded, and the debris was borne away. If it washed up in some remote place, the debris might never have been reported.

  7. I've not heard of this mystery. The Triangle has a lot of weird sea activity. Though I do like the idea of random portals through time popping up!

  8. The Bermuda Triangle is the most fun, but I always fear the truth of these great mysteries to be quite boring. If it's a vote, I vote for mysterious forces. :D

  9. Lovely photos. Sea creatures are amazing and intricate.

  10. I would like to think that it was all an accident, as sad as it is. I think that's better than an intentional act of cruelty, like some of the theories are. However, I haven't the slightest clue which it actually is.

  11. Exposure to the dust causes cognitive and motor function impairments. The captain could have gotten lost and unable to correct his course.

    It is well known that German submarine patrolled off the coast of the US. She could have been sank by one.

  12. Bet the Bermuda Triangle is a portal to another world and the ship went through. Something to do with the phases of the moon or something like that. Yeah, I'm making things up. I have no idea really. But I always love stories about the Bermuda Triangle. It's so mysterious.

  13. Great post!
    Thanks so much for also posting the links for submissions--much appreciated.
    Visiting from A to Z:

  14. That they haven't found any trace of the wreckage is probably what's creepiest to me. Also, great, methane pockets, one more thing to add to my phobia of water!

    My vote's for the Kraken.

  15. Methane pockets, did not know that. Yes, that freaks me out quite a bit! Interesting mystery, though :)

  16. Fascinating stuff! It looks like quite the intrepid ship, too.

  17. I vote for a sea monster this time. I mean, why not?

  18. Alex, everyone loves a good disappearance! However, I was a bit saddened to learn that the rate of loss of flights and ships was not actually any greater in that area than elsewhere in the ocean at that time. They didn't explain the magnetic interference issues, though, so I'll cling to that.

    E.J., definitely! Something would have to wash up or be found floating somewhere. I wonder how many ship parts are floating in that giant garbage mass in the middle of the ocean?

    Andrew, I don't know about a movie, but I believe it was in a Quantum Leap episode.

    M.J., I love the Twilight Zone! (And the myth of the Bermuda Triangle).

    D.G., I'm glad to hear it, thank you! Even when there's a more rational option, it's fun to explore the less rational ones.

    Jan, that's true. If it washes up in an area we don't have much contact with, it would stand to reason we'd never know. Also pointed out about the Bermuda Triangle was that news would probably get around for a missing ship or plane, but not hit the press if it returned quietly, albeit late.

    Christine, me, too! Given, I may not want to be sucked into said random portals. But hey, more power to those who are!

    Mary, I have that same fear. I prefer the mystery.

    Elizabeth, they really are, aren't they? Jellyfish are especially fascinating, seeing as how they're see-through, and so amazingly made.

    Rachel, it would definitely be sad for it to have been an attack. But hey, maybe everyone on the ship was part of it and lived happily ever after in Germany?

  19. J.L, that's one of the more common theories, though they've (who "they" is, I'm not sure) apparently been in touch with the Germans to try to find answers.

    Imogen, love it! Of course, we should track down the cycles of the moon at that time and see exactly what moon phase opens the portal.

    Pen, thank you, and no problem!

    Bryan (& Brandon), yes, the Krakken! Seriously, I have no desire to ever go on the cruise. Makes my hubby sad, but I told him he was welcome to go on his own. I have a thing about large bodies of water.

    Laura, right!? The good thing is that they said they've no proof it has ever happened outside controlled experiments. The bad thing is that there are plenty of ships that go missing without a trace, and it's not like they send a message saying, "It was a methane pocket!"

    Matthew, that's an excellent word. Yes, it was a good ship, and one that was a huge loss.

    Jagoda, sea monsters certainly haven't gotten much play, so I feel like they've earned this one (I'm feeling a bit like the people in the control room betting on monsters in Cabin in the Woods).

  20. There's a movie based on the true story of a ship that disappeared in the Triangle. If I'm remembering correctly, in the movie, the do it as a time warp with the ship appearing at various other points in history.

  21. Wow! I am a big Bermuda Triangle fan but never heard of this disappearance. There are a lot of methane vents in that part of the ocean; the Atlantic is very volcanic.

    Andrew, are you thinking of The Philadelphia Experiment? A WW2 ship disappears from a navy yard in Philly and travels through time to 1984, depositing 2 1940s sailors in the Nevada desert.

  22. I think the methane pocket explanation is the most convincing. There was a whole special on this, and they conducted scale tests in which methane pockets were able to take down very large ships, and even aircraft!

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: