What is the Devil’s Triangle?

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One of the unforgettable aspects of the whole Kavanaugh confirmation controversy was watching the Democrats and their activist and media allies digging through high school yearbooks from the early 1980s and trying to decipher them for the supposedly disguised references to sexual activities – a sort of the left’s version of Pizzagate meets Da Vinci Code – all in an effort to portray the 17-year old Brett Kavanaugh and his friends as a bunch of sexual predators already boasting at that time about their exploits.

One of the terms in question was “Devil’s Triangle”, which Kavanaugh insists was a drinking game, but his vehemently accusers maintain was instead a slang term for a threesome involving two men and one woman. Some, like a once semi-relevant actress now turned full time woke activist Alyssa Milano were quite adamant about it:

On the other hand, countless numbers of people now in their 40s have since come forward to say that they remember playing Devil’s Triangle in their younger days and it was indeed a drinking game and not a menage a trois.

Kavanaugh’s four high school friends have now written to the US Senate explaining they were the ones who came up with the game and the name:

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This of course, like all the previous testimony by former young Devil’s Triangle players, won’t convince people who have invested so much in believing that Kavanaugh is a rapist and deserves to sit in prison, not on the Supreme Court. But lots of people continue to believe in JFK assassination conspiracies or alien abductions despite all the evidence to the contrary, so there are limits to what facts to do against beliefs and feelings. Besides, these four must surely also be teenage Republican rapists so clearly they’re covering up for Kavanaugh – and themselves, right?

Messers Davis, McCarthy, Murray and Quinn write that they do not remember the exact origin of the name. I doubt that I’m the first one to suggest this, but this is my theory.

You might be too young to remember, but a period from the late 1960s to the early 1980s was the heyday of the popular fascination with all things supernatural and mysterious, partly as a consequence of the hippy revolution of the 60s, which has revived interest in Eastern mysticism, paganism and the occult. It’s hard to believe now but the bestseller lists in the United States, Great Britain and other Western countries were throughout that period full of books exploring topics as varied as UFOs, mysterious animals like Yeti and Loch Ness monster, Atlantis and lost civilisations, ghosts, life before and after life, Extra-Sensory Perception, psychics, witches, miracles, and so on. Israeli Uri Geller became an international celebrity bending spoons supposedly with the power of his mind only; Austrian hotelier Erich von Daniken became a bestselling author with his “Chariots of the Gods” and numerous follow-ups, in which he argued that ancient mythologies and monuments like the Egyptian Pyramids are the evidence that our ancestors were frequently visited and civilised by extraterrestrial visitors. His success launched countless imitators.

One of such “mysteries” was given a great new exposure thanks to a 1974 international bestseller by Charles Berlitz titled “The Bermuda Triangle”. Berlitz neither invented the term nor was the first to zero in on this supposed unexplained phenomenon (Vincent Gaddis and John Wallace Spencer have written their own books about it in the 1960s) but Berlitz’s book was the one that captured the zeitgeist and catapulted the Bermuda Triangle into the popular consciousness.  Essentially, Berlitz argued, something mysterious has been taking place for centuries in a roughly triangular area of the Atlantic Ocean between Miami, Bermuda and Puerto Rico, causing a large number of ships and airplanes to vanish without a trace. Numerous “explanations” have been offered for these disappearances, from the UFOs abductions (see the echos in the finale of Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) through wormholes and time warps to mysterious death rays from the sunken Atlantis. In reality, the area of the Bermuda Triangle is one of the most heavily transited in the world and so the number of lost ships and planes is hardly out of the ordinary – not to mention the fact that upon closer examination most of the supposed mysterious disappearances turn out to be not so mysterious. Freak and fast-changing weather, which is common in the area, some magnetic anomalies, which can play havoc with ordinary compasses, as well as possibly some rare but natural phenomena like methane bubbles have most likely also played role.

As you must have guessed by now, the Devil’s Triangle is another name for the Bermuda Triangle. It is not as popular but it’s well known enough – including through a title of another 1974 book, this time by Richard Winer, and its 1975 sequel. You can Google these works – alternatively, I have them in my library and am happy to show you copies.*

What I’m thinking is this: if you were growing up in the late 70s and the early 80s, there is a good chance – much better than, say, today – that you would have in some way come across references to the Bermuda Triangle and the Devil’s Triangle, including through popular culture, just as you would have likely been familiar with some other contemporary supernatural lore like “the ancient astronauts” or the UFO abductions. It’s possible of course that the name Devil’s Triangle in a context of a drinking game involving three glasses of beer simply alludes to the “evil” consequences of losing the game. But it’s also possible that throwing a piece of metal (a coin) into a liquid (beer), which was the object of the game, brought some conscious or subconscious associations for DeLancey Davis et al with stories of airplanes suddenly and mysteriously dropping out of the sky and vanishing in the ocean depths. It’s only a theory, of course, and since none of the parties involved remember anymore the thought process that had occurred, we will most likely never know, but I find the Bermuda Triangle/the Devil’s Triangle more convincing than attempts to reframe the term as a slang for a threesome, which might indeed be a contemporary thing but seems to have been unfamiliar to anyone who was going to school around Georgetown in the late 70s and the early 80s.

*Thus the sad truth about The Daily Chrenk’s misspent youth finally come up – from my early teenagehood in Poland all the way to my early 20s in Australia I was fascinated by all the “unexplained mysteries” and have collected probably one of the largest libraries on these topics in the Southern Hemisphere. Being a much more sceptical and rational individual now in my advanced age I remain fascinated in the science and sociology of belief (and disbelief) in the supernatural, the occult and the unexplained, not the least because it often shades into the more political beliefs in conspiracies and other “hidden” realities.

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