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The long awaited and much-touted mini-series, The Triangle, made it’s debut on the Sci-Fi cable channel recently. As a person who has studied the paranormal for most of his life, I always watch these kinds of fictional entertainment projects based on unexplained events with a slightly more critical eye then the average viewer or sci-fi fan might. Unlike other Sci-Fi projects that attempted to report on or fictionalize various areas of the unexplained, this one is a gem. There are several reasons why I believe that The Triangle is one of the best science fiction projects based on unexplained events I have ever seen.
Beyond the fact that the cast really delivered the goods, those responsible for the project know good science fiction. Rockne S. O’Bannon is credited with writing the teleplay and as Executive Producer. With projects like Alien Nation, SeaQuest DSV, Amazing Stories and the 1980’s incarnation of The Twilight Zone under his belt, O’Bannon knows how to tell a story well. Dean Devlin is also one of the Executive Producers and is given writing credits. Despite the disaster that was Godzilla, Devlin gave us Star Gate and Independence Day. Craig R. Baxley is Director and is certainly no stranger to the weird having been involved with Left Behind, Rose Red and Kingdom Hospital.
Despite the luminaries that acted in, wrote, produced and directed The Triangle, the most important reason for the success of this mini-series may be its willingness to offer The Philadelphia Experiment as an explanation for all the weird happenings. It’s obvious that those responsible for this production did their homework. Paranormal Investigators have been linking people, planes and ships lost or missing in the Bermuda Triangle to the infamous Navy project for many years. Anyone wanting to create a fictional entertainment project about weird events that occur in the area also known as the Devil’s Triangle would be foolish to ignore the interest people have in the possible Philadelphia Experiment connection.
Unlike other Sci-Fi channel projects based on the unexplained, The Triangle doesn’t bother to apologize for what’s presented. I was especially impressed with the no-nonsense manner in which the Philadelphia Experiment material was worked into the plot. Anyone who has studied the alleged U.S. Government experimentation with time travel, invisibility and mind control as deeply as I have knows what a hard sell that material is. The Philadelphia Experiment was never just some World War II project to make Navy ships invisible. It was and is an incredibly complicated and diverse program that is able to exist based on the fact of non-existence in the public mind, propped up by over fifty years of disinformation and secrecy.
I have always said that paranormal reality is better then any science fiction ever presented in book, film or other forms. The cases I have investigated involving the unexplained have challenged everything I believe or have been taught about the world we live in. I’m not speaking of ethereal New Age concepts, but actual occurrences which defy you to explain them. That is what I liked about The Triangle. The characters were average people mulling through life until they were suddenly slammed in the face by paranormal events. Whether believers or disbelievers by nature, none of them could deny what they were experiencing.
Most mini-series start off with a bang, then end in the most disappointing way possible. That certainly wasn’t true of The Triangle. In the end, the characters involved found themselves in a new and permanently altered reality. For me, it was a more then worthwhile payoff for watching the six hour presentation over three nights. That’s because I not only believe it’s possible, but have seen evidence that such things have already happened.
As a child growing up on Long Island, I found myself constantly confronted by things I couldn’t understand. Stories of UFO sightings, odd disappearances, alien abductions and even strange creature sightings were not uncommon in a place less then a one hour drive from New York City. Add to that the weird stories I heard from our mostly ex-military neighbors. Despite government claims that paranormal events were often reported by untrained observers or unstable people, most of those I met with unusual stories to tell were very credible. These included active and retired military pilots, police, firefighters, engineers, scientists and technical writers. Then there was what I experienced myself.
Our home was built in the 1950s on what had been farm property. It was the first house built on our block. It didn’t take long for all the houses that were subsequently erected to be purchased. All of the homes except one were occupied by families. That home was across the street and a couple of houses down from us. It was occupied by an elderly couple who liked their privacy and, it was rumored, had been involved in some sort of scientific research for the U.S. Government. If you were a kid, you knew better then to play in front of their home. They would call your parents, the police or both. Obviously, they were not the most beloved people on the block. However, that became a non-issue one summer morning.
It was the mid-1960s and I was enjoying my summer break from elementary school. Since most people went on vacation during that time, I was left to roam the block and rummage up what friends I could. With stores, a library, park and even a bowling alley close by, I was always looking for someone to venture out with me to those places. Each time I walked pass the house owned by the elderly couple, I admired how well it was kept. Window boxes were filled with carefully chosen flowers, the lawn was manicured to perfection and bird droppings were quickly cleaned off the sidewalk or driveway whenever any dirty bird dared to poop on the property.
As I walked toward the elderly couple’s house to visit a friend next store on that particular day, I was frozen in my tracks. The house was gone! I mean it just wasn’t there and looked like it never had been. When I mentioned this to my parents, they assumed it was a joke. They had never seen or heard about the couple. When they saw how serious I was, my parents assured me that no house like I described had ever existed in our neighborhood. My friends and their parents said the same thing. In the interest of not being labeled the neighbor nut cake, I dropped the matter. Beyond the fact that a house and its occupants had managed to vanish overnight, what really bothered me was why I was the only person who remembered the structure and the people who lived in it. Then I remembered something.
A few days after the couple had moved in, I was walking past the house when the elderly man called out to me. He asked if I wouldn’t mind helping him hang some pictures and do some odd jobs. I ran home to ask my parents for permission to go into the house. They said it would be fine. So I spent most of that afternoon helping the man with various jobs inside and outside the house. I earned five dollars and some good will for my efforts. To my knowledge, I was the only person living in that neighborhood who had ever actually been inside the house. That is the only reason I can think of for possessing the memories of the house and the elderly couple.
I gave up thinking about the incident until I started the seventh grade. My junior high school had a well stocked library. After reading The Time Machine, A Wrinkle in Time and some comments by physicists published in a scholastic magazine, I began to consider the possibility that a natural or deliberate event involving alteration of the space time continuum had occurred. The comments by the physicists in an article about modern science introduced me to the idea of alternative realities and dimensions. While some felt that there were only a few physical dimensions, others saw a universe full of alterative realities that could eventually be accessed if the technology to do so was available.
With that foundation, it wasn’t hard to imagine what someone with access to technology of the type described as being used in the Philadelphia Experiment project could do. Playing with time would be as easy as riding a bike; until you fell off. It’s always the aftereffects that anyone wanting to play Time God would have to take into consideration. The consequence of messing with the fabric of time and space would be a new and possibly undesirable reality. That’s if you view Time as a line. I believe that people involved in the real Philadelphia Experiment and related projects look at Time as a continuous circle without beginning or end. If you have the right technology, you can jump anywhere into the circle, make subtle changes and still retain the overall stability of the reality in which you live. Your reality would be where you were born in the circle.
The Triangle took a quantum leap (no pun intended) for a major production. It dared to take a plunge in the reality that researchers like myself have lived with for most of their lives. That reality is the fact that we cannot always run to science or some known database of information for answers when it comes to understanding the unexplained. Although a fictional presentation, I was glad to see that those involved with the project had the guts and intelligence to step out from the usual sci-fi mold and give the world of the paranormal the respect it deserves without the usual skeptical disclaimers.
You can read more about my research into the Philadelphia Experiment, The Bermuda Triangle and related topics.