Has the Dragon's Triangle Been Swallowing Up Ships for Centuries?

By: Diana Brown  | 
Devil's triangle Bermuda Triangle
The Bermuda Triangle has an Eastern counterpoint located in the Philippine Sea that has supposedly been swallowing up ships for centuries. delreycarlos/Getty Images

Surely you've heard of the Bermuda Triangle. It's that supposed vortex of death located in the Atlantic Ocean around Miami, Puerto Rico and Bermuda where planes, tankers and thousands of people have mysteriously disappeared.

But there's a Bermuda Triangle counterpart located in the Pacific Ocean. It's called the Dragon's Triangle — or Devil's Sea — and it's situated in the Philippine Sea between Japan, the Philippines and Guam.


The Dragon's Triangle, however, has been featured heavily in folklore for centuries. Fables surrounding the dangers of the Dragon's Triangle date back to 1000 B.C.E. In China, people believed a mythical dragon lived beneath the surface of the ocean, pulling ships and sailors down into the depths of its watery lair.

Thirteenth-century conqueror Kublai Khan — grandson of Genghis Khan — is said to have tried to sail through the area several times, losing as many as 40,000 of his men to the Dragon's Triangle. More recently, the Kaiyo-Maru No. 5, a Japanese research vessel sent on a mission to study the area, vanished in the Triangle in 1953 with everyone on board. Author Charles Berlitz even linked the Devil's Triangle to Amelia Earhart's disappearance.

Both the Bermuda Triangle and the Dragon's Triangle are considered vile vortices, areas where the Earth's electromagnetic waves are purportedly stronger than anywhere else. The planet has 12 of these so-called vile vortices — and all 12 have mysterious disappearances associated with them. The locations of these 12 vortices were theorized in 1972 by cryptozoologist and paranormal enthusiast Ivan T. Sanderson to explain the mysterious disappearances and deaths that occur in these areas of the world.

But not everyone agrees that there are any mysterious disappearances to explain. Many argue that statistically, no more wrecks occur in the Dragon's Triangle (or Bermuda Triangle for that matter) than in any other area. In several cases, such as the Kaiyo-Maru No. 5, pieces of wreckage were eventually recovered, debunking the "vanishing ship" stories.

Still others wonder if the Dragon's Triangle location atop the Izu-Bonin volcanic arc — a system of tectonic-plate convergent boundary lines — could explain that ancient Chinese fable about underwater dragons.