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The USS Cyclops Disappearance

by Shelly Barclay

The USS Cyclops was a United States collier ship that was commissioned during World War I. She was launched on May 7, 1910 and was commissioned on May 1, 1917. Lieutenant Commander G.W. Worly was placed in command of the ship. Her first journey during her wartime service was a trip to St. Nazaire, France in June of 1917. She returned to the east coast of the United States, the following month. She operated there until January of 1918, save for a short trip to Nova Scotia.

USS Cyclops

USS Cyclops

The USS Cyclops was assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service on January 9, 1917. She was then sent to Brazil to aid in the refueling of British ships there. The ship left Brazil on February 16, 1918. On March 3 and 4, she was known to be in the Barbados. This was the last that was ever seen or heard of the USS Cyclops. There was no distress call. No debris, wreckage or any evidence of the ship’s demise was ever found. There were 306 passengers and crewmen aboard the ship, at the time. They are presumed dead and most assuredly are so, by now.

The area that the USS Cyclops disappeared in, is the infamous Bermuda Triangle. The USS Cyclops is only one of many ships that have reportedly gone missing in the area. Other issues have been reported in the Bermuda Triangle, including the malfunctioning of navigational equipment. Of course, some people believe that there is alien activity or other paranormal phenomena occurring in the area. However, that stretch of ocean is known for its sometimes unpredictable weather conditions and turbulent waters. A lot of what occurs there may easily be attributed to nature.

At the time that the USS Cyclops disappeared, it was the largest collier in the United States Navy’s fleet. It had a cargo holding capacity of more than 10,000 tons. Something rather destructive would have to have happened for a ship of that size to vanish so rapidly that a distress call couldn’t be made. It was originally thought, by some, that an enemy ship must have torpedoed the USS Cyclops. However, there is no German record of an attack on that ship.

Other possible causes of the USS Cyclops’ disappearance include rogue waves, gas build up and other natural weather phenomena. Rogue waves are not common, but they have been known to take ships rather quickly. Methane gas pockets under the surface can change the density of the water. It is thought that if a ship came across one of these pockets as it was bursting, it would cause the ship to be unable to float and the ship would sink. It is known that this is possible. However, it has never been proven to have happened; it is obviously difficult to document because the ships would simply disappear without a trace, as the USS Cyclops did.

It may never be known what happened to the USS Cyclops and the people on board. There is no way of knowing what her location was when she vanished. Therefore, there is no logical way to search for the wreckage. Unless a part of the ship or its contents are found, there is no way of pinpointing that location either. So, for now, we’re left to wonder what could have taken such a large ship so quickly. Or, we could ponder how many aliens it would take to build a device that causes large ships to disappear in one area of the ocean.

Greatest Mysteries of the Unexplained, pages 23-24, Acturus Publishing Limited, 2006
History of USS Cyclops, retrieved 12/8/09, history.navy.mil/drafts/c/cyclops.htm
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