Date: Wed Oct 06 1993 17:44:00
From: Sheppard Gordon
( Since Charles Berlitz is a figure in UFOlogy, I thought that this
article on the unsubstantiated, erroneous nature of some of his
claims would be of interest. [SG] )
BERLITZ'S FICTIONAL "PYRAMID" -Kendrick Frasier
Charles Berlitz, author of THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE, has for some time been
claiming to to have discovered an underwater pyramid in the "Bermuda
Triangle," some 50 miles off the coast of southern Florida in the Bahamas.
This supposed pyramid is claimed to be 540 feet across at the base (although
his statements vary), to be man-made, and to be a key to the alleged
disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle.
In March 1978, Larry Kusche, author of THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE MYSTERY
- SOLVED, the book that has been acknowledged by the U.S. Coast Guard, Lloyd's
of London and many others as the definitive work on the subject, challenged
Berlitz to provide proof of his claim. Kusche showed in his book that Berlitz
and others who have promulgated the legend of the Bermuda Triangle get many of
the most elementary "facts" incorrect, make little or no effort to verify
sources, ignore information that refutes their premises, and rarely, if ever,
substantiate any claim or piece of information.
In the case of Berlitz's new pyramid claim, Kusche felt the burden of proof
should be shifted: "The burden should, for a change, be on Mr. Berlitz to prove
that what he says is true, not upon others to show where he has erred."
Before issuing his challenge, Kusche discussed the matter with oceanographers
from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution, the U.S. Navy, and several other organizations, and established
several facts: (1) No such underwater pyramid has been found in previous sonar
mappings of the area. (2) Pyramid-shaped sonar tracings like the one Berlitz
presented as his sole "proof" are quite common but do not mean that pyramids
exist on the ocean floor. (3) If such a thing as an underwater pyramid did
exist, it would not be likely to give a pyramid shape on tracing paper because
of the compressed scale used by the equipment.
Because of Berlitz's lengthy record of consistent inaccuracy, Kusche felt that
Berlitz should be encouraged to actually prove his claim and not merely use it
for publicity - only to have it quietly shown to be wrong several months later,
as has been the case with virtually all of his past revelations. Kusche made
arrangements with the Berkshire County Savings Bank in Pittsfield,
Massachusetts, to act as holder of a challenge account into which he and
would eavh deposit $10,000. The total account would be awarded to Berlitz if he
was able to prove to judges from such organizations as the Archeological
Institute of America, the Cousteau Society, the National Oceanic and
Administration, the American Geophysical Union, the National Geographic
or any of several others, that the pyramid actually did exist. However, if
Berlitz was unable to prove his claim by September 1, 1979, the award would be
given to Kusche. In essence, Kusche was willing to give Berlitz $10,000 (and
more important, to admit in public that Berlitz was correct) if Berlitz was
merely able to prove that his word was good.
Kusche says that since it was obvious the "pyramid" was only a publicity stunt,
he did not expect Berlitz to even acknowledge the challenge. But, in fact,
Berlitz did acknowledge it when, on April 24, 1978, seven days before the
deadline, he informed a vice-president of the bank that he would not accept it.
The significance of the exchange is that Berlitz declined the challenge and
therefore refused to bear the burden of proof to show that what he said was
correct. Kusche feels that the point he was making has been substantiated:
"Berlitz was not able to accept the challenge to prove the existence of the
alleged pyramid because it is impossible to do so since there is no pyramid.
Had Berlitz accepted the challenge, it would have publicly emphasized the fact
that he is prone to making sensational, erroneous, unproveable statements.
Berlitz has once again misled the public with false information that he can
not and will not substantiate.
-> Alice4Mac 2.2b2 E QWK Eval:22Apr93
--- Maximus/2 2.01wb
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