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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Indiana Jones: The Bermuda Triangle Indiana Jones
The Bermuda Triangle
Written by Jèrôme Jacobs
Illustrations by d’Erik Juszezak
January 1998

Indy finds himself in trouble within the notorious Bermuda Triangle.


Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology


The opening chapter of this book states that it takes place in September 1913. The chapter also indicates that it takes place immediately after the events of The Metropolitan Violin, with Indy, the professor, Herman, and Norma paddling a pair of small boats on the Central Park lake in New York City. 


Didja Know?


To my knowledge, this junior novel was published only in France as Indiana Jones Jr et le Triangle des Bermudes. A series of junior novels was published in this series, some original stories and some French translations of the American Young Indiana Jones junior novels. For some reason, the French versions are all titled beginning with "Indiana Jones Jr" instead of the French translation of "Young Indiana Jones", "Jeune Indiana Jones".


Notes from The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones


The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones is a 2008 publication that purports to be Indy's journal as seen throughout The Young Indiana Chronicles and the big screen Indiana Jones movies. The publication is also annotated with notes from a functionary of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation, the successor agency of the Soviet Union's KGB. The FSB relieved Indy of his journal in 1957 during the events of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The notations imply the journal was released to other governments by the FSB in the early 21st Century. However, some bookend segments of The Young Indiana Chronicles depict Old Indy still in possession of the journal in 1992. The discrepancy has never been resolved. 


The journal as published skips over this time in Indy's life. In fact, it goes from August 5, 1912 to March 9, 1916...a period of about 3.5 years! Are we to believe that Indy made no journal entries that entire time? Perhaps the entries were excised by the Russians for some reason when it was in their possession?


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Henry Jones, Sr.

Herman Mueller

Indiana Jones

Norma Bellini

Al Capone (mentioned only)

Woodrow Smith
Cornelia Postlethwaite

Indy's grandfather (unnamed, mentioned only)

Indy's great-grandfather (unnamed, mentioned only)

Cornelia's sister (unnamed, mentioned only)

Winifred Postlethwaite

Marmaduke Postlethwaite


Igor Monblanc

Smith (mentioned only)

Indiana (dog, mentioned only)

Anna Jones (mentioned only, deceased)

Joshua Slocum

Walter McDonald

Roberto Malaver


Commander Carter

Jonas Melville


George Wilfrid Barrow


Didja Notice?


Chapter 1: Boats on the Water


On page 8, Professor Jones is described as looking like someone out of a Jules Verne novel, dressed in a checked yellow waistcoat and a bright red bow tie, and described as a modern-day Phileas Fogg. Jules Verne (1828-1905) was the author of the 1872 adventure novel Around the World in Eighty Days, with the lead character Phileas Fogg, who is often depicted in later adaptations as wearing colorful Victorian outfits.


On page 11, Cornelia mentions Kythera. Kythera is a Greek island.


Page 12 reveals that Indy's grandfather and great-grandfather had served in the Scottish Navy.


On page 12, Cornelia says that Woody hopes to be the first aviator to cross the Strait of Florida. The Strait (or Straits) of Florida are located between the southern tip of Florida to the north and the coast of Cuba to the south and the coasts of the Bahama Islands to the East.


On pages 14-15, Woody goes on about his intention to cross the 200 km Strait of Florida in order to outdo the Frenchman Louis Blériot who first crossed the English Channel which was only 48 km. Actually, the Strait of Florida is more like 500 km in length. Louis Blériot (1872-1936) made the first flight across the English Channel in 1909.


On page 16, Woody says he lives in Miami, Florida.


Chapter 2: A Brewing Revolt


On page 19, the Postlethwaites are said to own a piano on which the composer Frédéric Chopin had performed the whole of his Nocturnes in concert. Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) was a virtuoso pianist and composer. He wrote 21 nocturnes for solo piano between 1827 and 1846.


Also on page 19, Winifred Postlethwaite remarks that the Metropolitan Museum is indebted to Professor Jones. In The Metropolitan Violin, Professor Jones was honored by the museum for his contributions of medieval art to the museum's collection.


On page 21, Winifred Postlethwaite sits in a Louis XV armchair. This refers to furniture of the Louis XV period (1715-1774), named and designed in the style of preference of King Louis XV of France.


Also on page 21, Professor Jones asks Winifred her opinion of the Armory Show exhibition on 25th Street. This was a real world art exhibition housed at the 69th Regiment Armory on 25th Street. The Jones party visited it during the events of The Metropolitan Violin and he found some of the "modern art" rather repulsive, including Nude Descending a Staircase by Marcel Duchamp, which Marmaduke Postlethwaite buts in he found to be rather refreshing.


On page 28, Woody tells Indy of his seaplane, inspired by the one built and flown by Glenn Curtiss in February 1911. Curtiss' flight actually took place on January 26, 1911.


On page 29, Indy muses on the suffragette movement in England going on at the time, comparing it to the oppression of teenagers in his own life! Indy experienced a bit of the English suffrage movement in The Titanic Adventure.


Chapter 3: Oysters, Conchs and...a Ghost


Arriving in Miami with Woody and Cornelia, the Jones party stays at the Royal Palm Hotel. This was an actual resort hotel in the city operating from 1897-1926.


On page 36, the waiter at the restaurant expresses the opinion that the oysters served there are the best in the world, coming from Apalachicola. Apalachicola is a small city on the coast of the Florida panhandle.


Chapter 4: The Sea Eagle


On page 43, Professor Jones reflects that his friend Igor Monblanc is an expert on the Bayeaux Tapestry. The Bayeaux Tapestry is a tapestry that depicts the Norman conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy in 1066.


Also on page 43, Professor Jones tells Indy that he wants to finish the chapter he's reading on the death of St. Louis before they leave to meet Monblanc. St. Louis was Louis the IX, king of France from 1226-1270. He died from dysentery while travelling with his army during the Eighth Crusade.


On page 45, the Jones party arrives at the bridge that connects Miami with Miami Beach. This was known as the Collins Bridge for its builder John S. Collins and, as stated in the text, it was the longest wooden bridge in the world when it opened.


On page 46, Professor Jones remarks that the Spaniards established a base in Florida for their treasure seekers in 1567. From what information I have found, it was actually in 1565.


After Woody gives Indy a quick rundown on how the seaplane will take off on page 52 and asks if he understands, Indy replies, "I receive you five by five." The term "five by five" means "loud and clear." In the parlance of radio transmissions, a scale of one to five is often used to indicate the signal strength and clarity being received. However, this phrase did not come into use until around the 1940s. Of particular note here, radio was not in any kind of widespread use until the 1920s.


Chapter 5: Bad Surprise


As the flight begins, on page 56, Woody says he feels like the Wright Brothers must have felt when they made their first flight of about 300 meters a little over ten years ago. The Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, are historically credited with inventing, building, and flying the first motor-operated airplane. But their first flight was on December 17, 1903, a little less than 10 years ago in this story, set in September 1913.


On page 57, Woody remarks that in two or three centuries, people may be able to fly even to the Moon, which Indy doubts. Of course, the Apollo 11 manned spacecraft landed on the Moon only five-and-a-half decades later on July 20, 1969.


Also on page 57, Indy muses on having read From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne. This is an 1865 novel by French author Jules Verne about a fantastical manned flight to the Moon.


On page 59, Woody tells Indy that Curtiss developed an autopilot but Woody was not able to afford one. The first autopilot was invented by Lawrence Sperry of the Sperry Company in August 1913, but Curtiss was involved in the partnership as well.


Chapter 6: High Aerobatics


As it seems the seaplane is about to crash into the ocean on page 66, Indy imagines his life flashing before his eyes, including images of his adventures in France, India, China, South America, and the Klondike. But, at this point in his young life, there are no recorded journeys to South America among his adventures! His first known adventure in the continent is the one depicted in the opening minutes of Raiders of the Lost Ark when he attempted to recover a Chachapoyan fertility idol from a lost temple in 1936. The other locations are references to his recorded past adventures: France in several past adventures, most recently The Radioactive Light Bulb, India in "Journey of Radiance", China in "The Yin-Yang Principle" and "The Runaway Adventure", and the Klondike in The Phantom of the Klondike.


Also on page 66, Indy recalls his trip aboard the Titanic that almost cost him his life. This occurred in The Titanic Adventure.


    On page 73, Woody relates the disappearance of Joshua Slocum, the first person to circumnavigate the world solo, in the Bermuda Triangle. He also brings up the discovery of the French ship Rosalie in 1840 with no one onboard, but all its cargo intact in the Bermuda Triangle. These are both true cases of the Bermuda Triangle, though this area of the sea did not get that name until the publication of the article "The Deadly Bermuda Triangle" in the February 1964 issue of Argosy by Vincent Gaddis.

    Page 104 gives the name of Slocum's boat, the Spray, registered in Boston and from Martha's Vineyard, bound for South America in 1909. This is all true.


On page 74, Woody remarks that the sailors of Christopher Columbus' crew reported strange incidents in the Bermuda Triangle such as the compass going wild, a strange light in the distance, and a fireball that crashed into the ocean. This is all true. Christopher Columbus (~1450-1506) was an Italian explorer who is credited with opening up, if not exactly "discovering", the New World for Spain in 1492.


Chapter 7: The Shark Ball


The boat that rescues Indy from the shark in the water is called Mary Celeste. The name is a nod by the author to the famous disappearance of the crew of the American merchant brigantine Mary Celeste, found adrift in good condition off the Azore Islands in the Atlantic Ocean in 1872. Some modern day reports try to connect the mystery to the Bermuda Triangle, but the ship had sailed from New York bound for Genoa, Italy, so it was nowhere near the Bermuda Triangle.


Chapter 8: The Master of the Island


On page 90, after they've finished eating with Captain McDonald and his crew, Woody thanks them and excuses himself and Indy from the mess hall, but Indy laments to himself that he would like to stay a little longer just to "pull the worms out of Captain McDonald's nose." This is a French idiom that means to relentlessly question someone to get information.


Chapter 9: Artificial Paradises


On page 105, Woody and Indy discover a harbor full of boats that Woody recognizes as all having allegedly disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, including the Timbuktu, the Princess of Cleves, the Skimmer, and the Black Pirate. As far as I can tell, these are all fictitious boats and not part of "genuine" disappearances in the triangle.


Chapter 10: A Poppy in the Pond


On page 108, Woody muses on Indy's courage and his own fear, thinking that without Indy, he would have spent the night huddled in the bungalow frightened of possibly being attacked by some native anthropophage. An anthropophage is a cannibal.


On page 111, Woody muses that Indy would make an excellent detective. Indy took some detecting lessons from the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle, in The Titanic Adventure and used those skills successfully in that novel and also in The Pirates' Loot and Princess of Peril.


Chapter 11: Two Responsible Citizens


On page 120, Woody dreams of being back in bed with a hot water bottle and a verbena served by his beloved Cornelia. Verbena is a type of tea.


On page 124, Professor Jones expresses his extreme disappointment with the U.S. Coast Guard when Commander Carter tells him they can't begin a search for Indy and Woody until after the storm over the Straits of Florida blows out.


Also on page 124, Professor Jones declares his intention to report Commander Carter's incompetence to the Chief of Staff of the Minister of Defense. In the United States the governmental position often called "minister" is instead referred to as "secretary".


Chapter 12: A Smart Woody is Worth Two


No notes.


Chapter 13: A Ghost


On page 141, Roberto, the man charged with guarding Indy and Woody on the island, is referred to as a cerberus. This is a reference to the hound of Hades, Cerberus, in Greek mythology who guarded the gates of the underworld to prevent the dead from leaving.


Chapter 14: The Solution to the Mystery?


No notes.


Chapter 15: Promises, Always Promises


No notes.


Chapter 16: Deliverance


No notes.


Chapter 17: Wings and Fins


No notes.




Woody is offered a job as pilot at a commercial airline to fly between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida.


By the end of the book, the historical figure of pilot Joshua Slocum is returned home and the ship Mary Celeste is still afloat. In the real world, Slocum was never found after his disappearance in the region of the Bermuda Triangle in 1909 and the Mary Celeste was deliberately run aground in an insurance scam in 1884 and damaged beyond repair. 


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