Many theories suggest that the mightiest governments in the world hold secrets that could potentially change the way we see the world. From the idea that they cover up alien encounters to the supposed research in advanced and superior technologies that have the power to change the world, many of these theories have been dismissed as soon as they have emerged.
We won’t get too much into whether such theories are just figments of imagination or something to be taken a bit more seriously. Instead, we will focus more closely on one experiment which has left many baffled and has become the stuff of urban legends.
The USS Eldridge, a Cannon-class destroyer, will remain as perhaps one the most mysterious ships in history that, according to witnesses, disappeared into thin air. As the main object of the Philadelphia Experiment, the ship was intended to be enveloped in a force field that would render it invisible, both to radar and to the naked eye.
According to sayings, this experiment had been seen by hundreds of people taking place in front of their very own eyes on October 28, 1943. But these claims have since been dismissed and the stories were covered up – thus reducing every evidence of the event to mere whispers.
Officially, the US Navy denies that such experiment has ever taken place. A top-secret technology research, or a stuff of science fiction? Let’s look into the facts that surround the mystery of this experiment and decide for yourselves.
- THE INVISIBLE SHIP
This fascinating experiment has long been a thing of urban legends and conspiracy theories. The research behind this experiment was done in order to create a technology that would grant “invisibility” to the US Navy ships from mines and torpedoes.
They wanted to achieve this by reducing and bending the magnetic fields around the ships and they did conduct this research at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Relating to this project, the USS Timmerman was equipped with a high-frequency generator that could create discharges which would disrupt the magnetic field.
It is a fact that these experiments took place in the 1940s, and this part of the story is nothing but fact. As for the rest…
- MORRIS K. JESSUP
It wasn’t until Morris K. Jessup that the Philadelphia Experiment was considered as a mere story and rumors spread by the people to warn others against the actual might of the government and the numerous secret projects that were carried out by the US Military back then.
However, after publishing his The Case for the UFO book, Jessup started receiving letters which spoke of Einstein, electromagnetic forces, and secret Navy projects. In this series of letters, the mysterious sender also spoke about the Philadelphia Experiment.
Jessup’s death in 1959 was ruled a suicide, and he became a legendary figure in the complex tale of the Philadelphia Experiment ever since.
- CARL ALLEN
As the mysterious person behind the Jessup letters, who wrote under the alias Carlos Allende, Carl Allen described in full length his testimony of the Philadelphia Experiment. Allen describes how, while he was serving aboard the SS Andrew Furuseth, the USS Eldridge suddenly appeared out of nowhere in the water before him.
He is considered by many as the originator of the story of the Philadelphia Experiment. However, William Dodge, the captain of the SS Andrew Furuseth, disputed Allen’s claims, adding that not only did he or his crew not notice anything peculiar in Norfolk, but that the ship wasn’t even in Norfolk at the time of the supposed appearance.
Allen’s claims have since been completely discredited by skeptics, and he was called insane, suffering from severe mental issues.
- THE FIRST EXPERIMENT
The Philadelphia Experiment wasn’t a single event. While the most famous one is the second, the first experiment happened earlier that year on July 22.
According to those who claimed to have seen it happen, in the first experiment, the USS Eldridge vanished into thin air and reappeared at the same spot only moments later. So, what happened to the ship, and where did it go? That’s where the second part of the experiment comes in.
- THE SECOND EXPERIMENT
Of course, there would be no use in making a ship disappear, if you can’t actually do something with it. Well, according to eyewitnesses, the Navy did do something with it.
As part of the second experiment, the USS Eldridge did not only gain its invisibility, but it allegedly appeared out of nowhere in the waters of Norfolk, Virginia on October 28, 1943.
According to witness reports, the ship suddenly materialized in the waters, only to disappear again moments later. It seems that the Navy succeeded in not only successfully making the ship disappear, but also in finding a way to move it 300 miles away while invisible.
- EINSTEIN’S UNIFIED FIELD THEORY
This theory is often cited to be standing behind the technology of the Eldridge’s disappearing act. Einstein tried to find a way to combine gravity and electromagnetism into one theory.
Not being content with the idea that gravity and electromagnetism are two completely independent fields of each other, Einstein spent the last years of his life working on the Unified Field Theory.
However, Einstein never succeeded in proving his theory. In fact, he never finished his work on the theory, which he was working on until his death. So, how does it connect to the Philadelphia Experiment?
Although accepted science doesn’t offer a completion to the theory, believers claim that the Navy must have had a scientist who managed to complete Einstein’s work and crack the scientific code behind the theory – resulting in a practical application in the Philadelphia Experiment.
- THE BAR FIGHT
Another part of the legend of the Philadelphia Experiment is the almost anecdotal and utterly bizarre bar fight, during which two of the sailors involved in the experiment suddenly vanished into thin air.
Based on witness sayings and originally sourced in Allen’s letters addressed to Jessup, this tale is just one of the many strange events that surround the Philadelphia Experiment Allen described in his letters.
However, except for the letters, there has been no legitimate publication or a second credible witness to this event.
- THE SIDE EFFECTS
The bar fight was just one of the odd events that surround the Philadelphia Experiment. A far more serious claim has been that of the serious effects the disappearing ship had on the crew. This was one of the alleged reasons as to why the technology was abandoned.
Namely, it has been said that the event had traumatic effects on the crew members, some of who went insane beyond repair and violently ill. Another claim was that after the ship re-appeared, several sailors were found gruesomely fused with the ship.
- AL BIELEK (a.k.a. Ed Cameron)
If you thought the narrative around the experiment was crazy enough, it couldn’t get much wilder than Al Bielek’s alleged account of the event. His story goes that he was diving into the waters around the ship with his brother the day when the experiment took place.
According to his claims, not only did he see the effects of the experiment, but that he and his brother Duncan were allegedly teleported into the future, in the year 2137. After a period of two years in the future, he was then returned back to the year 1983.
He has even written two books that describe his experiences. He was dismissed by skeptics as being a complete fraud, an attention seeker, and plain crazy.
- THE OFFICIAL STORY
Besides all the stories and supposed eyewitness accounts, the US Navy categorically denies that the Experiment has ever happened.
The fact that the USS Eldridge was in Philadelphia and Norfolk, Virginia on the same day is accounted for the fact that the Navy had access to a channel which was not used by other ships and which allowed the ship to travel that distance in 6 hours, which is by 30 hours faster than the conventional time needed for merchant ships.
The Navy has stated that they had never made a ship disappear, nor could they make one disappear, and that the story surrounding the Philadelphia Experiment was just a weird combination of theories, legend, and the fact that they were indeed working on technology to make their ships “invisible” to German-made electromagnetic weapons.
However, even if the Navy did have the technology that could make their ships invisible to the naked eye, it would be understandable that they would deny it.
- SHIP’S RECORDS
The USS Eldridge naval logs tell a much different story than that of the alleged accounts. According to the logs, the ship was neither in Philadelphia nor in Norfolk at any time in October 1943.
The logs state that the ship was in fact in Bermuda for the first half of the month, after which it sailed for three days toward New York, where it stayed for the remainder of October.
Conspiracy theorists will immediately tell you that any ship log can be easily manipulated and faked by simply writing different information. And the fact that nobody can view a ship that is invisible to prove its actual movement, it doesn’t really need to keep track of its movement.
- THE FATE OF THE ELDRIDGE
The fate of the USS Eldridge was relatively short-lived. According to official records, the ship was sent to Greece in 1951, where it was renamed to HS Leon. There, it was engaged in various Cold War missions, after which it was decommissioned and eventually sold off as scrap.
The ship was in service for 50 years since its official launch and although it doesn’t exist any longer, it will always remain shrouded in mystery and conspiracy theories.
- THE 1999 REUNION
In 1999, there was a special reunion of the USS Eldridge former crew members, 15 of whom attended. The reunion was filled with jokes and laughs about the stories that surround the Philadelphia Experiment, with the ex-crew members denying to have ever taken part in any secret projects during their time on the Eldridge.
The feelings of the crew members regarding the theories are mixed, with some feeling genuine annoyance and others being genuinely amused by the stories. One sailor even went on fooling people that he had actually disappeared, just until they realized that he was just teasing them.
The fact is that all 15 sailors were puzzled as to why their ship had been a target of such wild theories and stories and some were rather annoyed by the questions they had kept on getting about it.
One sailor said in amusement that he enjoyed the myth that his crew has gone a little crazy.
- BEING INVISIBLE
The idea of invisibility has long fascinated humanity. It is present in pop culture, which is littered with heroes like the Invisible Man, the Invisible Woman, Harry Potter and his invisibility cloak, Frodo and the Ring, and the countless illusionists who have managed to trick people into believing that they have vanished into thin air.
However, this idea has also been a thing of focus in the military technology, with the invention of the first stealth jet by Germany in 1944. Rumor has it that the Nazis had been developing other forms of invisibility technology too and that the U.S. was trying to get a hold of it.
Perhaps they did.
- WHEN THE GOVERNMENT LIES
The idea that one could make a 9,000 ton, 500 feet long, and a firepower-packed object disappear into thin air seems like a plain figment of imagination that could make a good Sci-Fi movie, a book rich with mysteries, or a funny TV show reference.
However, even if the Government could accomplish such feat, they would be crazy to admit it. But then again, many wild conspiracy theories were proven to be actually very true.
Only as a scratch from the immense surface of these theories can be the fact that they did carry out a syphilis study, in which they denied hundreds from the medicine. The Government also carried out chemical weapons tests on its own citizens, and the CIA did try to train cats to be spies during the Cold War.
So, as much as the Philadelphia Experiment sounds far-fetched, knowing how much the Government has lied and covered up their feats, it wouldn’t be very surprising to learn one day that this too was real.
Source: The Clever
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from psychology, to all sorts of disciplines such as science and news.