- October 19, 2017
The Navy, Time Travel, and the Invisible Ship
Picture this: in 1943, a US warship in a dry dock in Philadelphia, ready to make its way out of the harbor and into the sea. Fitted below deck is a set of massive generators. The crew has no idea what they are. Rumour is that they’re part of a new government project, an attempt to make the ship appear invisible to the enemy.
The boat sails out a set distance and then someone flicks the switch. It’s broad daylight. There are other ships sailing by. The generators came alive. Next, a strange glow begins to appear all around the ship’s hull. Then, the ship simply vanishes. Not only from radar. It vanishes entirely. For the next few hours, reports come from Virginia, saying that the ship appeared in a shipyard there. Later, it’s back in Philadelphia.
According to reports from the military, the crew have suffered hideous burns and have been completely disorientated. A few, the stories suggest, were even found embedded in the very ship itself, their arms and legs sealed up as part of the ship.
This is the story of the USS Eldridge. It’s become known as the Philadelphia Experiment. The story involves shadowy government organizations, time travel, and teleportation. It happened 70 years ago. But what really happened?
To start with, we need to introduce Carl Allen. Otherwise known as Carlos Miguel Allende, he’s the source of many of the stories which come down to us about the Eldridge. Allen, writing as Allende, composed fifty letters, beginning in 1956, and sent them to Morris K. Jessup, an amateur astronomer and a writer. Just a year before, Jessup had written one of the first books on UFOs. Allen thought he’d found a fellow mind.
But he wasn’t nice about it. Most of his letters focused on unified field theory and how poorly Jessup understood the concept, almost mocking him. Allen claimed to have been taught by Einstein, though no-one – including Einstein – had been able to prove that such a field existed. The suggestions that gravity and electromagnetism could be merged together into one fundamental field was unproven. But Allen was convinced it existed. He used his supposed eyewitness accounts of the USS Eldridge as proof.
Allen’s letter suggests that the military was using Einstein’s unified field theory to teleport the naval destroyer (and its crew) up and down the east coast. This was the first time the Philadelphia Experiment had been discussed in such a manner. In the 13 years which had passed, no other witnesses had come forward.
At first, Jessup was intrigued. He wanted to investigate. But Allen wasn’t forthcoming with evidence. When two naval officers contacted Jessup about his on-going investigations, he was ready to abandon the idea entirely. The officers were investigating after a package had been sent to the navy with a copy of Jessup’s UFO book inside. The pages were covered in notes, linking extra-terrestrial tech and unified field theory.
The handwritten notes in the book were designed to appear as though they’d been written by three individuals, at least one of whom was supposedly not human. Jessup recognized the writing as being from his mysterious correspondent. For reasons still unknown, the navy decided to print 127 copies of the book, notes and all. They’re now valued by collectors around the world.
Jessup eventually lost interest in the story. In 1959, he committed suicide, injured after a road accident and abandoned by his wife. But Allen did not give up. He kept sending letters to anyone who would listen to him, spreading the story of the Philadelphia Experiment. An experiment to which he was the only witness.
According to his version of events, Allen had been stationed on a ship that was docked in the same shipyard as the USS Eldridge. From there, he had an amazing view of the events. But no one else came forward. The story gained such a cult following that, in 1984, a film was made. It was called the Philadelphia Experiment.
After the release, another person stepped forward and claimed to have been a part of the strange events. Al Bielek claimed to have personally been there and that he had been brainwashed into forgetting everything. Seeing the film in 1988, he said, brought the memories rushing back.
And so, the story rolled on. For years, the Philadelphia Experiment was held alongside MKULTRA as proof of the US government’s secret projects. But, unlike, MKULTRA, there seemed nothing to back it up. Eventually, a French physicist named Jacques Vallee began to look into the matter, eventually publishing a book titled “Anatomy of a Hoax: the Philadelphia Experiment”.
Vallee had been investigating the theory for years. He had asked anyone who had served in the same drydock in Philadelphia to contact him. One man came forward: Edward Dudgeon. Dudgeon had been an electrician in the navy and was familiar with any classified devices installed on ships during this time.
According to Dudgeon, the generators on the USS Eldridge were not Einsteinian teleportation devices. They were designed for degaussing: scrambling the magnetic signatures around ships and rendering them invisible to radar. To achieve this, huge cables were wrapped around the ship and charges run through them. Once active, the devices would mean that torpedoes couldn’t track the ships.
Dudgeon suggested that tales of sailors sealed into the hull of the ship were fiction. The ship turning invisible, he said, was probably due to the mangled gossip spread among the crew. Invisible to radar became just plain invisible. The talk of a glow around the ship might have been an electrical storm or St Elmo’s Fire. Even the ship appearing in Virginia could be explained: the military’s inland canals got them to Virginia from Philly in just six hours, rather than the two days needed for most journeys.
Vallee’s exposure was enough for many people to dismiss the Philadelphia Experiment as an elaborate hoax. The data just does not line up. But there’s no denying that it’s a compelling story. The fate of the ship, the truth behind the experiment, and even the real identity of Carlos Allende have all intrigued conspiracy theorists.
Most importantly of all, however, it teaches us that we must not be swayed by false evidence. We know for a fact that the CIA and other intelligence agencies conducted strange and fascinating experiments. Our pursuit of the truth should not be hampered by hoaxers such as Carl Allen. The Philadelphia Experiment may have been a false flag, but it was an essential step in learning how we should perceive, evaluate, and spread theories about how the world really works.