This little story was brought to mind only recently by a workmate by the name of Philly. As I was new to a position I was being introduced to a number of people and normally I am terrible at remembering names. To give me a bit of an edge with this I try to associate the name with something that gives it some substance in my mind. This called a memory mnemonic like the rhyme, 30 days hath September. This is all good and easy to understand unlike the near urban myth of the Philadelphia experiment which is purported to have occurred in Philadelphia sometime around October 28 1943 at the U.S. Navy’s Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard. The U.S Navy Destroyer Escort USS Eldridge was claimed to have been rendered invisible or cloaked to enemy devices and human observers for a short time. It has also been referred to as Project Rainbow.
It seems then that in 1955 an astronomer and UFO believer Morris K. Jessup received two letters from a Carlos Miguel Allende. He claimed that he had witnessed a secret test at the Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia. In this experiment, Allende claimed as outlined the above scenario but added that the Eldridge teleported to another dimension where it encountered aliens and teleported through time resulting in the death of several sailors, some of whom were fused with the ship’s hull. Jessup dismissed this claim as the work of a nutter.
This dismissal is more than likely a normal reaction and would end the matter. This was so until 1957 when Jessup received a communication from the Office of Naval Research in Washington stating that they had received a paperback copy of the book The Case for the UFO that was annotated in three different shades of pink appearing to be the work of three individuals as a correspondence. After an examination. the work was attributed to one author, Allende, and contained many references to Jessup’s previous work on UFO propulsion, different types of aliens living in outer space as well as references to the Philadelphia Experiment.
It has been said the test had managed to render the entire ship ‘out of phase’ with the surrounding universe, which is why it was able to travel from Philadelphia to Norfolk more or less instantly. This phasing effect had drastic effects on the crew members. During the experiment, crew members found they could walk through solid objects, and when the field was shut off, men were found embedded in the bulkheads, decks and railings of the ship. The results were gruesome enough that some men went mad. Afterwards, several crew members simply vanished. A few disappeared into thin air; one, eating dinner with his family, rose, walked through a wall and was never seen again. Some men entered into what was called the ‘Freeze’. This is where a man faded from view; unable to move, speak or otherwise affect his surroundings. Initially, the Freeze effect lasted only a few minutes to a few hours. Interestingly enough, invisible crewmen were still visible to other sailors who had survived the original experiment. The Deep Freeze could drive a man insane in very short order and was only able to be counteracted if other crewmen performed a ‘Laying on of Hands’ technique to give the victim strength and allow him to recover from his affliction. Unfortunately, two men burst into flames while Laying on of Hands, burning for 18 days despite all attempts to quench the fire.
The story is largely regarded to as a hoax. The United States Navy maintains that the story is a hoax and that the details contradict well-established facts of the ship and its whereabouts. The USS Eldridge was commissioned on the 27th of August 1943 and it remained in Port in New York City until September 1943. A reunion of veterans aboard the Eldridge were quoted as saying in a newspaper in 1999 they never made port in Philadelphia. The experiment took place while the ship was on its shakedown cruise in the Bahamas, the home of the Bermuda Triangle, which in itself opens another possibility of mystery as there are many cases of missing time, disappearance, and other strange phenomena from that area.
In 1984 the movie The Philadelphia Experiment was released, presenting a fictionalized version of the incident. A sequel was filmed in 1993, titled Philadelphia Experiment II, and, in 2012, a made-for-television remake was released. As with most investigations of mysteries we are left with more answers but many more unanswered questions. Suffice to say keep the mind open to the realm of possibilities.
To end where I started with Philly. I was reminded when reading this story again, especially in this season of the celebration of friendship and good will, that although we have good friends and acquaintances most of their character, feelings, wants and needs remain a mystery to us and occasionally we are graced with an insight that helps us understand more fully the interplay of these complexities.
I hope you all have a good festive season.