The Philadelphia Experiment -

The Philadelphia Experiment

Philadelphia Experiment

The Philadelphia Experiment was supposedly carried out by the U.S. Navy at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, PA on or about October 28, 1943. The destroyer escort USS Eldridge was claimed to have been rendered invisible (or "cloaked") to enemy devices, with disastrous results for the ship's crew. The story first appeared in 1955, in letters sent to writer and astronomer Morris K. Jessup.


The so-called "Philadelphia Experiment" originally created quite a stir in the late '70s. At a time when the Bermuda Triangle, cattle mutilation, and Pyramid Power were attracting much attention, the Philadelphia Experiment attained its own niche in the weird science field. At one time, actor Richard Dreyfuss planned to makes a movie on the topic, but that never came to pass. Eventually the tale inspired two movies, one in the '80s ("The Philadelphia Experiment") the other in the '90s ("The Philadelphia Experiment 2").

Almost twenty years on since its arrival in public awareness, relatively little is available on the subject. A search of two major chain bookstores and two decent libraries turned up nothing on their shelves. Eventually this author was able to special order ONE book, published in 1979.


The primary source for the "Philadelphia Experiment", it turns out, comes from ONE man, the mysterious Carlos Miguel Allende. According to authors William L. Moore and Charles Berlitz in their influential, if speculative, 1979 book "The Philadelphia Experiment: Project Invisibility," Allende's main statements/writings can be summarized thusly:

  1. Dr. Albert Einstein's unified field theory was completed in 1925-7, but Einstein withdrew it because he was allegedly "horrified" by the possible uses it might be put to. This, according to Allende, could be confirmed by a "Dr. B. Russell."
  2. During World War II, concepts and applications of the Unified Field Theory were tested by the Navy, "with a view to any and every possible quick use of it, if feasible." Someone named Dr. Franklin Reno, a man Allende refers to as "my friend," was allegedly responsible for producing "results".
  3. These "results" were meant to achieve "complete invisibility of a ship, destroyer type, and all of its crew, while at sea (October, 1943)" by means of a previously unknown and unimagined energy or force field created to envelope the ship. The ship's crew would supposedly be able to see each other during the envelopment, if only vaguely, but all anyone outside the field would see was "the clearly defined shape of the ship's hull in the water." The effects of this force field upon the men involved were, according to Allende, "disastrous." The experiment, he claims, was successful, but the ship's crew suffered horrifically.
  4. A special berth for the experimental ship existed at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
  5. A small news item in a Philadelphia newspaper briefly appeared which could verify the tale. It described the sailors' post-voyage activities when they "raided" a local bar known as the "Seamens Lounge," where they exhibited the after-effects of their exposure to the field, or discussed the experiment in such graphic terms that it terrified the waitresses. One is left to assume that the Shore Patrol was called and that some reporter picked up the story and wrote it up without quite believing it.
  6. Allende claimed to have observed at least portions of the experiment at sea while aboard the Liberty Ship S. S. Andrew Furuseth, a Matson Lines ship out of Norfolk. This was sometime in October,1943. According to Allende, other men on deck at the time who could offer corroborating accounts of the experiment included: Chief Mate Mowsely; Richard "Splicey" Price, an eighteen-or -nineteen-year-old sailor from Roanoke, Virginia; and a man known only as "Connally" from New England (possibly Boston).
  7. Rear Admiral Rawson Bennett, Navy Chief of Research, could also supposedly verify that the experiment occurred.
  8. The experimental ship mysteriously disappeared from its Philadelphia dock and showed up minutes later in the Norfolk area. It then vanished again and reappeared at the Philadelphia dock. Total elapsed time was mere minutes. Allende said he only heard about this phase of the proceedings, and that may have been as late as 1946 "after the experiments were discontinued."
  9. Allende said the Office of Naval Research was under the direction of "the present (at the time of the letter — 1956) boss of the Navy, Burke" at the time that the experiment was conducted, and that it was because of his "curiosity and willingness and prompting that this experiment was enabled to be carried out." Burke was described by Allende as a man who had a very positive attitude about the research.
  10. Finally, in addition to his then current address, Allende disclosed to Jessup the following information about himself: his presumed merchant sailor's Z number, Z416175; that he'd served on the S.S. Andrew Furuseth for six months; that he considered himself "something of a dialectician" and "star gazer" — and that he traveled a great deal "around the country."


Even The Philadelphia Experiment's name is not what it seems. According to Moore and Berlitz:

"Exactly why or how the ship experiment outlined in the Allende letters came to be called the Philadelphia Experiment is not exactly known, although it is certain that the designation is definitely not an official one. As far as is known there has never been a military undertaking of any sort which used that project title. It is more likely that the name arose out of the need of one or more of the early researchers into the matter to call it something; and since at least a portion of the project allegedly took place at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, it seemed only appropriate to refer to the entire affair as the Philadelphia Experiment. In any event the name stuck, and we might as well continue to use it."


According to the Department of the Navy, in a document dated July 23, 1976:

"As for the Philadelphia Experiment itself, ONR (Office of Naval Research) has never conducted any investigations on invisibility, either in 1943 or at any other time. In view of present scientific knowledge, our scientists do not believe that such an experiment could be possible except in the realm of science fiction. A scientific discovery of such import, if it had in fact occurred, could hardly remain secret for such a long time."


There's reason to believe The Philadelphia Experiment never happened. Since the primary source for the story is one man of questionable veracity — Carlos Allende — the Philadelphia Experiment may very well be the Naval equivalent of an Urban Myth: a tale that many people believe is true and wish to be true, but which is, sadly, probably a myth.


Hover your mouse over the pictures below for captions.

For decades, Carlos Allende (aka Carl Allen) was the only "witness" of the purportedly supernatural events surrounding the 1943 Philadelphia Experiment. He claimed to have been stationed on the SS Andrew Furuseth, a vessel docked in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard with a clear view of the Eldridge when it disappeared.
The USS Eldridge was a U.S. Naval destroyer escort, named for Lieutenant Commander John Eldridge Jr., who was a hero of the invasion of the Solomon Islands. Between January 1944 and May 1945, it escorted men and materials to the Mediterranean, supporting Allied operations in North Africa and southern Europe. It was later sold to the Greek Navy, where it remained in service until the late ’90s, when it was scrapped.
The Philadelphia Naval Shipyard — now known as simply The Navy Yard — was an important naval facility of the U.S. for almost 200 years. It is now a large mixed-use campus that employs nearly 15,000 people across a mix of industries.
The crew of the USS Eldridge in World War II. Philadelphia Experiment story lore says they were not told about the experiment beforehand.
Morris K. Jessup received a Master’s Degree in Astronomy from the University of Michigan, studied astrophysics, and worked several archaeological digs in South America. His 1955 book "The Case for the UFO" attracted the attention of Carlos Allende, who contacted him by mail and told him of the Philadelphia Experiment. Jessup was intrigued, and for a time investigated the factual truthfulness of it vigorously.
After the release of the 1984 film "The Philadelphia Experiment," a man named Al Bielek came forward claiming to have personally taken part in the secret experiment, which he had been brainwashed to forget. Only after seeing the movie in 1988 did his repressed memories supposedly come flooding back.
Charles Berlitz was a polyglot, language teacher and writer, best known for his language-learning courses and his books on paranormal phenomena, including "The Philadelphia Experiment: Project Invisibility", which he co-authored with William L. Moore.
Albert Einstein was consulted by the U.S. Navy around the time of the supposed Philadelphia Experiment. Project Rainbow, an actual CIA undertaking of that era, was aimed at reducing the radar visibility of naval ships.
The unified field theory, in particle physics, is an attempt to describe all the fundamental forces of nature, and the relationships between elementary particles, in one theoretical framework. Albert Einstein coined the term. After more than a century of work, physicists have yet to develop a widely accepted, consistent theory — but they have made great progress, and their efforts are ongoing.
A great many things are said to have been caused by the testing performed on the USS Eldridge. One of the more unsettling, if not terrifying was the particulate fusing of molecules from both crew and ship. As the vessel underwent its transformation, it is said that the matter of the crew separated and mixed with the now fluid matter of the ship.
An arresting image from the Syfy Network's 2012 remake of the 1984 film The Philadelphia Experiment.
Navy personnel aboard the USS Eldridge witness molecular energy cycles as their ship passes through a brief time warp in The Philadelphia Experiment II.
From the Amazon web page of The Philadelphia Experiment DVD:

The origins of this story are not science-fiction – they are science-fact. In 1943 the U.S. Office of Naval Research conducted a series of tests at the Philadelphia Naval Yard to develop a sophisticated camouflage system to make ships invisible to radar. During the final test aboard the destroyer the Battleship Eldridge, something went wrong – very wrong. This film explores beyond reality to ask the question “what if…” Two young seamen get caught in a violent tornado-like vortex and fall through a time warp to a different era – 1984. Desperately they struggle to find a way back to their own time, but their efforts become all the more vital as the rift in time threatens to suck present-day earth back to the past. Michael Pare (Streets of Fire, Eddie and the Cruisers) and Nancy Allen (Carrie, Dressed to Kill) star in this psychological sci-fi hit.
The U.S. Navy did not support the making of the 1984 film, as it did not wish to be associated with the story. They did not get their wish.
Teleportation body horror – a seaman fused at the molecular level to the deck of the Eldridge, in a scene from the 1984 film.
Author and Philadelphia Experiment researcher Robert Goerman explains: “The Navy used a variation of Albert Einstein’s unified field theory and they used it to bend light to render the ship invisible as it was encased in this electro-magnetic fog.” Admittedly the Eldridge is pretty visible in this still from the 1984 movie.
From the Amazon web page
for the Vincent Gaddis book "Invisible Horizons"

-The dog that stood watch on the phantom ship...
-The dead crew that sailed its ship through the Northwest Passage...
-The Bermuda Triangle, where ships and planes vanish without a trace...
-The crew that died of asphyxiation on an open deck...
-The abandoned ship that avenged its own destruction...
In late October of 1958, Morris Jessup travelled from Indiana to New York, and sometime around Halloween contacted Ivan T. Sanderson (the author of "Invisible Residents", among other books, and the founder of the Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained (SITU)). During this meeting, Jessup told Sanderson the story of the Philadelphia Experiment.

Jessup also confided other things of a confidential nature to Sanderson, probably about time travel. Moreover, Jessup apparently thought he was being followed, or at least that his mail was being tampered with.
From the Amazon web page of "The Philadelphia Experiment: Project Invisibility":

One day in 1943, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, something happened... Suddenly the U.S.S. Eldridge, a fully manned destroyer escort, vanished into a green fog, within seconds appeared in Norfolk, Virginia, and then reappeared in Philadelphia!
For over thirty-six years officials have denied this, have denied any experimentation to render matter invisible — have denied the reality of THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT.

If so, why —
* were all the men aboard ship who survived discharged as mentally unfit?
* did a scientific researcher on the project meet a mysterious death?
* were identities hidden, documents lost, and amazing connections between UFO sightings and events in the Bermuda Triangle denied?

THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT — the first full-length documented report on a chilling unsolved mystery that's been discussed for years.
Now, official documents and first-hand stories have been revealed. Here is the truth in a report so shattering it is difficult to believe it's NOT fiction.
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