The Philadelphia Experiment -


The subject of 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 carved out 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 Philadelphia Experiment WAS the inspiration for two movies, one in the 1980s ("The Philadelphia Experiment") and the other in the 1990s ("The Philadelphia Experiment 2").

Almost twenty years after its debut in the general public's awareness, however, little is currently available on the subject. A search of two major chain bookstores, and two decent libraries, turned up nothing on the shelves. Eventually a library was able to special order ONE book, published in 1979, from another branch.



The apparent primary source for data about the so-called "Philadelphia Experiment" came 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 in fact completed in 1925-7, but Dr. Einstein withdrew it because he was allegedly "horrified" by the possible uses it might be put to by a mankind not yet ready for it. This, according to Allende, could be confirmed by "Dr. B. Russell."

2. During World War II, the concepts of the Unified Field Theory were tested by the Navy, "with a view to any and every possible quick use of it, if feasible, in a very short time." Someone called Dr. Franklin Reno, a man Allende refers to as "my friend," allegedly had something to do with producing "results" at this stage of the game.

3. The "results" thus produced were used to achieve "complete invisibility of a ship, destroyer type, and all of its crew, while at sea (October, 1943)" by means of some sort of energy or force field which had been created around the ship. The men on the ship were apparently able to see one another vaguely, but all that could be seen by anyone outside of the field was "the clearly defined shape of the ship's hull in the water." The effects of this invisibility-creating force field upon the men involved were, according to Allende, "disastrous." The experiment, he says, was a complete success, but the men were complete failures!

4. There was a special berth for the experimental ship at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

5. A small item once appeared in a Philadelphia newspaper which would verify the tale. This supposedly described the "sailors" activities after their initial voyage" when they "raided" a local bar, allegedly the "Seamens Lounge," and where they presumably were either still exhibiting the effects of the field, or proceeded to discuss 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 himself claimed to have observed at least portions of this experiment while at sea on board 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 who were deck at the time and witnessed the tests were: Chief Mate Mowsely; Richard "Splicey" Price, an eighteen-or -nineteen-year-old sailor from Roanoke, Virginia; a man named "Connally" from New England (possibly Boston).

7. Rear Admiral Rawson Bennett, Navy Chief of Research, could supposedly verify that the experiment had in fact occurred.

8. The experimental ship also somehow mysteriously disappeared from its Philadelphia dock and showed up only minutes later in the Norfolk area. It then subsequently vanished again only to reappear at its Philadelphia dock. Total elapsed time--a matter of minutes. Allende said he only heard about this phase of it, and that may have been as late as 1946 "after the experiments were discontinued."

9. Allende indicated that 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 force-field experiments were conducted, and that it was because of his "curiosity and willingness and prompting that this experiment was enabled to be carried out." This Burke was described by Allende as a man who possessed a very positive attitude toward research.

10. Finally, in addition to his then current address, Allende also supplied Jessup with the following data about himself: his presumed merchant sailor's Z number, Z416175; the fact that he served on the S.S. Andrew Furuseth for some six months; and that he considered himself as "something of a dialectician" and "star gazer" and in addition he traveled a great deal "around the country."


Even the name of The Philadelphia Experiment 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 is reason to believe that The Philadelphia Experiment may never have occurred. Since the primary source for this story relies on the statements of ONE man, Carlos Allende, with little to back up his claims, the Philadelphia Experiment may very well be the Naval equivalent of an Urban Myth: a story that many people believe is true, but is in fact a myth.




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