The Philadelphia Experiment

USS Eldridge DE-173 ca. 1944.

The Philadelphia Experiment is the name given to a naval military experiment which was carried out at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, sometime around October 28, 1943. The U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Eldridge (DE-173) was to be rendered invisible (or “cloaked”) to enemy devices. The experiment is also referred to as Project Rainbow.

As a result of OSS and later CIA disinformation efforts, the story is widely regarded as a hoax. The U.S. Navy maintains that no such experiment occurred and that details of the story contradict well-established facts about the Eldridge, as well as the known laws of physics. Nonetheless, the story has captured imaginations in conspiracy theory circles, and elements of the Philadelphia Experiment are featured in other government conspiracy theories.

The experiment was based on an aspect of the unified field theory, a term coined by Albert Einstein. The Unified Field Theory aims to describe mathematically and physically the interrelated nature of the forces that comprise electromagnetic radiation and gravity, although to date, no single theory has successfully expressed these relationships in viable mathematical or physical terms.

According to the accounts, it was believed that some version of this Unified Field Theory would enable the Navy to use large electrical generators to bend light around an object so that it became completely invisible. The Navy would have regarded this as being of obvious military value, and according to the accounts, subsequently it sponsored the experiment.

Before our Government decided on the position of official denial, it had concocted a cover story [the same propagation technique it later adopted for the Roswell UFO “incident”]. The cover story proposes that researchers were preparing magnetic and gravitational measurements of the seafloor to detect anomalies, supposedly based on Einstein’s attempts to understand gravity. In this version of the truth, there were also references to related secret experiments in Nazi Germany to find antigravity, allegedly led by SS-Obergruppenführer Hans Kammler.

In most accounts of the experiment, the destroyer escort USS Eldridge was fitted with the required equipment at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. Testing began in the summer of 1943, and it was supposedly successful to a limited degree. One test, on July 22, 1943, resulted in the Eldridge being rendered almost completely invisible, with some witnesses reporting a “greenish fog” appearing in its place. However, crew members supposedly complained of severe nausea afterwards. Also, it is said that when the ship reappeared, some sailors were embedded in the metal structures of the ship, including one sailor who ended up on a deck level below that where he began, and had his hand embedded in the steel hull of the ship. At that point, it is said that the experiment was altered at the request of the Navy, with the new objective being solely to render the Eldridge invisible to radar. None of these allegations have been independently substantiated to any satisfactory degree.

Reliable sources, who prefer anonymity for obvious reasons, conjecture that the equipment was not properly re-calibrated. But in spite of this, the experiment was repeated on October 28, 1943. This time, the Eldridge not only became invisible, but she physically vanished from the area in a flash of blue light and teleported to Norfolk, Virginia, over 200 miles (320 km) away. It is claimed that the Eldridge sat for some time in full view of men aboard the ship SS Andrew Furuseth, whereupon the Eldridge vanished from their sight, and then reappeared in Philadelphia at the site it had originally occupied. It was also said that the warship traveled back in time for about 10 seconds.

Many versions of the tale include descriptions of serious side effects for the crew. Some crew members were said to have been physically fused to bulkheads, while others suffered from mental disorders, and still others supposedly simply vanished. It is also claimed that the ship’s crew may have been subjected to brainwashing, in order to maintain the secrecy of the experiment.

Interestingly enough, this experiment occurred in the same year that the first of the so-called Occult Wars began.

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