A couple of weeks ago I wrote two articles on the matter of the controversial Philadelphia Experiment. Supposedly, it was an experiment to try and make a U.S. Navy ship invisible (others say to make it magnetic invisible). If you buy into the story, it all went catastrophically wrong and a number of Navy personnel vanished and died. The experiment, as a result, was said to have been shut down. And quickly, too. One of the questions I’m often asked when the case surfaces goes something like this: “Is there any hard evidence to prove that the doomed experiment really took place?” No, there isn’t hard evidence. But, there are people who have spoken on the record – something that most don’t know. Some have suggested that a certain newspaper clipping proves that the incident really took place. Let’s see. In the late 1970s, the story of the incident at Philadelphia was picked up again – by researchers Bill Moore and the late Charles Berlitz. The result: the publication of their 1979 book, The Philadelphia Experiment. One of the more interesting things that the pair uncovered was that newspaper. The clipping was titled “Strange Circumstances Surround Tavern Brawl.”
It reads as follows: “Several city police officers responding to a call to aid members of the Navy Shore Patrol in breaking up a tavern brawl near the U.S. Navy docks here last night got something of a surprise when they arrived on the scene to find the place empty of customers. According to a pair of very nervous waitresses, the Shore Patrol had arrived first and cleared the place out – but not before two of the sailors involved allegedly did a disappearing act. ‘They just sort of vanished into thin air…right there,’ reported one of the frightened hostesses, ‘and I ain’t been drinking either!’ At that point, according to her account, the Shore Patrol proceeded to hustle everybody out of the place in short order.” The clipping continued: “A subsequent chat with the local police precinct left no doubts as to the fact that some sort of general brawl had indeed occurred in the vicinity of the dockyards at about eleven o’clock last night, but neither confirmation nor denial of the stranger aspects of the story could be immediately obtained. One reported witness succinctly summed up the affair by dismissing it as nothing more than ‘a lot of hooey from them daffy dames down there,’ who, he went on to say, were probably just looking for some free publicity. Damage to the tavern was estimated to be in the vicinity of six hundred dollars.” Unfortunately, the clipping is a photocopy, rather than an original taken from the newspaper of the day. Too bad.
While the story is certainly a controversial one, in the 1990s it was given a degree of support thanks to a man named George Mayerchak. For a period of time in 1949, Mayerchak – a sailor – was a patient at the Philadelphia Navy Hospital, getting over a bad case of pneumonia. It was while Mayerchak was in the hospital that he heard very weird tales of the top secret experiment that, at the time, occurred six years earlier. Tales of the vanishing sailors and the invisible ship abounded. As did the story of the barroom brawl and the men who disappeared into states of nothingness. Mayerchak said, though, that rather than having completely vanished, they ‘flickered’ on and off, like a light bulb – which surely would have been a bizarre thing to see. I had the chance to interview Mayerchak myself in the 1990s, after he sent a letter in to Fortean Times magazine and talking about his memories for what happened back then.
Further amazing testimony came from Harry Euton. He confided in Bill Moore that, having a Top Secret clearance during the Second World War, he, Euton, was directly involved in the highly classified experiment. Reportedly, it was an experiment designed to shield U.S. ships from being picked up by Nazi radar systems. Something went wrong, though, explained Euton, who said that the ship became invisible. As he looked down and couldn’t see any sign of the ship, Euton felt instantly nauseous and reached out for a nearby cable which he knew was there, and which he could feel, but couldn’t see. Euton too confirmed that several of the men vanished – never to be seen again – and that the surviving crew didn’t look as they did normally. They were curious words which Euton preferred not to expand upon. It should be noted, too, that although Bill Moore and Charles Berlitz wrote a full-length book on the incident in 1979, Moore – alone – wrote a follow-up, self-published document on the affair in 1984. Its title The Philadelphia Experiment: An Update. Although it’s not too well-known, I definitely recommended it to anyone and everyone who has an interest in the story, as it provides names, places, sources and much more that. Definitely a great, little gem for pursuers of the truth of the experiment!