Jul 11, 2022 I Nick Redfern

An Invisible Ship and a Man Who Lost his Life: So the Legend Goes

A few days ago, I wrote an article here at Mysterious Universe showing how the long-gone UFO researcher, Morris K. Jessup, may have lost his life. Now, let's look at the "Why?" of all this. In 1955, one of the most controversial of all the many and varied UFO books published in the fifties was released – and, for the UFO field, to a distinct fanfare. Its title was The Case for the UFO. The author was the aforementioned Morris K. Jessup. His book was a detailed study of the theoretical power-sources for UFOs: what was it that made them fly? How could they perform such incredible, aerial feats, such as coming to a complete stop in the skies, hovering at incredible heights? Jessup believed that the vitally important answers lay in the domain of gravity. Or, as he saw it: anti-gravity. Jessup may well have been onto something, as it wasn’t long at all before the world of officialdom was on Jessup’s back – specifically senior figures in the U.S., Navy. And it was one particularly intriguing office of the Navy that was watching Jessup – a “special weapons” division. Clearly, someone was interested in, and perhaps even concerned by, Jessup’s findings and theories.

Morris Jessup became deeply worried – paranoid, even – that he was being spied on by certain elements of the U.S. government. On several occasions, he noticed that certain items in his office had clearly been moved – strongly suggesting that when he was out of his home someone was having a stealthy look around. The ante was upped to a significant degree when Jessup had a face to face interview with Navy representatives who wanted to speak with him about his book, his theories concerning anti-gravity, and the technology referred to in his book. That wasn’t all they wanted to talk about though. The Navy officers who met with Jessup also wanted to know what Jessup knew about the so-called Philadelphia Experiment of 1943. It was said have been a top secret program designed to make warships magnetic invisible. So the story went, the experiment – which went down in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, hence the name of the program – went wrong and caused the ship to become literally invisible, injuring a number of the crew and with some of them killed.  There are even tales that some of the crew vanished from the ship, never to be seen again. Jessup, scared and stressed, blew the whistle on what he knew of the experiment and told the Navy all that he knew, which was exactly what the Navy wanted.

Note: This photo of the USS Eldridge was taken by the U.S. Navy. That makes it public domain.

Of course, given the fact that Jessup was already in a deep state of fear and paranoia, this visit from the Navy only increased his anxieties. He saw Men in Black lurking outside of his home. Hang-up calls in the middle of the night became regular occurrences. Mail arrived tampered: opened and resealed. Clearly, someone – or, as I see it, a "Black Ops"-type organization that works specifically outside of government – was trying to derail Jessup and his research. And they were doing a very good job, too. In fact, from Jessup’s perspective, it was way too good a job. Certiainly, someone might have wanted gone. It wasn’t long after the book was published that Jessup was contacted by a man who wrote Jessup a number of letters that detailed something astounding. The man was one Carlos Allende, a resident of Pennsylvania. Allende’s letters were as long as they were rambling and almost ranting, but Jessup found them oddly addictive. Allende provided Jessup what he – Allende – claimed were top secret snippets of a story that revolved another nothing less than invisibility – of the type achieved, in fictional formats, at least, in the likes of The Invisible Man movie of 1933, starring Claude Rains. It wasn’t just invisibility that Allende had on his mind: it was teleportation, too, and of the kind which went drastically wrong for Jeff Goldblum’s character, Seth Brundle, in 1986’s The Fly.

Jessup read the letters with varying degrees of amazement, worry, fear and incredulity. That’s hardly surprising, given the nature of the alleged events. So Allende’s tale went, it was at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, in October 1943, when the U.S. Navy reportedly managed to bring both teleportation and invisibility into the real world. According to Allende, the ship in question – the USS Eldridge – vanished from Philadelphia and then very briefly reappeared at Norfolk, Virginia, after which it returned to the Philadelphia Naval Yard. How did Allende know all this? He told Jessup that he was on-board a ship whose crew were monitoring the experiment, the USS Andrew Furuseth. In one of his letters, that detailed his own, claimed sighting of the Eldridge vanishing form view, Allende wrote that he watched “the air all around the ship turn slightly, ever so slightly, darker than all the other air. I saw, after a few minutes, a foggy green mist arise like a cloud. I watched as thereafter the Eldridge became rapidly invisible to human eyes.”  Allende’s story was, to be sure, incredible. But, the important thing was: was it true?

It sounded like an amazing hoax. But, there was just something about the story which made Jessup suspect this was not a joke at all. The more that Allende related the growing aspects of the tale, the more and more Jessup was reeled in. Allende told him that while the experiment worked – in terms of achieving both teleportation and invisibility – it had terrible, adverse effects upon the crew. Many of them had gone completely and utterly insane and lived out the rest of their lives in asylums for the insane. Some vanished from view and were never seen nor heard from again. Others were fused into the deck of the ship, flesh and metal combined into one. Agonizing deaths were the only inevitabilities for these poor souls.

(Nick Redfern) Morris Jessup was determined to solve the UFO riddle

Jessup knew, with the stakes being so potentially high, that he had to dig into the story further – and he did precisely that. Jessup was able to confirm that Allende was indeed on the Andrew Furuseth at the time. That was good news. Things got downright fraught for Jessup, however, when, practically out of the blue, Jessup was contacted by the U.S. Navy: they had received – anonymously – a copy of Jessup’s book, The Case for the UFO. It was filled with scrawled messages written in pen and included numerous data on the events which allegedly went down in the Philadelphia Naval Yard in 1943. The Navy insisted on a meeting with Jessup. That was not good. When the meeting went down, and Jessup was shown the annotated copy of his book, he was amazed to see that the annotations were the work of Carlos Allende. Jessup – worried about an official backlash - spilled the beans, revealed all he knew, and then went on his way. As for the Navy, it had dozens of copies of the annotated version made. Why? No-one, even to this day, is too sure. 

The government has its own explanation for the events that occurred: "The use of force fields to make a ship and her crew invisible does not conform to known physical laws. ONR also claims that Dr. Albert Einstein's Unified Field Theory was never completed. During 1943-1944, Einstein was a part-time consultant with the Navy's Bureau of Ordnance, undertaking theoretical research on explosives and explosions. There is no indication that Einstein was involved in research relevant to invisibility or to teleportation. The Philadelphia Experiment has also been called ‘Project Rainbow.’ A comprehensive search of the Archives has failed to identify records of a Project Rainbow relating to teleportation or making a ship disappear. In the 1940s, the code name RAINBOW was used to refer to the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis. The RAINBOW plans were the war plans to defeat Italy, Germany and Japan. RAINBOW V, the plan in effect on 7 December 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, was the plan the U.S. used to fight the Axis powers."

The government continues: “Some researchers have erroneously concluded that degaussing has a connection with making an object invisible. Degaussing is a process in which a system of electrical cables are installed around the circumference of ship's hull, running from bow to stern on both sides. A measured electrical current is passed through these cables to cancel out the ship's magnetic field. Degaussing equipment was installed in the hull of Navy ships and could be turned on whenever the ship was in waters that might contain magnetic mines, usually shallow waters in combat areas. It could be said that degaussing, correctly done, makes a ship ‘"invisible’ to the sensors of magnetic mines, but the ship remains visible to the human eye, radar, and underwater listening devices. After many years of searching, the staff of the Archives and independent researchers have not located any official documents that support the assertion that an invisibility or teleportation experiment involving a Navy ship occurred at Philadelphia or any other location.”

And that's that: a sinister affair that led a dedicated UFO researcher to lose his life.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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