Oct 28, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Possibly the Wildest Story for the 1943 Philadelphia Experiment "Invisible Ship"

I have to say that I get a lot of strange stories sent my way. But, the one that was given to me on March 2, 2017 was one of the weirdest of all. It involved an allegedly invisible ship, a secret experiment, and a group of terrible, paranormal creatures. And, it also involved a "gift" left on my doorstep. With that said, let's begin. Something extremely strange happened across March 2 and March 4. Something that convinced me, even more, that over the years I have been watched by strange forces – some of them human and others most definitely not human at all. It all revolved around a highly notorious affair that has become known as the “Philadelphia Experiment” and placed the MIB right in the heart of the controversy. Here is how it goes: back in 1955, Morris K. Jessup’s book, The Case for the UFO, was published. It was a book that delved deeply into two key issues: (a) the theoretical power-source of UFOs, and (b) the utilization of the universal gravitational field as a form of energy. Not long after the publication of the book, Jessup became the recipient of a series of extremely strange missives from a certain Carlos Miquel Allende, of Pennsylvania. In his correspondence, Allende commented on Jessup’s theories, and gave details of an alleged secret experiment conducted by the U.S. Navy in the Philadelphia Naval Yard in October 1943. Thus was born the highly controversial saga of what has become known as the Philadelphia Experiment.

(U.S. Navy) Note: This photo of the USS Eldridge was taken by an employee of the U.S. Navy

That means the photo is in the public domain

According to Allende’s incredible tale, during the experiment a warship was rendered optically invisible and teleported to – and then back from – Norfolk, Virginia in a few minutes, the incredible feat supposedly having supposedly been accomplished by applying Albert Einstein’s never-completed Unified Field theory. Allende elaborated that the ship used in the experiment was the DE 173 USS Eldridge; and, moreover, that he, Allende, had actually witnessed one of the attempts to render both the ship and its crew invisible from his position out at sea on-board a steamer called the SS Andrew Furuseth. If Allende was telling the truth, then the Navy had not only begun to grasp the nature of invisibility, but it had also stumbled upon the secret of teleportation of the type demonstrated – years later, in fictional, on-screen format – in Star Trek and The Fly. On these very matters, Allende made the disturbing claim that not only did the experiment render many of the crew-members as mad as hatters, but some, he said, even vanished – literally – from the ship while the test was at its height, never to be seen again. Others reportedly suffered horrific and agonizing deaths. There are even tales suggesting some of the crew were flung into the future, specifically to the heart of the 1980s.

Of course, as students of this very weird affair will know, the tale of Allende and the vanishing ship (or non-vanishing ship, depending on your perspective) has been denounced as much as it has been championed. But, few are aware of the U.S. Navy’s official stance on the matter. Many assume – quite incorrectly – that the Navy’s position is that nothing whatsoever occurred at all. But their assumptions are wrong. Contrary to what you might think, the Navy does believe the story has a basis in fact – albeit of a far more down to earth nature. While there is certainly no official endorsement of the stories that the USS Eldridge was rendered invisible in October 1943, that it was teleported from one locale to another and then back again, or that crew-members were injured, killed, or outright vanished into oblivion, the Navy does admit that, in all likelihood, the story has a basis in something of real, secret significance.

The Navy’s current position reads as follows: “Personnel at the Fourth Naval District believe that the questions surrounding the so-called ‘Philadelphia Experiment’ arise from quite routine research which occurred during World War II at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Until recently, it was believed that the foundation for the apocryphal stories arose from degaussing experiments which have the effect of making a ship undetectable or ‘invisible’ to magnetic mines.” Degaussing, in simple terms, is a process in which a system of electrical cables is installed around the circumference of a ship’s hull, running from bow to stern on both sides. An electrical current is then passed through these cables to cancel out the ship’s magnetic field. “Degaussing equipment,” says the Navy, “was installed in the hull of 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.” Just to confuse things, however, the Navy has offered a further theory, too, to explain what might lie at the heart of the story:

“Another likely genesis of the bizarre stories about levitation, teleportation and effects on human crewmembers might be attributed to experiments with the generating plant of a destroyer, the USS Timmerman. In the 1950’s this ship was part of an experiment to test the effects of a small, high frequency generator providing 1000hz., instead of the standard 400hz. The higher frequency generator produced corona discharges, and other well-known phenomena associated with high frequency generators. None of the crew suffered effects from the experiment.” That the Navy first denounced the Philadelphia Experiment as having any basis in reality, but today is seemingly happy to offer no less than two theories to explain what might have been behind the legend – involving verifiable, secret projects – has inevitably raised suspicions that we are still not being told the full story of what really occurred all those years ago at that mysterious naval yard, regardless of how one views the strange saga of Carlos Allende.

(U.S. Navy) The Navy document that fell on my doorstep in the dead of night

This document is in the public domain, as it is the creation of the U.S. Government

With that all said, it’s now time for me to get to the events of March 2. As someone who writes books, gives lectures, and posts articles here and there, I get a lot of feedback. For the most part, it comes via emails, phone-calls and Facebook messages, from people who want to share their experiences, ask questions, or offer their opinions on the things I have written about. Occasionally, however, I’ll find myself on the receiving end of a communication (or several) from someone claiming an “Insider”-type background. A whistle-blower, in other words.  There have been a few occasions when my path has crossed with those of enigmatic characters whose backgrounds did indeed place them in the world of certain, covert activities - all connected to UFOs, in one way or another. This occurred most graphically when I was researching and writing my books, The Roswell UFO Conspiracy, On the Trail of the Saucer Spies, Body Snatchers in the Desert, and Final Events. On the 2nd, it happened again. In this case, it came in the form of an “Unknown Caller” phone-call in the early afternoon. The elderly man at the other end of the line said that he had read my books Men in Black and Women in Black and wanted to share something relevant. It all revolved, he said, around the Philadelphia Experiment of 1943 and the MIB. This was certainly a new one on me. And I thought I had heard it all! I clearly had not.

Like me, he had no time for the teleportation- or time-travel-based scenarios. But, what he did believe (or, rather, claimed to know) was certainly just as controversial. Perhaps, even more so. He said that in the early 1980s he was given the opportunity to read a particular batch of classified U.S. Navy files that told the “real” story of the Philadelphia Experiment. He was extremely cagey on verifiable facts (no surprises there, I have to say...), but maintained that the experiment had a bearing on the aforementioned MIB and Women in Black. I asked: “In what way?” His reply was that the experiment - the precise nature of which he would not comment on - created what he called “a shift.” It was a shift that allowed those aboard the ship to see certain things that, in a normal state, they, you and I would not be able to see. But, which are supposedly around us all of the time. We’re talking about the MIB, WIB, and even what have become popularly known in recent years as the Shadow People, one-dimensional entities that are considered highly dangerous.

So the tale went, the stories of crew-members vanishing, or becoming fused into the metal of the ship itself, were very wide of the mark. They were, I was assured, wildly distorted accounts of the crew seeing not sailors, but encountering MIB, WIB and Shadow People walking through walls, becoming invisible, and then reappearing. It didn’t take long, though, before the “truth” of the matter became a tale of vanishing and reappearing sailors. The man claimed - even more controversially - that this particular event at sea marked the first moment when the U.S. Government became “aware” of the Men in Black phenomenon. The man stressed that he used the word “aware” for a very good reason. He wanted to make it clear that the government’s awareness did not mean they fully understood the nature of the MIB (and related) phenomenon. And, then, he stressed yet again that awareness and understanding should not be confused. Yes, I got it, jeez. Interestingly, he also said that the stories of some of the crew going insane were absolutely true.

He explained that this was caused by the strange ability of some of the men to randomly see the MIB, the WIB, and the Shadow People for up to at least several years later. True or not, I could understand why people might well flip their collective lids under such circumstances. Imagine being endlessly faced with ghoulish, pale creatures in black swarming all around you, all the time, and in somewhat ethereal form. And your friends and family are completely oblivious to what’s going on around them. That would surely be enough to send anyone completely off the rails. Creepiest of all, he said that when the creatures realized they could be seen by the sailors, they would respond by endlessly tormenting them. They would point their boney fingers at the men and grin in manic style. Others would “dance” around them, in wild, crazed fashion, while wailing and howling. It was a definitive bedlam, one from which there was no escape whatsoever. A Danse Macabre, one might say. Minds were lost, destroyed and never recovered. 

(Nick Redfern) Things in black that only a few of the sailors could see

As interesting as almost crazed the story admittedly was, I quite naturally asked the man for something to back up his extraordinary claims. He told me to keep a look out for something that would be “arriving” in a couple of days. The phone then clicked. He had hung up. I thought: how can something be coming to my apartment when he didn’t even have my address? Two days later, on March 4, I found out. Apparently, he, or someone associated with him, did have my address. Around noon, I went down to get the mail. As I opened my apartment door, I saw a yellow envelope sitting on my “Welcome” mat.  What was particularly odd about the envelope was its complete lack of stamps or address: the entire envelope was blank. It wasn’t even sealed; the flap had just been pushed inside the envelope. I looked around, but didn’t see any unfamiliar faces wandering around. That was not surprising: it could have been placed there any time after I last returned to the apartment, which was around 10:00 p.m. on the previous night, after I had helped a friend haul a new recliner into his second-floor apartment, one block down from mine. Logically, though, I figured it was probably delivered in the early hours of the morning, when there would have been hardly anyone awake and in a position to see the person who made the stealthy delivery.

So, I took the envelope inside and sat down on the couch. I opened it and could see what looked like an old book. That’s exactly what it was. I took it out. What I was holding in my hands was an original, 1950 edition of a book published by the Bureau of Ships, U.S. Navy Department. Its title was Microwave Techniques. It had been prepared by the Radiation Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On the “Acknowledgments” page, it said: “Microwave Techniques is a Bureau of Ships edition of the report T-13, Microwave Technique as of May 1943, issued by the Radiation Laboratory.” It was signed “D.H. Clark, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy, Chief, Bureau of Ships.” When, back in the 1980s and the early-to-mid-1990s, I used the Freedom of Information to a significant degree, I was used to receiving government-, military-, and intelligence-based documents through the mail.

But, this was very different: via FOIA you would always get photocopied material. And, of course, it would be delivered in conventional fashion. On this occasion, though, I was the recipient of an original military document. Plus, it wasn’t delivered by any company. On this occasion, someone had climbed the stairs to my apartment and had very quietly placed it right outside of my door (in the dead of night, I concluded), knowing that I would soon find it. Also, there was the not insignificant fact that the “Acknowledgments” section of the Microwave Techniques document referenced 1943 – the year of the Philadelphia Experiment. The report didn’t mention the legendary experiment, but there was no doubt in my mind that it came from the old man on the phone two days earlier. Or, at the very least, from an associate of his.

After perusing the book for an hour or so, I went outside and scanned the apartments. The white, semi-feral cat who I fed every day, with a large handful of food, was lounging around at the foot of the steps and meowed as he / she saw me. The maintenance guy was busy as always – fixing someone’s air-con unit. Everything was as normal as it ever was. Or, rather, it seemed to be. Beneath the veneer of normality, though, I detected a sense of something else. Of someone who had tainted my home and as I had slept the night before. Of dark machinations and of an unclear, masked agenda. The affair didn’t disturb me, but it definitely made me recognize there were strange and manipulative characters out there. They were teasing me with tales of MIB, WIB, and Shadow People, creeping around my apartment block when darkness fell, and dropping off decades-old military documents – almost literally into my lap. Someone had an agenda, but what it was, I still don't know.

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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