Philadelphia Experiment

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USS Eldridge (DE-173) in 1943.

According to some conspiracy theorists and UFOlogists, the Philadelphia Experiment was a test conducted by the United States Navy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during World War II. Points of fact aside, the biggest flaw in the Philadelphia Experiment myth is the central part played by Albert Einstein's unified field theory - Einstein didn't come up with a Unified Field Theory. The alleged object of the experiment was to make a ship and its crew completely disappear from the naked eye as well as to teleport the ship from one location to the other.

Facts of the account

The ship involved in the experiment was USS Eldridge, a 1240-ton Cannon class destroyer escort built and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard in 1943. From her operational logs, action reports, and war diary, Eldridge remained in New York and in the Long Island Sound after her commissioning until 16 September 1943 when she sailed to Bermuda. From 18 September, the ship was in the vicinity of Bermuda undergoing training and sea trials until 15 October when she left in a convoy for New York where they entered on 18 October. Eldridge remained in New York harbor until 1 November when it was part of the escort for Convoy UGS-23 (New York Section). On 2 November the convoy entered Naval Operating Base, Norfolk. On 3 November, Eldridge and Convoy UGS-23 left for Casablanca, Morocco where it arrived on 22 November. On 29 November, Eldridge left as one of escorts for Convoy GUS-22 and arrived with the convoy on 17 December at New York harbor. Eldridge remained in New York on availability training and in Block Island Sound until 31 December when it steamed to Norfolk with four other ships. During this time frame, Eldridge was never in Philadelphia.

Supposedly, the crew of the civilian merchant ship SS Andrew Furuseth observed the sudden arrival via teleportation of Eldridge into the Norfolk area. Andrew Furuseth's movement report cards are in the Tenth Fleet records in the custody of the Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, which also has custody of the action reports, war diaries and deck logs of all World War II Navy ships, including Eldridge. The movement report cards list the merchant ship's ports of call, the dates of the visit, and convoy designation, if any. The movement report card shows that Andrew Furuseth left Norfolk with Convoy UGS-15 on 16 August 1943 and arrived at Casablanca on 2 September. The ship left Casablanca on 19 September and arrived off Cape Henry on 4 October. Andrew Furuseth left Norfolk with Convoy UGS-22 on 25 October and arrived at Oran, Morocco on 12 November. The ship remained in the Mediterranean until it returned with Convoy GUS-25 to Hampton Roads on 17 January 1944. In response to queries about the experiment, the Archives has a letter from Lieutenant Junior Grade William S. Dodge, USNR, the commanding officer of Andrew Furuseth in 1943, categorically denying that he or his crew observed any unusual event while in Norfolk. Eldridge and Andrew Furuseth were not even in Norfolk at the same time.

During 1943-1944, Einstein, who had authored several theories about time, 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, and the Office of Naval Research has stated that the use of force fields to make a ship and her crew invisible does not conform to known physical laws; indeed, ONR scientists do not believe that such an experiment could be possible except in the realm of science fiction. ONR also claims that Einstein's Unified Field Theory was never completed.

"Project Rainbow" is another name for the Philadelphia Experiment, but military records show that the code name "RAINBOW" was used for the war plans in place to defeat the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis as early as 1939. "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.


Some researchers have erroneously concluded that the Philadelphia Experiment has a connection with degaussing. During World War II degaussing was classified "secret"; it involved 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; smaller ships, such as Eldridge, were docked at degaussing facilities in which the cables were draped around the hull. A measured electrical current is passed through these cables to cancel out the ship's magnetic field. The degaussing equipment installed on board could be turned on whenever the ship was in waters that might contain magnetic mines, usually shallow waters in combat areas. Properly done, the ship was made "invisible" to the sensors of magnetic mines and torpedoes, despite remaining visible to radar, listening devices, and the human eye.

Another likely genesis of the bizarre stories about levitation, teleportation and effects on human crew members might be attributed to experiments with the generating plant of another destroyer, USS Timmerman. In the 1950s this ship was part of an experiment to test the effects of a small, high-frequency generator providing l,000Hz 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.

Eldridge was stricken from the Naval Register in 1951, and sold to the Royal Hellenic Navy of Greece as Leon. Her complete World War II action report and war diary coverage, including the remarks section of the 1943 deck log, is available on microfilm, NRS-1978-26, from the Operational Archives of the Department of the Navy.

Like all New Age nonsense, Conservatives should treat the whole silly idea with skepticism.

Copyright Details
License: some of the text used for this article is in the Public Domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the U.S. Code
Source: File available from the United States Federal Government [1].