Tuesday, April 11, 2023


 11 April 2023: 

Last week we brought you information on the [perhaps] greatest battleship ever - at least in the United States Navy. This week, a destroyer, famous only for an event that probably never happened, is our subject. 

There are those that maintain the so called "Tonkin Gulf attack" by North Viet Nam on the USS Turner Joy and USS Maddox never happened (as reported, at least) but there is sufficient evidence to the contrary, and whether it did or did not, the end result was a 10 year war which killed over 58,000 men and women (and provided your humble scribe with several years employment). The following event, according the Naval Historical Center, absolutely did not happen.... or did it. Cue the music, maestro! From Lessons in History.com


During World War II, the United States Navy experimented with technology beyond the general public’s comprehension. During the war, the government wanted to develop new weapons and tools to give them an edge over the enemy. One of these experiments was the Philadelphia Experiment, a bizarre and mysterious story that captivated people’s imaginations worldwide.

The story goes that in 1943, the Navy attempted to make the USS Eldridge, a destroyer escort, invisible to enemy radar. The experiment was supposed to use a new technology known as cloaking, which would make the ship disappear from view. However, something went terribly wrong during the experiment, and the ship reportedly vanished completely, only to reappear moments later in a different location.

USS Eldridge
 The story of the Philadelphia Experiment has been shrouded in mystery and controversy ever since. Some people believe that the experiment was a success and that the Navy was able to develop a weapon that could turn the tide of the war. Others think the experiment was a complete failure, and the government covered the truth to avoid embarrassment.

The Origins of the Philadelphia Experiment

The story of the Philadelphia Experiment began in the early 1940s when the Navy was looking for ways to develop new technologies to help them win the war. One of the Navy’s top scientists, Dr. Franklin Reno, was tasked with creating a new technology that could make ships invisible to enemy radar. The idea was to use electromagnetic fields to bend light around a ship, making it disappear.

Dr. Reno recruited a team of scientists to work on the project, and they began conducting experiments on a small scale. The experiments showed promise, and the Navy decided to scale the technology to a full-sized ship, the USS Eldridge.

The Experiment Goes Wrong

On August 12, 1943, the USS Eldridge was docked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The scientists on the project activated the cloaking device, and the ship reportedly vanished from view. However, things quickly began to go wrong. According to reports, the ship reappeared moments later, but something was different. The crew was disoriented and nauseous, and some had even disappeared entirely.

 The Navy immediately shut down the experiment and launched an investigation into what had happened. According to the official report, the experiment failed, and the Navy abandoned the project.

The Aftermath of the Experiment

The aftermath of the Philadelphia Experiment is where things get even more mysterious. According to some reports, the experiment had a lasting impact on the crew of the USS Eldridge. As a result, many suffered from mental illness and bizarre side effects.

Some even claimed they had been transported to another dimension during the experiment and encountered beings from another world.

The Navy denied all of these claims, and the story of the Philadelphia Experiment eventually faded into obscurity. However, the legend of the experiment lived on, and it became the subject of countless books, movies, and TV shows.

The Truth Behind the Philadelphia Experiment

So, what really happened during the Philadelphia Experiment? The truth is that no one knows for sure. Some people believe the experiment was a complete hoax, while others think there is some truth to the story.

Evidence suggests that the Navy was experimenting with new technologies during the war and that some of these experiments were highly classified. It’s possible that the Philadelphia Experiment was an actual experiment that went awry but that the details of what happened have been distorted over time.

Others believe that the story of the Philadelphia Experiment was a deliberate hoax created by the government to distract the public from other, more nefarious activities that were taking place during the war.

Regardless of what happened during the experiment, the story of the Philadelphia Experiment continues to capture the imaginations of people around the world. It has become a part of popular culture and has inspired countless works of fiction and speculation.


From the archives of Naval Historical Foundation:

"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."


So, what if anything really happened? Seems hard to believe that this whole thing evolved straight from someone's imagination... and sometimes, "where there's smoke, there's fire..." You be the judge!

Until next time,

                                         Fair Winds,

                                                   Old Salt

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