The Philadelphia Experiment

USS Eldridge (DE-173)

October, Rocktober, Shocktober… Schlocktober. Whatever kind of -tober you call it, it’s that time of month. The wind turns cold, dead leaves start swirling around in the streets, Home Depot shuffles out their halloween decor. Wait, that was last month, this month they set up all of the Christmas displays.

I can recall a time when Home Depot sold nothing but serious equipment, tools and materials for electricians, plumbers, construction and landscraping professionals. Now Home Depot, et al., are just department stores with lame, jumbo Halloween decorations and plastic Christmas trees, who also happen to stock building materials. And people think the paranormal is weird….

But I digress. It’s October! It’s almost Halloween! It’s that time of year when our minds drift to the supernatural and spooky, the creepy and macabre (the “r” is generally silent there by the way). So, what zany out of this world event didn’t happen this month in unexplained mystery history? I’ve got just the thing…

The Philadelphia Experiment
That’s right, didn’t happen, so stop watching all of those dopey “documentaries” that claim this nonsense is real and get on with the true meaning of the season: fun for fun-sake, bunk for bunk-sake. There doesn’t have to be anything real about any of it, it’s just fun fodder for fertile imaginations.

Now, how do we know that the Philadelphia Experiment didn’t happen? Easy, it’s called “Occam’s Razor.” In short Occam’s Razor is a reasoning tool which can be summed up like this: the simplest explanation is likely the correct one. Write that down.

The following is based on information easily digested at Wikipedia.org. See the main article at that website for any potential references. They did the research, I’m just summarizing.

The Philadelphia Experiment was first proposed in letters received by Morris K. Jessup, a writer on the UFO phenomenon who mostly earned a living as an auto parts salesman and photographer. Though he had a masters degree in astronomy he never persued that field any further than beginning work on and ultimately abandoning his doctorate.

The letters were written by a Carlos Miguel Allende, who also referred to himself as Carl M. Allen in other correspondence to Jessup. The mystery letter sender’s real name was in fact Carl Meredith Allen. Allen was a strange fellow with a very active imagination and just maybe a screw or two loose.

In these letters Allen claimed to have witnessed an experiment which occurred in October of 1943, at the Naval Shipyard in Philadeplphia, involving U.S. Navy ship USS Eldridge, in which the ship was made invisible with some kind of humongous electromagnetic field. Or something like that. After reappearing it was subsequently revealed, somehow to someone, that while invisible the ship had made a short jaunt to to New York and even encountered some aliens along the way.

Sounds fun, except for the part where, upon allegedly reappearing in Philly after its alleged vanishing, some of the crew were allegedly found physically blended with parts of the ship. Not just stuck half way into a wall, but literally part of the wall.

That’s an incredibly fantastical tale, so… Insert decades of bunky nonsense here, regurgitated and revised by countless television shows, documentaries, newspaper articles, books, magazines, websites, forums, podcasts and on and on…

Jessup considered Allen a whack-job, and for good reason: generally speaking Allen was a whack-job. We have it on first-hand account by Robert Goerman, a freelance reporter who has written on various topics in the paranormal camp. During his research into the persona of Carl M. Allen, Goerman found that the truth was closer than he expected. Turns out he was actually acquainted with Allen’s immediate family, though he didn’t know it until he mentioned his research to them during a casual conversation.

It was revealed that Carl M. Allen was literally disturbed and a “creative loner.” Read Goerman’s report on the matter at his website.

So, SLICE… Occam’s Razor cuts a huge chunk of bunk from the story of the Philadelphia Experiment and we come to the more logical, and practical, explanation that Carl Meredith Allen perpetrated a hoax with his letters to Jessup regarding the alleged vanishing of the USS Eldridge in 1943.

The truth is usually right under our noses, but all too often—more like all the time when it comes to the paranormal and “unexplained”—a simmering soup of speculation and stubborn beliefs among dedicated fans of these mysteries creates a sloppy glop of claims and fantastic ideas that obscure the truth, distract and mislead.

But why let the truth stand in the way of a good story?

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