Time Travel and Teleportation: Secret Government Experiments
Teleporting the Truth
The story began circulating in 1955 when a man named Carlos Allende wrote several letters in strange handwriting to Morris Jessup, a UFO researcher and writer. In his correspondence, Allende claimed that he witnessed the USS Eldridge suddenly disappear and reappear while he was aboard the nearby civilian vessel, the SS Andrew Furuseth.
Among other claims, Allende said he knew firsthand that Albert Einstein had solved the Unified Field Theory and that he witnessed a bar fight involving crewmen of the Eldridge who suddenly disappeared mid-punch.
Jessup dismissed Allende’s claims until he was approached by two officers from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) with a copy of his book, The Case for UFOs, that they’d received anonymously. The book was heavily annotated with comments about the nature of UFOs, methods of propulsion and alien culture–and Jessup recognized that it was Allende’s handwriting filling the margins of the book.
The Military’s Official Story
In response to a constant stream of questions from the public about the alleged experiment, both the Naval History and Heritage Command and the ONR have addressed the conspiracy theory in statements on their websites.
The ONR said the two officers took it upon themselves to have the annotated version of the book published and have long since left the office. They also say the detailed war diary of the USS Eldridge shows that the ship was never docked in Philadelphia during the time of the experiments.
The office suggests the theory may have developed from misunderstandings about the wartime procedure know as degaussing, in which electrical cables in a ship’s hull cancelled out its magnetic field to make it “invisible” to magnetic land mines.
The Naval History and Heritage Command said in a statement that “the use of force fields to make a ship and her crew invisible does not conform to known physical laws.”
And while Einstein was involved in theoretical research on explosives and explosions as a consultant for the Navy from 1943 to 1944, the Navy said he was never involved in research about invisibility or teleportation.
During a reunion in 1999, former crewmen of the USS Eldridge told a newspaper that they found the conspiracy theory comical because they were never in Philadelphia.
Paranormal researcher Robert Goerman said he discovered that Allende was actually Carl Allen, a wandering loner known for involved pranks, annotating whatever he could lay his hands on and sending bizarre missives to his family and others. Goerman published a story in the paranormal and UFO research magazine, FATE, claiming that Allen created the hoax and it was more successful than he’d probably ever expected.
Ufologist Jacques Vallee published a 1994 paper entitled “Anatomy of a Hoax” in the Journal of Scientific Exploration about Allen, the pervasiveness of the Philadelphia Experiment story and guidelines for detecting false stories of the paranormal.
Skeptics say the theory has too many holes in it to float. Allen is not a credible witness and he never presented verifiable evidence about a single one of his claims. Some wonder why the Navy would opt to conduct a highly charged, top-secret experiment on a massive boat in broad daylight.
But despite the lack of additional witnesses and hard evidence, the story has had long sea legs, showing no signs of waning after more than 50 years. It has spawned scores of books, conspiracy websites and a 1984 movie, The Philadelphia Experiment, produced by legendary horror director John Carpenter.
The story was bolstered by the rogue investigation by the two naval officers into Allen’s writing in the UFO book, and by the Navy’s official response about their activities. Also, when Morris Jessup committed suicide in 1959, some conspiracy theorists suggested that he was murdered to keep him from revealing secrets. If the teleportation was true, of course, it is unlikely that the Navy would acknowledge its existence.
The teleportation tale also planted the seeds for an offshoot conspiracy theory that makes the mind-boggling claims of the Philadelphia Experiment seem borderline credible in comparison.