In October 1943, a newly-commissioned destroyer called USS Eldridge was being equipped with large generators to conduct a top-secret experiment with the mission to win the Battle of the Atlantic ocean by creating a technology that would make the ship invisible to enemy radar, or so the story goes. They tested it in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard with a full crew on board. The generators were turned on and started to hum. According to a witness, an eerie green-blue glow surrounded the ship’s hull, and suddenly, the ship was gone into thin air. Minutes later, the Eldridge was reportedly seen in the Naval Shipyard in Virginia, then reappeared back in Philadelphia. The two places are about 319 miles apart. Was the US Naval military trying to experiment on teleportation?

Aerial view of the Reserve Basin of the U.S. Navy Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) August 1956 with numerous battleships, cruisers, escort carriers, and auxiliaries in reserve.

Here’s where it gets crazy. The legend says that the crew of the USS Eldridge was severely affected. Some suffered from burns and disorientation. Others went insane. The worst was that some got stuck in the ship or fused with it together. They were still alive with their limbs and arms sealed to the deck. How creepy is that!

The Man Who Cried Wolf

In 1956, ufologist Morris Jessup received over 50 handwritten letters from a guy who introduced himself as Carlos Allende. He offered his eyewitness account to prove that unified field theory exists. According to him, he was aboard the Liberty Ship SS Furuseth when he saw the USS Eldrige vanish into thin air during a second experiment done at sea, only to reappear after a few minutes. Allende would claim that this proved Albert Einstein’s Unified Field theory and that he had been taught by Einstein himself. The US was using it to experiment with teleportation invisibility. He also mentioned the side effects that the crew suffered, including one member who suddenly disappeared in a crowded bar.

The next letter came from Carl M. Allen, saying he would attempt to recall more details about the USS Eldrige through hypnosis, which was probably a little off already at this point but maybe not to someone who studies about UFOs. The Office of the Naval Research contacted Jessup in 1957 after receiving a copy of his book which seemed to add credence to the story, which in turn fueled the fevered imaginations of conspiracy theorists.

Disproving the Claim

As per Edward Dungeon, who was aboard the USS Engstrom, USS Eldridge was carrying classified devices on board, none of which is a teleportation device. Dudgeon was in drydock aboard another destroyer, the USS Engstrom when the event took place. The Eldridge was in fact, using an amplified degaussing technique to try and scramble the ship’s magnetic signature.  It was hoped that this system would protect the ship from sea mines that could detect a ship’s magnetic field as it passed over or near the mine.  Contrary to Hollywood movies, most torpedoes didn’t hit the sides of ships, they detonated underneath them with a magnetic trigger that could sense the ship’s magnetic signature. It was hoped that this degaussing method might also throw off torpedoes as well.

“The ‘green glow’ was probably due to an electric storm or St. Elmo’s Fire. As for Eldridge’s mysterious appearance in Norfolk and sudden return to Philadelphia, Dudgeon explained that the Navy used inland canals — off-limits to commercial vessels — to make the trip in six hours rather than two days,” HowStuffWork.com suggested.

View of a ceremony at the Boston Naval Shipyard, Massachusetts (USA), on the occasion of the transfer of the following ships to the Royal Hellenic Navy: USS Eldridge (DE-173), left, USS Garfield Thomas (DE-193), and (not visible) USS Slater (DE-766) and USS Ebert (DE-768).

What came to be known as “The Philidelphia Experiment” was the subject of books, TV shows, and even a TV movie of the same name. Everybody wanted the chance to cash in on the gullibility of some people.

Evidence that would have debunked the hoax to the rational-minded, was used instead as evidence of a cover-up by the government. For example, the Eldridge was never in Philadelphia.  This is confirmed by her captain, crew, and log.  The records of the SS Furuseth also show that it and the Eldridge were never in the vicinity of each other during the war.

“Of course they would say that!” believers would exclaim, “It’s obvious they are trying to hide what they did.”

While Carl Allen probably confessed to it being a hoax in 1986. I say probably because he made a habit of recanting these confessions and then making them all over again. His own family was willing to admit that he could be erratic in his thinking and behavior. Researchers trying to interview him found him to be hard to find and elusive in his answers and eventually concluded that since the entire weight of thr conspiracy rested on the statements of Carl Allen, that it was all a hoax.

In 1953, The USS Eldridge was transferred to the Greek Navy and served as Leon. It was sold for scraps in the ’90s, thankfully, none of which included limbs or torsos.

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