There’s no doubt at all that when it comes to the issue of conspiracy, one of the biggest controversies is that which revolves around what is known as the Philadelphia Experiment: an alleged (but supposedly disastrous) Second World War-era program designed to make military ships invisible to the enemy. It’s a complicated and undeniably bizarre saga which is filled with tales of time travel, mind control, government cover-ups, secret experiments, and much more. But, how did it all begin? It was in 1955 that a highly controversial book on flying saucers was published. The author was Morris Ketchum Jessup, and the title of his book was The Case for the UFO. It was a book which, for the most part, highlighted two particular issues: (a) how gravity could be harnessed and used as an energy; and (b) the source of power of the mysterious flying saucers that people were seeing in the skies above. It wasn’t long after the book was published that Jessup was contacted by a man who wrote Jessup a number of letters that detailed something astounding. The man was one Carlos Allende, a resident of Pennsylvania.
Allende’s letters were as long as they were rambling and almost ranting, but Jessup found them oddly addictive. Allende provided Jessup what he – Allende – claimed were top secret snippets of a story that revolved another nothing less than invisibility – of the type achieved, in fictional formats, at least, in the likes of The Invisible Man movie of 1933, starring Claude Rains. It wasn’t just invisibility that Allende had on his mind: it was teleportation, too, and of the kind which went drastically wrong for Jeff Goldblum’s character, Seth Brundle, in 1986’s The Fly. Jessup read the letters with varying degrees of amazement, worry, fear and incredulity. That’s hardly surprising, given the nature of the alleged events. So Allende’s tale went, it was at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, in October 1943, when the U.S. Navy reportedly managed to bring both teleportation and invisibility into the real world. According to Allende, the ship in question – the DE 173 USS Eldridge – vanished from Philadelphia and then very briefly reappeared at Norfolk, Virginia, after which it returned to the Philadelphia Naval Yard.
How did Allende know all this? He told Jessup that he was on-board a ship whose crew were monitoring the experiment, the USS Andrew Furuseth. In one of his letters, that detailed his own, claimed sighting of the Eldridge vanishing from view, Allende wrote that he watched “the air all around the ship turn slightly, ever so slightly, darker than all the other air. I saw, after a few minutes, a foggy green mist arise like a cloud. I watched as thereafter the DE 173 became rapidly invisible to human eyes.” Allende’s story was, to be sure, incredible. But, the important thing was: was it true? It sounded like an amazing hoax. But, there was just something about the story which made Jessup suspect this was not a joke at all. The more that Allende related the growing aspects of the tale, the more and more Jessup was reeled in. Allende told him that while the experiment worked – in terms of achieving both teleportation and invisibility – it had terrible, adverse effects upon the crew. Many of them had gone completely and utterly insane and lived out the rest of their lives in asylums for the insane. Some vanished from view and were never seen nor heard from again. Others were fused into the deck of the ship, flesh and metal combined into one. Agonizing deaths were the only fates for these poor souls. If you buy into the story, of course. Many do not.
Morris Jessup’s books (Nick Redfern)
Jessup knew, with the stakes being so potentially high, that he had to dig into the story further – and he did precisely that. Jessup was able to confirm that Allende was indeed on the Andrew Furuseth at the time. That was good news. Things got downright fraught for Jessup, however, when, practically out of the blue, Jessup was contacted by the U.S. Navy: they had received – anonymously – a copy of Jessup’s book, The Case for the UFO. It was filled with scrawled messages written in pen and included numerous data on the events which allegedly went down in the Philadelphia Naval Yard in 1943. The Navy insisted on a meeting with Jessup. That was not good. When the meeting went down, and Jessup was shown the annotated copy of his book, he was amazed to see that the annotations were the work of Carlos Allende. Jessup – worried about an official backlash – spilled the beans, revealed all he knew, and then went on his way. As for the Navy, it had dozens of copies of the annotated version made. Why? No-one, even to this day, is too sure. That was not quite the end of it, though: in 1959, Jessup was found dead in his car, in a Florida park. For the UFO research community of the day, Jessup’s death was viewed through highly suspicious eyes.