Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Philadelphia Experiment

This is one of the odder things I've seen pop up on the Google Hot Searches list. The "Philadelphia Experiment" refers to supposed research done by the United States Navy in World War Two into the teleportation of warships, and more specifically the USS Eldridge, which, according to legend, was teleported from Philadelphia to Norfolk sometime during 1943. This apparently comes up often enough that the Naval Historical Center has a FAQ sheet on it.

Of course, conspiracy-minded individuals (of which I'm sure I have a few in my regular readership) will be inclined to find obvious proof in the Navy's denial of involvement. Can you imagine, though, being assigned to the Naval Historical Center and being given the assignment to research the records to provide proof that the Navy has never attempted to teleport a 1240 ton destroyer over 200 miles away by purportedly eldritch means? I wonder how many times the requesting officer had to explain to whoever he ordered to do this research just what it was he wanted.

(It also amuses me that the ship's name is so close to "eldritch", which any reader of Terry Pratchett will know actually means "oblong".)

The supposed incident was memorialized (if such is possible regarding an event which never occured) into an eponymous movie, which I have never seen (and not even heard of before yesterday). Apparently the movie and the underlying hoax are recurring elements in government conspiracy theories, especially those popular with ufologists.

Just had to share this, being one of the stranger things I've read about lately.