What They Didn't Want You To Know

by Joe Turner

One of the A & E Channel's investigative TV programs has now found the tables turned on it in the most ironic fashion. "The Unexplained," a Sightings/Unsolved Mysteries" knock-off that deals with the paranormal and mysterious, has been the focus of an investigation led by one of its past experts. The findings of this investigation, conducted by a real life "Fox Mulder," firmly place "The Unexplained's" episode, "Strange Disappearances" in the same context as the Hitler Diaries and CNN's recent news debacle on nerve gassing Viet Nam deserters. Like the CNN Viet Nam story, the episode dealt with a military operation. A test in W.W.II that would have been the latest development in a long history of military camouflage. Total optical and radar invisibility. The Philadelphia Experiment.

" caught fire, went mad, and - the most bizarre of all, some were embedded halfway into the deck of the ship. Others phased in and out of this reality..."
Much has been written and speculated about this legend of an experiment in "electronic camouflage," both pro and con. Reportedly it ended with the ship teleporting from Philadelphia to Norfolk with some crew members becoming embedded in the ship. Sorting the facts from the fiction has proven an almost impossible task, particularly with the recent flux of misinformation and deliberate disinformation that has been injected into the internet by those connected to the U.S. intelligence community, professional skeptics and arm chair researchers.

Against this confusing tapestry there have been a few constants. They are that one, Carlos Miguel Allende, claimed in the 1950s to have been a witness to a test at sea of a ship being made optically invisible using strong electromagnetic force fields when he was a sailor onboard the merchant marine vessel SS Furuseth in 1943. He also claimed that during another test that went wrong, some of the men caught fire, went mad, and - the most bizarre of all, some were embedded halfway into the deck of the ship. Others phased in and out of this reality, only kept here by the laying on of hands. Allende wrote a series of strange letters in 1955 to Morris K. Jessup, a researcher who had written the book "The Case For The UFO." It was Allende's fear that the same technology that was responsible for the disasters of the Philadelphia Experiment was the secret behind the propulsion method used successfully by UFOs. Jessup had called for research into such force fields of UFOs without having any knowledge of the navy experiment, and this alarmed Allende.

Official Nany photograph of the US Eldridge during ceremonies for its commission. The Eldridge was the ship used in the controversial experiment in 1943.

Allende's letters were filled with cryptic references and mailed from an assortment of locales around America. They can be read on-line at . Jessup eventually dismissed Allende as a crank until in 1957 he was contacted by Capt. Sidney Sherby and Comdr. George Hoover, two officers from the Office of Naval Research. They had received a copy of Jessup's book with strange annotations in the margins about a vanishing ship, aliens and other anomalies. The officers from ONR asked Jessup to travel to Washington D.C. to meet with them and discuss what the annotations might mean. When Jessup got there he was surprised to see that the annotations appeared to be from Allende although they had been written in three different colored inks as though three separate individuals had been writing comments.

Jessup had no idea what to make of it and was a little unsettled by the interest that these ONR officers had in the writing, especially about the ship that was made invisible and it's crew severely injured. The officers even paid Varo Inc. to reprint copies of the annotated version of Jessup's book and had them passed around ONR for consideration. Jessup confided in his friend Ivan Sanderson that he felt the officers might want to try the experiment again. Meanwhile Jessup's life began to be plagued by what he called "strange coincidences." He began to complain about his health. and his research efforts took a turn for the worse. In 1959 he was found dead in his car from carbon monoxide poisoning and declared a suicide without the benefit of an autopsy. Many believe to this day that he was actually murdered, with Allende left roaming the country to escape the same fate.

The Office of Naval Research has created a number of form "response" letters over the years to handle public inquiries into the Philadelphia Experiment. The latest version can be found at Somewhat embarrassed by all the attention drawn to them by the activities of the now long gone officers, and having not been in existence at the time of the experiment, the ONR has had to handle the lion's share of public requests for clarification and information. Until 1996 they had no trouble shrugging off accusations of cover-up with simple explanations about degaussing and misunderstandings about the word "invisible." They contend that the legend got started based on the routine task of demagnetizing or "degaussing" the ships so as to be "invisible" to magnetic mines and torpedoes. Echoing this position on "The Unexplained," as an official representative of the US. Navy, was US. naval historian John Reilly. Reilly stated that, as far as he knew, the navy never experimented with making ships invisible with magnetic fields. The navy has been long indirectly assisted in these apologetic efforts by the usual gaggle of disinforments.

"The Unexplained" featured an interview with researcher Robert Goerman, saying that he solved the mystery of the Philadelphia Experiment by a discovery he made about Carlos Allende. A writer from Pennsylvania who penned articles for pulp UFO magazines in the '70s, Goerman considered himself to be "a player," at least an also-ran amongst the galaxy of name UFO researchers of the time. When the book, "The Philadelphia Experiment: Project Invisibility," by William Moore and Charles Berlitz came out in 1979, Goerman was motivated to do his own investigation but in a different direction. Instead of checking into the new information and science that the book mentioned, he latched onto Allende because of a quirk of fate - his parents were neighbors of the parents of Allende. Furthermore, Allende's real name was Allen, Carl Meredith Allen. Goerman's daughter used to visit the Allens and it was just by chance that he discovered that they were in fact the family of the elusive Philadelphia Experiment "witness."

After agreeing to keep certain information about the family confidential, the Allens allowed Goerman to review various cards, letters, and other things that Carl had sent to his family. They described Carl as "a leg puller," and someone who was very intelligent but lacked the discipline to achieve his full potential. It was clear from the items that Goerman looked over that Carl would annotate everything. He was even quirkier and more eccentric than he had ever imagined. Armed with this new information, Goerman was convinced that he had the truth, especially after having conversations with Carl himself. Ignoring all other available information, Goerman wrote "Alias: Carlos Allende" and it was published in "Fate" magazine in 1980, now archived on the internet at . But Goerman's article was not well received by others in the UFO community. He has remained bitter about this, accusing those who ignore or disagree with his analysis as only being interested in "selling their books." An accusation that Goerman made on "The Unexplained" and intentionally or not, inferred this as a motive of the wrong researcher.

"I know the applicable laws, how to operate with law enforcement, do investigations, have a badge and I.D., weapons, the whole nine yards and all legal. I'm versed in psy-ops, surveillance, counter-surveillance, stings, non-lethal weapons. I know how and can intervene in a felony in progress and execute arrest procedures until law enforcement arrives. I've actually been involved in cases against pedophiles, a rouge psychic spy, Men In Black related activity, potential terrorism related to Y2K that threatens national security. No cops or state police have complained so far. I think that earns me the 'special'." So says Marshall Barnes, Special Civilian Investigator Marshall Barnes who "The Unexplained" had contacted through his book distributor because he was described as an expert on the Philadelphia Experiment. Under the pretext of trying to get to the truth, Mark Caras allegedly got Marshall to agree to appear on the show and not allow arguments that Marshall had disproved to go unchallenged.

"...the crux of it all came down to the use of an intense electromagnetic field that would create a mirage effect of invisibility by refracting light..."

Marshall had been in a similar situation in November of 1996 with the Sci-Fi Channel's version of Sightings, the magazine format show that the Fox network originally created. It was the first to break ground in the field of reporting the strange and paranormal. Marshall used an eleven point white paper to successfully pitch the idea of doing a story on how he could prove that the last paragraph of the ONR information letter was false, that there was in fact a scientific basis for invisibility known before the letter was written. Marshall assembled all of the evidence to prove his case along with a physicist for Sightings' cameras. Six months later, after he and the physicist had been told separate stories about why the episode hadn't aired yet, Marshall took things into his own hands and used a bit of his investigator know how to trick his way into talking with one of the executive producers. She told him the episode had been canceled because there were no witnesses to verify the Philadelphia Experiment had taken place.

"That was not part of the deal," Marshall recalls. "I never said that I could prove that it happened, only that the ONR's statement was false about the science and that's what I did. The story was sold on that basis. It passed muster in a production meeting where ideas were voted on up or down. Maleka Brown brought it to that meeting and Ruth Rafiti was the producer it was assigned to. They sent out a director who hired a two man production crew to shoot all day. The first excuse was they ran out of editing money and needed a loan. Then they had to wait to see if they would be renewed for the next season. Finally someone admitted the episode was canceled but wouldn't tell me why. Then I tricked my way in to getting a phone call to one of the executive producer people who told me it was because there was no witnesses, which had nothing to do with the idea that Maleka sold at the meeting. This producer wasn't even in on it until later. It made no sense to kill that story, except for one thing - I proved I was right, and I did it right in front of their own cameras with one of my experiments and they were stunned. It was probably too good. It left no doubts. I had heard that Sightings had been infiltrated by government types after all the complaints that they got from the Pentagon when they were on Fox. Exposing Area 51, and all that. I had no opinion about that before. Now I'm almost convinced."