The Philadelphia Experiment From A-Z

Death of a Legend

On October 22, 1999 I received a UPS Worldwide Express Envelope today marked Urgent. It was from a scrap metal Trading Corporation in Pirae Greece the letter states;

  “Subject: ex. USS ELDRIDGE

We have been informed of your interest for the abovementioned vessel. 
We have taken the liberty to write to you this letter in order to inform you that this vessel is now under our ownership. Therefore if you would still have an interest on this vessel please contact us at the abovementioned address and numbers, preferably in Piraeus – Greece, as soon as possible.”

Looks as though they are looking for a buyer before turning it into scrap metal.

I tried to contact them several times after receiving the letter.

On September 21, 2000 I was able to talk to someone at the Scrap Metal Trading Company, they stated that the Eldridge was transferred to a demolition company for dismantle/destruction, and that they will try to provide more information on the name of the demolition company, and any photos they may of taken. in the end no further information was provided..

Somewhat of a case closed.

Eldridge Serving in the Greek Navy as the HNS Leon D54, 1952

Some of the Last Color Photos Published of the USS Eldridge before it was scrapped appeared in a pretty unlikely place; The Greek Edition of Playboy Magazine. I did find the following claims interesting; (translated from the original Greek so the wording may not be perfect)

Greek Playboy (Oct 1996)

“In the last few years, various American Navy committees have visited the ship and seemed very interested in its future.  The workmen that we found were very carefully removing and bringing together all the small parts of the ship, even the smallest screws. Generally, all these components put together would make up the whole ship except for its hull/keel(?). Afterwards they were separated into categories and written up in lists that the American Navy has given us of 50000 items(?). There are rumors that the “Aetos”, the twin ship of the “Leon” has for a long time now been anchored in a shipyard in Missisisippi and completely hollow awaiting the “organs donation” (all the spare parts removed from “Leon”) in order to be able to sail again.”

“..the ship of the Philadelphia Experiment is in a state of demolition. The workmen in the inner part of the

ship, remove and then arrange according to categories, every object including smallest screws. All these components are included in a special list that was given to us by the American Navy and included 50000 kinds.” [1]

While working on the documentary “Histories Mysteries” one of the production team tried to contact the photographer and relayed there conversation to me;

“I was talking to the photographer of Greek Playboy’s wife and she informed me the US Navy was overseeing the dismantling of the ship. She said many of the parts were shipped back to the US. Strange, considering the ship was so old and the Navy no longer uses Destroyer Escorts.” – Julieann Pavesi [2]

Another interesting story comes from William Reinard of Philadelphia, PA;

“In the summer of 2000 I went to Crete to help a bunch of veterans get a WWII era tank landing ship up and running. I was staying at a Greek Naval Base in Xania or Hania where LST-325 was berthed at. While working I got to talking with Greek sailors there who spoke broken English. One of them informed me that the ex USS Eldridge was right across the harbor nested with other ex US Navy ships. He pointed out to me which one was the Eldridge. I asked him why he had brought up that particular ship and he said the sailors on base were tasked with making regular rounds on those ships to check for flooding and damage. (Our US Navy has an identical duty and it’s called Sounding & Security, I’ve stood my share when I was active duty.)”

“The Greek sailor started telling me that the base considered the Eldridge haunted. None would go on alone and that particular duty is really a one man rover. They said screams were regularly heard on it along with other unexplained humming noises. Someone always stayed on the pier by the ship when the rover went onboard.”


[1]“The Philadelphia Experiment”  Published in Greek Playboy, Oct 1996 Pg 78~84
[2]Personal Email from Wellergrossman Productions, November 8th, 2000

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