The Philadelphia Experiment From A-Z

Ships of the Experiment

A number of ships are described as being part of, or witness to, the Philadelphia Experiment. Below we will discuss the various ships in detail, and their alleged involvement in the experiment. This table shows the Eldridge (The main ship said to of been the experimental vessel), sister ships produced at the time, and any other ships mentioned to be possibly involved.

SHIPBUILDERLAID DOWNLAUNCHEDIN SERVICELATER RENAMEDROLE IN PX
DE 173 USS EldridgeFederal SB, Port NewarkFeb 22,1943Jun 25,1943Aug 27,1943D 54 Leon
(Greece 1951)
Main Ship Named In the PX
In Convoy's with the
Andrew Furuseth
DE 193 USS Garfield
Thomas
Federal SB, Port NewarkSep 23, 1943Dec 12, 1943Jan 1, 1944D 67 Panthir
(Greece 1951)
None, Eldridge Sister Ship
DE 766 USS SlaterTampa Ship-buildingMar 9, 1943Feb 13, 1944May 1, 1944D 31 Hierax
(Greece 1951)
None, Eldridge Sister Ship
(Turned into a Museum)
DE 768 USS EbertTampa Ship-buildingApr 1, 1943May 11, 1944Jul 12,1944D 01 Aetos
(Greece 1951)
None, Eldridge Sister Ship
Andrew FurusethPermanente Metals
Corporation's #1 Yard
Jul 22, 1942Sep 7, 1942Oct, 1943Essi
(Norway, 1946)
Niobe
(Japan, 1959)
Ship Carl Allen Served On
and Witnessed the PX From
In Convoy's with the
USS Eldridge & Amick
DE-168 USS AmickFederal Shipbuilding
and Drydock Company
Jan 7, 1943May 27, 1943Jul 26, 1943DE-262 Asahi
(Japan 1955)
BRS Datu Siratuna
(Philippines, 1976)
Carl Named this ship as
being involved
In Convoy's with the
Andrew Furuseth
CVS 36 AntietamPhiladelphia Naval YardMar 15, 1943Aug 20, 1944Jan 28, 1945Decommissioned
(In 1963)
Letter read about the PX
to Crew
DE 50 USS EngstromPhiladelphia Navy YardApr 1, 1942Jul 24, 194221 June 1943BDE-50 HMS Drury
(At Launch)
Engstrom
(4 Mar 1943)
Edward Dudgeon
states that his ship
passed the Eldridge
(on its way to Norfolk.)
THE FIRST TEST SHIPS

In 1940 Joseph Dunninger a Magician (known as “The Amazing Dunninger”, was cited as one of the most famous and proficient mentalists of all time) submitted ideas on battleship invisibility to the U.S. Navy from a “magician’s point of view.” Could this of sparked the interest of the Navy starting them on a path to develop invisibility technology?

“Mr. Dunninger said he had demonstrated his apparatus, which made a model battleship invisible, at the United States Department {of the Navy} in Washington.” [1a]

The first ship test, allegedly performed in 1940, was on a small unmanned, unnamed ship in the Brooklyn Naval Yard. The equipment was put on the ship and powered from two adjacent ships, with the sought-after invisibility a complete success.

U.S.S. ELDRIDGE DESTROYER ESCORT (DE 173)

Since the publication of Berlitz and Moore’s “The Philadelphia Experiment” in 1979 breathed new life into the PX legend for a whole new generation of readers, it has been accepted without question that the name of the ship used in the experiment was the U.S.S. Eldridge, also known as the DE 173. But how do we know this? Did Carl Allen ever specifically name the ship used in the experiment? And if so, just when did Carl Allen first state that the Eldridge was the ship involved?

the little experimental Navy ship, the DE 173…”

“watched as thereafter the DE 173 became rapidly invisible to human eyes…”

“in trying to describe the sounds that force field made as it circled around the DE 173” – Carl M. Allen [1]

“Whatever the truth of the incident, the destroyer mentioned as taking part in the experiment, the U.S.S. Eldridge, D-173, did exist.” – Charles Berlitz [2]

“…It had spread out from the target ship (the DE173).” – Carl Allen

In the early accounts (pre-Berlitz and Moore) the name of the main ship used in the experiment is not given. Carl Allen only states in his letters to Morris Jessup that a “destroyer escort” was used. It was later, when Bill Moore interviewed him in The Philadelphia Experiment, that Allen mentions the ship’s I.D. number as “DE 173.” So it would appear that there is no identification assigned to the ship until Moore’s book came along in 1979. As far as Moore’s treatment of the name Eldridge, it seems to appear without prior warning on page 155, tied to the DE 173 by Moore himself. Is this Moore’s own assumption? Or did Carl Allen make the identification?

Charles Berlitz

Charles Berlitz

But wait! In Charles Berlitz’s book “Without A Trace”, (published in 1977, previous to Moore’s involvement in writing about the PX) both names for the ship appear, seemingly out of nowhere! Where did Mr. Berlitz get his information? He does not seem to mention any interview with Carl Allen. In an earlier publication by Berlitz, “The Bermuda Triangle” (published in 1974), there is an account of the PX but lacking a name or I.D. number for the test craft. Question: When did these names materialize and where did they originate? Is Charles Berlitz the source for the names, or did he get them from other current publications of the time period, or did Carl Allen supply them? Was Bill Moore collaborating with Berlitz earlier than the writing of The Philadelphia Experiment, since the interview with Allen appears in Moore’s 1979 book, in which Allen clearly refers to the ship as the DE 173?

To further the mystery, in 1979 Carl Allen states that there were two DE-173’s [3] outfitted with the same experimental equipment. Later in December of the same year Carl changes his story yet again. (The following paragraph was found in an annotated copy of the Moore & Berlitz “The Philadelphia Experiment” that Carl sent home to his parents.)

So as TWO ships, DE-173 AND DE-168 (or some such I.D. Number) were BOTH patrolling our sector of the convoy, I HAD A CHOICE… LOGIC INFORMED me that it was, LOGICALLY, the DE-173. 1 WAS WRONG & it is a good thing I was wrong BECAUSE THE REAL, ACTUAL experimental ship’s LOG-BOOK, chock-full of RECORDS, REMAINS PROBABLY UNDESTROYED AND AVAILABLE…” Carl Allen [4]

Later in a newspaper interview for the Colorado Centennial County News (Aug 22nd, 1986) Carl States;

“Einstein was on a test ship, the DE-168. I was on the SS Furuseth. We were in a military convoy with many, many ships. I was on the bow….The forcefield was under my nose, you might say – under my chest and neck. It had spread out from the target ship (the DE-173).” – Carl Allen

Well, just at the point where we had decided that we had properly catalogued all of the apparent confusion over the issue, we were confronted with the evidence that Moore gives on p. 238 of “The Philadelphia Experiment:

Reilly H. Crabb

Reilly H. Crabb

Researcher Reilly H. Crabb of the Borderland Sciences Research Foundation (BSRF) received a letter during the 1960’s from a Navy man named “Griffin” who claimed to have information on the subject. Moore relates that

“He went on to say that some years before while stationed on the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean, he had encountered the old DE 173, then serving in the Greek Navy under the name Leon. According to Griffin’s letter, during this ship’s stay in port a certain individual had pointed out to him that this was the ship which the Americans had tried to make invisible during World War II….”

“Allende himself had named only the S.S. Furuseth in his letters to Jessup, and in fact only many years later disclosed that the name of the experimental ship was the DE 173! If Griffin’s informant didn’t get his information from Allende, then where did he get it?”

So from this information it would appear that it was Griffin’s letter to Crabb that first provides us with the names DE 173 and Léon (with no reference to the ship’s previous name, such as Eldridge). Is it possible that Carl Allen, reading the UFO-type journals of the time, picked up on this and so had that information several years later when interviewed by Moore?

Now let’s look at the “official” history of the Eldridge as provided by the U.S. Navy.

The Naval Department’s “official history” of the Eldridge states that the ship was one of four destroyer escorts of the Bostwick class constructed using the same plans. The Eldridge was built by Federal Shipbuilding & Dry-docks, Port Newark, New Jersey, and was launched on July 25, 1943. The ship was commissioned in the New York Navy Yard on August 27, 1943. (refer to Table 2 / Top of page, For the physical dimensions and other statistics of the Eldridge, refer to the Table 1). The Eldridge’s shakedown cruise began early in September, finished on December 28th, and took place around Bermuda, British West Indies area. Between January 4th and May 9th, 1945 the Eldridge completed nine trips escorting convoys. The ship was decommissioned on June 17th 1946, and finally transferred to Greece under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program, as one of four ships in U.S. Cannon class, to the Greek Navy on January 15th, 1951. The Eldridge was renamed the Léon.

Below is the official history taken from the Eldridge’s War Diary;

Bill Moore also states that the Greek Navy had ongoing problems with the Eldridge themselves (which could mean anything) and had to strip it down, repaint it, and re-outfit it. [5]

“There are some stories from crew members that they sometimes had strange illusions when they served on the ship, or they felt some strange vibrations even when the entire ship’s machinery was out of operation.” – George Pantoulas

In 1990 the Léon and Panthir entered the reserve service of the Greek Navy.

The Eldridge’s official history contains a few discrepancies (to be explained), and may have been possibly falsified, or in error, up to January 4th, 1944. One “Antisubmarine Action by Surface Ship” report filed by the commander of the Eldridge on December 14, 1943 clearly stated the ship’s latitude (34 01’ N), longitude (08 57’ W) and direction of travel (054) on November 20, 1943. [6] Its position was 200 miles off the coast of Casablanca. This was over 3,000 miles from the “official history’s” recorded position of the Eldridge. This also means that its first escort duty was not in January of 1944 but actually on November 20, 1943. The Greek records of the Eldridge (obtained from the Americans) lists the launch date of June 25, 1943, a full 30 days earlier than stated in the “official history.” [7]

Deck logs of the Eldridge for the period from the date of commission (Aug. 27th, 1943) to January 1st, 1944, were “missing.” The engineering logs turned up although they do not contain much information, but they do contain dates and places that “don’t add up” with the “official history.”

“I have visited the ship three times, the commander and first engineer are very close friends of mine, and I had the opportunity to have a look in the ship’s logbook. I can assure you that the pages of the time of Philadelphia Experiment are missing, someone cut them out from the logbook.” – George Pantoulas

The Eldridge’s War Diary / comments section of the log books are intact and currently available on microfilm. They include the date, location of the ship at 08:00, 12:00, 20:00, and hand written/signed notes every four hours. The following people served on the Eldridge in October 1943; (the hand writing makes some names exact spelling questionable.)

  • William K. Van Allen – Lt (Navigator)
  • Charles R. Hamilton – Lt (Commanding Officer)
  • Charles Hartz – Lt.
  • Robert L. Leblair – Ensign
  • Richard Brooks – Lt.
  • Max Gibbs – Ensign
  • Ralph C. Swartz – Lt.
  • Charles B. Salsbuary – Lt.
  • John R. Metz – Ensign
  • Bruce McDonald – Ensign
  • T. Lyons (Pilot)
  • C. B. Barnes (Pilot)
  • A. Arnesen (Pilot came aboard on Oct 29,1943 at 12:03)
  • S.J. Kelley (Pilot) [8]

The following names come from a article that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, on March 26,1999

  • Ed Wise (from Salem, Ind.)
  • Ted Davis (from Grand Island, Neb.)
  • Bill Van Allen (Executive officer and then captain of the Eldridge in 1943 and 1944, from Charlotte, NC)
  • Ray Perrino (from Cranston, RI)
  • Mike Perlstein (from Warminster)
  • Ed Tempany (from Carteret, NJ)

Another source of names can be found on this site U.S.S. ELDRIDGE (DE-173) Crew Roster.

In 2017 I contacted Susan Sallamack, daughter of Edward Tempany, her firm statement on the PX is as follows;

“My Dad, Edward J. Tempany, was on the Eldridge from the day it was commissioned until it was placed out of commission. His entire family observed the launch a month earlier. My Dad was a no-nonsense guy. He absolutely denied that anything like the Philadelphia Experiment occurred, nor would he believe anything like it. He was one of those guys with skills — all sorts of skills, Engine room, Electric, Refrigeration, Construction, you name it, he did it. A critical thinker. Don’t fall for this”

After the experiment, the Eldridge (while in service) exhibited a “much higher degree” of desertions, and requested transfers of personnel. [9]

William Moore

William Moore

Moore states that the Eldridge displaced 660 tons less when it was transferred over to the Greek Navy (and renamed the Léon) on January 15, 1951. He goes on to say that the only way a ship can become 660 tons more buoyant is by the removal of weight (correct), possibly in the form of experimental equipment. I feel Moore may of not interpreted the information accurately. First the explanation of “standard” and “Fully Loaded” weight is in order. The “standard” weight reflects the weight of the ship at launching, not including weapons / ammunition, crew, provisions, etc. that are included in the “Fully Loaded” weight. The standard displacement of the Eldridge was 1,240 tons both before and after the transfer to the Greek Navy. After the transfer only the fully loaded weight changes. Was there equipment removed? Yes, three 21” triple mount torpedo tubes were removed, and over three times as many Anti-Aircraft guns were added. (See Table 1a) With all the extra A.A. Guns, the amount of ammunition stored on the Eldridge would naturally increase. Further, If there was any real difference in the “Fully Loaded” Displacement it was not 660 tons, rather only 380 tons. (See Table 1 to the right)

“Also inside the ship [Léon/1996] are a lot of wires that do not go anywhere… they just exist and give the ship engineers a big headache until they realized that this wiring were the remains of the experiment’s machinery.” – George Pantoulas

Comparison of “U.S.” (Pre-Transfer) and “Greek” (After Trasfer to the Greek Navy) figures on the Eldridge, the book “Combat Fleets of the World: 1982/83” issued by the Naval Institute press, and the Eldridge’s War Diary – Microfilm NRS1978-28.

LIBERTY SHIP S.S. ANDREWS FURUSETH

Carl Allen states that he witnessed the strange experiment conducted on the Eldridge from the deck of the S.S. Andrew Furuseth. Carl goes on to say that he placed his hand and arm into the “Hyperfield” generated by the experiment. Since Carl Allen claims that the field extends approximately 100 yards out from the Eldridge, the Furuseth would have to have been positioned between 90-110 yards from the Eldridge.

“I was on the SS Furuseth. We were in a military convoy with many, many ships. I was on the bow. There is a place where you can stand on top of thick covers, about a foot above the deck. That’s where I was. The railing was curved. I hooked my left hand under the railing and leaned out as far as I could. The forcefield was under my nose, you might say – under my chest and neck. It had spread out from the target ship (the DE173).” – Carl Allen

In the 100’s of books written on the experiment you will never see the full/side view of the S.S.Andrew Furuseth, I have tracked down some new images of the ship never before used in publications. (above)

A check into the history of the S.S. Andrew Furuseth revealed the following facts. The ship was one of six Liberty ships named for labor leaders, and one of 174 ships total. Keel laid down on July 22nd of 1942, and launched on September 7th, 1942 as Hull No. 491 at Permanente Metals Corporation’s #1 Yard in Richmond, California. The Furuseth was designated a War Shipping Administration Transport with a capacity of 550 men. According to the Matson Navigation Company, the Furuseth completed two voyages to North Africa: The first on August 13th, 1943 (New York – Norfolk – North Africa) and the second on October 25th, 1943. The captain of the Andrew Furuseth at the time was William S. Dodge.

In 1946 the Furuseth was sold to Norway after the war, and was renamed the Essi and served in the Norwegian Merchant Fleet. [9a]

In 1959, she was sold to Japanese owners and renamed Niobe. In June of 1967 the history of the Furuseth ends when it was scraped at Hirao, Japan. [10]

The log books of the Furuseth had been classified as “destroyed by executive order.” [11] The crew records were recovered in 1976, and confirm that Carl Allen was on board the ship. Mr. Allen had served on the Furuseth from July 1943 to January 18th 1944. The records also proved that the three people Carl Allen states were with him, were also on the Furuseth:

  • Chief Mate Arthur Mawdesley
  • Richard C. “Splicey” Price an 18-19 year old sailor from Roanoke, Virginia, died in 1973
  • Patrick J. Connally from New England [12]

Three other possible crew members (all from the New York-New England area) that may have been on ship:

  • Ships boson Hermann C. Schultz
  • William Reilly /Ripley
  • Lewis Vincent [13]

“The Archives has a letter from Lieutenant Junior Grade William S. Dodge, USNR, (Ret.), the master of Andrew Furuseth in 1943, categorically denying that he or his crew observed any unusual event while in Norfolk. Eldridge and Andrew Furuseth were not even in Norfolk at the same time.” — Department of the Navy/Naval Historical Center

One final note: If one retraces the routs of the ships in question the Furuseth and the Eldridge may have been within visual distance while Carl Allen served. Later in 1944 some convoys had all three ships Carl names as being involved traveling together; The USS Eldridge, USS Amick, and Andrew Furuseth. However Carl Allen finished his service on the Furuseth on Jan 18th, 1944. (Not Complete but clearly shows the ships were in convoys together over time);

ConvoyDepartDateArriveDate
GUS.41Port Said24 May 1944Hampton Roads19 June 1944
GUS.34Port Said15 March 1944Hampton Roads14 April 1944
UGS.48Hampton Roads14 July 1944Port Said8 August 1944
I looked into some of the other ships Carl Allen served on in 1944~1946 and compared available convoy reports. I was hoping I would find other times Carl had been in convoy with the Eldridge, but anytime I thought I had a match it was just outside of the time frame Carl served on the ship.

OTHER SHIPS

Edward Dudgeon served on the U.S.S. Engstrom (DE 50) from June 1943 on. Mr. Dudgeon states that his ship passed the Eldridge (on its way to Norfolk.)

The Cargo Ship S.S. Malay reportedly witnessed the experiment. [14]  While doing research into this claim I did not find a SS Malay that would fit the time frame and location. I could only find a Malay Tanker that had records of being Torpedo & Shelled on January 18th of 1942 resulting in 4 deaths.  There was a SS Malay, a Norwegian cargo ship in service from 1959 to 1961 and now known as SS Ambria, however this by dates alone could not be the “Malay” that witnessed the experiment in 1943. I did find something interesting during my research though; “Yours Truly Johnny Dollar” was one of the longest-running detective series on radio. It aired on CBS Radio for 15 minutes from 1948 to 1962. On February 10, 1950 the episode was entitled “The SS Malay Trader Ship.” Leads one to wonder if this is where the name of the ship came from that Carl Allen gave to Moore.

In 1945 The U.S.S. Antietam (CV-36) went into the Philadelphia Naval Yard for degaussing. The crew, having heard of the PX legend, was starting to get concerned that their ship might be used for a continuation of the experiment. To ease tension, Captain J. R. Tague called all crew to quarters and read a memo from the Secretary of the Navy about the PX. The memo stated that the PX happened on October 28, 1943. This event was entered into the log of the Antietam in May, 1945. [15] The Antietam was a angled deck prototype Aircraft Carrier, and decommissioned in 1963. [16]

WALKING ON THE DECKS OF THE ELDRIDGE

Presently the Eldridge’s Sister ship the DE-766 (The last Destroyer Escort afloat in the USA) is moored on the Hudson River in Albany, New York. The USS SLATER has undergone an extensive restoration that has returned the ship to her former glory. This is an excellent opportunity to get a real first hand experience of the size and technology of the time on what is essentially a copy of the Eldridge.

The museum offers hour-long guided tours of the ship and history. I visited the Slater on various occasions, and was interviewed for television Documentaries on the ship.

 

For more information;

USS Slater Tour Brochure


[1a]“The Philadelphia Experiment” by Bill Moore & Charles Berlitz, Pg 231

[1]“The Philadelphia Experiment” by Bill Moore & Charles Berlitz, Pg 110-111

[2]“Without A Trace” by Charles Berlitz, Pg 171

[3]Alias Carlos Allende” by Robert A. Goerman, Published in FATE magazine, Pg. 75

[4]Alias Carlos Allende” by Robert A. Goerman, Published in FATE magazine, Pg. 75

[5]“Without A Trace” by Charles Berlitz, Pg 171, Paragraph 2.

[6] “Antisubmarine Action By Surface Ship” Report on microfilm # NRS 1978-28 WWII WD/RPTS.

[7]“The Philadelphia Experiment” by Bill Moore & Charles Berlitz, Pg 161-166

[8] Eldridge’s “War Diary” on Microfilm #NRS 1978-28 WWII WD/RPTS.

[9]“The Bermuda Triangle” Movie by Schick Sunn Classic Pictures

[9a]Norwegian Merchant Fleet” website

[10]“The Liberty Ships” by L.A. Sawyer and W.H. Mitchell, Pg 122

[11]“The Philadelphia Experiment” by Bill Moore & Charles Berlitz, Pg 160

[12]“Mysteries of Mind, Space & Time – The Unexplained”, Pg. 2215

[13]“The Philadelphia Experiment” by Bill Moore & Charles Berlitz, Pg 117

[14]“Without A Trace” by Charles Berlitz, Pg 171, Paragraph 2

[15]“The Philadelphia Experiment” by Bill Moore & Charles Berlitz, Pg 251-252

[16]“Conways All The Worlds Fighting Ships 1947-1982” by Naval Institute Press, Pg 193

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