Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Philadelphia Experiment: Sixty years later

  1. Jul 19, 2003 #1

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    In my opinion, there is nothing to the famed "Philadelphia Experiment". I think this whole thing started by confusion about statements made by drunken sailors; about degaussing coils used to avoid detection by mines. There may have been some early work on RADAR "invisibility" as well.

    http://www.paranormalnews.com/article.asp?ArticleID=682
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 19, 2003 #2

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    I'm with you. I have seen this foolishness develop from a small conspiracy theory involving Albert Einstein to a mega hoohaw involving people who never existed. You are absolutely right on the original sources of the idea.
     
  4. Jul 20, 2003 #3
    So what where these so called experiments? where the US navy trying to make a battleship invisible? I have heard rumours about this on different TV programmes and stuff but nothing more.
     
  5. Jul 20, 2003 #4

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    My point here is don't bother. If you want to waste time, or if you enjoy busting hoaxes, the net is full of junk.
     
  6. Jul 20, 2003 #5
    Yea but what supposedly happened i love hearing about this kinda stuff, and i cant be bothered to look.
     
  7. Jul 20, 2003 #6
    How would we know?

    As a veteran that saw the way our government handled Agent Orange spraying in Vietnam, I would have trouble trusting anything our government says.
    Trying to make our battleships less visible is a natural motivation for many experiments and denial after is a natural occurance with people and governments.
    BTW, I would tend to trust sailors and other enlisted soldiers from that generation more than sailors and soldiers nowadays.
     
  8. Jul 20, 2003 #7

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    The original story was something like this; it won't resemble recent versions because as I said the stories keep mutating.

    So they said: During World War II the navy was experimenting with an invention that made ships invisible, which had been invented by the famous Dr. Albert Einstein, secretly working for the government.

    They tried it on a cruiser, the USS Philadelphia, with horrendous results. The ship was instantly transported many miles away and sailors were horribly mutilated as if they had been dissassembled and reassembled.

    That was the story, and there's nothing to it.
     
  9. Jul 20, 2003 #8
    Befor the orginal story- what may of happened

    Do you think befor the story started mutating it went something like this -- The Navy heard that causing a ship to vibrate would make it less visible at a distance of 5 miles or to radar, sonar, etc.
    And then the Navy said "Lets test that theory with something like __________ (insert your own atomic or radioactive or whatever your brain can figure out may have a remote chance of causing the ship to vibrate or look less vivid in color etc)
    That kind of scenario or many others make me surprized that people can dismiss the Philly story so easily.
    The older I get the less naive I get. Yeah okay, I am becoming a cynical ole bitter dude. But I also recall standing amongst Agent Orange being sprayed and not wanting to step further away from it because of possible land mines, , , and then when taking an Agent Orange exam at the VA - a examiner shows me on a map that Agent Orange wasn't sprayed in my area near Danang. Well, I remembered the spraying and I'll never forget our government trying to say it didn't happen.
    Philly thing was befor I was born but I sure wouldn't assume there was nothing to that story.
     
  10. Jul 20, 2003 #9

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Befor the orginal story- what may of happened


    If you review some of my posts in the UFO section, you will see that if I thought there was anything to it, I would be the first one stomping my feet about the evidence. But honestly, I have followed this story since I was a kid. Slowly but surely every aspect of this story fails after some investigation. Unlike many other claimed phenomena, I find that this story absolutely flops on its lying face.

    The degaussing coils were used to evade mines that detect fluctuations in the magnetic field as the steel from a ship passes over. By driving large AC electromagnets at the proper frequency, the magnetic sensors are fooled into a null state. This explains the high power coils used for this technique. From there it seems that the story passes into the public domain by a couple of drunken sailors talking in a bar.

    The optical invisibility techniques were another thing all together. These amazing high tech experiments involved paint. It is called camouflage.

    Radar invisibility may have involved jamming technology. Perhaps this was the early attempts at energy absorbing paint – which accounts for about 10% of the stealthiness [sic] of modern planes. Perhaps the concept of incident angle [for the incoming EM wave] was already being explored. But whatever it was, we do more than that now in the public view.

    Finally, and this was the final straw for me, I have seen interviews with Navy lifers who spent nearly every waking moment with this ship; from the start of construction until well after the alleged experiments. A number of these gents are still alive. They knew everything of significance that was done on the ship. They were the keeper of the flame you might say. They were the experts on THIS ship. They had no doubt whatsoever that nothing like this could have ever happened without their knowledge. I believed them. At this point I was done with the whole thing.
     
  11. Jul 21, 2003 #10

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    What I don't know is if the story really existed during WWII or was made up after the war. During the war, radar was a deep secret, and rumors about it could have given it magical properties.

    The attempt to defeat radar, now known as "stealth" began as soon as radar did, but for many years, including the period when this Philadelphia legend was forming, there was no progress. Could there have been a WWII Navy experiment in stealth? Maybe. But it wouldn't have accomplished anything, or the history of miltary radar would be much different than it is.

    By the way, just to complete the picture, the Soviets invented what you might call stealth by geometric configurations in the 70's, and we copied it. Remeber the SR-70? Some of the testing was at Area 51, producing yet more legends. Then we (I think) invented stealth-producing coatings, and the B-2 is fitted with these. They are very sensitive and have to be babied, but they work.
     
  12. Jul 21, 2003 #11
    Why is it that you beleive these lifers so much, is it not possible that they where ordered to say this or even payed to this? I am not saying that i beleive the story but the possibility of some very strange experiments going on is more than possible in my opinion.
     
  13. Jul 21, 2003 #12
    Anyone interested should see if
    they can find a copy of a book
    called "Magnets- The Education
    Of A Physicist" by Francis Bitter.
    Doubleday Anchor Books, Garden City, New York, 1959.

    Chapter 6 is called "Degaussing
    the Fleet"

    The subheadings are "Magnetic
    History of the Earth-A Letter from Washington-Fighting Nazi Magnetic
    Mines-A Trip to England-Taking the
    Magnetism out of Ships-Back to
    Washington-Studies of Magnetic
    Warfare"

    This is the only firsthand account
    I know of about the military's
    goals and activities regarding
    ships and magnetism during WW2
    and he mentions not one single
    peculiar incident of any kind.
     
  14. Jul 21, 2003 #13

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If not for the other problems with the story, this alone would not be enough to kill my interest. However one of the skills learned by investigating wild claims is the ability to differentiate between BSrs, and people telling what they believe to be the truth. These guys were completely convincing. Also, if you have ever studied body language, there are many clues that can indicate that a person is lying. I picked up no clues of deceit with any of these gentlemen.

    *****************************

    You might note that before body language was taught to politicians and diplomats, TV was already around. When one watches old footage of CIA, military, or other government officials discounting any evidence for UFOs, one often sees the classic body language of deceit. Now isn't that interesting! Sometimes it is like looking through a window.

    *****************************
     
  15. Jul 21, 2003 #14
    Thats cool, i just wanted to know why you beleived them but if you have studied body language then i can see why it makes them all the more convincing.
     
  16. Jul 21, 2003 #15

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I have looked at the basics and some simple concepts about body language can be helpful. Of course this is a clue not an absolute indicator.
     
  17. Jul 21, 2003 #16
    This is one of the more ridiculous claims, still not quite as bad as the follow up 'the montauk project' but they make some fine stories so its all good :)
     
  18. Jul 21, 2003 #17

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Lessons in history, deception, humility, and in human nature all have value as well.

    And doggonnit some of these things are downright entertaining!
    I do try to avoid obvious time wasters though.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Philadelphia Experiment: Sixty years later
  1. Sixty years ago today (Replies: 0)

Loading...