Navy Dept: Public Liaison Branch
August 20, 1987.
Dear Mr. K,
Over the years we have receive innumerable queries about the so-called "Philadelphia Experiment" or "Project" and the alleged role of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in it. The frequency of these queries predictably intensifies each time the experiment is mentioned by the popular press, often in a science fiction book.
The genesis of the Philadelphia Experiment myth dates back to 1955 with the publication of The Case for UFO's by the late Dr. Morris K. Jessup, a scientist with a Ph.D. in astrophysics and a varied career background.
Some time after the publication of the book, Dr. Jessup received a letter from Carlos Miquel Allende, who gave his address as R.D. #1, Box 223, New Kensington, PA. In the letter, Allende commented on Dr. Jessup's book and gave details of an alleged secret naval experiment in Philadelphia in 1943. During the experiment, according to Allende, a ship was rendered invisible and tele-ported to and from Norfolk in a few minutes with some terrible after-effects for the crew members. Supposedly, this incredible feat was accomplished by applying Einstein's never-completed "unified field" theory. Allende claimed that he had witnesses the experiment from another ship and that the incident was reported in a Philadelphia newspaper. Neither the identity of Allende, nor that of the newspaper has ever been established.
In 1956 a copy of Jessup's book was mailed anonymously to Admiral Furth, the Chief of Naval Research. The pages of the book were interspersed with hand-written annotations and marginalia apparently made by three different persons as they passed the book back and forth among them. The notations implied a knowledge of UFO's, their means of motion and generally, the culture and ethos of the beings occupying these UFO's.
The book came to the attention of two officers then assigned to ONR who happened to have a personal interest in the subject. It was they who contacted Dr. Jessup and asked him to take a look at his book. By the wording and style of one of the writers of the notations, Dr. Jessup concluded that the writer was the same person who had written him about the Philadelphia Experiment. It was also these two officers who personally had the book retyped and who arranged for the publication, in type-written form, of 25 copies. The officers and their personal belongings have left ONR many years ago, and we do not have even a file copy of the annotated book.
The Office of Naval Research never conducted an official study of the manuscript. As for the Philadelphia Experiment itself, ONR has never conducted any investigations on invisibility, either in 1943 or at any other time. (ONR was established in 1946). In view of present scientific knowledge, our scientists do not believe that such an experiment could be possible except in the realm of science fiction. A scientific discovery of such importance, if it had in fact occurred, could hardly remain a secret for such a long time.
I hope this provides a satisfactory answer to your inquiry.