Allegedly, in the fall of 1943 a U.S. Navy destroyer was made invisible and teleported from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Norfolk, Virginia, in an incident known as the Philadelphia Experiment. Records in the Archives Branch of the Naval History and Heritage Command have been repeatedly searched, but no documents have been located which confirm the event, or any interest by the Navy in attempting such an achievement.
The ship involved in the experiment was supposedly the USS Eldridge. The Archives has reviewed the deck log and war diary from Eldridge's commissioning on 27 August 1943 at the New York Navy Yard through December 1943. The following description of Eldridge's activities are summarized from the ship's war diary. After commissioning, Eldridge remained in New York and in the Long Island Sound until 16 September when it sailed to Bermuda. From 18 September, the ship was in the vicinity of Bermuda undergoing training and sea trials until 15 October when Eldridge left in a convoy for New York where the convoy entered on 18 October. Eldridge remained in New York harbor until 1 November when it was part of the escort for Convoy UGS-23 (New York Section). On 2 November the convoy entered Naval Operating Base, Norfolk. On 3 November, Eldridge and Convoy UGS-23 left for Casablanca where it arrived on 22 November. On 29 November, Eldridge left as one of escorts for Convoy GUS-22 and arrived with the convoy on 17 December at New York harbor. Eldridge remained in New York on availability training and in Block Island Sound until 31 December when it steamed to Norfolk with four other ships. During this time frame, Eldridge was never in Philadelphia.
A copy of Eldridge's complete World War II action report and war diary coverage, including the remarks section of the 1943 deck log, is held by the Archives on microfilm, NRS-1978-26. The original file is held by the National Archives.
Supposedly, the crew of the civilian merchant ship SS Andrew Furuseth observed the arrival via teleportation of the Eldridge into the Norfolk area. Andrew Furuseth's movement report cards are in the Tenth Fleet records in the custody of the Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, (8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001), which also has custody of the action reports, war diaries and deck logs of all World War II Navy ships, including Eldridge. The movement report cards list the merchant ship's ports of call, the dates of the visit, and convoy designation, if any. The movement report card shows that Andrew Furuseth left Norfolk with Convoy UGS-15 on 16 August 1943 and arrived at Casablanca on 2 September. The ship left Casablanca on 19 September and arrived off Cape Henry on 4 October. Andrew Furuseth left Norfolk with Convoy UGS-22 on 25 October and arrived at Oran on 12 November. The ship remained in the Mediterranean until it returned with Convoy GUS-25 to Hampton Roads on 17 January 1944. 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.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has stated that the use of force fields to make a ship and her crew invisible does not conform to known physical laws. ONR also claims that Dr. Albert Einstein's Unified Field Theory was never completed. During 1943-1944, Einstein was a part-time consultant with the Navy's Bureau of Ordnance, undertaking theoretical research on explosives and explosions. There is no indication that Einstein was involved in research relevant to invisibility or to teleportation. View ONR's information sheet on the Philadelphia Experiment.
The Philadelphia Experiment has also been called "Project Rainbow." A comprehensive search of the Archives has failed to identify records of a Project Rainbow relating to teleportation or making a ship disappear. In the 1940s, the code name RAINBOW was used to refer to the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis. The RAINBOW plans were the war plans to defeat Italy, Germany and Japan. RAINBOW V, the plan in effect on 7 December 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, was the plan the U.S. used to fight the Axis powers.
Some researchers have erroneously concluded that degaussing has a connection with making an object invisible. Degaussing is a process in which a system of electrical cables are installed around the circumference of ship's hull, running from bow to stern on both sides. A measured electrical current is passed through these cables to cancel out the ship's magnetic field. Degaussing equipment was installed in the hull of Navy ships and could be turned on whenever the ship was in waters that might contain magnetic mines, usually shallow waters in combat areas. It could be said that degaussing, correctly done, makes a ship "invisible" to the sensors of magnetic mines, but the ship remains visible to the human eye, radar, and underwater listening devices.
After many years of searching, the staff of the Archives and independent researchers have not located any official documents that support the assertion that an invisibility or teleportation experiment involving a Navy ship occurred at Philadelphia or any other location.