Last week a colleague asked me if I knew about the Philadelphia Experiment, and admitted that he thought it might actually have happened. Frankly, aside from seeing the movie many many years ago, I had not really done much digging into this particular conspiracy theory. I didn’t really need much in the way of exact or detailed knowledge of the story to form the conclusion that it was rubbish – what I know of physics is more than enough. But suffice to say that my interest was peaked, so here is the story of the hoax that became known as the Philadelphia Experiment.
Archive for the Ufology Category
I’m so bummed I missed it.
This weekend past was the 9th annual Bay Area UFO Expo, the self proclaimed ‘world’s most well attended UFO conference’. As I’m sure you can guess, no actual UFOs were expo’ed. They did have aliens though – Gary Busey was billed as the Guest Entertainer, and if he’s not a lizard alien I’ll eat my copy of Why People Believe Weird Things. I’m sure Wiolawa will back me up on this.
According to the bill there were delvings into the (presumably) related topics of Cabalistic Healing, Time Travel and the Sasquach. The list of exhibits included aura photos, tarot readings, magnetic jewelry, crystal jewelry, geometric jewelry, occult symbolism, astrology, numerology and essential oils. The list of vendors and speakers was a veritable Who’s Who in Woo, speaking on topics ranging from the Hollow Earth theory to Time Travel to Human Devolution (a Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory). There were also workshops on Lucid Dreaming, Remote Viewing and the Near Death Experience/Alien Abduction. And let’s not forget the piece de resistance – the meet and greet with Coast to Coast AM’s George Noory!
Oh, and some stuff about UFOs.
There are days when I am very, very sad I do not live in the US, so that I could attend conferences like these. I can’t think of anything more entertaining to do with a weekend.
All the world’s astir lately over the ‘deathbed confession‘ of Walter Haut, formerly Lt Walter Haut, Public Information Officer for the 509th (atomic) bomb group of the 8th airforce, stationed at Rosswell AFB in 1947. Haut’s statement is being treated as the last nail in the coffin of Ufology skepticism, and final proof that a UFO did crash in Roswell, NM, on that fateful day in 1947, that there were aliens recovered from the wreck, and that the air force covered it up.
But there are a few things that should be pointed out about the whole affair.
Firstly, it wasn’t a deathbed confession. It was an affidavit signed by Haut three years before his death. And it was only published nearly two years after his death, in a book that came out just in time for the 60th anniversary of the Roswell Incident. Make of that what you will.
Secondly, it wasn’t the first pass that Haut made at an affidavit explaining the events. It’s very interesting to read his 1993 affidavit and spot the differences.
Finally, as people have already pointed out, there are a lot of other reasons for someone to keep quiet about something of this magnitude of importance for 60 years, and then suddenly appear to come out with a fantastic revelation about it, senility being the least among them. One possibility is that an affidavit supposedly supporting the Roswell Incident from a supposedly reliable source was the most valuable inheritance he could have given his daughter, who runs the UFO museum he started. Or, frankly, the entire thing may have been made up by the authors of the book in which it was published. There are plenty of explanations that do not require otherworldly interference. It’s not as if Lt. Haut is around to defend himself against lies told in his name, or explain why he would suddenly change his story after so very long.
Remember, this isn’t someone who denied UFOs for all this time then suddenly said it was all true as he prepared to face eternal judgement – Haut has been an active participant in the UFO story since that day, and has told his story time and again (and asked for money for the privilege). Just not exactly the same story he apparently told in this statement. If he really saw bodies, why did he leave that little fact out for so long? If you’re sworn to secrecy, and then tell half the story, is there a point in leaving out the other half? If the MIBs were going to come for him, might as well go the whole hog from day one.
If you read the story of the Roswell crash and the subsequent cover up, it’s fairly obvious that a real-world explanation is much more likely. This was the cold war. The air force was engaged in Project Mogul at the time, testing out high tech spy balloons. One crashed, and before the powers that be could intercept, locals were all over the crash site. The air force now had the potential that Ruski spies might get hold of parts of their top secret spy equipment. What to do? Naturally, the answer was to round up all the debris, and pretend it was something it wasn’t – a weather balloon, not a high altitude spy balloon using top secret, light weight materials and advanced recording equipment.
Today, with 20/20 hindsight, we realise that the smart lie would have been to pay attention to the emerging rumour that it was a UFO, and let it run without any fuel. Eventually it would have died out and people would have assumed it was just another hoax. Instead, they made a shocking fumble of trying to swap out the debris from the spy balloon with a broken weather balloon, and then tell the officer who brought it in that it was the same wreckage, and surely he could see now it was a weather balloon. Stupid. What they thought was a smart move instead added fuel to the UFO mystery, and kept the rumour alive for 60 years!
Which only goes to show that government and military are actually freaking terrible at covering anything up.