Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
When I wrote Part I of my post on the Philadelphia experiment, I said the next thing I was going to write about was my personal connection. This started in 1978, when my family saw the movie Bermuda Triangle. It was a rare experience for us all to go to a movie back then. My Mother, father, sister and I, all piled into our car and watched the Sun Classics movie in a drive in.
I absolutely loved the movie despite that it was low budget production, even by 1978 standards. Former radio personality Brad Crandall’s deep booming voice leant a feeling of truth and urgency as he narrated the vignettes about the triangle’s mysteries. I noticed that the planes in the Flight 18, portion kept changing between different kinds of World War Two era navy aircraft. Also it occurred to me that two key portions of the movie, the Philadelphia experiment and the crash of Kentucky Air National Guard pilot Capt. Thomas Mantel, took place nowhere near the Bermuda Triangle.
I got a second hand copy of Berlitz’s book, and even dida seventh grade book report on it. I loved that book and my youthful mind took every page as gospel. I took the stories with in its page as truth with almost no critical consideration. Not only was I sure that the story of the USS Eldridge was real, I was going to replicate the experience and prove to the world it was true.
I had come up with a plan to take a Sprite can connect it to a wooden board and attach two electromagnetic generators, this would, I was sure open a portal to another dimension. All I had to do was explain to my parents the validly of my experiment, and convince them to get me a couple electromagnetic generators, and entice them to let me put my contraction in the local harbor, and then convince them that I would not be electrocuting myself and dozens of innocent fish.
I kept trying to work out the nuances of my experiment, then one day riding home from school on the bus, it hit me, if it was that easy, then someone in the last thirty years would have already done it. I put away my ideas about opening an aquatic extra-dimensional portal. This was the first time that I put a paranormal story under the scrutiny of logic. It was a major move forward in my rational development. But at the same time it was kind of a sad moment. It wasn’t just my naiveté that ended, but part of my youth.
Now a days I am pretty much agnostic towards anything that has to do with the paranormal. I am strong believer in science and logic, but I admit that there is a beauty and a pleasure that comes from taking something purely on faith.
I recently watched on Youtube, The Bermuda Triangle again, and well that one little bit about the Philadelphia experiment, was chalked full of inaccuracies. It said that the letters that Jessup got were signed Carl Allen, yes they were written by Carl Allen but he used the pseudonym Carlos Allende. It called Jessup, Dr. Jessup, he had a master’s degree astronomy, but did not have a PhD. It is claimed that three months of the Eldridge’s log is missing, this is simply not true. It is implied Carl Allen claimed to be a scientist working on the project. Though he wrote a lot of letters from referent perspectives, even hinting that he was in fact an alien, Allen’s letters to Jessup in the beginning insisted he was a deck hand on another ship. It also said the codename of the plane to make the Eldridge invisible was The Philadelphia Project, Allen actually claimed it was codenamed Operation Rainbow. Finally Brad Crandall was on a ship that he indicates is the Eldridge, but since the ship was sold to the Greeks in 1951, its doubtful he was on her.
Honestly the blatant errors, endears The Burma Triangle to me even more. I don’t take it as evidence of a real event but rather kitschy almost naive fun. It tells us more about the Me decade than the paranormal. I enjoy the movie’s lets tell a story and damn the facts attitude. Sure it bothers me that some people see this as a true story, but if I can figure it out at 12, I guess most people can too.
The full 1979, Bermuda Triangle movie on Youtube