Misunderstanding of Documented Naval Experiments
While personnel at the Fourth Naval District have suggested that the questions surrounding the alleged event arise from routine research which was performed during the Second World War at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, it was previously believed "that the foundation for the apocryphal stories arose from degaussing experiments which have the effect of making a ship undetectable or 'invisible' to magnetic mines." Another possible genesis of the stories about levitation, teleportation and effects on human crew might be attributed to experiments with the generating plant of the destroyer USS Timmerman, whereby a higher-frequency generator produced corona discharges, though none of the crew reported suffering effects from the experiment.
Read more about this topic: Philadelphia Experiment, Origins of The Story
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