In 1992, a book came out called The Montauk Project. It caused a sensation at the time. Montauk had been the site, it said, of a top-secret government research project just after the Second World War, where scientists and physicists did experiments on time travel. They had theories that needed to be put to the test. They found that the deep woods out near Montauk Point offered the seclusion they sought. It was particularly helpful that these woods were surrounded by chain link fences and barbed wire. It had, during that war, been an army base. But then it was abandoned. When the time-travel scientists came out and sneaked into the site, they found all sorts of high-tech military equipment that had been left behind. It was still useable and much of it enhanced what they were already bringing to the site. They moved in.
According to the book, local people knew something strange was going on out at this site. But they didn’t know what and couldn’t find out. Guards at the property kept them away at gunpoint. The locals decided to just live and let live.
At one point, lots of children were taken to the site. None came back out. At another point, all the animals out in the woods of Montauk fled into downtown and had to be rounded up by the local authorities.
The highlights of the project, according to the book, were the frequent attempts at time travel, all of which failed. The two authors of the book visited Montauk in the 1990s, long after the project was closed down, but still everyone was afraid of going in there. The pair went in anyway, despite the warnings, and found no one alive inside. Left behind in blast-shielded reinforced concrete buildings, however, were the test tubes and machinery and computers and logbooks describing the project. And that is what they revealed, finally, in their book. The penultimate moment for the Montauk Project came when an attempt was made to send the USS Eldridge, a U.S. Navy escort destroyer with its entire crew, from the ocean off Montauk to Philadelphia by time travel. It was a horrendous failure. There were no survivors, and in Philadelphia, when what were believed to be parts of the ship arrived, corpses of some of the men were found down below, half on one side of a steel wall and half on the other. What a gruesome thing.
Apparently, after that, the Montauk Project ended and everyone left, leaving the base with more abandoned material atop the abandoned material from the military.
This book, The Montauk Project, was so successful when it came out that subsequently its two authors, Preston T. Nichols and Peter Moon, wrote several sequels that were also successful. Thus began the cult of the Montauk Project. The books are still available and the whole story is still under discussion to this day.
Personally, I was here back in those early days when these secret experiments were supposed to have happened. My dad bought the White’s Drug Store in Montauk in 1956. I was 16 years old then. Out in the woods at that time there was still the Army and Air Force base. I’d gone out there, let through the gates by the guards, to deliver prescriptions for my dad. I went there several times to go to parties being held in the Air Force rec hall by some of the young officers who invited me.
Then, in 1961, the Air Force base closed. Everything was left behind. Friends and I would sneak in from time to time and poke around and we did see lots of military equipment that the Air Force had left behind. The military had just walked off. Nothing of the sort described by the authors in The Montauk Project ever took place there that I ever saw. I wrote about it in Dan’s Papers when the book came out in 1992. I had started the paper in the summertime of 1960 when I was in college and was living in Montauk, when these secret projects were supposedly taking place. There had been no animals who had all come rushing into downtown. I was there.
This earned me a place, I think it was on page 142 of the first sequel, as someone personally involved who was sworn to secrecy. What can you do? I say today that if you believe The Montauk Project, then you will believe that aliens from outer space landed at Lubbock, Texas in the 1950s and abducted and performed operations on certain farmers who lived to tell the tale.
And then, last week, I saw this headline on Fox News. WORLD WAR II MYSTERY: ARE MISSING SAILORS ACTUALLY IN NEW YORK CEMETERY?
I read the article.
“It’s a confounding mystery of World War II: What happened to the 136 missing sailors from the explosion and sinking of the USS Turner?”
This event had happened on January 3, 1944. The USS Turner, an American destroyer, was anchored in the shallow waters off Sandy Hook, near New York Harbor, when it exploded and sank. Windows on several buildings in Manhattan shattered during the explosion. One would have thought that all 136 crewmembers who did not survive would have been recovered. But they were never found.
Now it appears that four of them may be buried in a cemetery in Farmingville, Long Island. This cemetery is for war veterans, and on four of these tombstones is the inscription “Unknown U.S. Sailor,” with the date of January 3, 1944, which is the same date as the day the Turner sank. Authorities are now looking through the military archives to see if these four were from the Turner and if any more sailors from the Turner are buried there.
I think that the authors of The Montauk Project may have identified the wrong ship that was involved with the time travel between Montauk and Philadelphia. I think it was not the USS Eldridge. I think it was the USS Turner. The ship undergoing time travel would have been halfway along on its journey at Sandy Hook when things went wrong. Only parts of it arrived in Philadelphia, as you recall, and that was at a different time period from when it was in Sandy Hook. It even might have been in a different time frame in Montauk.
Today, it is easy to search things online. The Turner was just 10 months old when it returned from convoy duty in the Atlantic, came into New York Harbor and “dropped anchor.” It had therefore passed Montauk. Its date of launch was March 1943.
The USS Eldridge was also launched in 1943. It served in convoys in the Atlantic until the end of the war—often passing Montauk—and it was decommissioned on June
17, 1946. On January 15, 1991, it was transferred under the Mutual Defense System Act to the Greek Navy, where it was renamed the HS Leon (D-54.) It was decommissioned by the Greeks on November 5, 1992 and sold as scrap to the firm V&J Scrapmetal Trading on November 11, 1999.
In the literature about the Eldridge, there is mention of the “Montauk Project,” and its claim that the Eldridge was made invisible in Philadelphia by a cloaking device in October 1943, a claim vigorously denied by the Navy.
I know these dates are all mixed up. That’s what time travel is all about. I expect we shall soon see a new sequel to The Montauk Project, which will explain it all. The authors might have already written it, and will beam it up here for us to look at. They can reach me at email@example.com.