As far as government cover-ups go, the Montauk Project may be one of the most well-guarded secret government projects that ever existed. The Montauk Experiment is basically the Area 51 of New England, and stories about the project’s time travel experiments, use of alien technology, and research into telekinesis have managed to both enthral and terrify conspiracy theorists since the government shut down the "Roswell of the North’s" experiments in the early '80s.
Theories about the Montauk Project’s US government time travel research program intersects with multiple alleged secret government programs, including the Philadelphia Experiment, where an entire battleship was said to have disappeared from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1943.
More so than any other conspiracy theory, the Montauk Project feels very real. Admittedly, the idea that ten-year-old boys are being sent to Mars is pretty far-fetched, but the government getting excited about mass hypnosis via radar tower? That seems like something that was definitely discussed at one point in time, and you could argue that they were successful, albeit in a less sci-fi way.
Even if you don’t believe in government cover-ups that involve time travel, teleportation, and the physical manifestation of monsters from inside our very own brains, the Montauk Project is a lot of fun to read about, and when you finally have a run in with a chrononaut from 1980, you’ll be happy that you boned up on your knowledge about this secret government program.
Montauk, New York, isn't even a town. It's technically a hamlet (which is a community that's smaller than a village, or that doesn't have a church) with a population of 3,326 as of 2010. It's the perfect place for Camp Hero, which would supposedly house a secret military installation which would delve into time travel, teleportation, psychic warfare, and object creation research.
The most recognizable piece of the 278-acre site is the SAGE radar tower, a 120-foot, 70-ton “dish” which has fallen into disrepair since the area was donated to the state of New York as a federal park. The dish was believed to transmit radio signals in the 425 to 450 Megahertz range in order to penetrate human consciousness, making a person susceptible to mind control. If that's the kind of thing you were working on, wouldn't you want to house your research station somewhere out of the way?
While the US government had supposedly been researching psychological warfare, invisibility, and teleportation prior to their move to Montauk, the project didn't begin in earnest until 1971, when researchers moved into the decommissioned base to begin "Phoenix II," with a group of military scientists, government workers, and civilian contractors. (The original Phoenix project was a classified CIA operation where military carried out targeted assassinations of members of the National Liberation Front that occurred in Vietnam until the early '70s.)
Numerous military servicemen and Air Force radar technicians who had worked with the SAGE Radar system throughout the '60s were put on the Montauk Project, and stayed on until it ended in a disastrous experiment in 1982 that connected the researchers at Montauk with researchers on the USS Eldridge some 40 years prior - but more about that later.
If you're thinking that the government kept their super secret time travel portal underground because they didn't want people seeing what they were up to, you're totally wrong. According to Preston Nichols, a scientist who worked at Montauk, the portal had to be built underground because of construction issues - and they probably also didn't want people knowing what they were up to.
In an interview with the website Forbidden Knowledge, Nichols explained,
They had trouble building this above ground because when they started to test above ground the fields from the transmitting equipment were so strong that they had to locate it low enough below ground that there would be a neutral point between the fields of the equipment... Also they wanted to make it big enough, I think it was 250 feet, this one was 10 foot. I think the one we had at Montauk was 250 feet to 300 feet - something like that. Of course above ground there would have been certain construction problems. With making the thing below ground where they have the undergrounders making holes in the floor and pass the pipe and the wires through the floor and the thing up and you don’t have to worry the wind’s going to blow it down and this sort of thing.
The first big test of Montauk's SAGE dish occurred after researchers discovered that the general mood of the base changed depending on the frequency and pulse duration of the radar system. The Phoenix II scientists realized that by changing the rate and width of the pulse, they could alter the way people felt. They experimented with making people laugh, cry, get angry, and grow sleepy.
In 1973, the researchers moved on to testing whether or not they could alter the thoughts of large groups of people at once. They initially experimented on soldiers who believed they were at the base for R&R, before moving onto civilians in Long Island, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. There's no record of what was done to the citizens of those states specifically, but this wouldn't be the first time that the US government performed tests on civilians without their knowledge.