8 Bizarre Military Investigations Into the Paranormal 

Chad Glapion
Updated November 6, 2017 25k views 8 items

Governments all over the world attempt to gain whatever military advantage they can. Sometimes, these attempts even draw governments into the world of the strange and unknown. This list will delve into times the military investigated the paranormal for use in warfare.

Though some cases are bolstered only by rumors or anecdotal evidence, others include documented proof, and even admissions from the militaries themselves. At times, governments were simply acting at the behest of citizen requests; at other times, investigation of the paranormal seemed like the best way to stay ahead of foreign threats. Regardless of the reasons, this list will demonstrate military involvement with some very strange events.

In the Philadelphia Experiment, the US Navy Is Rumored to Have Made a Ship Disappear
In the Philadelphia Expe... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 8 Bizarre Military Investigations Into the Paranormal
Photo: Public Domain/via Wikipedia

The Philadelphia Experiment was an alleged experiment conducted by the US Navy on October 28, 1943. 

As the story goes, while testing advanced stealth technology, the experiment rendered the USS Eldridge DE-173 invisible and teleported from it Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Norfolk, Virginia, then back. Though the experiment was a success, it came with a price. Supposedly, the ship's crew suffered irreversible damage. Sailors returned home insane, permanently invisible, or melded into the ship itself. For these reasons, the experiment was never conducted again.

While the US Navy firmly denies these claims, scientist Jacques Vallée has made the more probable claim that the Navy was investigating "degaussing," a technique to neutralize a ship's magnetic field and render it "invisible" to torpedoes but not to the naked eye.

The Nazis Tried to Prove Their Racist Theories and Ended Up Mired in the Occult
The Nazis Tried to Prove... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 8 Bizarre Military Investigations Into the Paranormal
Photo:  Bild Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 3.0

The connection between Nazism and the occult is a long and storied one. Though most historians believe the connection is overstated, it is clear an occult fascination did exist within the Third Reich.

The Nazis believed themselves to be descendants of an ancient Aryan race from India. This group, they argued, conquered most of Europe, with its strongest, purest members settling in Germany. They credited these Aryans with almost every notable event in European and Asian history, from the victories of the ancient Romans to the creation of Buddhism.

Nazi officer Heinrich Himmler was obsessed with mysticism and the occult. He founded the Ahnenerbe, a Nazi institute tasked with uncovering the Aryan race’s lost history.  The Ahnenerbe took part in several archeological expeditions, traveling to Italy, France, Tibet, and other areas in hopes of unearthing lost Aryan history. However, while they were originally tasked only with researching Aryan ancestry, the group soon expanded its purview to more and more esoteric, occult research. Among other things, the Ahnenerbe attempted to establish a link between ancient Aryans and the lost city of Atlantis, and also to find the Holy Grail.

Hitler himself considered the occult nonsense, although he did wish the Germanic people would return to a “purer” Aryan religion (that is, a mix of pagan belief systems that pre-dated Christianity) and supported the Ahnenerbe's attempts to reconstruct these earlier pagan religions.

At Area 51, the US Government Tested Experimental Aircraft and Perhaps Much More
At Area 51, the US Gover... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 8 Bizarre Military Investigations Into the Paranormal
Photo:  MartinStr/Pixabay

Everyone has heard of Area 51. Also known as Groom Lake, Homey Airport, and Dreamland, the exact purpose of Area 51 is unknown; however, sources indicate that the site most likely houses experimental aircraft and weapons. While the base itself has never been formally declared a secret, all research conducted there has been labeled Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI).

Alleged paranormal activity conducted at Area 51 includes time travel, weather manipulation, energy weapon tests, and of course, UFO research. Many suspect that Area 51 is where the government has been working on reverse-engineering alien technology recovered from crashed UFOs.

According to official documents, these rumors of UFOs were sparked by Area 51's research on experimental airplanes including the Lockheed U-2 spyplane.

Though the CIA publicly acknowledged the base's existence in 2013 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, many still believe the government has not been totally forthcoming on the site, its purposes, and its history.

Stalin Tried to Create a Race of Human-Ape Hybrid Super Soldiers
Stalin Tried to Create a... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 8 Bizarre Military Investigations Into the Paranormal
Photo: Public Domain/via Wikipedia

Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov was a Soviet biologist obsessed with creating human-ape hybrids. Ivanov first attempted to create his hybrids by inseminating apes with human sperm. When that didn’t pan out, Ivanov supposedly planned to inseminate a human test subject with orangutan sperm. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately, from Ivanov’s perspective) the “donor” ape died before the procedure could be carried out.

As the story goes, Josef Stalin desired a half-ape half-human soldier to ensure Soviet dominance throughout the world. Moscow newspapers quoted Stalin as saying, "I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat."

Other sources argue that Ivanov’s main goal was proving the theory of evolution and discrediting creationism. 

Regardless of his intentions, Ivanov’s attempts ended in failure. He was exiled following a political purge.