Camp Hero State Park Military Area – Reputed Site of the “Montauk Project”
I entered the site known as Camp Hero with trepidation amid the background noise of hundreds of books, articles, rumors and innuendo referring to the experiments alleged to have taken place at this seemingly tranquil and beautiful setting. Some say that these experiments were the work of the US Department of Defense after the war and dedicated to the goal of mind control as a psychological weapon to use against our enemies of the Cold War. I didn’t know what to expect, but stood ready for any and all evidence of this phenomena. It is easy to see the strong attraction that anyone with a love for open clean air surrounded by unending ocean vistas interwoven by a strong historical cord feels. On one of my first visits to Montauk, my friend Roger took me for the obligatory tour around the area and instinctively brought me to Cavet’s Cove, one of the secret spots for surfing for the locals. To get there I remember parking my van somewhere near the lighthouse and sliding through a hole in the perimeter fence around the camp, with our boards. We had to follow a narrow overgrown path through the thickets and past some military type outpost buildings until we got to the 70’ cliffs overlooking the ocean. I remember seeing the magnificent gun emplacements, which were built there before the war as a deterrent to an invasion from the sea. From the ocean, you could see the very tall radar tower and supporting buildings including an ominous looking transmission tower although my head was usually turned in the opposite direction in search of the next set of waves. Those early youthful impressions were still on my mind as I parked my SUV on the side of the road just after the entrance to the base still bearing the original Military Police checkpoint shack. Why I stopped there is only a matter of conjecture, as I felt compelled to get out right away and start walking with camera in hand. The obvious sight of the Montauk Lighthouse to the east immediately catches your eye but the more intimidating sight of the very unusual tall tower held down by exceedingly long thick cables is one that demands your attention. I followed a simple path in the direction of the cliffs noting the close proximity to the tower and recalling all that I have heard about the mind control experiments and communication by psychotronics as well as teleportation legends. Legends arise where there is something noteworthy to describe that is otherwise difficult to express and the scuttlebutt around Montauk about all the stuff that took place at Camp Hero is astounding. Soon I arrived at the edge of the cliffs and the first of several gun emplacements, this one called Battery 216. Although the actual guns are long gone since their removal after the war, there is a rather large diameter perfect concrete circle directly in front of the dug-in concrete bunker. Circles like this are the recurring theme throughout the park and seem to add to the powerful mystique hanging over it like a low fog. I decide to take a meandering trail marked as the ‘Battery 113 trail’ into the beaconing overgrown forest. In the brochure issued by the stare it says that the site was used as a cannon practice range since the Revolutionary War and coastal defense installation during World War II with 600 enlisted men and 37 officers stationed here at its peak. Currently its mission is determining the presence and extent of possible Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) by the Army Corps of Engineers. Whaaat? Am? I? Doing??? Now, of course I floated every footfall one in front of the other in a narrow line as if I were a Tabby cat on the prowl. I maintained walking judiciously past a sprinkling of very tall holly trees alight with their bright red berries. I continued to read and come to the part that said it is safe to be there but in the event you come across any UXO to report it immediately to the parks officials. That’s reassuring! Oh well, I decided to seek out some of the park’s officials and so I wandered over to a maintenance shed near the edge of the path. Striking up casual conversation with these people after busting out of the woods with a camera probably seemed like an odd thing to do and I didn’t expect much outside of suspicion. One of the men named Tommy was particularly understanding of my predicament and helpful to the point of supplying some books on the ‘Montauk Project’ along with a personal tale of an experience that his father had just prior to World War II. It seems that in the 1930’s when Tommy’s father was in high school in East Hampton, the military officials would come to the school and recruit students to work on the base over the weekends to make extra money. Tommy said that his father was one of those boys who helped in the landscaping of the very large gun emplacements (batteries) in an effort to make the area look like a little picturesque village from the ocean. The art of deception was essential, they were told, so that the enemy would be less likely to discover the defenses on the peninsula. I asked Tommy if his father might have unwittingly been involved with the rumored experiments on mind control that implicated the camp as an implant station in an effort to establish a slave society. ‘There’s no basis to those rumors and anyway all the volunteer work by the East Hampton HS students happened in the 1930’s, well before the onset of the rash of stories.’ Tommy was referring to the origin of the Montauk Project, which dates back to 1943 when radar invisibility was being researched aboard the USS Eldridge. As the Eldridge was stationed at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the events concerning the ship have commonly been referred to as the “Philadelphia Experiment”. The objective of this experiment was to make the ship undetectable to radar and while that was achieved, there was a totally unexpected and drastic side effect. The ship became invisible to the naked eye and was removed from time and space, as we know it! Although this was a remarkable breakthrough in terms of technology, it was a catastrophe to the people involved. Sailors had been transported out of this dimension and returned in a state of complete mental disorientation and horror. Some were even planted into the bulkhead of the ship itself. Those who survived were discharged as “mentally unfit” or otherwise discredited and the entire affair was covered up. I decided to ask Tommy if there was anywhere in the park, even off the beaten path where there might be something worthy of seeing perhaps hidden from the public. ‘The most obvious is the most dramatic’ he said and pointed me in the direction of the most recognizable object in the whole park, the Radar Tower. No matter where you look the Radar Tower seems to loom overhead like a scene out of the book “Big Brother”. In Orwell’s seminal novel, Big Brother and the party control the past, because by doing so, they control the present and future. It is somewhat easy to see the perceived sinister energy that the Radar Tower once exuded could have led people to believe that it was a programming center for the purpose of tapping directly into the creative zone of the consciousness, ala Manchurian Candidate fame. Enough of that stuff, I thought as I gathered my senses and prepared to get back to my car. I didn’t want to weird myself out too much about the craziness that allegedly happened here so I buried my head in the map and tried to figure out a way back. The most direct path led me past a sort of ghost town village complete with boarded up dining hall, barracks, Base Exchange, commissary and bowling alley. In the middle of all this was another one of those ominous looking perfect concrete circles that sort of leads to nowhere. Just a few steps away was a surreal scene of a doe and her fawn grazing on what was once the lawn of the base gymnasium. I walked further and came upon a very large mound of earth overgrown with trees and unseen until you were almost right on top of it was the largest gun emplacements I think I had ever seen before. With a little bit of imagination you could certainly see how threatening this major installation must have looked with its sixteen inch guns jutting out of it, capable of hurling a VW sized projectile approximately 25 miles into the ocean. Warships beware! Although these batteries were never used in war, they served well as a deterrent to a possible invasion of our country, which never came.