Loki Explains Popular Philadelphia Experiment Conspiracy in Episode 5

The fifth episode of Loki arrived on Disney+ on Wednesday and while it didn’t have quite as many revelatory punches as last week’s episode, “Journey into Mystery” did answer quite a few questions about where Loki (Tom Hiddleston) ended up after being pruned by Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). As we already knew, Loki wasn’t dead but where he was sent is a pretty interesting place – and an Easter Egg tucked into it just “explained” an infamous conspiracy, the Philadelphia Experiment.

Warning: spoilers for Episode 5 of Loki, “Journey into Mystery”, below.

In the episode, it’s revealed that those who are pruned by the TVA don’t die. Instead, they go to the Void, a sort of dumping dimension at the end of time where everything that the TVA prunes gets sent to. That means all the variants and other things are all there in that place. However, while the pruned don’t die initially, they aren’t out of danger. a cloud-like creature named Alioth is in the Void and it essentially feeds on the things dropped into that realm. Loki decides that he is going to defeat Alioth, but he soon realizes that his idea might not be the best one. As he and three other Loki variants – Classic Loki, Kid Loki, and Alligator Loki – watch, a ship drops in and is quickly attacked by Alioth. The ship is the USS Eldridge.

The USS Eldridge is part of one of the more weird urban legends/conspiracies of American history, the Philadelphia Experiment. It’s alleged that around October 28, 1943, the U.S. Navy at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the USS Eldridge was outfitted with generators and equipment that would make the ship invisible to enemy radar, essentially using a cloaking device. However, when the generators were turned on, the legend says that the ship was surrounded in a strange glow (described by some as a “greenish fog”) and disappeared only to reappear over 200 miles away in Norfolk, Virginia. There are even some reports that claim the ship then disappeared again only to reappear in Philadelphia where it had disappeared from. There were even some stories that claimed the ship went back in time by ten minutes. Most versions of the story include some terrible descriptions of what happened to the crew. While some were reported to have severe nausea, it was also said that when the ship reappeared some crew had been embedded into the metal structure of the ship, some were supposedly horribly burned while others came back inside out and some lost their minds entirely. While the legend is shocking, the U.S. Navy maintains that no such experiment was ever conducted.

As for the USS Eldridge on Loki, it’s not exactly clear how this solves the conspiracy, but the general idea though is that perhaps the ship that ends up in the Void is the one that shouldn’t have been in Virginia – an idea which would be in support of the version of the legend that has the ship appear in Virginia then mysteriously reappear in Philadelphia again. Since a ship of that size traveling 200 miles in the blink of an eye is impossible, that certainly seems like something the TVA would prune.

What’s interesting is that this is the second time Loki has “solved” a mystery or urban legend. The series premiere of Loki “solved” the D.B. Cooper mystery, revealing that it had been Loki all along, having lost a bet with Thor.

Were you surprised to see the USS Eldridge in this week’s episode of Loki? Let us know in the comments.

Loki is now streaming on Disney+. New episodes arrive on Wednesdays.

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