What is the “Strange” Truth?

Colleen White , Staff Writer

This summer, the beloved Netflix original series Stranger Things is dropping season three. In celebration I thought it would be cool to deep dive into the conspiracy theory that the Duffer Brothers were inspired by, The Montauk Project. Before the title Stranger Things, the show was actually picked up under the name Montauk. Originally the show was going to take place on the eastern end here on Long Island. The first season was mainly focused on the character Eleven’s experience as a test subject for a private sector, which allegedly happened in Montauk in the late 20th century.

The Montauk Project is claimed to have been a series of government experiments which took place at Camp Hero, a park located on the former Montauk Air Force Station. The state park still has crumbling remains of the old military base today. You can see the similarities with the massive antenna towers between Hawkins, Indiana, and Montauk. Go ahead, Google it. 

The rumors began to spread to the public in the 1980s, an engineer from Montauk named Preston B. Nichols developed these in a series of books called The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time. Experiments from time travel, teleportation, mind control, the series is considered science fiction, since the government hasn’t confirmed anything. The books include real photographs from the base and drawings from subjects. As the books became popular multiple people came forward, regaining their memories while relating to the test subject’s stories in the novels.

Now you’re probably wondering how? Why Montauk? Well apparently back during World War II, the US military did secret experiments in the naval shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, trying to discover a way to interfere with the Nazi’s radar, therefore they could safely send supplies to our allies in Europe. The Navy hasn’t admitted to these experiments, but multiple conspiracy theorists since the 1950s believe the Navy opened a portal since the ships were invisible to the radar,  maybe into a second dimension like a version of the Upside Down. When the military found out about the portal and the negative effects it had on the crew, they shut it down and never really talked about it.

Hollywood jumped onto the theory and created the 1984 movie The Philadelphia Experiment, which was about two soldiers finding themselves on a ship 40 years forward in time. This film triggered some old memories, especially for Al Bieleke (or should I say Ed Cameron) in 1988. After undergoing forms of New Age therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic, yoga, and Reiki, Bieleke uncovered memories of working on the Montauk Project in the 1970s. He also found out that his name wasn’t Al Bieleke, it was actually Ed Cameron, and he and his brother Duncan Cameron, in their mid 20s worked on the Philadelphia project as well. Al Bieleke explains at a Mutual UFO network conference, “My brother was reborn. I was shipped up to ‘83. They decided they didn’t want me around anymore, for whatever reasons. And they did a number on me. Total brainwashing, established a new personality, shipped me back into the past, and I became Alfred Bielek. With a new set of parents, and a false birth certificate, and a complete cover-up story, which hung together, and memories, which may or may not be quite true, but nevertheless, still there.” He also explained how he was on board of the U.S.S. Eldridge in the 1940’s and got sucked into a portal on board and was all of a sudden in Camp Hero on August 12th, 1983.

Bieleke describes how he went back to the 1960’s and convinced his father to have another child so they could transport his brother Duncan’s  consciousness into the new sibling. This was the most interesting part to me. Bieleke referred to the version of Duncan as the “walk- in soul.”

In Nichols’s books he explains how he worked with Al Bieleke on the Montauk Chair and how the 1963 version of Duncan had psychic powers basically like Eleven. Sitting in the chair he was able to move objects across the room.Young boys from Long Island were kidnapped and used for experiments just like Eleven. They’re known as “The Montauk Boys,” as Bieleke’s and Nichols’s work came out into the public, people regained the memories. They were sent through portals and scientists tried to break them psychologically. Bieleke claimed they have traveled to Mars and all different time periods. It’s crazy to think about what Eleven went through with Papa, might actually have happened.

The conspiracy theory has so many layers to the story.  The theory died down after Al Bieleke passed away in 2011, but Stranger Things definitely shined a light back on the conversation.