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The Secret Life of a Long Island Military Installation

Camp Hero, an abandoned radio station, is a hub of questionable activity. Or so they say.

The decommissioned radar facility at Camp Hero, Montauk. (Photo: Cathy Kovarik/shutterstock.com)

Camp Hero, the abandoned radar station located at Montauk Point, Long Island, doesn’t look like much. The former coastal defense station is really just a few abandoned buildings and a giant, outdated radar dish. But to true believers, Camp Hero’s original, purported purpose—to protect the United States from an attack by sea—was never more than a cover.

Instead, some say, Camp Hero was once the location of a top secret, underground lab, where the government worked to develop secret technology that would put H.G. Wells to shame.

In the days following World War II, these theorists claim, researchers who had worked on the uncorroborated Philadelphia Experiment were teamed with Nazi scientists recruited by the United States under Operation Paperclip. Together, they were set up at Camp Hero’s vast, hidden underground facilities, and the Montauk Project was born.

Here, they allegedly conducted experiments on a comprehensive laundry list of extra-scientific topics, many of which are outlined in the 2014 movie The Montauk Chronicles. (Skeptics will note that aliens, alternate universe theory, and mind control all play a prominent role.)

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Abandoned buildings at Camp Hero. (Photo: Bob/CC BY-ND 2.0

One supposed survivor of the Montauk Project is Stewart Swerdlow, who claims that he was kidnapped, taken to Camp Hero, and trained to be a psychic spy. Another, who goes by the assumed name of Larry James, claims to have headed the Montauk Project’s Time Control program during the 1970’s and early 80’s. During this time period, he purports to have participated in several time travel experiments, including one that successfully altered the outcome of the Civil War.

If these claims sound outlandish, that’s because there’s very little to verify any of them. In fact, most of the rumors surrounding Camp Hero and The Montauk Project seem to have originated with the book The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time, which was published in 1992 by Preston Nichols—yet another person who says he has recovered memories of involvement in the project.

Though the book is presented as fact, it’s considered by most to be fiction. But those who want to find out for themselves can visit Camp Hero State Park, which now offers a picnic area, a beach, and trails for hiking and skiing. Just don’t go poking around too much: the areas near the satellite dish and former military buildings are still off-limits to the public, and are closely guarded. The camp still has some secrets left.

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