Hanging off the coast of New York is a fish-shaped island that not many realize is actually part of New York State. Long Island might be known for its North Fork vineyards but the island's South Fork is home to Montauk, also nicknamed 'the End of the World.' While it's obviously not really the end of anything except the island, Montauk's bluffs end in steep cliffs just past the Montauk lighthouse, with rocky shorelines below and a narrow jetty that makes its way around the head of the lighthouse. Many will flock to the East End to experience Montauk's beauty and charm as well as its seaside beach towns, but another interesting location lies nearby: Camp Hero State Park.
The History Of The Military Base
Camp Hero wasn't always a state park and it definitely was not always open to the public. Those lucky enough to have walked its grounds will note miles of hiking trails with some skirting the East End shoreline, while others take hikers past abandoned, boarded-up buildings, 'no trespassing' signs, and a giant radar that's seemingly rusted and decrepit.
What's so fascinating about the industrial side of this park is that it was once a military base - one that opened in 1942 amidst World War II. The base was constructed and opened after the attack on Pearl Harbor and had the purpose of defending the east coast from a potential German attack. While Camp Hero never had to take a role in the war, many began noticing stranger things - no pun intended - surrounding the base and its operations.
For starters, the base was closed in 1947 after there were no impending threats that required it to remain operational. However, this doesn't mean it remained inactive - It was handed over to the Air Force in 1951, and this is when the massive radar, which can be seen for miles, was installed, and anti-aircraft artillery training began.
Conspiracies Surrounding Camp Hero
There have been many documentaries and books written about Camp Hero, none of which paint respectable pictures of what it was that the military may have been doing there. One of which was The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time, written by Preston B. Nichols and Peter Moon. The book claimed that Camp Hero was the sight of unusual and strange experiments, many of which Nichols claimed he was personally privy to, including one claim he made about the government being able to project thoughts and images into people's heads. This notion of mind control goes hand in hand with his claim that he was able to change the weather and was also transported to Camp Hero in 1968 and actually worked on the radar tower.
This SAGE - semi-automatic ground environment - radar has been the subject of much debate amongst believers. Since it was around during the Cold War, it's believed that the radar was able to alert the military of incoming missiles. However, it was also reported that whenever the radar would rotate, its motion would send nearby wildlife into a frenzy and people would experience headaches, accompanied by strange dreams.
Camp Hero's radar is the only one that still stands and according to some, the tower itself still continues to rotate despite being out of commission for decades. Combined with the buildings that have since been boarded up and posted, with some disguised - such as a chapel-looking building that actually hides a gymnasium - the Camp's intentions are questionable at best. But none of this compares to the real happenings of Camp Hero, which many claim were taking place underneath the facade of the base.
The Experiments, AKA The Inspiration For Netflix's 'Stranger Things'
The Montauk Project also speaks of sinister goings-on that occurred below the level of Camp Hero that people could actually see. It's presumed that there are a series of tunnels under the base, many leading to rooms where children were kept and used for a variety of supernatural and psychic experiments, such as mind control. The connection between the conspiracy surrounding Camp Hero and the plot for Stranger Things - where Eleven was actually one of these human experiments due to her telekinesis - is fairly easy to see.
It's uncertain whether or not anything like this exists below the surface of Camp Hero and the only thing that is confirmed is that what's closed off remains government property. Trespassing is not a good idea here, as there's surveillance all over the place - and tangling with the government is not something anyone wants to attempt. However, even observing these concrete buildings with their unusual shapes and openings does lead one to wonder what could possibly have been hiding behind their wooden planks. There's also no confirmation as to why the radar seems to change positions even though the last recorded use was decades prior, although there were conflicting reports as to whether or the radar was corroded past actual use, or 'completely solid' and capable of moving. After military experts were sent in, it was determined that everything was 'frozen solid' and there was no evidence the radar could - or did - actually move.