1986: Norma Kincaid’s Strange Death

Norma Kincaid's Death?
[Larger version here]

The Legend:

COVERT SCIENCE-EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG. In 1986, scientists at MetCo, a prolific producer of military technology, attempted to recreate aspects of the notorious Philadelphia Experiment in the lab under strict conditions. The project was abruptly aborted when team scientist Norma Kincaid went mad, then dematerialized. She reintegrated half in and half out of the lab’s wall, her mid-torso fused into it. Death was instantaneous. "What are they up to? Sinister Science-1940-2010."

The picture and legend above appear to have been circulating on the internet since sometime in 2015, though the dates are hard to pinpoint. For those of you new to the topic, the "Philadelphia Experiment" is said to have been an attempt by the American military in the 1940's to render a ship invisible by using electromagnetic forces to bend light around the vessel. The ship used in the experiment was called the USS Eldridge and, according to legend, invisibility is not what happened... the ship is said to have slipped through time and space, visiting several different locations and years all at once. More disturbingly, the crew of the ship is said to have met a grisly fate when the ship itself temporarily became desolid, then re-solidified with crewmen partway through the walls and floors of the vessel... which is the connecting point to the strange death reported for Norma Kincaid above. It would seem that the experiments she was involved with were able to duplicate at least one result of the original Philadelphia Experiment, fatally for Kincaid. [The Philadelphia Experiment is an account that I will have to investigate separately someday.]

        Having said that, I now need to inform you that the picture above in no way shows a woman named Norma Kincaid. The account itself will still need to be addressed separately, as it does not require the picture to support it; but first...

The Image

One thing that is safe to say: the image is not of someone's death. It is in fact a cut down and de-colored version of an art photo first posted to the internet in 2009.

Where To?
[Picture source here]

The image is titled "Where To?" and was first posted to the Flickr website featuring the photo art of Brock Davis on December 31, 2009. Davis gives no details regarding the photo other than it was his last creation in a year-long challenge to make something cool everyday.

        It appears that an online art magazine titled UFUNK posted the black/white version of the image to a Pinterest board called UFUNK with a link back to an online article of theirs displaying more art by Brock Davis; this article was first posted June 11, 2012. The UFUNK pin may be the first time the image was cut down and had the color removed, since the online article it links back to has the color, full-sized version. The UFUNK pin has no title or description, and the online article is in French, so viewers of the pin alone would have no idea what the picture was without following the link... and in fact another Pinterest user is listed as having re-pinned the image to a board called "Time Travel," so this is also likely the place from which the image first started to be used with anomalous topics.

        Clearly, the image of a person halfway through the wall would easily be associated with the earlier story of the Philadelphia Experiment for someone out to create a new story around a photo -- a practice generally referred to as "Creepypasta" -- but this image would also be a natural selection for an illustration if someone had an actual story of a person this happened to, but did not have a photo of said person. So the fact the photo has nothing to do with the Philadelphia Experiment or the story of Norma Kincaid does not necessarily disprove the account of Kincaid's death. So...

Did It Happen?

Key question, that. I have found no evidence of a woman named Norma Kincaid who died in 1986, nor of a company called MetCo -- a very generic name -- that could be connected to military research or sales. Of course (and I can hear this thought out there!) if Kincaid really existed, and was really working on replicating the Philadelphia Experiment in her lab, the whole matter might have been kept secret to start with, and covered up after the failure... i.e. the classic conspiracy theory 'proof' that a lack of evidence is, in fact, evidence of a cover-up.


        I checked all traceable pages that present the legend of Norma Kincaid to find where each originally found the story; and every single one traces back to the same location, a Pinterest pinboard named "Covert Science!" presented by a user named John Barleycorn [Link]. Every pin in this board contains stories of strange science that start either with the tag "COVERT SCIENCE" or the longer "COVERT SCIENCE - EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG," so it's relatively easy to spot content that starts with Barleycorn's pinboard.

        Barleycorn's posting, which appears to have first been put up sometime either in late 2014 or early 2015, seems to be the first mention of the Norma Kincaid affair on the internet; and, given the lack of obituaries or other evidence, it is the only accounting of the incident there is. So whether or not the incident should be trusted largely depends on whether John Barleycorn and his writings should be trusted.... which is something that I can address, ignoring any conspiratorial cover-ups.

        I selected a different pin/story at random from Barleycorn's pinboard, one showing men posed on a beach with an enormous fish monster. It was a lucky pick, because while Barleycorn claims it shows eight men with an actual monster, the link for where the picture came from takes you to a page all about fake monster photos... which then explains exactly where the fake monster fish photo came from.

        My brief conclusion from this is that if Barleycorn is audacious enough to make up a story while leaving a trail back to a page proving his story is wrong, then the odds are good that everything he presents are stories he made up himself. Even the cryptic reference above to a possible source for the Kincaid story -- "Sinister Science - 1940-2010" -- appears to be a non-existant source. So there is nothing on his pinboard that can be trusted unless independent sources are tracked down first... which means Barleycorn's story about Norma Kincaid cannot be trusted.

        Not surprisingly then, I'm marking this account as a "False Lead"... a story that was never real to start with. Oh, and if you want to see more of the monster fish photo, follow the "See Also" link below.

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