“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”
-Henry Van Dyke
Time passes in a linear fashion, from the then to the now to the next. The past is what happened before the now. The future is what happens after the now. The now, as the gurus love to tell us, is the gift of the present. Get it? Got it? Good.
Enough has been written about time and our understanding of it, as well as our lack of understanding of it, to fill a million textbooks. I won’t bore you with a lesson on time. Look at your watch. The second, minute and hour hands are progressive forward. Sure, you could wind them back, but you’d be the only one on the planet living two hours behind and a lot of people would probably be annoyed with you.
Time is linear…at least to our brains. It’s a necessity to keep our lives in order, to give it meaning, and to keep us from being late to the dentist for our root canal.
But on occasion, time does strange and distorted things that throw us for a loop. It leaks, it slides, it disappears, it elongates, it shifts, it stops…it slips. And on those occasions, our brains feel discombobulated because we’ve been taken outside of the comfort zone of our usual experience of the “arrow” of time. It messes with our heads, big-time.
A “timeslip” is, specifically, a bend or fold in the process of the linear unfoldment of the forward motion of time. It’s time out of order. A popular device for science fiction and fantasy stories, timeslips have been reported for hundreds of years, and most likely have been occurring for as long as humans walked the earth. Timeslips differ from missing time, in that missing time is often just a chunk of present moment activity and the normal passing of time that happens beyond our conscious level of awareness.
But a timeslip is another beast entirely. Ever see the Stephen King mini-series “The Langoliers” or read the story? It’s a great example of a timeslip. A plane full of crew and passengers find themselves suddenly in the past having gone through a bizarre electromagnetic timeslip…and the story follows them as they move to catch back up to “present point.” Another great example of timeslips in a popular television show is “Lost.” My goodness, that series was full of so many timeslips it even lost me after awhile. Are they in the past? Is this today? Are we now in tomorrow? AND WHO ATE MY POPCORN???
Watching or reading about other people’s experiences of timeslips can be almost as disorienting as actually having one yourself. Witness reports abound and all have a common thread…time did not behave as it normally does. Science might suggest it is simply an anomaly of the brain or memory, like déjà vu. Theoretical and quantum physicists might suggest it could involve sliding into and out of a parallel universe, or a parallel timeline. It’s not time travel, per se, in our common understanding of time travel. It’s more about experiencing a different time reality while in the present. Again, much like déjà vu is a “memory” of something that hasn’t happened yet, or didn’t happen yet.
If we look at time as our brain’s ability to keep track of life events, then a time slip is our conscious experience derailing a little from that track, like when you go on one of those cheap rides at the local carnival that’s on a track, yet it’s jerking you left and right and scaring the crap out of your kids because they think it’s gonna send them flying. But I digress…
One of the best books ever written on these mysterious hiccups in time is “Time Storms” by Jenny Randles, a British journalist who has also written extensively about UFOs and time travel. She documented hundreds of cases of timeslips all over the world, and some of the more eerie common denominators, such as the presence of a “green fog” or mist that the person/s entered, within which their time distortion occurred. In many cases, a person or group of people would walk or drive into said fog or mist, feel a sense of disorientation and “electrical” charges (hair standing on end, nausea, dizziness) and upon returning to a normal state, find themselves hundreds of miles from where they were, and hours to days later!
Imagine you’re out walking Fido and you see a fog casting a slightly off color glow. You enter, thinking nothing of it, and start feeling sick to your stomach. You maybe even lose normal consciousness. You come out of the fog only yards from where you went in, and only say, about five minutes after you entered…except you are now 50 miles up the road on a highway you don’t recognize, and three hours have passed. The presence of this fog in so many timeslip encounters is reminiscent of the activity reported at the Bermuda Triangle and Devil’s Triangle, where the pilots of planes entering these mysterious zones often reported feeling the same disorientation, along with the chaotic behavior of electronic equipment and even compasses. The same goes for captains of ships and small craft entering these fogs who have come back to tell about it!
Could this fog be a precursor or “entrance” sign to the opening of an earthbound wormhole that, for just a short time, transports us through space and time?
Those common elements run through many timeslips, and the spooky thing is, we’re talking not just about a perception of time becoming distorted, but physical effects as well, including the movement of a solid object, such as you and your dog Fido, hundreds of feet, yards, even miles away! This is not just time playing tricks on your head, but on your body, too. It is both a temporal and spatial glitch in the Matrix, folks.
Many of the timeslips documented by Randles and other paranormal researchers involve the sightings of UFOs, ghostly apparitions, even UFO abduction experiences. Many involve physical sensations of skin itching or burning, ears popping as if the air pressure outside was drastically changing, and symptoms that suggest perhaps the presence of infrasound (dizziness, disorientation, vomiting…)
As a writer, I can attest to experiencing time distortions. If I’m deeply engrossed in writing something, I may think only an hour has passed, only to find when I come out of my “zone” that four hours have passed! Because my brain was engaged in the present moment of what I was doing, it lost a sense of the linear flow of time enough to misjudge the amount that had actually passed.
But…I never left my chair.
Yet another time I could be so engrossed in my work that not only do I misjudge how much time has passed…I might not even be consciously aware of the fact that I managed to get up, take the dog out and make a ham on rye until I come out of my “zone” and see the bread crust on my plate. HOW THE HELL DID THAT GET THERE? I DON’T REMEMBER DOING THAT? I HATE HAM ON RYE!!!
Therein lies a major clue to the timeslip experience. We don’t remember what is happening at the time of distortion. We remember going into the experience…and coming out of it. Perhaps there is a simple scientific explanation for the gaps in time we experience.
But how does that explain the physical nature of timeslips and ending up somewhere we did not intend to be?
Again, is it just science? Think of times you’ve been on a long, familiar drive and lost track of both time and distance traveled. Your brain and your body have this wonderful thing called “autopilot” that allows you to perform rote, familiar duties without much conscious attention. So, then, it’s possible that during a timeslip we are sent into both mental and physical autopilot, which results in us running at top speed to a road a mile or so away, which for many of us would take awhile, not being runners…Then when we “come to,” we wonder how we got there and why so much time has passed? Is all of this simply the brain and the body conspiring to mess with us by operating of their own accord?
Or are we indeed slipping into an alternate reality, fueled perhaps by something in the environment, whether it is electromagnetic or geomagnetic, even seismic and atmospheric anomalies, that open a “glitch” in time and space? It’s not scientifically impossible.
But perhaps we need to let the stories of witnesses and experiencers speak for themselves. Here are some snippets of “timeslips” experienced by people, gleaned from a variety of sources, including Randles’ book, internet paranormal forums and my own research for my time travel book with Larry Flaxman, “This Book Is From the Future” (talk about a timeslip, we published a book before it was even written! Try that!).
The most famous and well-documented timeslip is the “Moberly-Jourdain Incident” which occurred in 1901 at France’s Palace of Versailles gardens. Two women, Charlotte Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain, were visiting the grounds when they got lost trying to locate the Grand Trianon. They suddenly found themselves on a lane off the main path, leading to an old deserted farmhouse. The people and things they saw on the lane were not of the present time, and both women later described the sensation of being thrown back in time and witnessing the location as it was in the late 18th century, including the garb of the people they encountered. They actually spoke to some of these “ghostly apparitions come to life,” and Moberly later described in a book, “An Adventure” written by the women (under the pseudonyms Miss Morison and Miss Lamont) a sense of the atmosphere around them changing, especially when they passed by a cottage with a young girl out front they described as frozen in time. “Everything suddenly looked unnatural…even the trees seemed to become flat and lifeless…There were no effects of light and shade, and no wind stirred in the trees.”
Eventually the two women came across a man who they sensed was evil and whose appearance repulsed them, but who showed them how to find their destination. Later, some researchers suggested the women had encountered The Comte de Vaudreuil, an enemy of Marie Antoinette’s, who matched their descriptions.
After their experience, the women wrote separate accounts of what they felt happened, and even returned numerous times to the same gardens, unable to find that strange lane they turned down to encounter a slip in time. But it affected them so greatly afterwards, something other timeslip experiencers agree on.
Randles reported several recent cases of this same kind of atmospheric shift, described in a number of situations as being palpable and disturbing. One such experience happened in Calder Valley, England in 1995, when a group of four people at a barbecue suddenly experienced a strange heaviness to the atmosphere and felt an electrical charge in the air, not unlike what one experiences before a thunderstorm. All then experienced a timeslip, which they described as a “compression” of time, during which objects moved on their own! They also reported a dark grey mass or mist that enveloped the area they were in, and a strange beam of light, followed by darkness.
Another incident in 2005 in Nebraska involved two men in a truck traveling to a local pit stop they were familiar with. The men suddenly had a feeling of heaviness to the air and a sense of something “feeling off,” and then the truck entered into a fog. When they emerged, they were at the pit stop; only it appeared as it had been a hundred years earlier right down to the clothing the waitresses and patrons wore. Other witnesses report the reverse of this type of experience, as in seeing a solitary diner on the side of a dark deserted highway, stopping in for a meal, then when attempting to RETURN to said diner weeks or months later, finding it not only abandoned and run down, but discovering the diner went out of business thirty years ago. “Ghost Diners,” coming soon to a TV screen near you! That’s my idea; don’t try to steal it…
One account in 1991 involved a Nova Scotia man going home on a bus ride, and experiencing the strange distortion of the bus going by the exact same tire factory twice. Also on board the bus was a loud family that, on the second time past the tire factory, was strangely quiet, as if frozen (remember the strange girl outside the cottage in the Moberly-Jourdain incident?).
Another report involved two men near a lake in Oxford, England who, at 3am in the morning, heard a strange noise and got in their car to investigate. They were suddenly enveloped by a colored glow and ended up instantaneously a mile up the road with the car pointing in the opposite direction and a stalled engine to boot.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell an actual timeslip from an encounter with a ghostly apparition, human or otherwise. In one reported, from 1971, three men in Ponca City, Oklahoma were working as cattle feed distributors when they had just such an experience. They pulled up to a remote area to pick up a feeder and entered a gate leading into the property. They noticed the grass was so overgrown and unattended; it was taller than the hood of the truck they were driving in. They pulled up to the tank near a red barn and got out, but once they realized the tank was too heavy to load onto their truck, they decided to leave and come back the next day. As they drove around the barn, they noticed an old two story white house.
The next day they went back to the cattle feed company and were told the tank would be fully drained so they could go back and pick it up. The three men went back the next night to retrieve the tank, and decided to check out the old white house…but it was no longer there. It had vanished. There were no signs of demolition, or even a pre-existing foundation. It just wasn’t there. The experience was seared into their memories for over 40 years and they still cannot explain what happened.
So are these diners actually traveling back, forth and in between time and space? Were the two women in the gardens literally walking down a lane into another dimension? Did our British barbecue party drink too much and have a shared drunken vision? And was our bus rider simply having a major déjà vu experience? Were our two lake visitors too tired to notice they’d driven their own car a mile and turned it around, not to mention shot the engine to high hell? And did the three cattle feed workers see a “ghost house,” and not experience a glitch in time and space at all?
If these timeslips only happened to individuals, we might pass them off as a misidentified natural phenomenon or memory screw-up. But when they happen to two or more people at a time, it’s not so easy to say, “It’s all in your mind” or “You imagined it.”
Jenny Randles goes on in her book to describe such phenomena as having the one great common denominator of a strange “teleporting” cloud or fog made of energy that can transport people and even vehicles into another dimension, both spatial and temporal. She calls it the “Oz Factor,” as in the Wizard of Oz, one of the best fictional examples of a timeslip involving both distortions of time and space. This Oz Factor could be purely explainable by certain atmospheric conditions, electromagnetic anomalies or even memory misfires. In other words, scientific stuff that isn’t paranormal at all except to the ones experiencing it.
Then again, they can be perfect examples of how little we truly understand time, space and our ability to travel the potentially infinite realities we may exist in, or have access to, when we happen to be in the “right place at the right time.”
Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!
Marie D. Jones is the author of several books about the paranormal, metaphysics, and cutting-edge science (many coauthored with Larry Flaxman), including PSIence, The Déjà vu Enigma, Destiny vs. Choice: The Scientific and Spiritual Evidence Behind Fate and Free Will,11:11 The Time Prompt Phenomenon and Mind Wars. She has appeared on more than 1,000 radio shows worldwide, and on television, most recently on the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens series. Her website is mariedjones.com.