When writing my recent article about doppelgangers, one of the example stories I came across was concerning a German poet who met himself travelling along a road.  Some years later he realised that was travelling along the same road in the opposite direction and was wearing the clothes that his doppelganger had been wearing.  This story could quite equally be used as example of a time slip and it isn’t the only one.

Famous time slips

A time slip is something more than just deva vu, that fleeting feeling that we have been or seen something before.  A time slip is a full-on experience that defies other explanation and one of the most famous examples comes from the turn of the last century.

The year is 1901 and Charlotte Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain were taking a visit to the famous Palace of Versailles in France.  Jourdain was living in Paris at the time and they were preparing to both start working in St Hugh’s College, a women’s college in the Oxford University.  They decided to visit the palace while still in France and were walking around the grounds when they realised they were a bit lost.  They spoke to some gardeners who told them to continue on the path they were on to get to where they were heading.

They did this but suddenly became aware that everything seemed strange, unnatural.  The buildings around them seemed to look as if from a woodwork or a tapestry with no effect of light and shade and the breeze that had stirred the trees had vanished.  One of them was overcome with a strange sense of glom as they entered a part of the gardens.  They suddenly saw a man they said was ‘repulsive’ with rough skin sitting near a kiosk.  Both realised that this man closely resembled a historical figure known as the Comte de Vaudreuil, an 18th century nobleman and close friend of Queen Marie Antoinette.

They continued to walk, being told by a handsome man with flushed cheeks to stay to the right and not go to the left.  They followed his instructions and came across a woman sitting in old fashioned dress, sketching.  Moberly said she looked at the woman, who returned her stare and seemed annoyed at the interruption – the woman looked just like Marie Antoinette herself.

Another young man appeared and directed them to the entrance hall of the palace where a wedding party was taking place.  They enjoyed themselves for a while, their feeling of gloom dissipating and were even taken home in a carriage.  Both felt they had had a strange experience but weren’t sure exactly why.

The next day they returned to the palace grounds and were shocked when landmarks were missing.  None of the people they had seen were present and staff said there had been no event the previous day.

The two ladies wrote a book on their experiences and some have suggested that rather than a time slip, they experienced a dress up party.  But surely, staff would have known the party was taking place?  And what are the odds that guests looked so much like real historical figures?

Bold Street

Bold Street

Bold Street

Here in the UK, we have a time slip hotspot of sorts and it is found in Bold Street, Liverpool.  The street is well known for its cafes and the Church of St Luke is located at the top while the bottom leads to Clayton Square and the main shopping area of the city.  It seems it is also home to a reoccurring time slip.

According to reports in the Liverpool Echo and the Parascience website, people seem to walk up and down the street and experience a glimpse of the past.  One such example was in 2006 when a thief was running down the street to avoid a security guard and glanced over his shoulder to see his pursuer had vanished.  At the same time, he noticed that the cars on the street were older than he would expect and that people were dressed oddly.  He saw a newspaper lying around and was astounded to see the date as 1967.  He continued up Ranelagh Street and was relieved to see everything return to normal – but glancing back down Bold Street, he could still see the 1960s cars and people.  He told his story to the newspaper and the details he gave such as shop locations did match to the time period.  The guard also confirmed that the man had disappeared from in front of him.

Another example was from a woman on the street who saw a new shop and went inside to investigate.  Pleasantly surprised with the low prices, she filled her basket but couldn’t pay because the shop owner looked puzzled when she offered her credit card.  As she didn’t have enough cash she left her shopping behind.  When telling her mother that night about the experience, she was shocked to be told the shop had closed long ago and there was now a bank in the spot.

Vanishing house

Mysterious Universe has a case from Ponca City, Oklahoma of three men who were to pick up a feeder from a field in 1971.  They opened the gate to the property, which was unlocked and had no barbed wire drove up the drive, which had waist high grass on either side.  When they reached the tank, close to a red barn, they realised it was too heavy to lift.  They decided to leave it and drove around the barn to turn, spotting a large two story white house with no lights on.

The owner of the tank agreed to empty the tank partially so the men were sent back the next night to collect it.  They decided to check out the abandoned house while they were there.  Arriving on the property, they noted that the grass had been cut down during the day.  They loaded the tank and drove around the barn towards the house but were shocked to see it wasn’t there.  Not only that but there were no signs that it had ever been – no foundations, no signs of demolition.

Conclusion

Some of the biggest names in physics have said that time slips are perfect possible including Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.  We just don’t have the technology to make them happen at this point but that isn’t to say that nature can’t do the job for us by itself, when we least expect it.