If I were granted three wishes from a genie I know that at least one of them would involve traveling to a different time. You can travel all over the world, hitting all the continents and even countries, but wouldn’t it be spectacular to see the Berlin Wall be torn down, to see Thomas Jefferson sign the Declaration of Independence, to live with a pioneer family headed westward? That would truly be unique.
Humans have always been interested in time travel. My interest has been re-peaked after watching LOST again in its entirety. And although that is just a TV show, it spurred me to research a little bit about real-life time travel. And what I found is quite interesting.
There are actually many cases in which people claim to have time-traveled. And most theoretical physicists have to back up their claims because based on principles that I don’t understand, they have concluded that time travel is possible. Even Einstein claimed that if one twin were to move at the speed of light he would return to find that his twin had aged more than he had. It’s one thing to claim something like that theoretically, but when you dig a little deeper to look at the actual cases of time travel it gets really interesting.
The Moberly-Jourdain Incident, as it’s come to be known, is one of the first instances of time travel that I think might have some footing. On August 10 in 1901 two academic women stayed at a small chateau on the grounds of Versailles. They both claim to have experienced a time-slip and say that they saw Marie Antoinette and some of her contemporaries as they wandered the grounds. When they returned home they recorded their experiences separately and then researched the chateau and the history of the grounds around it to discover that the Tulieries Palace on the grounds was besieged in 1792 and several Swiss guards were killed. They went on to write a book about the incident, which some claim elaborated more than their initial entries on the incident–making it seem less plausible. Both women claim to have experienced other supernatural instances at different points in their lives.
Bold Street in Liverpool is another site where multiple people have claimed to have experienced time-slips. Probably the most convincing is the first man to experience the phenomenon. Frank strayed from his wife as she went shopping on that street in 1996. She went into Walterstone’s Bookstore to pick a present for her niece and he remained out on the street. When he decided to go looking for her he walked toward the bookstore which now had a sign reading “Cripps” above the door. As he crossed the street he was honked at by an old-fashioned car and soon realized that most of the cars driving around were from the 50s or 60s and that the people were dressed as if they were from that time as well. As he walked into the shop it changed back into the bookstore and he found his wife. The funny thing is, Frank had been a police man, spending whole days dealing with data and logic, the facts. Not exactly a likely candidate to make up something like time travel.
The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveler is a famous time traveler supposedly caught on film. In this clip from one of Chaplin’s film you can see a woman holding up what appears to be a cellphone to her ear. What’s odd is that cell phones had not been invented yet. Some say this was a time traveler caught on film.
Then there’s Hakan Nordqvist. This one is really freaky. This man claims that he crawled under his kitchen sink through a tunnel and found a 70 year old Hakan Nordqvist on the other side. He says that they talked, they bonded, and had a jolly old time. They even had the same tattoo in the same spot. And he has a video to prove it. What makes it especially convincing to me is that he doesn’t really care if the world believes him, he says it was a beautiful experience and that’s all that matters.
So the evidence seems to suggest that time travel does happen. That it happens to random people who are caught unaware. As of yet, however, it doesn’t seem like you can take any planned trips backward or forward in time. I mean, even on LOST they couldn’t control where they ended up. But it certainly is fun to think about.