Those Mysterious Time Slips
By James Donahue
The stories of people
stepping unexpectedly back in time are familiar to all of us. When I hear them there is always a strange sense of déjà vu
and the hair seems to rise up in the back of my neck.
I am talking about
peculiar slips in time, when people experience events, or catch strange glimpses of people, places, and moments out of the
past. It is as if the ghosts of lost souls are stuck in that moment in time and reliving some event like a broken record that
keeps playing the same bars over and over.
An article by Tim
Swartz tells about an Australian woman who lived in a small town. She told of driving her car toward the main intersection
of the town in 1997 and noticing a strange shift in the atmosphere around her. Suddenly she found herself on a dirt road,
where there had been pavement, and the trees that lined the street were gone. Approaching from the other street was a classic
old vehicle with a wild-eyed woman at the wheel. “As the car passed through the intersection the driver was looking
back at me in total astonishment.” The woman was dressed in 1950s vintage clothing.
The woman said this
same event reoccurred at least five different times during her occupancy in that town. Each time, she felt propelled back
in time to that same moment, and met the same bug-eyed woman in the old car at that intersection.
She said the episode
always lasts about 20 seconds before she finds herself back in the present moment. Each time it happens she tries to get more
detail and once tried to make out the license plate number on the car. She said the plate was too dirty to read.
Another apparent time
warp involving automobiles occurred in 1969 to a man identified in his story only as L. C. He said he and a friend were driving
along Highway 167 when they passed an antique car in mint condition. It had 1940 license plates. As they passed the old car
they noticed the driver was a young woman who had an expression of fear and panic on her face. L. C. called out to her and
asked if she needed help and the woman nodded yes. He said he motioned her to pull over on the side of the road. As she did
this, he pulled his vehicle over just ahead of it. But when it got out and looked back, nothing was there. The old car and
the woman vanished.
Then there is the
strange story told by members of the Palmetto Sharpshooters, a group of Virginia Civil War re-enactors, when they were camping
on the night of June 5, 1996 on the southern edge of the Piedmont battlefield, waiting to celebrate the annual anniversary
observance of the battle that occurred there.
At about 5 o’clock
in the morning the camp was rudely awakened by the sound of approaching horses and wagons. “You could hear chains rattling.
You could hear horses whinnying. You could hear hooves pounding. You could hear wagon wheels creaking,” said member
At first the Sharpshooters
thought they were being paid a surprise visit by another group of re-enactors. Some of the men actually walked toward the
forest to greet the wagons as they came into camp. But when they reached the forest line, all the wagon movement and sounds
stopped. For two or three seconds there was a dead silence. Then the birds began chirping and the forest came back to life.
The next morning the
men searched that woods and found no road that the wagons could have traveled, and no sign that anything was disturbed. Close
examination revealed the trace of an old road that had been there at the time of the actual battle.
Then there is the
peculiar story about Orion Williamson, a Selma, Alabama farmer, who disappeared in front of his wife and two other people
while walking out in his field in broad daylight. The incident happened in 1854 as Williamson was attempting to fetch his
At the time Williamson
was walking across his field, a neighbor, Armour Wren and his son were passing in a buggy. Wren said he raised his hand to
wave at Williamson and at that moment, Williamson abruptly disappeared. He was there one moment and gone the next. A thorough
search of the field and the area failed to turn up any sign of him. Williamson was never seen again.
The Williamson story
was so sensational it attracted the attention of journalists from all over the country. Among them was Ambrose Bierce, who
later became one of America’s best known authors.
what is going on here? It seems that time for those of us trapped in a three-dimensional existence is a means for us to measure
our existence in this place, and get some perspective on an occurrence of events. If it is a creation within the matrix of
our minds, then time is only an illusion. Thus it may be possible for people to step through time warps and catch glimpses
of the past, or even step into another moment in time and not return.