Friday, April 10, 2009

One Thing Leeds to Another

Sisters Find Themselves Out of Phase in a U.K. Newspaper Shop

It was 1998 on a summer's morning in Leeds. My sister and I were on our way to work and decided to pop into the paper shop. (Whether this is relevant I don't know, but the shop is situated in a building built around 1899). My sister was in front of me as we approached the shop door, and through the glass panel I saw a woman browsing at the magazine section, immediately to the left of the door entrance.

It looked as though this woman would be in our way as we entered the shop but as we did my sister didn't seem to be aware of her. I [told my sister], "Mind that woman," but she carried on walking and went right through her and the woman faded away. [Only then did] my sister stop and ask, "What woman?"

I walked ahead of my sister a little further into the shop and turned to her and told her, "I think I've just seen a spirit -- you just walked through this woman." My sister was adamant she saw no one. We both looked around the shop. The lights were off, which I thought was odd; it seemed very gray and eerie. It was the kind of atmosphere you'd expect in the early hours of a winter morning -- but this was summertime during business hours. Though all the shelves were stocked like they should have been, we were the only people there. My sister mentioned it was cold, and she said she felt something funny was going on. I felt this too. I said, "We need to get out of here."

We left the shop but lingered outside the door. I described the woman, who had been in modern-day dress, to my sister, and she asserted, "There was no one there -- the shop was empty." (Upon later comparison, I found that my sister saw everything I saw apart from the woman.) We were outside the shop door for all of a minute when I asked my sister to come back in with me. When we entered the shop, the lights were on and it was full of customers -- school kids, people on their way to work, etc. Had I looked more carefully at the people in the store the second time we entered, I feel I would have seen [the woman my sister walked through].

The usual woman was behind the till, but she was staring at us with her mouth open. My sister said, "What the hell is going on? Where did all these people come from?" I was just in total shock. I walked to the till with my sister and bought some cigarettes; as the woman served us, she looked quite terrified. I'll never forget the look on her face. We left the shop and to this day still can't get our heads round it. We did go back around a month later to ask the woman if she noticed anything odd, but there was a man serving. My sister said she'd been back a few times and has never seen her again. We did ask the man if anyone had ever mentioned anything about the shop, but I think he thought we were loons.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Whar Stories

Whar Stories
Student Sees Author Edith Wharton and Associates

--From "The Ghostly Register" by Arthur Myers, published 1986

[The Mount is] a neo-Georgian mansion built between 1900 and 1902 by Edith Wharton, one of America's great literary figures, as a country retreat in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts. In 1978, a very high-powered acting troupe called Shakespeare & Company moved into The Mount. [Following is an account by one of its tenants,] Andrea Haring, an actress and voice teacher.

"It was in the winter, about 1979. We had had a meeting, and a lot of feelings had come up, and people were really excited and disturbed. I went up to Edith Wharton's writing room because a couple of people were having a discussion in my bedroom. There was an extra mattress in Edith Wharton's room, and I thought I'd just lie down till they were done. I stoked up the wood stove in the room so that it would have stayed warm until about noon the next day. This was around midnight. I slept till about four in the morning. Then I drifted awake because it was very cold in the room. My eyes were still closed, but I was awake, and I sensed there was someone in the room. I opened my eyes and saw three figures in the room, and where the room had been bare of furniture there was now a small divan and a desk with a chair. I thought I must be dreaming, but I sort of pinched myself and slapped myself, and I thought, No, I'm awake; I must be seeing ghosts.

"One was Edith Wharton, whom I recognized because I'd been reading her biography. I could see the details in her dress and in her face and the way her hair was done, even though it was dark outside. She was kind of half seated, half lying on this divan. At this little desk was a man who was writing. I could see the muttonchops and his face and his outfit. I didn't recognize him, but he appeared to be gesturing to Edith. Although I couldn't hear any sound, they appeared to be talking to each other. He would stop and make a gesture like, 'Oh, yes' or 'Aha,' and then he'd start writing again. It almost appeared as though she were dictating to him. It was interesting because this was her writing room. And there was a third figure who was standing with his arms folded, and I recognized him as Teddy Wharton, her husband, whom she eventually divorced. He was standing there with his arms crossed, looking at the two of them. I thought to myself, I wonder if I can leave. The minute that thought crossed my mind, all three of them turned and looked at me. I looked from one to the other. I have no reason for why I did this, but for some reason I just kind of smiled at them and nodded my head, kind of like, 'Hi, I'm here. I see you, and I guess you see me.' Edith Wharton gave me a kind of short, dignified nod. Teddy Wharton gave me a kind of brusque acknowledgment, with a nod. But I felt that that was his way, not that he was malevolent towards me or anything. And the guy at the desk, whom I didn't recognize, beamed at me and nodded his head quite vigorously. And then they all turned back to what they had been doing.

"I felt absolutely free to go at that point, which I did. As I closed the door, I still saw them there. I left the room and went across the hallway to my proper bedroom and found that the girl who was supposed to have slept in there where the ghosts were was in my bed. So I went back to the other room. I didn't feel scared. Whereas the room had been freezing, freezing cold, it was now warm. The stove had been going the whole time, but I had woken up because the room was so freezing. The feeling that I got from it was that past, present, and future were all happening at the same time, that for some reason time as we know it was irrelevant. That somehow I was a part of their time and they were a part of my time.

"The next day I told a friend of mine in the company who had been doing a tremendous amount of research on Edith Wharton. She had this wonderful book that had pictures of all sorts of people who had been friends of Edith Wharton's. My friend thought maybe the man I didn't recognize was Henry James, because it was known that he was there a lot. So I looked through the book and identified the man from his picture. It turned out to be a guy who they suspected was Edith Wharton's lover and who had also helped her in a secretarial way in some of her works. The details of Edith Wharton's dress, which I had never seen before, I later saw in this book."

We'll Leave the Speed of Light on for You

We'll Leave the Speed of Light on For You
20th-Century Guests Stay in 19th-Century Hotel

From "World of Strange Phenomena" by Charles Berlitz, published 1988 by Wynwood Press.

It all began innocently enough in October 1979, when two couples in Dover, England, set off on a vacation together, intending to travel through France and Spain. It ended in a journey that took them to another world.

Geoff and Pauline Simpson and their friends Len and Cynthia Gisby boarded a boat that took them across the English Channel to the coast of France. There, they rented a car and proceeded to drive north. Around 9:30 that evening, October 3, they began to tire and looked for a place to stay. They pulled off the autoroute when they saw a plush-looking motel.

Len went inside and in the lobby encountered a man dress in an odd plum-colored uniform. The man said there was no room in the motel but there was a small hotel south along the road. Len thanked him and he and his companions went on.

Along the way, they were struck by the oddness of the cobbled, narrow road and the buildings they passed. They also saw posters advertising a circus. "It was a very old-fashioned circus," Pauline would remember. "That's why we took so much interest."

Finally, the travelers saw a long, low building with a row of brightly lit windows. Some men were standing in front of it and when Cynthia spoke with them, they told her the place was an inn, not a hotel. They drove further down the road until they saw two buildings: one a police station, the other an old-fashioned two-story building bearing a sign marked "Hotel." Inside, everything was made of heavy wood. There were no tablecloths on the tables, nor was there any evidence of such modern conveniences as telephones or elevators.

The rooms were no less strange. The beds had heavy sheets and no pillows. There were no locks on the doors, only wooden catches. The bathroom the couples had to share had old-fashioned plumbing.

After they ate, they returned to their rooms and fell asleep. They were awakened when sunlight filtered through the windows, which consisted only of wooden shutters -- no glass. They went back to the dining room and ate a simple breakfast with "black and horrible" coffee, Geoff recalled.

As they were sitting there, a woman wearing a silk evening gown and carrying a dog under her arm sat opposite them. "It was strange," Pauline said. "It looked like she had just come in from a ball but it was seven in the morning. I couldn't take my eyes off her."

At that point, two gendarmes entered the room. "They were nothing like the gendarmes we saw anywhere else in France," according to Geoff. "Their uniforms seemed to be very old." The uniforms were deep blue and the officers were wearing capes over their shoulders. Their hats were large and peaked.

Despite the oddities, the couples enjoyed themselves and, when they returned to their rooms, the two husbands separately took pictures of their wives standing by the shuttered windows.

On their way out, Len and Geoff talked with the gendarmes about the best way to take the autoroute to Avignon and the Spanish border. The officers didn't seem to understand the word "autoroute," and the travelers assumed they hadn't pronounced the French word properly. The directions they were given were quite poor; they took the friends to an old road some miles out of the way. They decided to use the map instead and take a more direct route along the highway.

After the car was packed, Len went to pay his bill and was astonished when the manager asked only for 19 francs. Assuming there was some misunderstanding, Len explained that there were four of them and they had eaten a meal. The manager only nodded. Len showed the bill to the gendarmes, who smilingly indicated there was nothing amiss. He paid in cash and left before they could change their minds.

On their way back from two weeks in Spain, the two couples decided to stop at the hotel again. They had had a pleasant, interesting time there and the prices certainly couldn't be beat. The night was rainy and cold and visibility poor, but they found the turnoff and noticed the circus signs they had seen before.

"This is definitely the right road," Pauline declared.

It was, but there was no hotel alongside it. Thinking that somehow they had missed it, they went back to the motel where the man in the plum-colored suit had given them directions. That motel was there, but there was no man in the unusual suit and the clerk denied such an individual working there.

The couples drove three times up and down the road looking for something that, they were now beginning to realize, was no longer there.

They drove north and spent the night in a hotel in Lyons. Room with modern facilities, breakfast and dinner cost them 247 francs.

Upon their return to Dover, Geoff and Len had their respective rolls of film processed. In each case, the pictures of the hotel (one by Geoff, two by Len) were in the middle of the roll. But when they got the pictures back, the ones taken inside the hotel were missing. There were no spoiled negatives. Each film had its full quota of pictures. It was as if the pictures had never been taken -- except for one small detail that a reporter for Yorkshire television would notice: "There was evidence that the camera had tried to wind on in the middle of the film. Sprocket holes on the negatives showed damage."

The couples kept quiet about their experience for three years, telling it only to friends and family. One friend found a book in which it was revealed that gendarmes wore the uniforms described prior to 1905. Eventually, a reporter for the Dover newspaper heard [the story] and published an account. Later, a television dramatization of the experience was produced by a local station.

In 1985, Manchester psychiatrist Albert Keller hypnotized Geoff Simpson to see if he could recall any more of the peculiar event. Under hypnosis he added nothing new to what he consciously remembered.

Jenny Randles, a British writer who investigated this bizarre episode, wonders, "What really happened to the four travelers in rural France? Was this a timeslip? If so, one wonders why the hotel manager was apparently not surprised by their futuristic vehicle and clothing, and why he accepted their 1979 currency, which certainly would have appeared odd to anybody living that far back in the past."

The travelers -- perhaps time-travelers -- have no explanation. "We only know what happened," says Geoff.

Versailles Timeslip

Versailles Timeslip
A Glimpse of Marie Antoinette the Day of her Beheading

As recounted in "Time Slip--Dreams: A Parallel Reality" by Johannes von Buttlar

In August 1901, two Englishwomen visited Paris. They were Annie Moberly, Principal of St. Hugh's College in Oxford, and a colleague, Dr. Eleanor Frances Jourdain. After a short stay in the capital, they went on to Versailles. Later, after returning to England, they published a report on their journey that describes what must be some of the most remarkable events of our century.

The two Englishwomen visited the palace at Versailles, where after touring the building itself they descended the steps into the gardens, walking toward the Petit Trianon. There they turned off along a track and passed by some deserted farm buildings, in front of which there was an old plough. On the path stood two men in long green coats wearing three-cornered hats. Eleanor Jourdain asked them the way and they replied with dignified gestures, from which the two Englishwomen gathered that they should go straight on. They went on their way without giving another thought to the strangers' period costume, assuming it to be intended as a tourist attraction. They strolled up to an isolated cottage where a woman and a 12- or 13-year-old girl were standing at the doorway, both wearing white kerchiefs fastened under their bodices. As Eleanor Jourdain described the scene, the woman was standing at the top of the steps, holding a jug and leaning slightly forwards, while the girl stood beneath her, looking up at her and stretching out her empty hands.

"She might have been just going to take the jug or have just given it up. I remember that both seemed to pause for an instant, as in a motion picture," wrote Dr. Jourdain.

The two Oxford ladies went on their way and soon reached a pavilion that stood in the middle of an enclosure. The place had a god-forsaken air about it and the atmosphere was depressing and unpleasant.

A man was sitting outside the pavilion, his face repulsively disfigured by smallpox, wearing a coat and a straw hat. He seemed not to notice the two women; at any rate, he paid no attention to them.

Suddenly, a young man in a dark coat and buckle shoes appeared and ran past shouting something like, "You can't go through there." He pointed toward the right and added, "You'll find the house over there."

Although the Englishwomen spoke French they could only partly understand the man's speech. He bowed with a curious smile and disappeared. The sound of his hurrying footsteps hung in the air for a long time.

The Englishwomen walked on in silence and after a while reached a narrow, rustic bridge, which led over a ravine. A small waterfall made its way between stones and fern leaves, down a slope covered in vegetation. On the other side of the bridge, the path wound along the edge of a meadow surrounded by trees. Some way away stood a small country house with shuttered windows and with terraces on either side. A lady was sitting on the lawn with her back to the house. She held a large sheet of paper or cardboard in her hand and seemed to be working at or looking at a drawing. She was no longer in the bloom of youth but looked most attractive. She wore a summer dress with a long bodice and a very full, apparently short skirt, which was extremely unusual. She had a pale green fichu or kerchief draped around her shoulders, and a large white hat covered her fair hair.

At the end of the terraces was a second house. As the two women drew near, a door suddenly flew open and slammed shut again. A young man with the demeanor of a servant, but not wearing livery, came out. As the two Englishwomen thought they had trespassed on private property, they followed the man toward the Petit Trianon. Quite unexpectedly, from one moment to the next, they found themselves in the middle of a crowd--apparently a wedding party--all dressed in the fashions of 1901.

The two Englishwomen took the coach from the palace back to their hotel and started their journey home.

On their return to England, Annie Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain discussed their trip and began to wonder about their experiences at the Petit Trianon. It transpired that although Annie Moberly had seen the lady with the sheet of paper in the meadow, Eleanor Jourdain had not. Annie Moberly, on the other hand, had seen neither the plough outside the abandoned farm nor the woman and the girl. Both Englishwomen naturally assumed that they had each seen the same things. Since this was evidently not the case, they decided to investigate the matter in detail. They analyzed the events of the afternoon of 10 August 1901 at the Petit Trianon -- the unusual costume of the people they had met and the inexplicable uneasiness that had overcome them. After comparing notes, they decided to gather all the available information about the Petit Trianon in an attempt to find an explanation.

In July 1904, the two Englishwomen returned to Versailles. They discovered that the cottage outside which Dr. Jourdain had seen the woman and the girl looked totally different. And the place where they had met the two men in 18th-century costume was also completely changed. The path on which the man had shown them the way was no longer to be found; in fact, all the features of the landscape seemed to have changed. There was no wooden bridge and no waterfall, and in the place where they had seen the lady sitting in the meadow a bush was growing. The house on the terraces, too, did not remotely resemble the one that they had seen three years before

Faced with all these anomalies, the Englishwomen decided to undertake a systematic investigation. The task took them several years. They procured old maps and plans of Versailles and its surroundings, examined documents in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and enlisted the help of historians. Gradually, a clearer picture began to emerge as many details could be explained or accounted for.

The plough that Eleanor Jourdain had seen, for example, did not belong to the Petit Trianon, but there were records to show that it had once been kept there and had been sold after the French Revolution.

In 18th-century Versailles, the only people who wore green livery were royal servants at Versailles. The two men in green coats could be identified as the Bersy brothers, who had been on watch on 5 October 1789, the last day that Marie Antoinette spent at the Petit Trianon.

The cottage was shown on an old map near the entrance to the Petit Trianon. And a general plan of Versailles in the year 1783 showed that a round pavilion with pillars had existed around the time of the French Revolution, as well as the still existing Temple d'Amour.

Both the girl and the pockmarked man were identified from historical sources. The 14-year-old girl was the gardener's daughter, Marion, and the man with the straw hat over his pockmarked face was Count de Vaudreuil, a Creole who had played a significant part in the downfall of Marie Antoinette. In 1789, the sombrero was just coming into fashion.

The running man with the buckle shoes must have been de Bretagne, a page who, according to historical sources, was sent by the palace's majordomo to the Trianon with an urgent message for the queen. He was to tell Marie Antoinette to escape immediately, as the mob was already on its way to Versailles from Paris.

The door that had banged shut behind the servant had been nailed up since the French Revolution. The man was possibly Lagrange, the doorkeeper.

The Englishwomen also discovered from the historical sources that the queen had been in the gardens on 5 October 1789 when the messenger brought her the news that she should return directly to the Trianon, from where she could be brought to safety. Having delivered his message, the man ran straight off to fetch a coach.

The archives even contained the name of the dressmaker who worked for the queen. She was called Madame Eloff, and it appeared that in the year 1789 she had made two green silk fichus for Marie Antoinette.

In 1902, Annie Moberly happened to set eyes on a portrait of the queen painted by [Adolph Ulrich] Wertmüller and was amazed to find that it had the features of the lady in the meadow near the Trianon.

In her account of this sudden appearance of a landscape from another century, Annie Moberly said: "Everything suddenly looked unnatural, therefore unpleasant; even the trees behind the building seemed to have become flat and lifeless, like a wood worked in tapestry. There were no effects of light and shade, and no wind stirred the trees. It was all intensely still."

Dr. Jourdain had evidently received a similar impression: "The whole scene -- sky, trees and buildings -- gave a little shiver."

We must now consider how the Englishwomen's strange experience can be explained. There are several alternatives.

Possibly the most obvious is that on touring the grounds of the palace, they were unconsciously reminded of historical events which they had once read or heard about, and these, triggered off by the surroundings, unfolded in their mind's eye. However, it seems a remarkable coincidence that they should both have had such an experience simultaneously, albeit in a slightly different form.

Another possibility is that the Englishwomen invented the whole story purely in order to attract attention. But this can probably be discounted in view of the fact that the publication of the events at the Petit Trianon only took place many years later, and both Annie Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain were women of great personal integrity.

A further explanation would be that the two of them experienced a daydream. However, this can surely be excluded on the grounds that it would be too much of a coincidence for them both to have dreamed about the same thing at the same time and in the same place. Unless, of course, one supposes that either consciously or unconsciously they each influenced one another.

There is one further explanation, albeit a rather far-fetched one, and this is that the two Englishwomen for some unknown reason were displaced into another temporal dimension in which a fragment of this past era appeared before them.

It is interesting to note that on 10 August 1901, the day of their experience, electrical storms were recorded over Europe and the atmosphere was laden with electricity. Could this have led to an alteration in the local temporal field around Versailles?

Up in Alms

Up in Alms
Handkerchief from an Almshouse in the Fourth Dimension

--From "Strange But True," edited by Corrine Kenner and Craig Miller, published 1997

In August 1964, my friend V. Stephens and I spent a holiday in Bruges, Belgium. One day we toured the town in a horse-drawn cab and stopped at several places of interest, among them the Old People's Almshouses.

We found ourselves in a square surrounded on three sides by cottages with a plot of untilled ground in the center. Elderly people were sitting around talking and making lace at little tables. One lady invited me into her cottage and offered me orange squash. My friend bought a lace-edged handkerchief. We visited the chapel, which was on the left-hand side of the place, halfway down the block, and then we said farewell and left.

We vacationed in Bruges for a week and, before we departed, we decided to have another horse-cab ride. We asked the driver to stop at the Almshouse. He took us through the familiar gateway and we found ourselves once again in the square.

But the scene was different from the one we remembered. There were no people about. We saw no lacemakers, even though it was a warm day. The large, untilled plot of ground now held a mass of fully grown flowers and vegetables. We went to look for the chapel but it was not there. Eventually we found it at the end of the block.

We met an attendant and told him that we thought the chapel had been on the left, in the center of the left-hand row of cottages. "Oh, yes, it used to be," he replied. "But it's been moved."

We left somewhat mystified. Where were the people and the lacemakers? Why was every door shut when previously each had stood hospitably open? How was it that the open field in the center had been cultivated when a week ago it had been bare? And how did the chapel get moved and rebuilt in the space of a few days?

Skeptics might say we dreamed it all, but my friend still has the handkerchief she bought that day, and that is real enough.

Elsie Hill
Eastbourne, Sussex, England
January 1978

What's in Store

What's In Store
Transmuting Shop Baffles U.K. Policeman


The following is a story from the mouth of a Merseyside policeman who inadvertently traveled back in time when he was off-duty in July of 1996 in Liverpool's Bold Street area.

Frank, the policeman in question, and his wife, Carol, were in Liverpool one sunny Saturday afternoon shopping. At Central Station, the pair split up; Carol went to Dillons Bookshop to buy a copy of Irvine Welsh's "Trainspotting," and Frank went to HMV to look for a CD he wanted. [Shortly] into his stroll to the music shop, he walked up the incline near the Lyceum Post Office/Café building which leads onto Bold Street, when he suddenly noticed he had somehow entered an oasis of quietness.

Suddenly, a small boxvan that looked like something out of the 1950s sped across his path, honking its horn as it narrowly missed him. Frank noticed the name on the van's side: Caplan's. When he looked down, the confused policeman [saw that] he was standing in the road. Frank crossed the road and saw that Dillons Book Store now had "Cripps" over its entrances. More confused, he looked in to see not books, but women's handbags and shoes.

When he looked around, Frank realized people were dressed [in fashions] from the 1940s. Suddenly, he spotted a young girl in her early 20s dressed in a lime-colored sleeveless top. The handbag she was carrying had a popular [modern-day] brand name on it, which reassured the policeman that maybe he was still partly in 1996. It was a paradox, but the policeman was slightly relieved, and he smiled at the girl as she walked past him and entered Cripps.

As he followed her, the whole interior of the building completely changed in a flash to that of Dillons Bookshop of 1996. As she was leaving [the store], Frank lightly grasped the girl's arm to attract attention and said, "Did you see that?"

She replied, "Yeah! I thought it was a clothes shop. I was going to look around, but it's a bookshop."

It [was later determined] that Cripps and Caplan's were businesses based in Liverpool during the 1950s.

Tip Off

Tip Off
New Zealand River Tip Head Has Anomalous Aura

--From Joel Murdoch,

Almost five years ago [circa 1997] when I lived in Blaketown, a suburb of Greymouth, a town on the South Island of New Zealand, my friend and I were down at the "tip head." A tip head in New Zealand speak is a man-made bank that extends a river bank where it meets the sea. In the case of Blaketown, it's used to control the flow of the river.

I'm not entirely sure which of us came up with the bright idea to go on this night; it was very windy, the waves were big and breaking on the tip (not strong enough to wash us off though -- they rarely are) and the dark clouds suggested rain very soon. The tip has a ramp leading to a lower platform on the riverside where ships used to load and unload cargo. My friend was looking down at this platform when I noticed a very big wave approaching. I told him it was time to move but he didn't respond. Something seemed very wrong -- it's like he wasn't even there. He snapped out of it after I screamed at him a few times and we got out of the way. He was completely freaking out. I asked him why he didn't respond and he said he'd seen a vision of ship. It was daytime in this vision and lots of people were about, loading up this old-fashioned steam ship. It was an ordinary, simple scene, which discounts both a past life recollection (ones not prompted by hypnosis are nearly always the death of the life in question) and an atmospheric photograph ghost (assuming strong emotions are the key to such things).

We went back the next day and his description of the tip in his vision squared with what's there today to a T. He said the ramp had a cart on it, mounted on train rails. While there are no rails there today, there are further towards land and the concrete on the ramp is of a noticeably different grain to the rest of the platform. He said that the tip seemed shorter and, again, a different grain of concrete towards the end suggests this is true. He said that there were streams of water pouring off the sides of the tip, and there are remnants of wooden channels on the surface. These were obviously intended to siphon water from breaking waves off quicker. I asked him how he felt during the vision and he said, "I felt like I was there, but shouldn't have been." The people in this vision gave no indication they knew of his "presence," but this is hardly a relevant detail as it can't have lasted more than 10 seconds.

This person in question was and still is one of my best friends: an observant, intelligent and logical but still open-minded man who is currently in the Air Force. We'd been down to the tip at night a hundred times before and a hundred since and nothing like it has ever happened again.

The sea around the tiphead is very rough, and the entry to the river is very hazardous at times. Many ships have gone down in the area, and I'd be surprised if the place hasn't seen at least one suicide. There's a monument down there to the people who've drowned in the area over the years. It's got about a dozen plaques on it, and if anything it's underused. When I head down there at night, even when I think about all this stuff, it doesn't bug me. But some nights there's just...something about the place. One night it was a beautifully clear and calm night, New Year's about 1999 if I'm not mistaken. The view from the end would've been something special, but my friend (a different one) and I both agreed: Something wasn't right. Another time I was down there with the friend who had the timeslip; we got halfway down the road and I couldn't get away fast enough.

I've often wondered if the emotional imprint/atmospheric photograph-type ghosts aren't just timeslips manifesting to a weaker level. There are too many ghosts who obviously are not sentient but also aren't doing anything that would suggest a strong emotional situation is the trigger. You also have to factor in the surroundings -- some places haven't changed much over the years to the casual observer. Also, if the experience features people, then the person viewing the thing might be so caught up (e.g.: "Holy shit, there's a dude in a suit of armor!") in what's going on to really take in the fact that the scenery's changed as well. Basically, I think timeslips are probably more common than they at first appear.

Joel Murdoch

Stationery Moment in Time

Stationery Moment in Time
Man Buys Envelopes from Victorian-Era Shop Clerk

--From "The Directory of Possibilities," edited by Colin Wilson and John Grant, published 1981 by Webb & Bower

In "The Mask of Time," Joan Forman has described many timeslips. Perhaps the oddest concerns a Mr. Squirrel, who in 1973 went into a stationer's shop in Great Yarmouth to buy some envelopes. He was served by a woman in Edwardian dress and bought three dozen envelopes for a shilling. He noticed that the building was extremely silent -- there was no traffic noise. On visiting the shop three weeks later, he found it completely changed and modernized; the assistant, an elderly lady, denied that there had been any other assistant in the shop the previous week.

The envelopes disintegrated very quickly. Forman heard of the case and interviewed Squirrel; he was able to produce for her one of the remaining envelopes. Forman wrote to the manufacturers, who said that such envelopes had ceased to be manufactured 15 years before.

Sinking Feeling

Sinking Feeling
Explorers Barely Escape as Church Instantaneously Ages


One spring day during my Junior year some friends and I decided to go driving on the country roads outside of our town. We did this for about an hour until we came upon an old church with a graveyard beside it. Brian, who was driving, decided to stop and investigate.

We all climbed out of the car and started to look around. It was a warm day but for some reason when entering the churchyard it felt as if the temperature had dropped about 10 degrees. Nancy went back to the car and put on her jacket, saying she was cold.

The graveyard seemed to be well kept, though there were no flowers on the gravesites. This seemed strange to me since Memorial Day was that weekend. There were no gravestones dated any later than 1931 even though there was plenty of room, which also seemed a bit unusual.

Brian wanted to go into the church, which was boarded up, and, having nothing better to do, we all agreed. We thought that since the windows were boarded up that the door would be barred or locked. We got ready to have to "break in" when Brian pushed on the door and it swung open. At this point we all became a bit nervous but went inside.

I remember the smell hitting me first: Instead of being old and musty it smelled like flowers -- roses, to be exact. The place was spotless -- not a speck of dust anywhere. We looked around and couldn't figure out why, if this was an abandoned church -- and, believe me, from the outside there was no question about it -- the inside was so nice and clean?

The next thing we noticed was all the bibles sitting in the seats, as if waiting for the congregation to sit down and pick them up. We all looked at each other and I said, "I don't think we should be here." My friends nervously laughed and Nancy said she needed to get home and besides she was getting hot. Brian and Mark, being teenage boys, said we were just being sissies and told Nancy to take off her coat if she was hot because they weren't done exploring.

Nancy and I drew up our courage and I figured it was just nerves. As we stayed longer I noticed that dust started appearing -- not a little bit, but thick coats of it. It was as if the inside of the church was aging rapidly to catch up to its outside appearance. Brian and I watched as a spider web just appeared between one of the pews, and at this point all of us got a very bad feeling. We all ran out of that church as if the Devil were on our tails.

As we drove back, Nancy remembered her jacket. Brian told her not to worry; we would go back tomorrow afternoon, but he was not going there today because it was getting dark. I could tell it was more to do with the feeling we got from the place rather than being late getting home. We wrote down the road numbers at the closest intersection to the church and put down the directions to the nearest highway.

The next day was Saturday and when I got off work we all climbed into Brian's car and followed the directions back to where the church was. What we found was a dead end and a local lake in the vicinity of where the church should have been. Brian said we must have written down the directions wrong, so we drove around for another hour and still no church. I finally said we should go to the nearest town, which was only about five miles away, and get directions; being tired and frustrated, Brian agreed.

We pulled into a convenience store and there was an old man working there. I thought if anyone might know where our mysterious church was, he would. When we described the church and graveyard and asked where it was, he got as white as a ghost. Brian started repeating what we had said and the old man stopped him. He said, "There is no way you kids could have been to that church. It burned down in 1932 when some drifters tried to light a cook fire inside; then the state put in the lake in 1935. That land where the old church and graveyard sat is under 50 feet of water."

We thought maybe he was talking about a different church, but when he said his little sister had been buried there and said her name, I knew it was the same place. Just before we went to go inside the church I remembered looking at her tombstone and thinking how sad that a little girl so young had to die.

I don't know how or why the church appeared to us that day, and I don't know what would have happened to us if we had stayed there much longer. To this day I am grateful that we left when we did, or I might not be here this day to tell the tale of the vanishing church.

--Patricia Tallberg, Kansas

Addendum, submitted by "M":

"You've been given a classic urban legend in the aging church story. This type of story is quite common. Sometimes a church, [sometimes] a school. But the aging effect, left-behind garment and 'proof' -- in this case, the grave marker; often a personalized textbook in the case of a school -- are all classic components of this legend."

Mosaic Manifestation

Mosaic Manifestation
It Can Happen to You if You're Jung at Heart

From Carl Gustav Jung's "Memories, Dreams, Reflections," pp 284-286

Thanks to Philip of alt.folklore.ghost-stories, who posted the following excerpt, noting: "Carl Gustav Jung was the founder of analytical psychology. Here is an excerpt from his memoirs, 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections,' [in which] he tells of one of the 'most curious events' in his life. He tried his best to find logical explanations, [though] his [ultimate] conclusion is that the event is indeed paranormal. To Jung, paranormal phenomena pointed to deeper mysteries."

"Even on the occasion of my first visit to Ravenna in 1913, the tomb of Galla Placidia seemed to me significant and unusually fascinating. The second time, 20 years later, I had the same feeling. Once more I fell into a strange mood in the tomb of Galla Placidia; once more I was deeply stirred. I was there with an acquaintance, and we went directly from the tomb into the Baptistery of the Orthodox. Here, what struck me first was the mild blue light that filled the room; yet I did not wonder about this at all. I did not try to account for its source, and so the wonder of this light without any visible source did not trouble me. I was somewhat amazed because, in place of the windows I remembered having seen on my first visit, there were now four great mosaic frescoes of incredible beauty which, it seemed, I had entirely forgotten. I was vexed to find my memory so unreliable.

"The mosaic on the south side represented the baptism in the Jordan. The second picture, on the north, was of the passage of the Children of Israel through the Red Sea. The third, on the east, soon faded from my memory. It might have shown Naaman being cleansed of leprosy in the Jordan; there was a picture on this theme in the old Merian Bible in my library, which was much like the mosaic. The fourth mosaic, on the west side of the baptistery, was the most impressive of all. We looked at this one last. It represented Christ holding out his hand to Peter, who was sinking beneath the waves. We stopped in front of this mosaic for at least 20 minutes and discussed the original ritual of baptism, especially the curious archaic conception of it as an initiation connected with real peril of death. Such initiations were often connected with the peril of death and so served to express the archetypal idea of death and rebirth. Baptism had originally been a real submersion which at least suggested the danger of drowning. I retained the most distinct memory of the mosaic of Peter sinking, and to this day can see every detail before my eyes: the blue of the sea, the individual chips of the mosaic, the inscribed scrolls proceeding from the mouths of Peter and Christ, which I attempted to decipher.

"After we left the baptistery, I went promptly to Alinari to buy photographs of the mosaics, but could not find any. Time was pressing -- this was only a short visit -- and so I postponed the purchase until later. I thought I might order the pictures from Zurich. When I was back home, I asked an acquaintance who was going to Ravenna to obtain the pictures for me. He could not locate them, for he discovered that the mosaics I had described did not exist.

"The memory of those pictures is still vivid to me. The lady who had been there with me long refused to believe that what she had seen with her own eyes had not existed. As we know, it is very difficult to determine whether, and to what extent, two persons simultaneously see the same thing. In this case, however, I was able to ascertain that at least the main features of what we both saw had been the same.

"This experience in Ravenna is among the most curious events in my life. It can scarcely be explained. A certain light may possibly be cast on it by an incident in the story of Empress Galla Placidia (d. 450). During a stormy crossing from Byzantium to Havenna in the worst of winter, she made a vow that if she came though safely, she would build a church and have the perils of the sea represented in it. She kept this vow by building the basilica of San Giovanni in Ravenna and having it adorned with mosaics. In the early Middle Ages, San Giovanni, together with its mosaics, was destroyed by fire; but in the Ambrosiana in Milan is still to be found a sketch representing Galla Placidia in a boat."

A Diamond is Forever

A Diamond is Forever
Jewels Trigger a Timeslip Into a High-Society Soirée


This happened in 1974 when I had just come back from overseas and was boarding with friends. I was 30 years old. One of the owners of the house, a young man in his middle 20s, was a credible piano player and I loved to hear him play.

This particular morning we went into the room where he had a piano and I sat down with my Siamese cat on my lap, preparing to hear him play. He did, and I slowly stroked the cat as I enjoyed the music. I looked down at the cat and also glanced at my hand, which had some diamond rings sparkling and winking on my fingers.

Then, suddenly, I was somewhere else -- a sort of shift of place and time -- instantly! I was instead sitting on a gilt chair in a large, large hall -- I somehow knew where I was. I was in one of England's old stately homes -- a country estate. My fingers and arms and chest and throat were covered with sparkling large and beautiful diamonds. I was basically in the same position as I was formerly, looking down at my glittering hand stroking a very large dog, sitting down beside me. This was a huge dog -- I don't know the breed, but like a Great Dane. It was light gold in color and it was my dog. On my right was a huge fireplace of pale stone, very old and unadorned. It was high enough for a tall man to walk inside it and not bow his head. The fire was not lit.

Around me was a small crowd of other people sitting on chairs, and we were listening to a man play a recital on a grand piano. This was after dinner and many women were also glittering with jewels. [This] I knew [was] the set of friends we moved in. We wore long dresses and I "feel" the time was the 1880s or thereabout, but not earlier.

Very strangely I remember no sound at all -- the whole scene played out in utter silence.

A man was standing by the fireplace -- who he was I do not know -- and also another dog was sitting down there in a relaxed position.

It was a relaxed atmosphere, rich and amiable, solid and secure, and I was enjoying myself. I "knew" I was the wife in this important country house, totally at home and enjoying my position. I would guess I was the same age as I was in real life.

Then...I was back in the real world -- like someone had shifted the scene -- instantly. There was no fading, just like a 'snap,' and I was back.

The present-time piano player was not aware of anything and I continued to sit there and listen until he finished, with no further strange "visions." The whole experience could not have taken more than a few seconds.

I had never experienced such a thing [and] was totally unprepared for it and quite shocked. I did not tell anyone about it for years, and then I found that no one was very interested anyway. All I got were jokes about drinking too much, so I kept it to myself.

This was nearly 30 years ago, and I still remember it most vividly. In fact, I can conjure up the scene if I close my eyes. I have since tried to make sense of it. To this end, I read many books on strange experiences. I have come to think it was what they call a "time-slip." It really does feel like a "shift".

Since then I have had weaker experiences of the same nature, years apart. It's like a "shift" is about to happen and then it does not, just a strange feeling.

I feel quite relieved to write it down after all this time.

--Anna Emanuel