An author witnesses a scene from over 400 hundred years ago, two women travel in time to the Palace of Versailles and an off-duty policeman relives 1950’s Liverpool. Do people really believe time slips are as easy as entering a room? MJ Wayland explores this very unusual and rare phenomenon, discussing the most famous cases of time slips.
What is a Time Slip?
“Ghosts” are a multi-faceted phenomenon that deserves to be classified as a range of different events. Many sightings are readily explained as individuals who appear out of their normal location or time; often the experience also seems to change the surroundings of the witness, giving the impression of a “time-slip”.
What is open to question is whether these stories are glimpses into the past or does the witness actually travel back in time?
Time Slip Theory
Ghost hunter and author, Joan Forman collected many unusual time slips stories from around the UK. One example happened to a Warder who was on duty in the Byward Tower, at the main entrance to the Tower of London. One night, he looked up to see five or six Beefeaters from the distant past, seated around a log fire, smoking pipes. Not only that, the whole room had altered in appearance. The room reverted back to its original state when the warder left the room and returned moments later. Forman gathered such an amount of evidence she was able to publish “Masks of Time” a book dedicated to this phenomena.
Forman’s interest in Time Slips took her to Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, where she was to have an experience and allow her to develop the theory of the ‘trigger factor’.
Joan entered the courtyard of Haddon Hall, pausing to admire the architecture. Without warning, she ‘saw’ a group of four children playing at the top of the stairs, a girl about nine years old caught the attention of Joan. She had shoulder-length blonde hair, a white Dutch hat, and a long green-grey silk dress with a white collar. Joan watched within fascination the children playing in the yard “fully aware that she was not seeing with the physical eye, yet conscious of watching real action.
Joan decided to find the identity of the oldest child and entered the Hall looking at every family portrait. In the middle of the ancestral paintings, a picture of the girl she had seen was hung; it was Lady Grace Manners who died in the 1640’s.
The trigger factor occurs when one is interested in their surroundings but not concentrating on them; a slip can happen at a precise place and moment and the witness is thrust seemingly, into another time. Whatever you believe, the next witness saw this happen.
A Kent Time Slip
At Leeds Castle in Kent, Alice Pollock experienced what could be called a ‘classic’ story. Alice was experimenting in Henry VIII’s rooms by touching objects in an attempt to experience events from another time. After a period of receiving no impressions whatsoever, the room suddenly changed. The room lost its modern, comfortable appearance to become old fashioned, cold and bare. The carpet had disappeared and there were now logs burning on the fire. A tall woman in a white dress was walking up and down the room; her face seemed in deep concentration. Not long after the room returned to its original state.
By researching the castle’s history it was found that the rooms had been the prison of Queen Joan of Navarre, Henry V’s stepmother and had been accused of witchcraft by her husband.
Liverpool Time Slip
With a wealth of information available on time slips in books and the internet, many of the cases quoted are often quite old and occurred at least thirty years ago. One story that happened recently is that of an off-duty policeman.
In July 1996, in Liverpool’s Bold Street, did an off duty Merseyside Policeman inadvertently travelled back in time? While shopping with his wife in the city centre, one Saturday afternoon, Frank and his wife split up to buy from different shops, Carol his wife went to Dillon’s Bookshop, while Frank went to a local record store.
This is when something strange happened..
A small 1950’s box van crossed in front of Frank as he crossed Bold Street, honking his horn in its progress. The van’s livery stated it was from “Caplan’s”. He looked down to his feet, and realised he was stood in the middle of the road. Frank crossed the road and saw that ‘Dillon’s Book Store’ now had old fashioned ‘Cripps’ signage over its entrances and moreover, the shop was selling women’s handbags and shoes rather than books.
Looking around the street, he realised that the people he could see were dressed in the fashions from the 1940’s but strangely a young woman in her 20’s walked past him with a popular brand name handbag. This reassured him that he was partially in 1996; he smiled at the girl as she walked past and entered ‘Cripps’.
As he followed her into the store, the interior of the building changed in a flash to that of Dillon’s Bookshop in 1996. Frank questioned the young woman who had entered with him into ‘Cripps’, she confirmed that she too thought the shop was a clothes shop rather than a bookshop.
It was recently proven that ‘Cripps’ and ‘Caplan’s’ were actual businesses based in Liverpool during the 1950’s, whether they were based in the locations specified in the story has not been confirmed.
Frank’s experience offers numerous questions if indeed it is true. Did the box van driver see Frank as a ghost wearing strange clothing while standing in the middle of the street? Did other shoppers see him acting ‘strange’ outside the ‘Cripps’ store in the 1950s? If he did appear, we have no record of anybody reporting such a sighting, which is a shame considering the implications if there were witnesses.
As Joan Forman indicates, like most paranormal experiences there seems to be a trigger that initiates the experience as a whole. I am surprised that these ‘triggers’ have not been further investigated, especially when one looks at the links between the experiencers of migraines or users of hallucinatory drugs – there seems to be a general pattern that launches the witness into a seemingly alternative world.