Case Histories For Time Travel
Author Rob Shelsky
“With a bit of mind flip, you’re into a time slip, and nothing can ever be the same.”
—Lyrics from The Time Warp, The Rocky Horror Picture Show
In an earlier article, I discussed the idea that people may have not only developed a time machine, as with the case of Sid Hurwich, but also some people may have had unintended time travel experiences. This is not nearly as rare an event as one might think.
Many people have described strange incidences of time travel events occurring. Therefore, I decided to expand on this subject. I thought I would discuss more cases of people having claimed time travel experiences.
We haven’t room for all of them here in this article, obviously, since there are hundreds, even thousands of such testimonies. However, I have selected a couple of the most outstanding ones and ones that cover several centuries to show just how long this phenomenon has been going on.
In addition, yes, whenever reading or listening to such eyewitness accounts of something, a certain amount of skepticism is justified and even necessary, of course. One should have an open mind, but one should also be objective.
Therefore, in this article, only those cases from my book, Time Travel Invasion, where multiple witnesses are involved or there is other corroborating evidence, are used. This is to act as further support for the events actually having taken place and that they indeed, did happen the way the witnesses described.
One witness may or may not be reliable. Even several possibly can be wrong. However, more often this is not the case if there is more than one witness present. People are convicted all the time in courts because of the testimony of several witnesses, so since such multiple testimonies do lend credence in the eyes of the law to something being true, this article utilizes the same premise, as well.
Is any particular case absolutely true? No, of course not. Nobody can make such a broad claim. Nevertheless, if one takes into account the type of people involved, the number of them, and the nature of the event itself, one can arrive at some reasonable conclusions. Moreover, if the number of such similar events occurring is high, if enough people attest to such things as being true, then there is a much higher likelihood of their being truth to many time travel cases. Also, remember, this is just one type of evidence. There are others.
So let’s begin:
An Unhappy Marie Antoinette. This incident is one of the oldest stories of time travel and is one of the most famous. Eventually, the victims of the event even wrote an entire book on the subject. This time travel event took place at the turn of the prior century, in 1901, August 10, to be exact. Since then, various authors have written much about the topic.
The Story: Two women, Eleanor Jourdain and Charlotte Moberly, were visiting Versailles, the palace and grounds there of former kings and queens of France. Versailles is a fantastic place and one of real excess, no doubt. The very existence of the place may have added to the fuel that caused the fires of the French Revolution to ignite, since the palace and grounds were so over the top by comparison to the miserable lot of the common peasants of France. This resulted in an obvious and glaring social disparity, one easily seen, between those with wealth and power versus those who had none.
Charlotte Moberly And Eleanor Jourdain
In any case, the two women involved were well educated and had traveled much. They were of “good” reputation as the term of those days went and of a good solid background. The two grew up in “no-nonsense” environments. There is no record of them ever having shown any overt interest in the supernatural or paranormal prior to this event, as well.
They also had a strong liking for culture. The arts and history were favorite subjects of theirs. Because of this, they naturally gravitated to visiting such places as Versailles, where so much of it was available. It was while visiting there that the time travel event occurred.
The two women were wandering about the grounds of the Palace of Versailles when they decided to head for the Petit Trianon, a small chateau constructed by Louis XV over a six-year period, between 1762 and 1768 CE. He had the place built for his then mistress, the famous Madame de Pompadour. Subsequently, it became a place of private refuge for his next mistress, Madame du Barry. Finally, when Louis XVI came to the throne, he turned the place over to his new wife, Queen Marie Antoinette. Again, the place became a special sanctuary once more, this time for her. It is here our story begins.
Marie Antoinette would retire herself to the chateau, the Petit Trianon, as a place where she could escape the rigors of the court. This was her “fortress of solitude,” a bastion against the constant critical eyes and judgmental looks of the courtiers, nobles and diplomats.
So important was the chateau to her in this regard that everything there was strictly under her control and her control alone. Everything was de par la Reine, which in English translates “by order of the Queen.” Nobody came or went without her say, not even the king. This love of her privacy I stress here for several reasons:
First, it shows the importance of the place as being Marie Antoinette’s own place and nobody else’s. Secondly, it shows her strong desire for privacy in the form of such a retreat, even within the extensive palace grounds of Versailles itself. Thirdly, it gave her ultimate control, but this was at a cost.
Since only certain people had admittance there, such as the Princess de Lamballe, among others, those left out of this elite group, the other nobles, became not only jealous but also disaffected from Marie Antoinette. In short, the queen’s love of the Petit Trianon only added to the growing number of her enemies at court and they were numerous already.
Marie Antoinette didn’t seem to care. She loved the chateau. Nevertheless, her indifference to making enemies eventually helped cost her life, for during the French Revolution that was soon to follow, the royal family was imprisoned and the revolutionaries beheaded first the king and then the queen. Their son, the heir apparent to the throne, the “Dauphin” as he was known, disappeared entirely. Historians generally believe the revolutionaries murdered him and then disposed of his body.
I include these events here because some claim the incredibly tragic nature of them allowed the following event to take place. These people argue that such strong emotional happenings can tear fabrics in time or perhaps “impress” on a place a historical event or scene for others to view much later.
Just about a hundred years on, Charlotte Anne Moberly and her companion, Eleanor Jourdain, tried to find the Petit Trianon. However, they soon became disoriented and lost. This sort of thing is common for first-time tourists at such a sprawling place as the grounds of Versailles, but more was to happen to them than just losing their way.
At one point in their quest a bleak feeling came over them both, as of some type of deep “oppression and dreariness.” Bewildered as to their true whereabouts, they came across a farmhouse. Here, they saw a woman who waved a “white cloth” out of a window and it was here, as well, that the feeling of bleakness and loss noticeably increased for them.
Moving on, the women noticed several men whom they described as “very dignified.” They were dressed in long coats, a dull green in color and they all wore tri-cornered hats. The two women simply assumed the men were in period costume dress, for the clothing was of the type worn over a hundred years earlier. They also assumed this was for some sort of pageant, perhaps a typical display for tourists to the area.
This assumption seemed to be confirmed when they later wandered by a cottage. In the entrance stood a woman and girl, also in period dress, and the woman was proffering a jug to the younger woman. MS Jourdain said it looked exactly as if it were a “tableau vivant,” as if creating a living picture. This was when the feeling of “oppression” became very strong and although MS Moberly said she did not notice the cottage, she did feel the onset of the strange feeling along with MS Jourdain. As she later said in a book that the two women wrote:
"Everything suddenly looked unnatural, therefore unpleasant; even the trees seemed to become flat and lifeless, like wood worked in tapestry. There were no effects of light and shade, and no wind stirred the trees."
Farther on, they saw a man sitting near a gazebo or garden kiosk. He wore a long dark cloak and a wide-brimmed hat shadowed his face. MS Moberly later referred to his facial appearance as being “most repulsive” and “its expression odious.” He appeared to have suffered severely in the past from smallpox. She also said that:
“The man slowly turned his face, which was marked by smallpox; his complexion was very dark. The expression was evil and yet unseeing, and though I did not feel that he was looking particularly at us, I felt a repugnance to going past him.”
A little farther on, a man with a “sombrero” like hat directed them on toward the Petit Trianon. MS Moberly, in their wandering to find the chateau, noticed a woman sketching and according to her, the woman bore a striking resemblance to Queen Marie Antoinette, as she had appeared in a painting by the artist, Wertmüller. MS Moberly described the woman as being dressed simply in a summer dress and wearing a hat.
At first, MS Moberly mistook her for another tourist, but then realized that she, too, was dressed in what seemed to be period costuming. Later, MS Moberly felt she had seen Marie Antoinette. MS Jourdain did not see her. Why this was so is uncertain, but both women seemed to have noticed things that the other did not. It was as if some things were visible to one, but not the other.
After this, the two women seemed to have returned to their own time. They found their way back to their accommodations. At first, neither talked about the incident, but after a week or so they finally did, if reluctantly, because the episode had upset both of them. Later and once home again, they eventually wrote a book, but by no means immediately. In fact, it was years later.
The book became popular. Some people believed the two women, while others felt the whole thing was some sort of hoax. Since that first book, many others have included the episode in their own works, and the incident has been the subject of discussions for over a hundred years now.
Was the episode a hoax? Well, it could have been, but there are factors that weigh against this idea. Again, the two women were extremely well educated. They were of “good families,” ones known for being practical, down-to-earth, and solid middle class. Moreover, they had never shown any inclination of any sort to perpetrate hoaxes, or for that matter, any types of flights of fancy, either.
Furthermore, in those days they had much to lose, such as their status in society, their personal reputations for being “educated” and their standings for truthfulness, as well, among other things. At the beginning of the last century, once such attributes were lost, they were virtually irretrievable in the rigid discipline of the society of the day.
In addition, they felt they had little to obtain in the way of personal gain by writing the book because such books usually only sold to fringe elements and so didn’t make much money. Therefore, they did not have any real expectations in this regard, that of gaining wealth, although as it turns out, the book did ultimately sell fairly well.
There is another factor here to consider; if people were planning to perpetrate a hoax in order to gain notoriety, if of a not very favorable sort of notoriety, why wait so very long until 1911 to write the book, An Adventure? Moreover, if they sought fame, why use pseudonyms instead of their own names? People who commit hoaxes usually do so to gain attention and/or money. Furthermore, they don’t usually wait an entire decade to do this. They certainly don’t in today’s world!
The two women repeatedly visited Versailles, but were never able to find the route they had taken the first time and despite their best efforts. If they were committing a hoax, why not claim they again had stumbled on such strange things from the past? After all, they could then have written yet another book, a sequel if they were so inclined.
They did not. The path they had taken, like the rest of it, had vanished and they had only seen it the once. They made no claims to ever having found it again and despite those repeated visits, and in part having made those extra trips for just that purpose.
In conclusion, it seems likely the two women did witness something truly unusual. Controversy still goes on as to whether this was a ghostly visitation or a form of time travel. Adherents of the ghost theory used the fact of the feeling of “oppression and dreariness, the look of everything being “flat.” They said this was clearly an emotional overtone of some importance and supported the idea of this being a supernatural and otherworldly event.
However, the clarity of what the two women had seen, the fact one woman saw some things while the other saw different things, tends to tilt the argument in the favor of the time travel theory.
This might have been a “repeater” ghost experience, if of such a paranormal phenomenon of that variety. These types of events from the past seem to play out repeatedly. However, even ghost hunters acknowledge these are probably not actual ghost sightings, but rather some event in history somehow managing to play itself out repeatedly in later times, having been “impressed” on the area or local region for some reason, either through some electromagnetic or psychic means. The exact cause of this phenomenon is also a cause for much conjecture.
There are problems even with this idea. The women actually interacted with some of the people from the past and so did not just witness events, as if unfolding on some stage before them, but were actually a part of it all. They spoke to people. The people answered. The two communicated with them in a very ordinary sort of way.
This lends credence to the idea they actually had passed back in time, but it must have been a halting sort of time travel, half-real, and half-unformed, with one woman witnessing some things, while the other witnessed others. One might say there was sort of an overlay of the present with the past going on there and it wasn’t a complete overlay, but only a partial one.
Still, they did see things in common, as well, and although one may talk to a ghost, it doesn’t usually answer back in coherent sentences and/or give mundane directions to those who are lost and seek such help, as happened with the two women. Such would be very accommodating ghosts, indeed, if this were so. Therefore, the idea they were just witnessing something doesn’t describe their experiences accurately. They were involved in the event, as well.
Summary of Event: It would seem the women, MS Moberly and MS Jourdain, witnessed something from the real past. The fact the event had strong emotional overtones might well have been the feeling one might get when passing through to another time, a sort of side effect of a temporal (time) translocation.
Furthermore, the “flatness” they saw and felt, along with the lack of shadows, might have been a part of this temporal passage experience. When one moves from one reality to another, one time to another and back, there could well be strange side effects in doing so, and these could include psychological ones easily enough, and even physical ones, as well, as we shall see in the next case.
Nevertheless, this is one of the earliest and most well documented cases of people witnessing and even interacting with events from another time. Whether this was true time travel or some sort of massive ghostly manifestation, which would seem to have amounted to pretty much the same thing for all practical purposes, is less certain. However, the two women think it was a form of time travel or trans-temporal location and given the evidence, it would seem to fit this idea far better than that of being some sort of ghostly experience.
Furthermore, since the people they met and spoke with didn’t act in any way like tortured souls or trapped ghosts, and even answered their questions in a normal manner, it would appear the idea of this having been a form of time travel would seem to be the most likely conclusion. (For links to this incident, please see “References” at the end of this article.)
The Paralyzed Woman. This incident comes to us from South America and it does involve a permanent and severe physical side effect. In Lima, Peru, a doctor, Raul Rios Centeno, swears this event actually took place. He first became aware of the whole thing when a young woman had an appointment with him. As it turned out, just half of her body seemed paralyzed with what was, he thought at first, all the typical symptoms of a condition known as hemiplegia. This literally means someone who suffers from having one-half of their body paralyzed. Trying to determine the cause, he inquired after when and how the symptoms had first come upon her.
The woman stated she had been vacationing near the Stone Forest of Markahuasi, when the paralysis took place. She told the doctor of how, one night, she had been exploring, even if a little late for her to do this. She was with friends at the time.
While wandering about they heard music in the distance, and following the sound came upon a small stone cottage. The place seemed to have no electricity, because burning torches were the only apparent source of light coming from the place. By their glow, through the windows and doorway, they glimpsed people dancing. However, the participants were dressed in a decidedly out-of-date way. They wore 1600’s-style clothing.
Intrigued and just assuming the people were simply having a costume party or special festival of some sort, they moved toward the cottage. The young woman advanced to the open door and started to step inside.
However, as she approached the place, she said she felt a sudden chill, a penetrating coldness. She thought little about this at the time, being still too intrigued to see what was going on in the cabin. Even as she tried to go inside, one of her friends, another woman, tugged on her arm and pulled her back out. The young woman immediately felt a numbness penetrate one side of her body. It was at the exact moment she had withdrawn from the doorway that the hemiplegia or half-paralysis symptoms overcame her.
Later, after performing tests on her, the doctor concluded that the left side of her brain did not seem to be functioning normally, having an “abnormal amount of electric waves,” as one article put it. The doctor is even now at a loss as to explain how this could be, or if the condition will ever clear itself, for he had nothing he could prescribe as a treatment for her condition.
The question arises if the young woman had stepped through time, or started to, in trying to enter a cottage full of people who may have been from another point in history. The half of her that had started to enter might have been affected by passing between two different times, her present time, and the costumed people’s past time, and then being jerked back again. The sudden and intense feeling of cold might have been a symptom of this happening to her, of her transiting in time.
Summary of Event. One thing is certain; the woman had no reason to lie about her condition. Additionally, the paralysis is real and verifiable. Nevertheless, the cause of her illness is completely unknown. The fact there were also several witnesses to the event also lends a good deal of credence to this account.
What does this all mean? What really happened? Well, it is a fact that a young woman, along with others, saw a primitive stone cabin full of people dressed as if from another time. It is a fact that upon trying to enter the place and only being pulled back out at the last minute, the same young woman ended up by being half-paralyzed. Something very strange happened at that moment, and for many it is an example of time travel. More importantly, it’s an example of what can happen when time travel goes terribly wrong!
There are many more cases of such events, and some actually seem to be where people cross over not only from other timelines to ours, but with individuals and groups in our timeline crossing over to other ones. However, this is stuff for a future article, since we are out of room here. In addition, if you are interested, you can read more of these cases in my book, Time Travel Invasion.
In the meantime, if you experience some strange situation, some moment when the “time is out of joint,” as Shakespeare’s Hamlet said, beware! The consequences for you could be severe, and perhaps even permanent, as with the case of the woman in Peru. It would seem our universe is even a stranger place than we imagined and not always kind to the innocent, curious, or those ignorant of its dangers. Just a closing thought.
Iremonger, Lucille (1975). The Ghosts of Versailles: Miss Moberly and Miss Jourdain and their Adventure. White Lion.
Coleman, Michael H (1988). The Ghosts of the Trianon, The Complete Adventure. Aquarian Press.
Brennan, JH. Time Travel: A New Perspective