“TIME TRAVEL’S TRUE STORIES AND URBAN LEGENDS” #WeirdDarkness
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IN THIS EPISODE: Time travel, time slips, lost time, traveling to other dimensions and realities. They are all science fiction tropes that have reached the point of being cliché. But then what do you tell someone who says they have truly done those things? We’re going to look at some fascinating stories of people who claim to have somehow traveled through time or to another dimension. Some stories are decades old, others more than a century old, and some have happened so recently, they could’ve happened to your next door neighbor without you even knowing it.
TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE…
Find a full or partial transcript at the bottom of this blog post ↓
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE…
BOOK: “The Ghosts of Trianon” by Moberly and Jourdain: https://amzn.to/3gvLn2x
BOOK: “Flight Towards Reality” by Sir Victor Goddard: https://tinyurl.com/y3fwrpaw
BOOK: “Father Ernetti’s Chronovisor: The Creation and Disappearance of the World’s First Time Machine” by Peter Krassa: https://amzn.to/3j9fqPt
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The Church of the Undead: http://TheChurchOfTheUndead.com
STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
(Over time links can and may become invalid, disappear, or have different content.)
Stephen Wagner for LiveAbout.com: https://tinyurl.com/y6ep8jv9
Lucia Peters from Bustle.com: https://tinyurl.com/y5dw83f4
Olivia Muenter from Bustle.com: https://tinyurl.com/yxmjo267
Christopher McFadden for InterestingEngineering.com: https://tinyurl.com/y54s3lmt
The story, “I’m Scared” which I read at the beginning of the episode, was written by Jack Finney: https://tinyurl.com/y3kf7ksj
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music Library. Background music, varying by episode, provided by Alibi Music, EpidemicSound and/or AudioBlocks with paid license. Music from Shadows Symphony (https://tinyurl.com/yyrv987t), Midnight Syndicate (http://amzn.to/2BYCoXZ), Kevin MacLeod (https://tinyurl.com/y2v7fgbu), Tony Longworth (https://tinyurl.com/y2nhnbt7), and/or Nicolas Gasparini/Myuu (https://tinyurl.com/lnqpfs8) is used with permission.
MY RECORDING TOOLS…
* MICROPHONE (Neumann TLM103): http://amzn.to/2if01CL
* POP FILTER (AW-BM700): http://amzn.to/2zRIIyK
* XLR CABLE (Mogami Gold Studio): http://amzn.to/2yZXJeD
* MICROPHONE PRE-AMP (Icicle): http://amzn.to/2vLqLzg
* SOFTWARE (Adobe Audition): http://amzn.to/2vLqI6E
* HARDWARE (iMac Pro): https://amzn.to/2suZGkA
I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use. If I somehow overlooked doing that for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I’ll rectify it the show notes as quickly as possible.
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46
Find out how to escape eternal darkness at https://weirddarkness.com/eternaldarkness
WeirdDarkness™ – is a registered trademark. Copyright ©Weird Darkness 2020.
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Stories and content in Weird Darkness can be disturbing for some listeners and is intended for mature audiences only. Parental discretion is strongly advised.
Welcome, Weirdos… I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness!
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I’m very badly scared, not so much for myself—I’m a gray-haired man of sixty-six, after all—but for you and everyone else who has not yet lived out his life. For I believe that certain dangerous things have recently begun to happen in the world. They are noticed here and there, idly discussed, then dismissed and forgotten. Yet I am convinced that unless these occurrences are recognized for what they are, the world will be plunged into a nightmare. Judge for yourself. One evening last winter I came home from a chess club to which I belong. I’m a widower; I live alone in a small but comfortable three-room apartment overlooking Fifth Avenue. It was still fairly early, and I switched on a lamp beside my leather easy chair, picked up a murder mystery I’d been reading, and turned on the radio; I did not, I’m sorry to say, notice which station it was tuned to. The tubes warmed, and the music of an accordion—faint at first, then louder—came from the loud-speaker. Since it was good music for reading, I adjusted the volume control and began to read.
Now I want to be absolutely factual and accurate about this, and I do not claim that I paid close attention to the radio. But I do know that presently the music stopped and an audience applauded. Then a man’s voice, chuckling and pleased with the applause, said, “All right, all right,” but the applause continued for several more seconds. During that time the voice once more chuckled appreciatively, then firmly repeated, “All right,” and the applause died down. “That was Alec Somebody-or-other,” the radio voice said, and I went back to my book.
But I soon became aware of this middle-aged voice again; perhaps a change of tone as he turned to a new subject caught my attention. “And now, Miss Ruth Greeley,” he was saying, “of Trenton, New Jersey. Miss Greeley is a pianist; that right?” A girl’s voice, timid and barely audible, said, “That’s right, Major Bowes.” The man’s voice—and now I recognized his familiar singsong delivery—said, “And what are you going to play?”
The girl replied, ” ‘La Paloma.’ ” The man repeated it after her, as an announcement: ” ‘La Paloma.’ ” There was a pause, then an introductory chord sounded from a piano, and I resumed my reading.
As the girl played, I was half aware that her style was mechanical, her rhythm defective; perhaps she was nervous. Then my attention was fully aroused once more by a gong which sounded suddenly. For a few notes more the girl continued to play falteringly, not sure what to do. The gong sounded jarringly again, the playing abruptly stopped and there was a restless murmur from the audience. “All right, all right,” said the familiar voice, and I realized I’d been expecting this, knowing it would say just that. The audience quieted, and the voice began, “Now—”
The radio went dead. For the smallest fraction of a second no sound issued from it but its own mechanical hum. Then a completely different program came from the loudspeaker; the recorded voices of Bing Crosby and his son were singing the concluding bars of “Sam’s Song,” a favorite of mine. So I returned once more to my reading, wondering vaguely what had happened to the other program, but not actually thinking about it until I finished my book and began to get ready for bed.
Then, undressing in my bedroom, I remembered that Major Bowes was dead. Years had passed half a decade, since that dry chuckle and familiar, “All right, all right,” had been heard in the nation’s living rooms.
Well, what does one do when the apparently impossible occurs? It simply made a good story to tell friends, and more than once I was asked if I’d recently heard Moran and Mack, a pair of radio comedians popular some twenty-five years ago, or Floyd Gibbons, an old-time news broadcaster. And there were other joking references to my crystal radio set.
But one man—this was at a lodge meeting the following Thursday—listened to my story with utter seriousness, and when I had finished he told me a queer little story of his own. He is a thoughtful intelligent man, and as I listened I was not frightened, but puzzled at what seemed to be a connecting link, a common denominator, between this story and the odd behavior of my radio. Since I am retired and have plenty of time, I took the trouble, the following day, of making a two-hour train trip to Connecticut in order to verify the story firsthand. I took detailed notes, and the story appears in my files now as follows:
Case 2. Louis Trachnor, coal and wood dealer, R.F.D. 1, Danbury, Connecticut, aged fifty-four. On July 20, 1950, Mr. Trachnor told me, he walked out on the front porch of his house about six o’clock in the morning. Running from the eaves of his house to the floor of the porch was a streak of gray paint, still damp. “It was about the width of an eight-inch brush,” Mr. Trachnor told me, “and it looked like hell, because the house was white. I figured some kids did it in the night for a joke, but if they did, they had to get a ladder up to the eaves and you wouldn’t figure they’d go to that much trouble. It wasn’t smeared, either; it was a careful job, a nice even stripe straight down the front of the house.”
Mr. Trachnor got a ladder and cleaned off the gray paint with turpentine.
In October of that same year Mr. Trachnor painted his house. “The white hadn’t held up so good so I painted it gray. I got to the front last and finished about five one Saturday afternoon. Next morning when I came out I saw a streak of white right down the front of the house. I figured it was the damn kids again, because it was the same place as before. But when I looked close, I saw it wasn’t new paint; it was the old white I’d painted over. Somebody had done a nice careful job of cleaning off the new paint in a long stripe about eight inches wide right down from the eaves! Now who the hell would go to that trouble? I just can’t figure it out.”
Do you see the link between this story and mine? Suppose for a moment that something had happened, on each occasion, to disturb briefly the orderly progress of time. That seemed to have happened in my case; for a matter of some seconds I apparently heard a radio broadcast that had been made years before. Suppose, then, that no one had touched Mr. Trachnor’s house but himself; that he had painted his house in October, but that through some fantastic mix-up in time a portion of that paint appeared on his house the previous summer. Since he had cleaned the paint off at that time, a broad strip of new gray paint was missing after he painted his house in the fall.
I would be lying, however, if I said I really believed this. It was merely an intriguing speculation, and I told both these little stories to friends, simply as curious anecdotes. I am a sociable person see a good many people, and occasionally I heard other odd stories in response to mine. Someone would nod and say, “Reminds me of something I heard recently—” and I would have one more to add to my collection. A man on Long Island received a telephone call from his sister in New York one Friday evening. She insists that she did not make this call until the following Monday, three days later. At the Forty-fifth Street branch of the Chase National Bank, I was shown a check deposited the day before it was written. A letter was delivered on East Sixty-eighth Street in New York City, just seventeen minutes after it was dropped into a mailbox on the main street of Green River, Wyoming.
And so on, and so on; my stories were now in demand at parties, and I told myself that collecting and verifying them was a hobby. But the day I heard Julia Eisenberg’s story, I knew it was no longer that.
Case 17. Julia Eisenberg, office worker, New York City, aged thirty-one.
Miss Eisenberg lives in a small walk-up apartment in Greenwich Village. I talked to her there after a chess-club friend who lives in her neighborhood had repeated to me a somewhat garbled version of her story, which was told to him by the doorman of the building he lives in.
In October 1947, about eleven at night, Miss Eisenberg left her apartment to walk to the drugstore for toothpaste. On her way back, not far from her apartment, a large black-and-white dog ran up to her and put his front paws on her chest.
“I made the mistake of petting him,” Miss Eisenberg told me, “and from then on he simply wouldn’t leave. When I went into the lobby of my building, I actually had to push him away to get the door closed. I felt sorry for him, poor hound, and a little guilty, because he was still sitting at the door an hour later when I looked out my front window.”
This dog remained in the neighborhood for three days, discovering and greeting Miss Eisenberg with wild affection each time she appeared on the street. “When I’d get on the bus in the morning to go to work, he’d sit on the curb looking after me in the most mournful way, poor thing. I wanted to take him in, but I knew he’d never go home then, and I was afraid whoever owned him would be sorry to lose him. No one in the neighborhood knew whom he belonged to, and finally he disappeared.”
Two years later a friend gave Miss Eisenberg a three-week-old puppy. “My apartment is really to small for a dog, but he was such a darling I couldn’t resist. Well, he grew up into a nice big dog who ate more than I did.”
Since the neighborhood was quiet, and the dog well behaved, Miss Eisenberg usually unleashed him when she walked him at night, for he never strayed far. “One night—I’d last seen him sniffing around in the dark a few doors down—I called to him and he didn’t come back. And he never did; I never saw him again. Now our street is a solid wall of brownstone buildings on both sides, with locked doors and no areaways. He couldn’t have disappeared like that, he just couldn’t. But he did.”
Miss Eisenberg hunted for her dog for many days afterward, inquired of neighbors, put ads in the papers, but she never found him. “Then one night I was getting ready for bed; I happened to glance out the front window down at the street, and suddenly I remembered something I’d forgotten all about. I remembered the dog I’d chased away over two years before.” Miss Eisenberg looked at me for a moment, then she said flatly, “It was the same dog. If you own a dog you know him, you can’t be mistaken, and I tell you it was the same dog. Whether it makes sense or not, my dog was lost—I chased him away—two years before he was born.”
She began to cry silently, the tears running down her face. “Maybe you think I’m crazy, or a little lonely and overly sentimental about a dog. But you’re wrong.” She brushed at her tears with a handkerchief. “I’m a well-balanced person, as much as anyone is these days, at least, and I tell you I know what happened.”
It was at that moment, sitting in Miss Eisenberg’s neat, shabby living room, that I realized fully the consequences of these odd little incidents could be something more than merely intriguing; that they might, quite possibly, be tragic. It was in that moment that I began to be afraid.
I have spent the last eleven months discovering and tracking down these strange occurrences, an I am astonished and frightened at how many there are. I am astonished and frightened at how much more frequently they are happening now, and—I hardly know how to express this—at the increasing power to tear human lives tragically apart. This is an example, selected almost at random, of the increasing strength of—whatever it is that is happening in the world.
Case 34. Paul V. Kerch, accountant, the Bronx, aged thirty-one.
On a bright clear Sunday afternoon, I met an un-smiling family of three at their Bronx apartment: Mr. Kerch, a chunky, darkly good-looking young man; his wife, a pleasant-faced dark-haired woman in her late twenties, whose attractiveness was marred by circles under her eyes; and their son, a nice-looking boy of six or seven. After introductions, the boy was sent to his room at the back of the house to play.
“All right,” Mr. Kerch said wearily then, and walked toward a bookcase, “let’s get at it. You said on the phone that you know the story in general.” It was half a question, half a statement.
“Yes,” I said.
He took a book from the top shelf and removed some photographs from it. “There are the pictures.” He sat down on the davenport beside me, with the photographs in his hand. “I own a pretty good camera. I’m a fair amateur photographer, and I have a darkroom setup in the kitchen do my own developing. Two weeks ago we went down to Central Park.” His voice was a tired monotone, as though this was a story he’d repeated many times, aloud and in his own mind. “It was nice, like today, and the, kid’s grandmothers have been pestering us for pictures, so I took a whole roll of film, pictures of all of us. My camera can be set up and focused and it will snap the picture automatically a few seconds later, giving me time to get around in front of it and get in the picture myself.”
There was a tired, hopeless look in his eyes as he handed me all but one of the photographs. “These are the first ones I took,” he said. The photographs were all fairly large, perhaps seven by three and a half inches, and I examined them closely.
They were ordinary enough, very sharp and detailed, and each showed the family of three in various smiling poses. Mr. Kerch wore a light business suit, his wife had on a dark dress and a cloth coat, and the boy wore a dark suit with knee-length pants. In the background stood a tree with bare branches. I glanced up at Mr. Kerch, signifying that I had finished my study of the photographs.
“The last picture,” he said, holding it in his hand ready to give to me, “I took exactly like the others. We agreed on the pose, I set the camera, walked around in front, and joined my family. Monday night I developed the whole roll. This is what came out on the last negative.” He handed me the photograph.
For an instant it seemed to me like merely one more photograph in the group; then I saw the difference. Mr. Kerch looked much the same, bareheaded and grinning broadly, but he wore an entirely different suit. The boy, standing beside him, wore long pants, and a good three inches taller, obviously older, but equally obviously the same boy. The woman was an entirely different person. Dressed smartly, her light hair catching the sun, she was very pretty and attractive. She was smiling into the camera and holding Mr. Kerch’s hand.
I looked up at him. “Who is this?”
Wearily, Mr. Kerch shook his head. “I don’t know,” he said suddenly, then exploded: “I don’t know! I’ve never seen her in my life!” He turned to look at his wife, but she would not return his glance, and he turned back to me, shrugging. “Well, there you have it,” he said. “The whole story.” And he stood up, thrusting both hands into his trouser pockets, and began to pace about the room, glancing often at his wife, talking to her actually, though he addressed his words to me, “So who is she? How could the camera have snapped that picture? I’ve never seen that woman in my life!”
I glanced at the photograph again, then bent closer. “The trees here are in full bloom,” I said. Behind the solemn-faced boy, the grinning man and smiling woman, the trees of Central Park were in full summer leaf.
Mr. Kerch nodded. “I know,” he said bitterly. “And you know what she says?” he burst out, glaring at his wife. “She says that is my wife in the photograph, my new wife a couple of years from now! God!” He snapped both hands down on his head. “The ideas a woman can get!”
“What do you mean?” I glanced at Mrs. Kerch, but she ignored me, remaining silent, her lips tight. Kerch shrugged hopelessly. “She says that photograph shows how things will be a couple of years from now. She’ll be dead or”—he hesitated, then said the word bitterly—”divorced, and I’l have our son and be married to the woman in the picture.”
We both looked at Mrs. Kerch, waiting until she was obliged to speak.
“Well, if it isn’t so,” she said, shrugging a shoulder, “then tell me what that picture does mean.” Neither of us could answer that, and a few minutes later I left. There was nothing much I could say to the Kerches; certainly I couldn’t mention my conviction that, whatever the explanation of the last photograph, their married life was over. . . .
Case 72. Lieutenant Alfred Eichler, New York Police Department, aged thirty-three.
In the late evening of January 9, 1951, two policemen found a revolver lying just off a gravel path near an East Side entrance to Central Park. The gun was examined for fingerprints at the police laboratory and several were found. One bullet had been fired from the revolver and the police fired another which was studied and classified by a ballistics expert. The fingerprints were checked and found in police files; they were those of a minor hoodlum with a record of assault. A routine order to pick him up was sent out. A detective called at the rooming house where he was known to live, but he was out, and since no unsolved shootings had occurred recently, no intensive search for him was made that night.
The following evening a man was shot and killed in Central Park with the same gun. This was proved ballistically past all question of error. It was soon learned that the murdered man had been quarreling with a friend in a nearby tavern. The two men, both drunk, had left the tavern together. And the second man was the hoodlum whose gun had been found the previous night, and which was still locked in a police safe.
As Lieutenant Eichler said to me, “It’s impossible that the dead man was killed with that same gun but he was. Don’t ask me how, though, and if anybody thinks we’d go into court with a case like that, they’re crazy.”
Case 111. Captain Hubert V. Rihm, New York Police Department, retired, aged sixty-six.
I met Captain Rihm by appointment one morning in Stuyvesant Park, a patch of greenery, wood benches, and asphalt surrounded by the city, on lower Second Avenue. “You want to hear about the Fentz case, do you?” he said, after we had introduced ourselves and found an empty bench. “All right, I’ll tell you. I don’t like to talk about it—it bothers me—but I’d like to see what you think.” He was a big, rather heavy man, with a red, tough face, and he wore an old police jacket and uniform cap with the insignia removed.
“I was up at City Mortuary,” he began as I took out my notebook and pencil, “at Bellevue, about twelve one night, drinking coffee with one of the interns. This was in June of 1950, just before I retired, and I was in Missing Persons. They brought this guy in and he was a funny-looking character. Had a beard. A young guy, maybe thirty, but he wore regular muttonchop whiskers, and his clothes were funny-looking. Now I was thirty years on the force and I’ve seen a lot of queer guys killed on the streets. We found an Arab once, in full regalia, and it took us a week to find out who he was. So it wasn’t just the way the guy looked that bothered me; it was the stuff we found in his pockets.”
Captain Rihm turned on the bench to see if he’d caught my interest, then continued. “There was about a dollar in change in the dead guy’s pocket, and one of the boys picked up a nickel and showed it to me. Now you’ve seen plenty of nickels, the new ones with Jefferson’s picture, the buffalo nickels they made before that, and once in a while you still even see the old Liberty-head nickels; they quit making them before the first world war. But this one was even older than that. It had a shield on the front, a United States shield, and a big five on the back; I used to see that kind when I was a boy. And the funny thing was, that old nickel looked new; what coin dealers call ‘mint condition,’ like it was made the day before yesterday. The date on that nickel was 1876, and there wasn’t a coin in his pocket dated any later.”
Captain Rihm looked at me questioningly. “Well,” I said glancing up from my notebook, “that could happen.”
“Sure it could,” he answered in a satisfied tone, “but all the pennies he had were Indian-head pennies. Now when did you see one of them last? There was even a silver three-cent piece; looked like an old-style dime, only smaller. And the bills in his wallet, every one of them, were old-time bills, the big kind.”
Captain Rihm leaned forward and spat on the patch, a needle jet of tobacco juice and an expression of a policeman’s annoyed contempt for anything deviating from an orderly norm. “Over seventy bucks in cash, and not a federal reserve note in the lot. There were two yellow-back tens. Remember them? They were payable in gold. The rest were old national-bank notes; you remember them too. Issued direct by local banks, personally signed by the bank president; that kind used to be counterfeited a lot.
“Well,” Captain Rihm continued, leaning back on the bench and crossing his knees, “there was a bill in his pocket from a livery stable on Lexington Avenue; three dollars for feeding and stabling his horse and washing a carriage. There was a brass slug in his pocket good for a five-cent beer some saloon. There was a letter post-marked Philadelphia, June 1876, with an old-style two-cent stamp, and a bunch of cards in his wallet. The cards had his name and address on them, and so did the letter.”
“Oh,” I said, a little surprised, “you identified him right away, then?”
“Sure. Rudolph Fentz, some address on Fifth Avenue—I forget the exact number—in New York City. No problem at all.” Captain Rihm leaned forward and spat again. “Only that address wasn’t a residence. It’s a store, and it has been for years, and nobody there ever heard of any Rudolph Fentz, and there’s no such name in the phone book either. Nobody ever called or made any inquiries about the guy, and Washington didn’t have his prints. There was a tailor’s name in his coat, a lower Broadway address, but nobody there ever heard of this tailor.”
“What was so strange about his clothes?”
The captain said, “Well, did you ever know anyone who wore a pair of pants with big black-and-white checks, cut very narrow, no cuffs, and pressed without a crease?”
I had to think for a moment. “Yes,” I said then, “my father, when he was a very young man, before he was married; I’ve seen old photographs.”
“Sure,” said Captain Rihm, “and he probably wore a short sort of cutaway coat with two cloth-covered buttons at the back, a vest with lapels, a tall silk hat, a big, black oversize bow tie on a turned-up stiff collar, and button shoes.”
“That’s how this man was dressed?”
“Like seventy-five years ago! And him no more than thirty years old. There was a label in his hat a Twenty-third Street hat store that went out of business around the turn of the century. Now what do you make out of a thing like that?”
“Well,” I said carefully, “there’s nothing much you can make of it. Apparently someone went to a lot of trouble to dress up in an antique style—the coins and bills I assume he could buy at a coin dealer’s—and then he got himself killed in a traffic accident.”
“Got himself killed is right. Eleven-fifteen at night in Times Square—the theaters letting out, busiest time and place in the world—and this guy shows up in the middle of the street, gawking and looking around at the cars and up at the signs like he’d never seen them before. The cop on duty noticed him, so you can see how he must have been acting. The lights change, the traffic starts up, with him in the middle of the street, and instead of waiting, the damn fool, he turns and tries to make it back to the sidewalk. A cab got him and he was dead when he hit.”
For a moment Captain Rihm sat chewing his tobacco and staring angrily at a young woman pushing a baby carriage, though I’m sure he didn’t see her. The young mother looked at him in surprise as she passed, and the captain continued:
“Nothing you can make out of a thing like that. We found out nothing. I started checking through our file of old phone books, just as routine, but without much hope, because they only go back so far. But in the 1939 summer edition I found a Rudolph Fentz, Jr., somewhere on East Fifty-second Street. He’d moved away in ’42, though, the building super told me, and was a man in his sixties besides, retired from business; used to work in a bank a few blocks away, the super thought. I found the bank where he’d worked, and they told me he’d retired in ’40, and had been dead for five years; his widow was living in Florida with a sister. I wrote to the widow, but there was only one thing she could tell us, and that was no good. I never even reported it, not officially, anyway. Her husband’s father had disappeared when her husband was a boy maybe two years old. He went out for a walk around ten one night—his wife thought cigar smoke smelled up the curtains, so he used to take a little stroll before he went to bed, and smoke a cigar—and he didn’t come back, and was never seen or heard of again. The family spent a good deal of money trying to locate him, but they never did. This was in the midd 1870s some time; the old lady wasn’t sure of the exact date. Her husband hadn’t ever said too much about it.
“And that’s all,” said Captain Rihm. “Once I put in one of my afternoons off hunting through a bunch of old police records. And I finally found the Missing Persons file for 1876, and Rudolph Fentz was listed, all right. There wasn’t much of a description, and no fingerprints, of course. I’d give a year of my life, even now, and maybe sleep better nights, if they’d had his fingerprints. He was listed as twenty-nine years old, wearing full muttonchop whiskers, a tall silk hat, dark coat and checked pants. That’s about all it said. Didn’t say what kind of tie or vest or if his shoes were the button kind. His name was Rudolph Fentz and he lived at this address on Fifth Avenue; it must have been a residence then. Final disposition of case: not located.
“Now, I hate that case,” Captain Rihm said quietly. “I hate it and I wish I’d never heard of it. What do you think?” he demanded suddenly, angrily. “You think this guy walked off into thin air in 1876, and showed up again in 1950?”
I shrugged noncommittally, and the captain took it to mean no.
“No, of course not,” he said. “Of course not—but give me some other explanation.”
I could go on. I could give you several hundred such cases. A sixteen-year-old girl walked out of her bedroom one morning, carrying her clothes in her hand because they were too big for her and she was quite obviously eleven years old again. And there are other occurrences too horrible for print. All of them have happened in the New York City area alone, all within the last few years; and I suspect thousands more have occurred, and are occurring, all over the world. I could go on, but the point is this: What is happening, and why? I believe that I know.
Haven’t you noticed, too, on the part of nearly everyone you know, a growing rebellion against the present? And an increasing longing for the past? I have. Never before in all my long life have I heard so many people wish that they lived “at the turn of the century,” or “when life was simpler, or “worth living,” or “when you could bring children into the world and count on the future,” or simply “in the good old days.” People didn’t talk that way when I was young! The present was a glorious time! But they talk that way now.
For the first time in man’s history, man is desperate to escape the present. Our newsstands are jammed with escape literature, the very name of which is significant. Entire magazines are devote to fantastic stories of escape—to other times, past and future, to other worlds and planets—escape to anywhere but here and now. Even our larger magazines, book publishers, and Hollywood are beginning to meet the rising demand for this kind of escape. Yes, there is a craving in the world like a thirst, a terrible mass pressure that you can almost feel, of millions of minds struggling against the barriers of time. I am utterly convinced that this terrible mass pressure of millions of minds is already, slightly but definitely, affecting time itself. In the moments when this happens—when the almost universal longing to es-cape is greatest—my incidents occur. Man is disturbing the clock of time, and I am afraid it will break. When it does, I leave to your imagination the last few hours of madness that will be left to us; all the countless moments that now make up our lives suddenly ripped apart and chaotically tangled in time.
Well, I have lived most of my life; I can be robbed of only a few more years. But it seems too bad—this universal craving to escape what could be a rich, productive, happy world. We live on a planet well able to provide a decent life for every soul on it, which is all ninety-nine of a hundred human beings ask. Why in the world can’t we have it?
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Welcome, Weirdos – I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.
While you’re listening, you might want to check out the Weird Darkness website. At WeirdDarkness.com you can sign up for the newsletter and also get entered into a random monthly drawing for Weird Darkness merchandise, you can find transcripts of the episodes, paranormal and horror audiobooks I’ve narrated, a FREE 24/7 streaming video channel of old horror movies and hilarious horror hosts, you can find my other podcast, “The Church of the Undead”, you can visit the “Hope In The Darkness” page if you are struggling with depression or dark thoughts. And you can shop the Weird Darkness store where all profits I receive go to support depression help and awareness. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
Coming up in this episode… Time travel, time slips, lost time, traveling to other dimensions and realities. They are all science fiction tropes that have reached the point of being cliché. But then what do you tell someone who says they have truly done those things? We’re going to look at some fascinating stories of people who claim to have somehow traveled through time or to another dimension. Some stories are decades old, others more than a century old, and some have happened so recently, they could’ve happened to your next door neighbor without you even knowing it. Time Travel’s True Stories and Urban Legends, when we return from the break!
So bolt your doors, lock your windows, turn off your lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness!
When I’m not talking about monsters and cryptids – I’m playing with them on my phone. I’m talking about BEST FIENDS! It’s by far the best puzzle game that I’ve discovered because it’s always fresh and new. It seems like every time I open it up to play, they’ve got something different going on – new levels to play (on top of the thousands of levels they already have), new events taking place all the time, new themes, and new characters every month! They even have funny cartoon videos starring all the little fiends if you want to just sit back and laugh for a while! My loyalties have not changed – my favorite character is still BAM. I just like explosions, I guess. If you’re looking for a great distraction from the year 2020 – aside from the Weird Darkness podcast, of course, I suggest you give Best Fiends a go! If you’re on the road, you don’t need a wi-fi or cell signal. Heck, you can be stuck out in the middle of the desert with no cell coverage – and keep on playing. Not that I would suggest you try that. I’m just saying Best Fiends doesn’t need an internet connection. It’s free to download Best Fiends, so you should at least give it a try – it will undoubtedly become your favorite mobile game. In fact, over 100-million downloads have already taken place – many of those are Weirdos who heard about the game here in the podcast – and you can’t let them have all the fun, can ya? You can find Best Fiends in your Apple App Store or Google Play. Look for Best Fiends – that’s like the word FRIENDS, but without the letter “R” – BEST FIENDS!
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Do you believe in time travel? Personally, I do – but only traveling into the future, there’s no going back in time. At least, that how I understand it in my tiny never-graduated-college brain. Maybe one day I’ll be shown to be wrong on this – and in all honesty, that might not be so bad — because the tradeoff for being wrong in that case would be that time travel is real. That would be pretty rad if it were true.
Technically speaking time travel does exist right now — just not in the sci fi kind of way you’re probably thinking. According to a TED-Ed video by Colin Stuart, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev actually traveled 0.02 seconds into his own future due to time dilation during the time he spent on the International Space Station. See, I told you time travel into the future was real! For the curious, Krikalev spent a total of 803 days, nine hours, and 39 minutes in space over the course of his career.
That said, though, many are convinced that time dilation isn’t the only kind of time travel that’s possible; some folks do also believe in actual time travel as depicted by everything from H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine to Back to the Future. It’s difficult to find stories online that are actual accounts from real people — many of them are either urban legends, which we will cover later in the episode, or stories that center around people that no one has been able to verify actually exist — but if you dig hard enough, sincere accounts can be found.
Are the stories true? Are they false? Are they examples of people who believe with all their heart that they’re true, even if they might not actually be? The following stories are from people who truly believe they have had experiences of time travel, space anomalies, time slips, and encounters with other dimensions.
As usual, the long work day was coming to an end and I was dutifully putting the last load of laundered clothes away in our bedroom when I heard a ruckus on the baby monitor just a few feet away from me. I thought it strange when I knew my husband and toddler were both in the living room quietly watching TV as my two-year-
The bedroom door was straight in front of me and I could see all the way down the hall to my husband and son in the Lazyboy chair as this ruckus over the monitor continued. It didn’t take long for me to realize the sounds were very familiar. Earlier in the day, I was in my toddler’s bedroom putting a load of folded clothes into the drawers and picked up some stray toys and books that weren’t being played with at the time. As I was doing so, I was telling my son about the story of “Jack and The Beanstalk” for the first time. Now I stood in disbelief as I heard the drawers being pulled open and shut and rustling of the toys and books being put into their proper places. But I nearly fainted when I heard my son’s voice over the monitor! I kept looking back and forth at my husband and now-sleeping son in the chair in the living room and the monitor sitting on my dresser that was literally replaying the specific events from earlier in the day! The monitor is a standard baby monitor bought from Wal-mart and is NOT a recorder, but instead monitors the sounds coming from the room as they are happening at present time only. I listened as my voice retold the story of “Jack and The Beanstalk” and listened with familiarity as my son responded in baby-talk to the tail he had never heard before. The incredible part was this all happened five hours earlier on the same day! I quickly called my husband into the room as he listened to the last part of the story with my voice coming through the monitor and our sons coos and chuckles. He stood stunned and turned his head and looked at our sleeping son flopped peacefully over his shoulder. In disbelief, he asked, “How in the hell…?!” as his voice drifted off trying not to miss a thing. I just stared at him in the same disbelief and we both just shook our heads. This has never happened before or since and became pretty clear from the beginning that we were listening to some kind of warp in time. I never imagined in a million years that I would be witness to it and must admit, if it should happen to you, it is indeed, one of the most incredible moments one can ever experience!
I was walking in downtown Tacoma, Washington one evening around 9:00 o’clock. I was on my way to meet a friend at a certain intersection. The year was 1976. I was enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Lewis. I remember it was the month of April. As I was walking, I started wondering what time it was. So I looked around for the nearest store where I could find out the time. I looked across the street and there was a walk-in movie theater. I figured that was as good a place as any. Then the weirdest thing happened. I started to cross the street… and the next thing I knew my vision was clearing up and I was standing in front of the ticket counter inside the theater lobby! I had a ferocious headache and my legs felt very unsteady. I recovered a little, but that headache was something else. I bowed and started rubbing my forehead. After a minute or so, I heard a gasp. I looked up and there was this pretty girl on the other side of the counter with a surprised look on her face. She asked me how I got in! With the throbbing pain in my head, I looked at her and didn’t know how to answer her. I was confused. I started to walk toward the counter and she backed away. Now she had a scared look on her face! She asked me again how I got in. I looked up at the wall behind her. There was a clock hanging there. I started to mutter, “What time is it?” She then told me I had better leave or she’ll call the police. I felt so weird; it’s hard to explain. I felt like I had broken through into a territory I didn’t recognize. I stood there for a few minutes. That’s when the girl went into the back room. I could hear her talking to someone. I turned around and started to walk toward the entrance. That’s when this big guy came out of the back room, walked around the counter and before I could say anything, grabbed me by the arm, pulled me toward the entry way, unlocked the door and shoved me outside. He told me to get out of there and went back inside. I still couldn’t figure out what was going on. I stood there looking around rubbing my head. Then it dawned on me. The time on the clock read past midnight! I looked back at the theater. It had the “CLOSED” sign on the front door! The girl and the guy were still there looking at me. Then the big guy opened the door again and warned me that if I didn’t leave that instant he was going to kick me in the butt. So I started to walk away, still confused, and as I was walking I heard the guy say, “I don’t know how you got inside with the door being locked, but you better not come back!” The headache eventually went away and I never did meet my friend.
In 1901, two English women, Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain, took a vacation to France. While they were there, they visited the Palace of Versailles (because, y’know, that’s what one does when one visits France). And while they were at Versailles, they visited what’s known as the Petit Trianon — a little chateau on the palace grounds that Louis XVI gave to Marie Antoinette as a private space for her to hang out and do whatever it was that a teenaged queen did when she was relaxing back then. But while they were there, they claimed, they saw some… odd occurrences. They said they spotted people wearing anachronistic clothing, heard mysterious voices, and saw buildings and other structures that were no longer present — and, indeed, hadn’t existed since the late 1700s. Finally, they said, they caught sight of Marie Antoinette herself, drawing in a sketchbook. They claimed to have fallen into a “time slip” and been briefly transported back more than 100 years before being jolted back to the present by a tour guide. Did they really travel back in time? Probably not; various explanations include everything from a folie a deux (basically a joint delusion) to a simple misinterpretation of what they actually saw. But for what it’s worth, in 1911 — roughly 10 years after what they said they had experienced occurred — the two women published a book about the whole thing under the names Elizabeth Morison and Frances Lamont simply called An Adventure. These days, it’s available as The Ghosts of Trianon; check it out, if you like. I’ll put a link to the book in the show notes.
It all began when Rick and I were going to a friend’s house last September. We were driving Rick’s beat up old truck and the drive went smoothly for the first 45 minutes. Suddenly, the truck’s engine died and Rick and I were stranded on a deserted highway in the middle of the night. We were surrounded on both sides of the road by cornfields that stretched into the distance. Rick began a desperate effort to restart the truck and fix the “broken” engine. He tried to fix the truck in vain, but nothing seemed to work. Rick finally gave up and we decided to walk to the nearest town about two miles away to find a payphone to call our friend. We walked for what seemed like hours and the town was nowhere in sight. However, just when desperation was about to grip us, we saw a light, a gloriously bright light, shining over the steep hill ahead of us. We ran up the steep hill that blocked us from the light and were flabbergasted by what we saw. Just over the hill, Rick and I saw what could only be described as a futuristic city with lights streaming out of every window of the massive, metallic towers. In the middle of the futuristic city, was a huge silver dome. I stared at the city, stunned, until Rick elbowed me, which pulled me out of my trance and he pointed to the sky. Hovering above the city were hundreds of hovercraft. One flew toward us with amazing speed. Rick and I were so scared that we took off running back to the broken down truck. I never looked back, but I felt someone watching me the whole way. When we got back to the truck, it started without difficulty and Rick and I took off as fast as we could in the opposite direction. We never went back or spoke of it again to this day.
My husband and l live in the deep woods of east Texas, near a tiny place called Mt. Sylvan. I had been having some medical tests done at a hospital nearby. I went for testing three days in a row, always with the same routine: I parked in the same small parking lot, walked through the double doors leading to the first floor cardio testing area, turned right at the gift shop and signed in at the desk. I always exchanged some casual conversation with the same young and very pleasant blond receptionist. There was a small sitting area across from her desk, with a door leading to the phlebotomy (blood drawing) lab right behind her cubicle. The door to the lab was always open, though, and the sight of patients sitting in the exact type of chairs — even the same color — that I saw my late mother sit in for her chemo treatments was just too gut wrenching. (She died a year ago.) I even heard a patient in the lab comment on the new chairs, and a nurse replied that the hospital’s oncology department had donated them. I decided to sit across the hall anyway. Last Friday my husband went back to the hospital with me to hear the test results. He had never been there before. Usual routine: we parked, walked in, turned past the gift shop and… there was no check-in area! I stood and stared in total shock: no desk, no chairs, no blonde receptionist, and the door to the lab was on another wall! The other sitting area was just as before. I started to walk up and down the hall searching for “my” check-in area, but it was nowhere to be seen. A doctor walked by, noticed my confusion, and asked what I was looking for. When I told him that the place I had checked in for my tests was missing, he laughed and said that it had been moved to the second floor three years earlier because they needed more space!
My mother, Eula White, was born in October, 1912. She grew up in rural Alabama and Florida in the 1920s. She told a lot of stories of the people and of the events of those days, most of them of interesting but ordinary events. But one day she told me a story of an unusual event that she had directly experienced as a young girl along with about a dozen other women and children. “I remember this event well even after all these years,” she said, “precisely because it was so unusual.” “In those days,” she told me, “rural Alabama was still kind of backward. Little electricity and horses and wagons the only transportation for many farm folk. I remember it was a bright summer day. Early that morning the other women and I had gathered on the front porch of the Hawkins’ farmhouse to shell quite a few bushels of peas and beans for preserving and just to talk as we worked. The younger children were playing in the yard. Mr. Hawkins came out on the porch and told Mrs. Hawkins that he was going to town on business. Mr. Hawkins saddled his horse, and as he rode through the big gate directly in front of the porch, Mrs. Hawkins reminded him to bring home a big sack of flour. He answered her with a grunt and rode off. “About mid-afternoon we were still on the porch shelling peas. We looked up and saw Mr. Hawkins approaching the house. The road leading to the house came off the main road and was about 300 feet long, and ran directly up to the porch. So we could see him coming quite clearly. Thrown across the saddle in front of him was a large white, cloth sack of flour and cradled in his left arm was a brown bag of other groceries. We watched as he rode up to the gate, and he stopped there, waiting for someone to open it. One of the boys ran to the gate and opened it. Then, in full view of all of us women and children, Mr. Hawkins vanished. He just disappeared, instantly. “We sat there for a second or so, just astonished. Then, terrified, we began screaming. After a few minutes, we calmed down. But were still shaking and confused. We just didn’t know what to do. So after a while we went back to shelling peas. But all of us, the children too, huddled up there on that porch, afraid. Mrs. Hawkins made one the boys close the gate. “About half hour later, we looked up and again saw Mr. Hawkins riding toward the house with that same white sack of flour across the saddle in front of him and that same brown bag of groceries in his left had. Again he rode up to the gate without a sound and stopped. None of us had the nerve to open the gate. We were all just too afraid to move. We just sat there staring at him, waiting to see what would happen next. Finally, to our relief, Mr. Hawkins spoke: ‘Well, is someone going to open the gate for me?’ “Mr. Hawkins,” mother said, “got there before he arrived.”
Like Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain I spoke of earlier, senior Royal Air Force commander Sir Robert Victor Goddard — widely known as Victor Goddard — claimed to have experienced a time slip.
In 1935, Goddard flew over what had been the RAF station Drem in Scotland on his way from Edinburgh to Andover, England. The Drem station was no longer in use; after demobilization efforts following the First World War, it had mostly been left to its own devices. And, indeed, that’s what Goddard said he saw as he flew over it: A largely abandoned airfield. On his return trip, though, things got… weird. He followed the same route he had on the way there, but during the flight, he got waylaid by a storm. As he struggled to regain control of his plane, however, he spotted the Drem airfield through a break in the clouds — and when he got closer to it, the bad weather suddenly dissipated. But the airfield… wasn’t abandoned this time. It was busy, with several planes on the runway and mechanics scurrying about. Within seconds, though, the storm reappeared, and Goddard had to fight to keep his plane aloft again. He made it home just fine, and went on to live another 50 years — but the incident stuck with him; indeed, in 1975, he wrote a book called Flight Towards Reality which included discussion of the whole thing. Here’s the really weird bit: In 1939, the Drem airfield was brought back to life. Did Goddard see a peek into the airfield’s future via a time slip back in 1935? Who knows. I’ll place a link to Goddard’s book, “Flight Towards Reality” in the show notes.
I swear this is a true story. My husband was carting wheat in the summer of 1994. He was outside Molong in New South Wales, Australia, and drove past a “For Sale” sign on a farm gate along with the agents details. Our 12-year-old son was with him. On the return journey, they stopped, climbed through the fence and walked up the circle-shaped drive to have a closer look at the old house. He said he could see through the window and found the old house old and abandoned. On his return home a few days later, we rang up the agent and asked for further details about the property, as we were interested in purchasing it. The agent had no idea what we were talking about and insisted that he had no properties for sale on that road. A week later, my husband and I drove to Molong to have a look at the farm ourselves. We drove up and down the whole road until we were almost to the next town. All that he could recognize was a water tank on the hill, a creek and some trees where the house used to be. There was no gate, drive, real estate sign… or house.
This happened when I was about eight. My friend and I were sitting on his yard while some kids rode their bikes down a downhill driveway. A car came down the road and stopped at a house. A kid got out and ran inside making noises that kids around his age make. Then a girl rode her bike down the driveway. A couple of minutes after this happened, the same car went down the road, stopped at the house, and the same kid got out of the car and ran inside screaming the exact things he had been saying. Then the girl went down the hill on her bike again. I looked over to my friend and he said he had no idea what had just happened.
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When Weird Darkness returns, more true tales of time travel and crossing into other dimensions.
Our next Weirdo Watch Party is gonna be a great one! Coming up Saturday night, September 5th – we’ll be watching 1941’s “The Invisible Ghost” starring Bela Lugosi and Polly Ann Young, presented by horror hostess, Mistress Malicious! In the film, “The town’s most upright citizen suddenly becomes a homicidal maniac after his wife leaves him.” Please, join me, Mistress Malicious, and the whole Weirdo family for FREE as we watch the film and chat about it at the same time! We’ll provide the murder, you provide the munchies! The Weirdo Watch Party begins at 10pm Eastern – that’s 7pm Pacific, 8pm Mountain, 9pm Central. That’s Saturday, September 5th on the Weirdo Watch Party page at WeirdDarkness.com!
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On a hiking trip when I was 16, I got separated from my group. I wandered around for hours looking for them. I came to a the edge of a cliff overlooking a small lagoon. I attempted to yell for help when the edge I was standing on gave way. As I started to fall, the thought of my death began flowing through my mind. Before I reached the halfway point of my fall, I saw a strange shadow approach me out of the corner of my eye. The form of a black-haired woman appeared from the shadow dressed in what appeared to be animal hides. Her eyes were what I noticed most, though. One a silvery blue, the other a glowing green. She grabbed hold of me in her small but strong arms and our fall began to seemingly slow. We landed softly, almost like a feather, next to the small lagoon. I asked her if she was an angel. She smiled at me and said no. All she told me was that this place belonged to her, then turned and walked into the shadows of the forest and disappeared. I shortly met up with my group and told them what had happened. They laughed at me and said no place like the lagoon was around here. We went home. I returned the next weekend determined to find her. I retraced all of my steps. But the lagoon and the cliff were gone.
This is a story of my mother’s experience that took place near her home in Jersey City, New Jersey during the mid 1930s. My great-grandfather Valentine was living in a boarding house a few blocks from his daughter, my grandmother Sarah. One day Sarah got word that her father was not only about to be evicted, but was about to be committed to a mental institution. When she got to the boarding house, my great-grandfather was shaking and drooling. She looked at her dad and said,”Pop, Do you want to come live with me?” Her dad inquired, “Do you have the room?” She replied, “We’ll make room.” So, my great-grandfather moved in with his daughter and her children. According to my mother, a few days after that incident, the boarding house and landlady disappeared. There had been no explosion, it was not torn down, not moved. It simply vanished as if it never existed.
I live in London and it was late October, 1969, and I was walking home late one Saturday night. I had to walk through an underpass, which was under the busy North Circular Road. It was cold and late and I was surprised to see about five kids down there collecting pennies for the Guy, being as firework night, 5th November, was soon. These kids should not have been out that late, seeing as the oldest was a girl aged about 12 years old and the others younger. What shocked me were their clothes. Their attire made me think they had come straight out of 1920s or 1930s London. Their speech could have been taken straight from a Charles Dickens‘ novel. I heard one young boy say, “That other gent gave me a florin.” At his age there is no way he could have known what a florin was, an old English coin for the then two shillings. This was the late 1960s and kids certainly didn’t use words like “gent” anymore. “Geezer” or “bloke” perhaps. The girl approached me saying, “Evening sir, penny for the Guy, please, sir?” Her politeness shocked me, but I said I hadn’t any money. She slid her arm through mine and she ran her hand down my sleeve saying, “Yes you do, sir. You are a fine gent. You do have money.” I assured her I hadn’t and I expected a rude mouthful, but she replied, “Ok, thank you, sir. You have a good evening, sir.” I knew I had to give these kids something, so I pulled a silver sixpence from my pocket and called to her. I threw her the coin and she gave me a thank you and a beaming smile. I walked off into the night. This experience bugged me bad. Who were those kids from the past? I asked local people if any kids were killed there during WW2, but nobody remembered. Did I meet ghosts? Kids from the past? I guess I will never know.
This story takes place in Austintown, Ohio on Route 76 back in 1981. I was 20. Dad asked me if I wanted to look at a house that was for rent. The next morning we went to his mom’s house at 5:00 for some coffee. She asked what we were doing out so early. Dad told her that we were meeting a realtor at 6:00. At 5:30, we left getting to the house a couple minutes before 6. As we pulled in the drive, we noticed the yard had not been cared for. The house was a rectangular two-story dwelling with front windows only on the second floor. As we got out of the van, it was a quiet, calm day except for two kids laughing in the back yard. We figured it was the neighbor kids from across the street. As we approached the back of the house, there was a swing set with two swings. They were swinging in opposite directions with nobody on them. There was laughter of a boy and a girl. Another quick glance and the swings were still. Dad asked if I had seen that. I had. We proceeded back to the side of the house. We passed the garage. It had two wooden doors with small glass panes. We looked in the window. The garage had a dirt floor and was empty. We walked up to the side porch. The door was unlocked so we went inside. Dad turned on the switch, but no lights came on. I tried a few with no luck. The inside of the house was weird. There was a large room with doorways branching off. The living room was like none I had ever seen. It was about 10×40 with no windows except for the small one in the door. I went back into where dad was. He was trying to open the basement door, which was locked. Dad asked if I was ready to go. Instead of leaving, he went into the living room and stared out the front door window for about three or four minutes. I was about to go upstairs when I got an eerie feeling. So, I stayed in the main area. Dad then came out and asked if I was ready to go again. At that point, dad made the remark that we hadn’t tried that door. We had. It was the locked basement door. He turned the knob and the door opened. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Now I was getting scared. Dad flipped the light switch and it came on. I was wondering why the other lights didn’t come on earlier. Dad proceeded to go down the steps, but I was leery. I went down. The basement was small. There was an old wringer washer with a loaded revolver on the lid. It was like the silver and ivory-handled cap guns that kids use today. I picked it up four inches off the lid and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a light cord moving. The lights went out and the door slammed shut. It was so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. I felt aimlessly for my dad. Holding his shirt, we went up the stairs. At the top, he stopped and let out a blood-curdling scream. It made my blood run cold. I pushed him and he pushed the door open. All the lights were on and it was dark outside. After jumping in the van, dad turned the headlights on. The garage doors were open. There was a lamb lying on the dirt floor with its throat slashed, jerking violently. Blood was running into the dirt. When we arrived back at my grandmother’s, it was 2:30 a.m. She asked where we had been all day. We had lost 21 hours in five minutes time in the basement. Later, we drove past the house and all the doors were shut and the lights were out. When I would ask dad about what he had seen, he would cuddle in the corner and shake like a kid crying. To this day, I don’t know what he saw and I don’t want to know. Since he has passed away, I will never know. When I went back in 1987, to see if the house was still there, it was boarded up. There was a large FBI sign on the house stating that for your own safety, stay out.
This happened in 1986 in New York on the road between White Plains and the Throgs Neck Bridge. I was traveling the road one afternoon on my way home from White Plains to Bayside, Queens. The journey required me to travel the Hutchinson River Parkway, pay a 25-cent toll, and cross the Throgs Neck Bridge. The road before the entrance to the Hutchinson River Parkway was confusing. It was easy to miss the exit. I remember nervously looking at the 25 cents on the tray of my Volvo, wishing the toll would come sooner than it did so I could be on my way. That is when I missed the exit. I travelled about half a mile beyond it, and then in a panic, I decided to back up on the highway and see if I could get the exit after all. I backed up with oncoming traffic behind me, swerving the car to the shoulder to make the exit amid beeping and skidding, but I attained the exit with no damage. Just as I reached the Hutchinson River Parkway and got on it, I heard the siren. It was a highway patrol car coming after me. I figured he witnessed my crazy driving move. As I pulled over, I looked in the rear view mirror. The policeman that was getting out of the patrol car was the scariest one I had ever seen. Never mind the boots and the hat and the sunglasses, he just looked completely mean. I looked down at my lap and said out loud, “Dear God, I’d rather be anywhere but here.” I went into my pocketbook to get my license, and when I looked up, my car and I were sitting on the side of the entrance to the Throgs Neck Bridge — well beyond the Hutchinson River Parkway, which I hadn’t driven yet. The 25 cent toll was still on the tray in my car. I had this funny feeling that I was frozen and I did feel stiff, so I flexed my wrists, rubbed my eyes and looked again. I was still on the entrance to the bridge — a good 20 miles beyond the Hutchinson River Parkway. In order for this to happen, my car and I would have had to have been lifted in the air and placed back down 20 miles up the road. After sitting for about 20 minutes in shock, I put the car in gear and drove over the bridge. Just beyond the bridge was my neighborhood. I always wondered what the cop saw. Did he see me vanish? Did it just “un-happen” for him? I will never know.
And then there’s… uh… Space Barbie. I’ll be honest: I’m not totally sure what to do with this one — but I’ll present it to you here because it’s definitely weird and dark – and entertaining. You can decide for yourself what you think about it. Valeria Lukyanova has been popping up on the Internet for a few years now, mostly due to her shocking appearance. With massive eyes, an impossibly small waist, bleach blonde hair and plastic-looking skin, the “model” (as she prefers to think of herself) has quickly become known for her Barbie-doll-esque appearance. She also has a lot of very strange opinions about things even before we get to the time travel stuff. There’s the all-liquid diet (which explains a lot about her figure), and then, of course, her own opinions on her now famous looks. When interviewed by a columnist, she was asked about the changing ideals of beauty through time. Lukyanova’s response is beyond ignorant: “That’s because of race-mixing.” She must not have meant that the way it came out, right? Well, she clarified her point by saying, “For example, a Russian marries an Armenian,” Valeria explained. “They have a kid, a cute girl, but she has her dad’s nose. She goes and files it down a little, and it’s all good. Ethnicities are mixing now, so there’s degeneration, and it didn’t used to be like that. Remember how many beautiful women there were in the 1950s and 1960s, without any surgery? And now, thanks to degeneration, we have this,” she said. Oooooh boy. The good news thous is that she says she doesn’t plan on having children anytime soon. Or ever. She told GQ that the idea of having children “brings out a deep revulsion” in her. What a coincidence – her having children brings out a deep revulsion in me too! Now it appears that the living Barbie Doll is not only a malnourished racist, but a 2012 short documentary for Vice’s My Life Online series also posits that she believes she’s a time traveling space alien whose purpose on Earth is to aid us in moving “from the role of the ‘human consumer’ to the role of ‘human demi-god.’” What I can’t quite figure out is whether this whole time traveling space alien thing is, like a piece of performance art created specifically for this documentary, or if it’s a publicity stunt for Valeria, or whether it’s what she actually thinks. Like I said, you can decide for yourself what you think about it.
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When Weird Darkness returns, we’ll move away from the supposedly true stories and look at some of the urban legends that have surrounded time travel. Some that you probably believe are actually true.
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Many experts on the subject believe that time travel is all but a pipedream given our understanding of the space-time continuum and the basic laws of physics. But not all. Whatever the case, that doesn’t stop some people claiming, or believing, urban legends about time travel being a reality. Here are some of the most preposterous, and yet fascinating, persistent urban legends on the subject.
One famous urban legend about time travel is that of “Billy” Eduard Albert Meier and the Plejarens. Swiss-born Meier, so the legend goes, was abducted by a race of aliens called the Plejaren who decided to take him on a journey through time. Back in the 1970s, Meier claimed that these friendly time-traveling aliens took him to prehistoric Earth (where he witnessed dinosaurs first-hand) as well as the ancient surface of Mars. While on Mars he was, so he claimed, also introduced to Jmmaneul — the actual Jesus. But Meier was not just relying on his fantastical tale to be believed, he even, so he claimed, had photographic evidence. However, his time-traveling snaps turned out to be a creatively decorated garbage lid with blurry images taken from contemporary books and TV shows.
Another urban legend about time travel is the story of John Titor. John Titor is perhaps the most famous person who claims he’s time traveled; trouble is, no one has heard from him for almost 20-some years. Also, he claimed he came from the future. The story is long and involved, but the short version is this: In a thread begun in the fall of 2000 about time travel paradoxes on the online forum the Time Travel Institute — now known as Curious Cosmos — a user responded to a comment about how a time machine could theoretically be built with the following message: “Wow! Paul is right on the money. I was just about to give up hope on anyone knowing who Tipler or Kerr was on this worldline. “By the way, #2 is the correct answer and the basics for time travel start at CERN in about a year and end in 2034 with the first ‘time machine’ built by GE. Too bad we can’t post pictures or I’d show it to you.” The implication, of course, was that the user, who was going by the name TimeTravel_0, came from a point in the future during which such a machine had already been invented. Over the course of many messages spanning from that first thread all the way through the early spring of 2001, the user, who became known as John Titor, told his story. He said that he had been sent back to 1975 in order to bring an IBM 5100 computer to his own time; he was just stopping in 2000 for a brief rest on his way back home. The computer, he said, was needed to debug “various legacy computer programs in 2036” in order to combat a known problem similar to Y2K called the Year 2038 Problem. (John didn’t refer to it as such, but he said that UNIX was going to have an issue in 2038 — which is what we thought was going to happen back when the calendar ticked over from 1999 to 2000.)
Opinions are divided on whether John Titor was real; some folks think he was the only real example of time travel we’ve ever seen, while others think it’s one of the most enduring hoaxes we’ve ever seen. He likely falls on the hoax end of things though, as most of his predictions have since been proven completely false.
Another urban legend about time travel is the case of Rudolph Fentz. Back in the 1950s, so the story goes, a guy with mutton chop sideburns and Victorian-era duds mysteriously appeared from nowhere in the middle of Times Square. The man looked startled, according to eye-witnesses, and was eventually run over by a car and killed. When his body was searched, 19th-century money was found as well as documents dating from 1876 that didn’t appear to have aged a day. From these documents the man’s name was found, Rudolph Fentz. Attempts were made to track down his family — if he had any. A Mrs. Rudolph was later tracked down who just so happened to be the widow of Rudolph Fentz Jr. (the mysterious dead man’s son). Rudolph Jr., so the story goes, recalls how his father simply disappeared one day in 1876 and never returned. Shortly after it was discovered that the urban legend originated from a 1950s short story by Jack Finney – the story I told at the beginning of this episode called “I’m Scared”. Finney would later go on to write sci-fi classics like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “Time and Again”.
Yet another persistent urban legend about time travel is the story of “The Philadelphia Experiment“. You’ve probably heard of it. According to the legend, back in the early-1940s, the U.S. Navy was able to render the destroyer, USS Eldridge, invisible and move it. By all accounts, the warship was dematerialized and transported to Philadephia from Norfolk, Virginia, and back again. Some even claim the vessel was sent backward in time by 10 seconds. Apparently, the experiment didn’t go quite to plan and some of the crew remained invisible thereafter. You won’t be surprised to hear that there is no real evidence for these claims, but that doesn’t stop the legend persisting to this day. It was even the subject of a 1984 film.
Yet another urban legend about time travel is the story of Andrew Carlssin. Apparently, in 2002, an unknown investor called Andrew Carlssin managed to turn an $800 dollar investment into $350,000,000 by trading in high-risk stocks. Carlssin, so the story goes, was arrested and later confessed he was a time traveler from the year 2256. Sadly, like many other legends on this list, this one is also not true. The tale first appeared in the entertainment site know for inventing fantastically fictitious stories, “The Weekly World News”. Despite it being clearly fake, the story still crops up from time to time.
Yet another urban legend about time travel is the story about a seemingly fantastical device called “The Chronovisor“. According to at least two books — Catholic priest Father Francois Brune’s 2002 book, “The Vatican’s New Mystery”, and Peter Krassa’s 2000 book Father Ernetti’s Chronovisor : The Creation and Disappearance of the World’s First Time Machine (which I’ll place a link to in the show notes) — Father Pellegrino Ernetti, who was a Catholic priest like Brune, invented a machine called a “chronovisor” that allowed him to view the past. Ernetti was real; however, the existence of the machine, or even whether he actually claimed to have invented it, has never been proven. Alas, he died in 1994, so we can’t ask him, either. The device, as well as the footage he recorded, is now supposedly held within the vaults of the Vatican never to be seen by the outside world. Too bad this one is an urban legend. Wouldn’t you at least want to take it for a spin?
Yet another persistent urban legend, which you undoubtedly have seen in a bazillion YouTube countdown videos about time travel, is the “hipster time traveler”. Sporting sunglasses and what appears to be a t-shirt and matching textured sweater, he was very out of place for a 1940s photograph. It first became famous in the early-2010s, and the photo is genuine. It captures the 1941 reopening of the South Fork Bridge in Gold Bridge, British Columbia in Canada. However, all of these items were available at the time for anyone to buy, hence it being something of a hoax. Yet, the image is a little eerie, to say the least.
And finally, another persistent urban legend about time travel is the tale of “Project Pegasus”. In 2011, Andrew D. Basiago and William Stillings stepped forward, claiming that they were former “chrononauts” who had worked with an alleged DARPA program called Project Pegasus. Project Pegasus, they said, had been developed in the 1970s; in 1980, they were taking a “Mars training class” at a community college in California (the college presumably functioning as a cover for the alleged program) when they were picked to go to Mars. The mode of transport? Teleportation. It gets better, too. Basiago and Stillings also said that the then-19-year-old Barack Obama, whom they claimed was going by the name “Barry Soetero” at the time, was also one of the students chosen to go to Mars. They said the teleportation occurred via something called a “jump room.” The White House denied that Obama had ever been to Mars. But then, of course they would say that, wouldn’t they? Hmmmm…
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Thanks for listening. If you like the podcast, please share a link to this episode and recommend Weird Darkness to your friends, family, and co-workers who love the paranormal, horror stories, or true crime like you do! Every time you share a link to the podcast it helps spread the word about the show, growing our Weirdo family in the process – plus, it helps get the word out about resources that are available for those who suffer from depression. So please share the podcast with others.
Be sure to join me at my other podcast, The Church of the Undead. You can listen to all the episodes by clicking on The Church of the Undead link here in the show notes, you can find it at WeirdDarkness.com, or just search for “Church of the Undead” wherever you listen to podcasts! Hopefully I’ll see YOU in the Weirdo congregation! Do you have a dark tale to tell of your own? Fact or fiction, click on “Tell Your Story” at WeirdDarkness.com and I might use it in a future episode.
All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise), and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.
The true stories of time travel were gathered by several sources including:
Stephen Wagner from LiveAbout.com; Lucia Peters and Oliva Muenter from Bustle.com; and Christopher McFadden for InterestingEngineering.com.
The story, “I’m Scared” which I read at the beginning of the episode, was written by Jack Finney.
Weird Darkness theme by Alibi Music.
WeirdDarkness™ – is a registered trademark. Copyright ©Weird Darkness 2020.
If you’d like a transcript of this episode, you can find a link in the show notes.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5
And a final thought… “Being defeated is often a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.” – Marilyn vos Savant
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.