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Stepping into a Parallel Dimension

Parallel universes, dimensions that nearly resemble our own, were once pondered by Plato, and proposed mathematically by Princeton University graduate student Hugh Everett III in 1954. These parallel worlds, common in myth, have been staples in science fiction since Edwin A. Abbott’s 1884 novel, “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions.” More modern science fiction, like the dimension-jumping television program “Sliders,” and Philip K. Dick’s novel “The Man in the High Castle” (in which the Axis won WWII), gives us exciting glances at worlds like, yet unlike, our own. Exciting unless you stumble upon one of these alternative dimensions yourself as Carol Chase McElheney did in early March 2006.

Rain pounded McElheney’s car as she drove through San Bernardino, California, to spend a few days at a sheepdog trial in Perris, California. As she topped a hill south of the city, she saw a road sign for nearby Riverside. Her family roots were put down in Riverside in the early 1800s and she wanted to visit familiar places, such as her old house, and the cemetery where her grandparents are buried. “I’ve been going to Riverside since I was a baby,” McElheney said. “I’m real familiar with the city. I know my way around. I knew where my grandmother lived. I’ve been to the cemetery. I knew where I was going.”

As McElheney thought of visiting her grandparents’ graves, a chill ran through her. “Just as I decided to visit the cemetery, a huge blast of cigar scent entered my car,” she said. “It was pouring rain out, and I had my windows rolled up. My grandpa smoked cigars, and he died when I was five and that’s all I remember about him.”

Just as quickly as the smell floated through the car, it was gone. She drove past Riverside and on to Perris where she checked into a hotel and attended the dog show.


The next day McElheney attended the first sheep dog trial, then drove to Riverside. She didn’t like what she saw. “I could not find anything familiar,” McElheney said. “I used to live there after college.” Her street wasn’t the same, it was just wrong. The bungalows with small yards looked the same age as her old house, and the numbers were right, but her house wasn’t there. “I could not find my old place,” she said. “I thought they couldn’t have torn the house down and built another house in that 1920s style to fit into the architecture. None of the houses looked familiar. They all looked different.”

Then she drove to the street where her grandmother once lived, stopped the car, and looked around in amazement. “It was totally different,” she said. “None of the houses were anything like I remembered. No tall trees, her house wasn’t there. The numbers were in the same range, but the houses were all new. Grandma’s house and my aunt and uncle’s house next door were gone.” All the homes on what should have been her grandmother’s street were modern ranch-style houses lined by bushes, nothing like her Grandmother’s big, Tudor home with towering eucalyptus trees in the yard. “It was just gone.”

So was the cemetery. “The cemetery where my grandparents were buried was just not there,” McElheney said. “I drove around the block where it was supposed to be, and it was just fenced off with weeds inside. No gate, driveway or anything.”

Confused, McElheney pulled away from the empty lot to see if she could find anything familiar. She did. She recognized Riverside City College and Central Middle School. “Some of the other stuff was right. The college looked right, the middle school looked right,” she said. But when she pulled onto University Avenue, things were markedly different. “University Avenue was a main drag and there were scary looking people, so I got out of there,” she said. “I looked for the Mission Inn and it wasn’t there.”


University Avenue, once home to restaurants, insurance companies, banks and motels, was now, “completely ghetto,” McElheney said. “It was all graffitied-up and deserted.” To the point she was afraid to stop and ask directions. It was on University Avenue she realized something otherworldly was happening to her. “The thing that occurred to me is if I got out of my car something weird would happen,” McElheney said. “I thought if I talked to someone I’d be forever caught in this weird version of the ‘other’ Riverside, or that they weren’t going to be human. The more places I tried to recognize, nothing matched up. Nothing looked familiar.”

After a couple of agonizingly frustrating hours, McElheney turned the car around and went back to Perris. “Everything was normal,” she said. “I was afraid I’d go back and the hotel wouldn’t be there or my key wouldn’t fit. Everything was as it should be.”

A few years later McElheney’s father died and was to be buried in the same cemetery as her grandparents, the cemetery she saw as an empty fenced-off, weedy lot. “It was back to what I remembered,” she said. “He was buried next to my grandparents. The rest of the city looked like it did when I lived there after college in the ’70s. My cousin was there and she said her house and my grandma’s house are still there. University Avenue was normal looking and the Mission Inn was there. We had lunch there. I felt comfortable. I didn’t go back to the other areas to check them, but I knew they would be okay.”


What happened to Carol Chase McElheney? She’s convinced she slid into another dimension – one that was less than friendly. “I just got the feeling if I got out of the car and talked to someone I was going to fall off the edge of the earth. I’d end up being missing,” she said. “It must have been a dimensional thing. It looked like it was 2006, but I’d taken a different path. It looked like Riverside had just taken a different direction.”

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  • Joshua Tyler Ward

    My wife and I once had a parallel experience that we still talk about to this day. Not as frightening as the one described in the article, more frustrating and strange.

    We were out “open housing,” driving around our area and going to different open houses – not with an actual eye to buy, but more with interest in house layouts and figuring out average prices, etc.

    We found a house though that we all fell in love with. It was six bedrooms, it was affordable, it had an awesome back yard with space for both of us to have outdoor meditation areas, it had rooms inside that would work for office space AND art space (she’s a professional ghostwriter, I’m a freelance artist) – it was just absolutely perfect.

    We were really considering buying the house. We took home flyers and business cards from the realtors. We planned on going back to look at it the next day.

    Well, time got away from us, and a week or two later we decided to go back and see if it was still for sale. We used the address on the flyers we’d brought home.

    Our GPS said no such address exists.

    We’ve spent the last year looking for that house. We’ve found the same basic neighborhood area multiple times. Houses that look similar – but we’ve never been able to find that house again. The phone number of the realtors is disconnected. The address doesn’t exist in our GPS (we have iPhone 5s).

    To make matters weirder, over the year we’ve both had very vivid shared dreams about us living in that house.

    We’ve come to the conclusion that we somehow crossed into an alternate dimension for an afternoon, saw the house, and then the version of us that exists in that dimension ended up buying it and live there now.

    As for us? Well…we’re still looking for our dream house. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like it’ll ever be that exact one, because…well…it doesn’t exist here.

  • I take it this was fairly recent then?

    Before finding this house of your dreams (or dream house) did anything else occur that day that seemed out of place?

  • Whitley Strieber has often mentioned experiences of walking into alternate realities. Here’s one of them from his journal:

  • Joshua Tyler Ward

    Not that either of us remember. And the experience itself didn’t seem all that out of place until we tried to go back later.

    Everything just seemed normal. And yeah, it was…about a year and a half ago, I think. I’m fairly sure it was around October/November of 2011.

  • Joan Cesare

    In the spring of 2006, I was walking around my childhood neighborhood during a visit to my small hometown in Western Pa. I climbed the hill down the block from the old house, going to the very top of what had always been called The Mound…or The Indian Mound, as I remembered it from the 1950’s. Word had been, many years ago, that someone had become interested in this mound, wanting to dig into it, but that the project came to an abrupt end.
    I always loved simply standing on top of the mound. When the trees were bare in the cold months, I loved to look out over the mountains, and, indeed, it seemed as it was a perfect vantage point for watching all around for a good distance.
    The day I last went there, I parked my car at the old corner store, where the proprietor was just putting on a fresh pot of coffee. She invited me in for some when I got down the hill.
    Once at the top I looked over the old neighborhood, and the surrounding hills, recalling all sorts of good memories of the place…and then started down. I suddenly realized I must have gotten turned the wrong way, because the neighborhood I was heading for was, in no way, familiar. I headed back to the top, and began to walk around it slowly, checking often to see the usual way down to the little store, my car, and a neighborhood so familiar I could draw it in my sleep. No matter which way I went down the slope, nothing was familiar. Homes were there, but they were entirely different from those I knew were “really” there. The little grocery store was nowhere to be seen.
    By my third turn around the top of the hill, trying desperately to orient myself, I began to feel panic, and even began to formulate what I would say if I had to knock on one of doors of those unfamiliar houses. I made a fourth turn, and suddenly everything was perfectly the way it should be. The houses I grew up with, the store, my car. Being no spring chicken, I considered it a miracle to have gotten to the bottom of the hill in one piece, because I ran to the bottom.
    I never had coffee with the nice lady in the store, because I jumped in the car, peeled out, and drove back to the house where I was visiting.
    I have tried to reach out to people in the old hometown who might be able to tell me a little about that hill, but have never received a reply. So I shelved it under my “oops” category…until I read your site today. So, for what it’s worth…this has been my 2-cents.

  • hans

    You got to stay away from those mushrooms.

  • Daniel Pole

    why don’t you post the address, maybe someone on the internet will be able to find the house for you?

  • craig edmunds

    I grew up in Perris and lived in Riverside. University is alsways beem ghetto. The whole street from the bus station to U.C.R. is that way. The banks and resturaunts intersect University at main street. Mission inn ave is parralel to University and separated by city sized buildings. Of course Mission inn was not seen, its on the street called mission inn. The woman got lost.

  • I have no way to prove this story but it’s been our family for generations. No one has anything to gain from it, true or false, so I assume there’s some measure of veracity.

    One of my mother’s distant cousins was a well-known 19th-century American writer and folklorist. He was a contemporary of Mark Twain and while not as famous (who was?) wrote in a similar vein and enjoyed his share of popularity. [Note: for privacy reasons I’m intentionally not giving his name]

    Like Twain he was often invited to give public readings of his works on what were called “speaking tours”. During one such tour to England he stayed at his host’s manor house. He was having trouble sleeping and started exploring the house’s various wings. He opened a door at the end of one corridor and found it led to a set of rooms that appeared very old, with wall hangings, heavy carved furniture, and candles rather than oil lamps. There were no signs of people but the rooms didn’t seem to be inactive or otherwise “mothballed”, to use modern terminology.

    The next morning he complimented the host for having done such an excellent job of preserving a part of the manor as it had been centuries earlier. His host was very perplexed and asked him to retrace his steps. This time the end of the corridor was walled off – no door, no wing, nothing. His host confirmed that in fact part of the original manor had once stood there, but it had been pulled down in the early 18th century.

  • Don

    Interesting, but I guess I would have to experience something similar to what you guys have before I’m totally convinced, though I do keep an open mind about it.

  • disqus_O4wZZnzQ4J

    and post a copy of the flyer.

  • Joshua Tyler Ward

    Unfortunately, in all the cleaning and moving around of the house that was done after my wife’s father’s death, the flyer was lost.

    We think it was in a pile of papers that one of our cats, disturbed by the rearranging of rooms, peed all over and therefore had to be thrown away.

  • DanielKnight4Christ

    Which is evidence to me that Satan pulled a trick on this woman. He or rather some demon or demons have the ability to put false memories in a person’s mind, perhaps is behind many UFO abductions and I am sure, all reincarnation cases in which a person is remembering true memories, or rather memories that aren’t their own, and when they die, to put them in a virtual world, at least temporarily, that can be an imitation of Heaven or Hell. It makes more sense than someone being able to just go into another universe, think of the odds, and happen to be able to come back, the odds of that happening after driving away from the spot that you got in from would probably be in the realm of effective impossibility, like being hit 10 times in a row with lightning in 10 different states despite you being no where near anything tall or the tallest object in a lightning storm and going into storms no more than anyone else in the states.

  • Hotcupoftruth

    Whitley writes novels but markets them as nonfiction books…he makes up a lot of stuff and claims it as truth. I always take what he says and writes with a big grain of salt. You should too.

  • Hotcupoftruth

    We could move in and out of various dimensions repeatedly everyday and just not recall the minute differences from one to the next… remember reading (or watching) “The Lathe of Heaven” by Ursula LeGuin?

  • nightgaunt

    Certainly a disturbing visit. Too bad she couldn’t take an artifact back like a phone book or a news paper. I’ve heard of others making such trips and some coming from other earths. There have been several times that I think I have switched places with my analog in near by dimensions. Not always coming back. Mostly deaths of celebrities I tend to hear twice and wildly different times.

    One such happened in the early 2000’s. The special price on the sign of a restaurant kept changing for several days. One time most of the cars were using the purple tinted xenon over the warm yellow of the halogens. At least a few of them seemed more oppressive than the others. Then things seemed to settle. Though no radical changes as Carol Chase McElheney related that I could find in my busy jaunt. (Soul switching between universes?) Answer unknown.

  • shaun

    If you really want to know what this is and exactly how to do this, then check out Thomas Campbell’s Calgary Lectures on YouTube.
    It’s well worth it.

  • MikeofAges

    There are ways to locate addresses other than GPS. Try Zillow or another real estate site. Or find adjacent addresses. Sometime though, house numbers are not quite in order. Streets have similar names. Or adjacent towns or areas have similar, but not identical names or designations, but have some of the same street names. Maybe a real estate agent or title company could help you search old listings or transactions. Or your county records could be searchable, and you find a transaction matching that property. Do your your research. You might find something. The flyer could well have errors on it. But there should be a listing number, if it was in the multiple listings.

    There is a cautionary element to this tale though. If you go into an alternate reality, and you like it, stay!

  • MikeofAges

    So sad. Remember anything? Street name and town? Number or partial number? What real estate agency’s lawn sign was there? Put up the info and I’ll try to find it for you. Research is one of my hobbies. I have a friend who is disabled veteran who will not get a computer and internet at home. He asks me to research all sort of odd things, often information about very old movies and other arcane things. I get lots of practice.

  • IMO time slips are more likely to exist than a scarlet-skinned, horned-head being with hooves and a tail. At least string theory and multiverses have a chance of explaining how space-time can be nonuniform.

    Just sayin’.

    P.S. Is the second half of your post supposed to be a real sentence?? I speak 3 languages but still can’t figure out how to parse a hundred words without a period.

  • MikeofAges

    If you get back to this, not kidding. There are several celebrities whose deaths I have heard reported several times. Burgess Meredith three times. Richard Harris twice. Obviously, it is possible that newspapers have erroneously printed these reports, but never printed corrections.

    If there are different and parallel time lines, maybe sometimes little mistakes are made and the fixes don’t quite work. When you start surfing the web, and all the archives say that President Kennedy died in Florida in 1977, you’ll know you’re not going back.

  • Daniel Bigham

    I have a strange tale from my childhood when my family was living in Nevada (one of a few such incidents) that was similar to this one. My Dad took us on vacation to Las Vegas, and around the town of Ely, my sister and I became nauseated. We stopped at a drugstore that was quaint, looked old but was cheap. The owner gave us “coke syrup” for about 50 cents, sent us on our way with good cheer and told us to stop by on our way back to let him know how we were doing. The syrup helped us, and after our visit to Vegas, we tried to find this place again… but it was not there. Confused, my father asked the townspeople what happened to the store. They chuckled and told us that the place had burned down 100 years earlier! Some of them also mentioned that our story was rare but not entirely unique. I have puzzled over this for more than 30 years, and this article comes really close to explaining (or at least offering) some kind of reference to what might have happened.

  • chelseyam

    Dimension stories are great, but often
    hard to prove which makes people look at the person like they’re
    crazy. I think there’s a lot of times we may experience another
    dimension and not even know it, as there are many theories based
    around this now. Imagine if every time we felt dejavu we were
    experiencing something we’d experienced in another dimension.

  • billybob

    What color is color in your world?

  • Dakota

    I was born in Ely!

  • samantha

    WOW! Im a blood bought Jesus knowing Christian and even I know better than to attribute EVERYTHING down to stupid satan! In my reality God is much bigger than the stereotypical war between good and evil and He is Lord of multidimensional time and space. That kind of understanding takes us out of our comfort zones and requires large God thinking. I am sorry that you have put God in a box and attribute anything wondorous only to the devil. That’s just sad.

  • dirkbruere

    Glitches in the Matrix

  • Kyle Edgecomb

    Yikes, this creeps me out big time, because I briefly grew up in Moreno Valley, which was right next to Riverside, also my brother was born in Riverside.

    I really need to stop reading stories like these in the middle of the night

  • Charlene

    Well said Samantha.

  • ninjaknifehand

    what is this? we are wearing a earth suit on a planet spinning in space ,what is the f!@# is this this life ????????????what are we doing here?

  • Daniel Bigham

    I never even considered that side of it, Hammond. Excellent question and food for thought.

  • AeonRaven

    I think this is what happened to me last month. I was staying with my grandmother and had been quite ill for a couple of weeks. Needless to say, my mind was more, I guess you could say vulnernalble, to being able to slip to other dimensions or something. The first time it happened I was standing over the side of the bed and all of a sudden I just froze and time literally stood still, and I was there unblinking, hand on the bed, for a good five minutes. I remember getting almost wooshed into a place I had never seen before, but yet it felt so familiar. I looked around me and it was what looked to be around the time of the 1200-1400s. There was fires blazing everywhere and I was on the ground trying to stand up as horses and people were running past me. A man grabbed my arm and asked if I was hurt, then as I was shaking my head no, I was right back in the bedroom falling on the bed headfirst. I don’t know if I slipped into another timeline or what happened, but it happened several times over the week I was there but has not happened since I got back home. Any theories would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • Reynolds Jones

    Er – that honestly is ridiculous – it ignores everything that we are learning about time/space and related things like alternate time lines and other dimensions. You simply are pushing out a paradigm that you believe – regardless of anything else – and expecting people to respect your view, even if it is irrational. No thanks.

  • Reynolds Jones

    Do you KNOW he makes it up? Do you have proof – a recorded “confession” perhaps? If not then perhaps you should not use your judgement to decide that what someone else says is not really the truth and then spread that as if it were fact – it is not. I know little about the man personally, but it seems to me that reality might be a teensy bit more complicated than many people prefer to think.

  • #Y’allParanoidAf

    To be honest, I think people are down in the comment section are confusing time travelling with stepping into a parallel dimension. Feeling like you’re in the 17th century is not stepping into a parallel dimension neither is being able to see things that just to exist but go burned down or destroyed (in my opinion.) I also think some people are looking into their past lives. So yeah..

  • #Y’allParanoidAf

    You’ve been time travelling hun

  • #Y’allParanoidAf

    Fabulous Liar! 😀 Wow, I can’t believe I fell for it. It just so happens that as soon as people ask for more details the fliers seems to have been ‘destroyed’.

  • Tersh InProgress Meridian

    It has to do with the observer experience. And the universe is a strange batches..beyond stranger than the most inidinitely strange.

  • Marc Pulver

    Here is what I think happened to you. There are time portals in different parts of the world and I think you were near a time portal is what I think. I hope this was helpful to you. Good luck to you.
    Marc Pulver

  • Rodrigo

    No, you can’t really jump dimensions, there is only one reality, and deja vu is pretty awesome, because dejaVu actually is memories from your parallel self that lives in the future, but you have 0 contact with your future self.

  • Rodrigo

    yes, but we live only in one universe

  • Delsaz

    Do you have a link for this famous case?
    I tried googling it but couldn’t find anything.

  • Hammond Ecks

    Disqus tends to get upset about embedded links so you’ll have to replace the asterisks with dots and the !’s with slashes.

    twilightstarsong * blogspot * com ! 2012 ! 01 ! funny-how-time-slips-away-time-slip-2 * html
    paranormal * about * com ! od ! timeanddimensiontravel ! a ! time-travelers_2 * htm

    As I mentioned I still think the French inn story has a number of issues that need more supporting evidence, and while the 1940s car story certainly comports with the idea of portals or eddies in space-time the non-paranormal aspect of my science education is a bit concerned that nearly every posting of that event refers back to another identical account.

  • Kanye Asxs

    How do we shift between timelines in our Universe to win the lottery?

  • Nayla Khatib

    oooh oops i thought you and Daniel were one person (you have similar display pictures.)

    lol sorry
    anyways i do wanna know more stories you may have heard of, like the one u said in your own family.
    do tell pls

  • Nayla Khatib

    tell us anything?

  • MikeofAges

    tried it. went to the site but “page no longer exists”.

  • MikeofAges

    Apparently, people are still hitting this site, so I have something I want to add. If Carol McElheney was simply confused because she was unaware that Riverside had “gone ghetto” then she had to be confused about where she was in other ways too. She said, for example, that where a cemetery had been located was now a vacant lot. Either she was confused either about where she was or where that necropolis was. OR, she really did change dimensions. We tell you the facts. You decide. Woohoo. Woohoo.

  • Bill Anthony

    I’ll be more convinced when people start taking pictures with their cell phones of places that don’t exist!

  • Brandon

    I’m thinking this is farther into the future IF it is time travel.
    Different (new) homes & no cemetery are signs of some new future development.
    “No tall trees” Take a look at those trees now and find out how long the life of them are. Extrapolate their “death” for possible clues of how far I to the future this could be.
    For a public cemetery to be gone or unkept, ghetto neighborhood with retail & banks to have left those are signs of a city that’s bankrupt or financially hurt. I see neighborhoods like this where the area “used to be” upscale around forty or sixty years prior but is now a less desirable area to live.
    Those tall trees are a clue though. If they were gone in her travel let’s pic a few tall mature trees and assume they are in decline now. How long before their dead. I bet 60 years.