One concept that has become the focus of much speculation and wonder is that of other realities, dimensions, universes, whatever you want to call them, existing parallel to our own beyond some unseen veil that separates us. If this is so, and these other realms do brush up against our own, then is it possible to jump between them? Can we push through that mysterious veil into new alternate realms besides our own? There have been strange accounts over the years that seem to suggest that this may indeed be so, and that not only is it possible, but that it has already been done, mostly by people who seem to have made this shift between realities quite unintentionally. I have written of this phenomenon at Mysterious Universe before, in fact on more than one occasion, and here we will further delve into the strange realms of alternate realities and spontaneous inter-dimensional travel.
With some tales of travel to parallel dimensions it seems the shift is via a doorway to some past or future version of our reality. Take the a case brought forward in 1988 in a spring issue of Strange Magazine, wherein two men seem to have temporarily shifted into some parallel, alternate version of the past. A man known only as L.C. was with an associate in the town of Abbeville, Louisiana and the two purportedly began to take a drive along Highway 167 towards Lafayette on October 20, 1969. For most of the drive they passed no other cars, with the road remaining incredibly empty and calm, and then ahead of them they suddenly spied a rather old-fashioned looking car chugging along. As they drew closer, they realized that it was a vintage, turtle-back vehicle that seemed to be in pristine condition, and as they went to pass it they noticed that the car's license plate clearly had “1940” printed upon it.
This was strange to be sure, but things would get only weirder. As they passed the vehicle, they noticed that the driver was a young woman wearing what appeared to be rather old-fashioned clothes, in just as old a style only just as new looking as the car she was driving, along with a young child in the passenger seat. Although the day was rather warm, both were dressed for cold weather, which struck L.C. and his companion as a bit odd. As they looked on, they could see that the woman seemed to be in a state of distress, looking back and forth as if something urgent was going on or in some sort of panic.
This apparent frantic desperation was so intense that L.C. apparently actually called out to the woman to ask if she needed any help, to which she responded with a nod. He gestured for her to pull over, which she did, and L.C.’s car came to a stop in front of her, but when they looked back the vehicle that had just been there was gone as if it had never been there at all. To make it all even weirder, another car that had been on the road also pulled over and the driver expressed surprise that the old car that had been in front of him the whole time was no longer there. According to this driver, he had seen the whole thing and watched as the old, vintage car had just seemingly dematerialized into thin air.
Now knowing that it was not all in their heads, L.C., his companion, and the other driver took a look around for the other vehicle but there was no sign of where it could have possibly gone, no tire tracks moving away, nothing. The trio considered calling the police, but possibly rightly assumed that no one would ever believe them, and they ultimately kept it to themselves. The three would apparently keep in touch with each other for several years, but were never able to figure out what they had seen. Did these men get a glimpse of some other alternate dimension in the form of the past? Indeed, was the woman in such distress because she had found herself in some strange place she did not recognize? We may never know.
The same thing appears to happen the other way around, with glimpses into some future dimension. One such rather well-known case concerns a British Air-Marshal named Sir Victor Goddard, who in 1935 found himself aboard a biplane going to inspect a dilapidated old airfield near Edinburgh, Scotland, in a location known as Drem. Goddard encountered severe weather on his way to the airfield, fighting his way through lashing rain, but upon approach suddenly exited into calm, clear skies. Looking down at the airfield, rather than the litter strewn, weed choked mess he had expected to see, he allegedly saw a completely new and renovated airstrip that seemed to be in use.
This was all very odd indeed, yet Goddard noticed that there were even mechanics and other personnel busily running about as if the airfield had never closed at all. Upon the new airstrip were four yellow planes of a model which Goddard failed to recognize. The unknown make of the planes, as well as their abnormal coloration and the personnel’s strangely designed uniforms of blue when it was customary to wear khaki, struck the astonished airman as all very odd indeed. Goddard would many years later revisit the airbase and find that it had blue coveralled workers and those same yellow planes. Did he somehow manage to travel to another future version of our world and see what was to come, some sort of parallel alternate universe? Who knows?
While these may very well be instances of another phenomenon known as “time-slips,” in which a witness glimpses pieces of another time, but could these not be trips to other dimensions set in different eras? Other cases seem to be not only time slips, but more firmly rooted in a clear shift between realities. One rather bizarre tale involves a strange man who was found wandering aimlessly about the German village of Frankfurt-an-der Oder, in the district of Lebas, in 1851. This stranger claimed that his name was Jophar Vorin, and that he had come from a country called “Laxaria,” which many of you may realize as a country that does not exist. This country was claimed to lie far away over the sea in a region he called “Sakria,” and that his people were Christian and had considerable geographical knowledge.
Authorities who questioned him found that he spoke imperfect, broken German, but could not understand any other European languages at all. Instead, he could speak and write Laxarian and another language he called “Abramian,” which he claimed was the written clerical language his people used. When asked why he had made the journey to Germany, he claimed that he had been looking for his long lost brother but that he had unfortunately found himself shipwrecked during his voyage. When asked where he had been shipwrecked he said that he did not know, and modern maps seemed to baffle and confuse him, leaving him unable to point out where he had arrived. Apparently, Jophar lived out the rest of his life in Berlin, and news articles of the day claimed that he was scientifically studied, but it is unclear what was discovered from any of this. Was this a traveller from some other dimension or an elaborate prank? The answer may forever elude us.
Other more recent accounts from the 2000s are just as weird. According to one online account, a poster calling himself “paddjo95” related how he and his younger brother had one day ventured out to go exploring around the woods surrounding their isolated, rural home in southern Arkansas. They headed down the road that led to their house trying to find some new path or trail that they could explore, but what they eventually found surprised them. As they walked along, they came across a brand new looking paved road, looking decidedly out of place and something they would have surely noticed before after living in the area for 12 years. They explained it away by speculating that it must have been built rather recently, although nobody had seen any road work being done.
Curious, the two brothers set out along this strange road and things would only get more bizarre. According to the witness, as soon as they set foot on the road the air became noticeably colder, and additionally the road was lined by unusual, thick red trees similar to redwood trees, which were of a type they had never seen before. They supposedly walked several miles along the road and then decided to head back, noting that the air immediately became warmer again as soon as they stepped off it. As it was getting dark, they decided to come back and explore this odd road again the next day, but when they returned the following afternoon they could find no sign of the road or those weird trees they had seen. They reportedly scoured the area for hours but it was as if the road and its trees had never existed at all. On top of this, their parents denied that any road work had been done in the area and insisted there were no paved roads anywhere near them. Had that road they found been one into another reality that had temporarily brushed up against our own?
Another poster on “reddit r/paranormal” claimed that one day at around dusk he had gone off to get something to eat at the nearby McDonald’s, taking his car and his dog along for the ride. As they drove, the witness claimed that the streetlights they passed would flicker out as they approached, only to blink back on as they passed. This was quite strange enough, but things would get very odd when they reached the last turn out of their neighborhood. At this point the witness said:
I felt a wave of... something... pour over me. I heard my dog whimper. I looked back at her and she had ducked back into the middle of the back seat, tail between her legs, with her fur sticking straight out. It felt like I went through a thick sheet of static electricity, honestly, and I began hearing a loud feedback noise inside my head, and the world got blurry. This went on for a few seconds before it cleared up.
At this point the car also stalled, but luckily kicked back to life when it was restarted, and the witness drove on. When they were on the main road it was noticed that the streetlights looked dramatically different from the way they always had, and the lights that were usually on the meridian had been replaced by trees. He drove on through this surreal scene and finally made it to the McDonald’s, which was more or less where it had always been, but oddly in a different building. Along the way other oddities had popped up as well, such as models of cars he had never seen before with logos from companies that didn’t exist, yet with normal looking license plates. By this time the witness was starting to get unsettled indeed, but nevertheless continued on to the drive-thru, where things would continue to spiral further into the weird.
The items on the menu were significantly more expensive than usual, and when the witness went to pay with his credit card as usual he was told that it wasn’t accepted there. The clerk had then handed him a device that was described as looking like “my dad's blood pressure monitor,” which he was apparently supposed to put his finger into. Wary of doing so, he decided to pay in cash, but the clerk examined the bill for awhile and finally accepted it without giving any change or receipt, just an odd piece of paper citing the balance. When asked why there was no change, the clerk casually said that they had no cash and only could give cash vouchers. Getting the food itself would prove to be the most bizarre of all, as the worker began to behave very strangely while handing it over. The witness explained:
His face and body motions were moving and resetting like when you tilt an N64 game slightly out of the console. I didn't have time to be terrified during the moment, because as this happened, I felt the wave of electricity come over me again. Just like last time I heard my dog whimper, and when I looked back she was crouched in the back, her fur extended. And just like last time, I heard a loud feedback noise in my head. My eyes took a second to adjust, but when the world came into focus, I saw that I was in a parking lot. I recognized everything. This was the parking lot in which the McDonald's I'm used to is placed. And sure enough, the McDonald's was visible in my rear-view mirror at its usual location. I have no clue what happened, honestly.
What in the world happened here? Did this man somehow pass briefly into another parallel dimension to order dinner at some alternate reality McDonald’s? Whether the account is true or not, it is still very odd indeed. Interestingly, there has been much speculation done on the existence of these alternate versions of our reality, and theories on the existence of such realms have been floating around since 1954, when a doctoral candidate at Princeton University by the name of Hugh Everett first popularized the idea that there was a potentially infinite number of different versions of or reality layered on top of each other, of which ours is only one.
This would eventually become what today is usually referred to as the Many-Worlds Theory, which basically says that anything that could have ever happened and anything that will ever happen all separately and simultaneously exist in different parallel worlds and timelines. It is all very complex, but essentially everything you will ever do or have ever thought about doing has already happened or is hapening to an alternate you. One common example is that, for instance, one day you are almost hit by a car, but narrowly avoid disaster. According to the Many-Worlds Theory you did get hit by that car in another reality. Another example is have you ever wanted to be a doctor? In some other alternate dimension you are a doctor. Every possibility exists, and it goes on and on, infinitely. There is of course more to it than that, and I don’t intend to get into it in too much depth here, but that’s the general idea.
If there is anything to this theory, then that means that there may be perhaps ways to glimpse these other realities or to even shift over into them under certain circumstances or with methods which we may never understand. This could explain these cases and even time slips, because it would theoretically be possible for you to also jump into the past and future of alternate universes and realities as well, since all possible pasts and futures are already out there existing concurrently. There has been a lot of serious speculation and study on this certainly strange idea, and there have occasionally been offered up some rather intriguing clues as to the presence of such parallel dimensions.
One of the more well-known of these is what is called the Mandela Effect. Put simply, the Mandela Effect is the phenomena of having collective false or shifted memories, in which large numbers of people misremember the same details. There have been many purported examples of the this Mandela Effect in action, the most well-known being perhaps the oddity from which the phenomenon gets its very name, in that it has been claimed that many people concretely remember Nelson Mandela dying in the 1980s, when in fact he really died in 2013. Another very famous example has to do with the beloved series of children’s books and subsequent TV shows called The Berenstain Bears. What? Do you think I misspelled that? That’s exactly the point. Millions of people distinctly remember this series being called “The Berenstein Bears,” with an “e.”
While this may seem a minor thing, the fact is that the majority of people adamantly insist on this spelling, when the series is really The Berenstain Bears, with an "a." Why would so many people so clearly remember and insist upon the wrong spelling? That depends on who you ask. For some it is merely a false collective memory caused by various psychological factors. For others, it is evidence of memories of an alternate reality, one in which it is The Berenstein Bears. One blogger named simply "Reece" explained this fairly wild theory thus:
At some time in the last 10 years or so, reality has been tampered with and history has been retroactively changed. The bears really were called the “BerenstEin Bears” when we were growing up, but now reality has been altered such that the name of the bears has been changed post hoc. Somehow, we have all undergone a π/2 phase change in all 4 dimensions so that we moved to the stAin hexadectant, while our counterparts moved to our hexadectant (stEin). They are standing around expressing their confusion about the “Berenstein Bears” and how they all remember “Berenstain Bears” on the covers growing up. Those who remember the name as “Berenstain” are native to this “A” Universe, while those who are sure it’s “Berenstein” traveled over from the “E” Universe.
Got all of that? Besides these two examples there are numerous other instances of the Mandela Effect in action, with extensive lists of these collective mistaken memories out there to peruse, and it has been latched onto as possible evidence of alternate realities. The main notion here is that the Mandela Effect and other individual memory glitches exist because many of us have already shifted through realities while retaining memories of our old one, and this is why we sometimes have strange experiences such as things that were not exactly as we remember them, encountering different details to things such as movies and books from what we recall, and even phenomena such as déjà vu or its opposite, jamais vu, in which a word, person, or place that a person already knows seems strange and unrecognizable. According to this idea, this is all because we experience these new experiences in the new reality while still retaining the memories of the alternate one, which often don’t completely or perfectly mesh together. Is this any sort of evidence at all that alternate realities exist? It is hard to say, but curious nonetheless.
The discussion on the possibility of alternate dimensions and realities parallel to our own will likely go on for some time to come before we ever get any understanding of the truth, if we ever do. Parallel worlds may be something beyond our ability to ever fully comprehend or attain a good working knowledge of, to forever remain merely an alluring possibility. Yet there will also no doubt continue to curious hints as to their existence, as well as accounts from those who have experiences that seem to suggest that the answers are out there to be found, and that stepping through the barrier between dimensions is perhaps possible even without any sort of advanced equipment. Have these people actually managed to somehow fall through some thin spot between realities, to shift between them? When many think of travel to other worlds they may think of outer space, but perhaps where they should be looking is to another type of space; the worlds which push up against our own, those universes which are potentially simultaneously existing all around us.