Nov 12, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Time Travel: It Might Be Something More or Less Than Most People Think

In October of last year I wrote a book titled Time Travel. And, in Iight of that, I thought I would share with you some intriguing aspects of my research; something that made me change my mind on certain aspects of the matter of time travel, and to a significant degree. I'll show you what I mean. The publisher stated: "Fact or fiction? Real or impossible? Movement through time explored, examined and explained! Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity postulates, and scientists have proven, that the faster you travel, the slower time moves. Clocks on airplanes, satellites and rockets are slower than clocks on Earth, and time travel is indeed real. Can time machines, time-tunnel wormholes or tales of fictional time-traveling heroes be so far-fetched? Covering the history of time travel in both reality and fiction, Time Travel: The Science and Science Fiction investigates the long history, myths, science and stories of movement from the present to the past and into the future." The publisher also said: "The idea of time travel fascinates because it offers the possibility, however remote, of revisiting and recapturing moments from our youth. And if travelers of the future have secretly visited us - well, that proves that our future is secure. Stories of time travel abound in books and film, and it’s been a source of endless fascination - and speculation - surrounding UFO sightings and conspiracy theories." Yes, it was all there. But, as my research expanded, things began to change: I saw time travel in a different way - as many do when they get deep into the whole controversy. Take, for example, a certain man who exploded on the time travel scene a little more than two decades ago.

From 2000 to 2001, the world of conspiracy-theorizing was rocked when a man using the name of John Titor came forward, claiming to be a time-traveler from the future, specifically from 2036. Such was the fascination with Titor’s story, conspiracy researchers took deep notice of what he had to say, to the point that what began as an interesting series of claims quickly became a veritable phenomenon. But, was Titor all that he claimed to be? Was his story of being a member of the U.S. military true? Was he really a man from the future? Or, was the whole thing a strange hoax? Let’s first take a look at the history of time-travel in both reality and fiction. Within the specific genre of science-fiction, fantastic tales of time-travel to the far-flung future or to the distant past are hardly rarities. Take, for example, H.G. Wells’ epic novel of 1895: The Time Machine. The book tells the story of a brilliant, London, England-based scientist, inventor and adventurer who journeys to the year A.D. 802,701 where, to his complete and utter dismay, he finds that the Human Race (in the form that we understand it, at least) no longer exists. In its place are the Eloi and the Morlocks. The former are relatively human-looking beings (albeit of smaller stature), yet they utterly lack vitality, imagination, and any desire to learn or advance. The Morlocks, meanwhile, are fearsome, savage and nightmarish beasts who dwell in darkened underground lairs and who use the Eloi as we use cattle: namely, as a source of food.

(Nick Redfern) Time Travel: multiple types of surfing the centuries

In the 1968 movie, Planet of the Apes, Charlton Heston’s character, Taylor, a NASA astronaut, arrives on a nightmarish world run by a ruthless race of talking apes. Only at the film’s climax, as he stumbles upon the broken remains of the Statue of Liberty, does Taylor realize with horror that he has not set foot on some far-off planet, after all. Rather, he is home, 2,000 years in the future and after a worldwide nuclear holocaust has destroyed human civilization and given rise to the world of the apes. Then there is The Philadelphia Experiment: an entertaining Hollywood film allegedly based on real events, and which tells the story of two sailors – David Herdeg and Jim Parker – who are propelled through time from 1943 to the Nevada Desert, circa 1984. And we should not omit the BBC show, The Flipside of Dominick Hide, in which the main character travels through time from A.D. 2130 to London, England in 1980. Ostensibly there to observe the transportation systems of the past, Hide subsequently finds himself on a quest to locate one of his distant ancestors. Let’s not forget Michael J. Fox’s character, Marty McFly, who in the 1985 Hollywood comedy blockbuster, Back to the Future, travels through time to 1955, where he almost makes out with his then-teenaged mom, comes perilously close to wiping out his own existence as a result of his time-traveling antics, and single-handedly invents rock ‘n’ roll. And, there was Déjà vu, with Denzel Washington, a 2006 movie which told the story of U.S. Government agents trying to solve a terrorist attack by using secret time-travel technology to look into the past. And who can forget 12 Monkeys, starring Bruce Willis? In other words, at least as far as mega-bucks movies and literary classics are concerned, the theme of time-travel is a spectacularly successful one. 

Just about everyone has heard of time travel – if only in pop-culture and entertainment. And there’s no doubt that that same pop-culture has most definitely molded the way we see the phenomenon. None of that, however, changes the fact that time travel in the real world appears to be a reality. In many respects, however, it doesn’t seem to operate as we expect them to. For example, while scientists have made loud claims about being able to travel in time – via black holes and wormholes – very few, if at all, have actually come up with a viable way to create a “nuts-and-bolts” time machine. Indeed, in the pages of my book we see very little about time machines. There’s a very good reason for that.  While there are numerous stories of time travel in the real world, what we don’t see – almost at all – is the vehicle in which the time travelers themselves move across the centuries. One could say that the Roswell device of July 1947 (which has been suggested as a time machine), and the craft that came down at Rendlesham Forest in December 1980 are such examples. That could also apply to the so-called Flying Triangle-type UFO that the late UFO researcher, Omar Fowler, suspected could be time machines. And, just maybe, they were exactly that. In so many cases, however, the time traveling appears to occur wholly at random, and not by a high-tech device or craft.

In other words, people are suddenly thrown into environments completely unknown - and in a situation that hardly ever surfaces its head. I’m talking, first, about the famous case of time traveling at Versailles, France on August 10, 1901 involving Charlotte Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain. They had no time machine to traverse the years in a moment or two. They weren’t even looking for a mysterious event. Yet, seemingly, they found themselves in a very different time line. It’s important to note that Jourdain and Moberly could see the people of that era and, more intriguing, they could see her. That strongly suggests that time travel is not a one way situation. It suggests that time travel allows us to interact with people of other times – something that could be incredibly dicey should someone deliberately kill one’s grandfather in an earlier time, thus ensuring you wouldn’t be born. Indeed, it’s called “The Grandfather Paradox.” Of this, mind-boggling phenomenon,Greg Uyeno says: “The grandfather paradox is a potential logical problem that would arise if a person were to travel to a past time. The name comes from the idea that if a person travels to a time before their grandfather had children, and kills him, it would make their own birth impossible. So, if time travel is possible, it somehow must avoid such a contradiction. The logical inconsistency of time travel is a common theme in time-warping fiction, but it's also of interest to philosophers."

(Nick Redfern) We all know the connection to time travel when it comes to the Statue of Liberty

There’s no real answer to this particular paradox. Maybe, killing your grandfather in an earlier time will create a new timeline. In the process, however, you remain alive and healthy in your own, original timeline. Granted, such a thing is theoretical and absolutely nothing more. We should not forget, too, that animals have seemingly crossed through time. The stories in the pages of my book tell of a Pterodactyl, of a Mammoth and of a Saber-Tooth Tiger (Smilodon) all leaping the millennia and suggesting that much of time traveling is indeed achieved at nothing but absolute random. Of course, the problem with the random angle is that we cannot predict when, or where, we might be able to leap through a “time tunnel” for either a brief period or even forever. On the other hand, maybe someone else has managed to control time. Now, let us address the matter of the UFO phenomenon – something that includes sightings of UFOs and warnings and threats from the dreaded Men in Black. Both phenomena can be seen from the perspective of being directly connected to time travel. And to time travelers. In view of that, the day may very well come when we will have to radically alter our beliefs on what amounts to the UFO enigma. There’s a distinct possibility that we might have to alter our longstanding perceptions on what UFOs, and their pilots, are. Just maybe, there are no aliens. Just possibly, though, there is an incredible body of time travelers – from our future and maybe from our past – who are masquerading and hiding their true identities. Namely, that they are really us and not creatures from other planets or galaxies. 

Perhaps, the most disturbing angle of all this is the possibility that time travelers – from a faraway future – are using us as cattle. As I noted: Jim Penniston (one of the key figures in the December 1980 Rendlesham Forest "UFO landing" affair) stated that our presumed aliens are, in reality, visitors from a far-flung future. Our future. That future, Penniston added, is very dark, in infinitely deep trouble, polluted and where the Human Race is overwhelmingly blighted by reproductive problems. The answer to those same, massive problems, Penniston was told by the entities he met in the woods, is that they travel into the distant past – to our present day – to secure sperm, eggs and chromosomes, all as part of an effort to try and ensure the continuation of the severely waning Human Race of tomorrow. In light of that grim scenario, perhaps the time travelers among us are deliberately presenting themselves as aliens. It would be the perfect camouflage. That may be the reason why they drive around in black cars: perhaps, they are doing their best to blend in. But, most of the time, not doing such a good job of it.

(Nick Redfern) Time travel at Rendlesham Forest?

There’s one fascinating issue we should never forget. Throughout my time in the world of time travel, I found many examples of how people like you and me have had brief viewings of the future – but in a dream state, rather than by a time machine. There’s little doubt this suggests we already have the ability to travel time. Or, at least, to peer into the future. The problem, however, is that we don’t know how to harness such an incredible ability. Should the day come when we can harness time, then it will a whole different ball-game. Now, finally…There’s a possibility that the people of the future are determined to keep us – a warlike, dangerous and destructive race - from intruding into their time. Or, as Michael J. Fox’s character, Marty McFly, said in Back to the Future: “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that.” Perhaps, we aren’t. Worse still, remember the words of Dr. Zaius to astronaut Taylor in the time-travel-themed 1968 movie Planet of the Apes: “Don't look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.” Wise words? Time, ahem, may tell. What all of the above tells us is that time travel is far more complicated than many might think.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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