Is it possible to travel through time? Is it possible to jump, shift, or displace objects or people from a position on our current timeline to some position in the past or future? Many of us have either read science fiction stories on time travel or have seen movies depicting travel through time. We have also read of the paradoxes associated with traveling backward in time and altering events that would produce paradoxical consequences.
Our biological clocks tick just as the clock on the wall and everything seems to move forward in some inexorable dance and we can't seem to reverse it, step out of it, or jump over it. We are in our own body time machines: Our hearts beat, our lungs breath, and our bodies sync with numerous circadian rhythms. We seem trapped in time, unable to move freely through a dimension that enslaves us unlike the dimensions of space that we move so freely through.
What are the possibilities of moving through time at a faster rate than time? It doesn't seem very hopeful. Most would dismiss such a notion as impossible.
Here is how one person describes the physical process:
"There are problems. The commonest are the so-called paradoxes. For example, if we could travel through time, imagine what would happen to a time traveller if he (or she) travelled back in time and killed his own grandmother at birth. In theory the time traveller will therefore never be born, so the journey could never have been made in the first place; but if the journey never occurred then the grandmother would be born which means the time traveller would have been born and could make the journey ... and so on and so on. This is a paradox.
There are two possibilities to resolve this paradox. The first is that the past is totally defined, i.e. everything that has happened or must happen, including the time traveler's attempt to kill his grandmother, cannot be altered and nothing will change the course of history. In other words, the time traveller will experience endless "mishaps" in trying to kill his grandmother and will never achieve the murder, thus keeping time (or at least events) intact.
The second possibility is more complex and involves the quantum rules which govern the subatomic level of the universe. Put simply, when the time traveler kills the grandmother he immediately creates a new quantum universe, in essence a parallel universe where the young grandmother never existed and where our time traveler is never born. The original universe still remains. Stephen hawking believes he can explain the origin of our universe in a variation of this parallel-worlds theme.
Having explained these paradoxes, how does one travel through time? The secret is to travel at speeds faster than the speed of light. The obvious problem with traveling very near the speed of light is that as you approach C (the speed of light), time slows down until at C time stops. How can you go faster if time has stopped? The answer involves a complex process called quantum tunneling.
Once the velocity becomes greater than C time moves backwards. We have entered into the realms of negative time. "
Have people had experiences with time displacement? Yes, there are those who have reported weird events in their lives that seem to suggest that they have displaced their location in time and have visited other times the same spatial location.
However, the paranormal event did not seem to involve exceeding velocities greater than "C" or the exotic process of quantum tunneling. If these persons actually displaced themselves to another location in time, then a hitherto unknown process is involved.
It was on a beautiful summer's day in 1901 that two women visitors to France's palace of Versailles went drifting back in time, almost two hundred years, to the salad days of the 18th century. Certainly before the revolution, as we will soon see.
The women were highly respected, and not prone to hallucinations, drug abuse, or any other mental aberration that would cause this. Even I thought at first there had to be something else, something wrong here...but on that day, Anne Moberly, Principal of Saint Hugh's College in Oxford, and her friend Eleanor Jourdain, the college's French lecturer, were on a collision course with time and space.
They had taken a trip together to France, to see the sights, and visit many of the places that they knew, and taught so much about. But on this day, in this particular place, they got much more than they bargained for. Near the end of their holiday, they had decided to spend some time seeing Versailles, and to visit the summer home of Marie Antoinette, the Petit Trianon.
Having just a small guide-book, they missed their turn, and went right past the drive that would have taken them where they wanted to go. Instead they followed a very narrow lane, one not very well taken care of, as they soon found themselves walking through thickly wooded glades which led to a group of farm buildings. As accounts from both women were taken later, they said they both felt a very eerie calm to the air, almost dream like in its strange stillness. They stopped two men on the road, and asked directions. They assumed that they were workers because of the wheelbarrow and the spade nearby, but they were both dressed in long, grayish-green coats. Miss Jourdain would write later that "We did not realize at the time, that their style of dress was at least two-hundred years old."
Eleanor Jourdain noticed a woman, and a girl standing at the stone steps of a cottage, that would prove later to be a very important detail. Even later, when they came across a fancy dressed dude, :) with a wide brimmed hat, and a fancy cloak, they still weren't freaking out, which I probably would have been. Anyway...the man had a pock-marked face and very dark complexion, which somewhat frightened the women, so when another man asked if he could show the ladies the way, they agreed.
He pointed them to a small bridge across a ravine, and they eventually came to a clearing in front of the Petit Trianon. On a stool, a woman sat sketching. Again they noticed the other-worldly atmosphere, but again, they failed to question why everyone and everything seemed to have stepped out of a two hundred year old painting. It was as if someone, or something willed their agreement with the strange state of affairs.
A young man came out of the house and welcomed them. They found themselves in the house, with a very festive wedding party. After it disappeared up the drive, the women spent the rest of the afternoon alone. Once back in Paris, they began to compare notes. And they didn't match. They had both seen things the other one hadn't, which was strange enough. But when Miss Moberly remarked to her friend that it was a pity that they hadn't asked the woman sketching for directions, Miss Jourdain denied ever seeing the woman. But then, Miss Moberly hadn't seen the woman and the girl on the steps of the cottage, either. Curiouser, and curiouser...
Three months later, Miss Jourdain made a return trip to the Petit Trianon...and once again found herself in a different world. The sound of music drifted across the park, and she made a mental record of the tune being played. She also saw two laborers in red and blue capes filling a cart with sticks.
When she arrived at the Petit Trianon, she spoke to the caretaker. He laughed at her story, and told her that no music had been played that day, neither was there any laborers wearing capes. In fact, he told her that no-one had worn that type of cape for two hundred years. Which, as you can imagine, came as quite a shock to the poor woman.
A few weeks later, the friends decided to try visiting again, to see if they could unravel the mystery. They followed the same path they had taken before, but all the landmarks that had marked their first trip were gone. They couldn't find the place they had visited before for the life of them. Going back home, more distressed than ever, they decided to do a bit of detective work. In the Archives of the French Academy, Miss Moberly found reason to suspect that they had indeed gone back in time, most likely to Marie Antoinette's day. The gray-green costumes they had seen the first time there were proved to be the old royal livery. Two brothers that wore these costumes were always on duty near the cottage whenever the Queen was in residence.
The cottage where Miss Jourdain had seen the woman and the little girl was identified on an old engraving, after much searching. Records showed that in 1789, a fourteen year old girl and her mother had lived there.
A kiosk that both had seen was found in a map of 1783, and at that time, the Queen's personal entourage included a friend of hers, named Comte de Vaudreiul- a pock marked Creole, who often wore a large cloak and a Spanish hat.
The music Miss Jourdain had heard proved to be a tune from around 1780.
The two friends inspected many pictures of Marie Antoinette, but only one of them resembled the woman that Miss Moberly had seen.
For many years, they could not trace the bridge across the ravine that they had gone across. It seemed to be the one part of their story that had no merit....until in 1913 an old map was found of the area. It proved to be invaluable, as it was drawn by Marie Antoinette's landscape gardener. It clearly showed the bridge and ravine.
The women both believe that somehow, they were both transported back to the past, for some unknown purpose. Miss Moberly would write years later: " I would not have believed such a thing could happen, had I read it, or been told of it. But now I KNOW that indeed all things are possible...."
There have been similar reports to this report that involve persons entering a past environment. If these stories are credible and these people actually were displaced in time, then we have another obvious paradox. None of these people report traveling faster than the speed of light. This suggests that some other process is in place that allows people to displace in time.
Other types of paranormal events include Time shifts, Time loops, and missing time. A time shift is when someone reports a sudden jump in events without an intervening interval. This is also true of those who report missing time. There may also be a trivial change in reality. Something that had one color now appears to have another color. A Time loop is when a repetitive event occurs. Someone may report passing the same bridge twice without turning or seeing the same event twice. An echo of this would be the psychological sensation we call Deja Vu.
Linear Time: This is the simpler concept, for it corresponds to the direct experience of each one of us. When we go to sleep at night, we can think about the day we just spent and see again in our mind the whole sequence of the events which happened to us, one after the other. In the same way we can imagine that all events happening in our universe follow a line, conventionally oriented from the past toward the future.
Cyclical Time: This concept is similar to linear time except time is seen as occuring in cycles as if it were a great spiral instead of a line going from past to future. In this concept events seem to recur or similar events are said to happen. This concept seems to derive from how we measure time based on recurring cycles. Objects that have periodic motion act as clocks that give us a measure of duration.
Plane of Time: Let’s imagine that time doesn't flow, but that past, present and future exist simultaneously. If we look at a globe we can see that all places, continents, rivers are always present on the surface of the Earth, but when we travel we can see only one place at a time, in a sequence with a precise direction. In the same way, all events are always presents inside a Plane of Time even though during our existence we live one event after the other in what is for us a unique time direction, from the past to the future.
If it is possible to combine space travel with time travel, then it is possible for spacecraft to travel immense distances and return without a significant interval of time elapsing. Those UFOs which are someone else's spacecraft could be coming from hundreds of light years away and yet traverse this immense distance in very little time.
Another possibility exists. We ask ourselves: What is time? It seems like such a fundamental entity like space that it would be difficult to define it in other terms. We know that we measure the duration of an event by natural or artificial clocks. Any repetitive motion, periodic osciallator of regular uniform beat acts as a clock. What if the experience of time is based on motion, periodic motion, and time is basically the pulse of creation? Then we can conjecture that time has other dimensions and is not just unidimensional. Perhaps other worlds and other universes exist that pulse to a different beat. Then it is possible that our universe is one of a time-based multiverse and that some of these other universes may harbor life. It opens up the exiciting idea that there is more to explore than we can see through our telescopes.