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Time Travel Stories

by Dirk Vander Ploeg

Time MachineH.G. Wells may have made the concept well-known with his novel "The Time Machine", but it was television, movies, books and magazines that have made the subject so popular. Movies such as The Terminator and its sequel, The StarTrek movies, have made us think that this is a scientific possibility, and we are only waiting for the inventor to put a few finishing touches on a real time machine.

But movies are movies, television is just that, reality seems somewhere more detached. Real encounters with the phenomena tend to be more down to earth.

Lets examine the story of Matt and his friend Charlie. They had just finished lunch in the small Southwest American town, and began their drive north along Highway 167 towards the city of Lafayette about a half hour away. The year was 1969, in October, and it was early in the afternoon. It was a postcard picture day with clear skies and the temperature comfortable even with the convertible top down.

The highway seemed to be practically abandoned with only the occasional car traveling in the opposite direction. Ahead in the distance they saw an old sedan traveling very slowly. They examined the antique vehicle as they got closer. While the style of the auto indicated it to be decades old, it appeared to be in showroom condition, which amazed both passengers. The car was really traveling slowly so Matt decided to put safety first and pass the collector's item. . As they did so, Matt noticed a very large bright orange license plate with the year "1940" clearly printed on it. Both men were aghast at this and wondered if this car was headed to a rally or a parade, because it was plainly illegal to operate a motor vehicle with thirty year old license plates.

As they passed the car slowly to its left, Charlie, who was in the passenger's seat, noticed the driver of the car was a young woman dressed in what appeared to be 1940 vintage clothing. This was 1969 and the fact that the young woman was wearing a hat complete with a long colored feather and a fur coat was, a bit unusual. A small child stood on the seat next to her, possibly a little girl. The gender of the child was hard to determine as it too wore a heavy coat and cap. The windows of her car were rolled up, a fact which puzzled Charlie, because, though the temperature was nippy, it was quite pleasant and a light sweater was sufficient to keep you comfortable. As they pulled up next to the car, their mild fascination turned to shock as they could clearly see the fear and panic on the woman's face. She was frantically looking back and forth as if lost or in need of help. She appeared on the verge of tears.

Being on the passenger's side, Matt called out to her and asked if she needed help. She nodded "yes"! Matt motioned to her to pull over and park on the side of the road. He had to repeat the request several times with hand gestures and mouthing the words because her window was rolled up and it seemed she had difficulty hearing them. They saw her begin to pull over so they continued to pass her and pull off the highway safely in front of her. As they came to a halt on the shoulder of the road, Matt and Charlie turned to look at the old car behind them. It had only been a matter of seconds, but when they looked back for the car, it was gone. Its important to remember that this was on a two lane highway with no turnoffs or high foliage or obstructions that could hide a car. It just vanished.

Matt and Charlie just stared at the empty highway. They sat spellbound in their car. They could see for miles behind them and all they saw was an empty road. This is often repeated story, when many variations, but with the same outcome, no proof.

Another one of my favorite stories involves two women vacationing in France, who happened to visit the Palace of Versailles on a hot summer afternoon. After touring the Palace and exploring the grounds they decided to relax under a group of tall shade trees. They fell asleep and awoke later that afternoon in the same spot but hundreds of years earlier.

We know that they arrived safely back in our century because they told their story to a reporter who wrote the original story that I read. The women stated that they spent the balance of the afternoon in the eighteenth century before once again falling asleep under the same tree and waking up as dusk was falling at Versailles. This unique time travel experience and the one involving the woman and child in the antique car, as usual, raises many questions about the phenomena but sadly answers none.