TALES FROM A TIME TRAVELER
It’s safe to say that time travel is probably one of the most popular tropes in science fiction literature. From H.G. Wells famous “The Time Machine” to the “Terminator” series, it seems that authors and movie directors can’t go wrong when they spin a yarn about dashing back and forth through time. It fires the imagination – what if you could go back in time to witness the crucifixion of Jesus Christ? Or stop the assassination of President Lincoln? Or travel into the future to see what’s going to happen in 50 or 100 years? Or like Biff of “Back to the Future” fame, slip ahead 30 years and purchase a sports almanac so you could return to your own time and place absolute sure bets on any number of sporting events?
Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? It is. Ah, but then there’s that nasty time travel paradox that most nay-sayers always mention at this point in the conversation. You can’t travel back in time and make any changes or you’ll shatter the timeline. Like the “Grandfather” paradox. What would happen if you went back in time and murdered your own grandfather? Then he wouldn’t be able to sire your father, who wouldn’t exist to sire you, hence you would no longer exist to go back in time to murder grandpa. Around and around it goes. If you weren’t born, then you couldn’t go back in time to kill him, hence he would live and you would in fact be born to go back in time to murder him. Makes the head spin just thinking about it.
Then of course there’s the movie, “Final Countdown” with Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen. The USS Nimitz is swept through a wormhole from 1980 to land in 1941, with an opportunity to stop the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Wanting desperately to do so, but before they can defend the naval base, fate intervenes and the carrier is swept back to 1980, but not before some very fun hi-jinks (like a section of Tomcats eliminating two Japanese Zeros – not very sporting, really, but great fun to watch!).
All that aside, it’s still entertaining to conjecture, and a lot of science fiction novelists have made their living by producing tales about scientists who travel back and forth in time via any number of contraptions of their making. And the really exciting part is that modern physicists like William A. Hiscock claim that time travel may be possible.
Then there’s Andrew Basiago, who claims to have been part of “Project Pegasus” (along with none other than Barak Obama – yes that Barak Obama) which was supposedly a time travel project run out of a facility in Redondo Beach, California in the 1970s. He claims to have traveled back and forth in time, even witnessing the Gettysburg Address. However, Mike Bara, an author and UFO researcher, claims that he worked in the aerospace industry at the same time as Basiago claims Project Pegasus was in operation, and he states – “I worked at the old TRW building just a few hundred feet from the building where Basiago claims he teleported … and I can assure you, having held several security clearances, that there is no teleporter in that building. The bathrooms even have substandard plumbing.”(1)
So don’t pack your toga just yet. The same physicists who claim time travel is possible also warn that the power required to achieve such a feat would be impossible to generate with current technology. It appears we’ll have to wait for more time to pass before we can take a weekend trip to visit the ancestors.
But what if you didn’t need a time machine to travel back in time? What if it was possible to travel back in time without the aid of technology?
I did it.
Twice, actually. And here’s my story. Well, stories. The first time was back in the early 1990s. I wanted to photograph some armor I’d made – several suits, actually – so I contacted a photographer friend of mine, who agreed to do the photo shoot, but on the condition that we come out to his acreage outside the city. There were some excellent wooded areas that would provide a good background for my models in armor. I gathered some friends and we went out of the city to meet the photographer. We packed everything off into a clearing not far from his house, and I proceeded to help my friends into the armor. One fellow got suited up before the others and walked off a short distance to wait for the rest to finish. As he stood away from everyone else, I happened to glance over at him. There was nothing 20th century in my line of sight, and for a brief moment – no more than a few seconds – I was there. I was back in the 13th century, staring at a fully armored knight. You may argue that it wasn’t real time travel, but to me, I had stepped back into the 13th century. The feeling was like a rush, and it was as real to me as if I had used Doc Brown’s flux capacitor-equipped DeLorean. I’ve never had that experience since, but I will never forget the feeling I had in those precious few seconds.
My second time travel experience was more literal. In 2012, I spent four months in Japan with Samaritan’s Purse, re-building homes for victims of the Tsunami. On my way home, I boarded the plane in Tokyo at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday night. The flight was nine hours, and I arrived home in Calgary at 3:30 in the afternoon, on the same Sunday. So thanks to the International Date Line, I traveled back in time 12 ½ hours.
Disappointed? Don’t be. Unlike Andrew Basiago, it was legitimate time travel. I got to re-live 12 ½ hours of my life.
So time travel is possible, even without fancy technology or wormholes. Of course, not as fun, but I consider it time travel, nonetheless. I still like the idea of stepping out of a time machine, with dry ice smoke swirling around my feet as I survey the ancient scene before me – a castle, or famous battle – or perhaps nothing more than an idyllic village going about its daily routine. Perhaps something like Michael Chrichton’s “Timeline," where his characters first arrive in 1357 France.
Now that would be a tale worth telling!
(1) Michael Bara, “Hidden Agenda – NASA and the Secret Space Program” Adventures Unlimited Press, 2016. Pp. 180, 181.