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Liverpool time slips


Liverpool should be a hard headed no nonsense town with feet firmly on the ground, except in the period where it was fashionable to trip or perhaps “trip” over an uneven paving stone and extract a new set of clothes from the council.

But Liverpool has an underlying hint of strangeness, Leprechauns were once alleged to be roaming the city [5] and it appears to have a slightly unorthodox relationship with time, if the accounts here are to be believed. As typical examples of time slips they may offer some clues to the nature of time

Ex Policeman slips back in time [1]

In 1996 former policeman Frank was in Liverpool on a sunny Saturday shopping day. His wife went off on her own to buy Irvine Welsh's novel Trainspotting in Waterstones. Frank went to HMV to look for a CD he was after. Twenty minutes later he was walking towards Bold Street when everything went quiet. As he approached the bookstore he saw the name Cripps over the door. A boxvan that looked like it came from the 1950s, with the name Caplins or Cardan's or Cardin's on its side shot past him honking its horn.

At this point Frank realised things were a little strange. The cars he saw looked like they came from the 1950s and 60s but were new. Men were wearing hats and macs, and the women were dressed in head scarves, full skirts and had old fashioned hair styles such as women wore just after the war.

Frank was beginning to feel freaked out. Had he been dreaming or drunk he would probably have accepted what was happening as normal. As he approached the store he saw the window was full of handbags, shoes and umbrellas. He also saw a young women in contemporary clothes looking up at the sign. She smiled at him and followed him as he entered the store. Inside it had turned back into a bookshop. The woman said something to him to the effect that she thought it was a new clothes store and walked away looking puzzled.

As a former policeman Frank was a down to earth person with no interest in the paranormal. Two points seem significant here: The oasis of quietness into which he entered and the fact the store turned back into a book shop as he entered. The quietness suggests a waking dream, but there seems no reason why this would happen, and if it did he seems to have sleepwalked himself safely into the store, seeing a scene from forty or more years earlier while negotiating today's traffic. This seems a rather convoluted explanation. Unfortunately there is no corroboration from the woman to whom he spoke. The abrupt cessation of the experience as he entered the store suggests something like the glamour that fairies are supposed to be able to lay over a scene. Such deceptions are commonly described in connection with fairy encounters.

Timeslips often come with a sense of dreamlike unreality

Timeslips often come with a sense of dreamlike unreality

The Mothercare store that no longer existed [1]

In 2011 a 17 year old Liverpool girl called Imogen went into a shop that did not exist and talked with the staff.

Imogen's sister went to Liverpool city centre to buy things for her sister who had just become a mother. She noticed a new branch of Mothercare on the corner of Lord St and Whitechapel. She went in and chose a few things, noticing the extremely low prices which she assumes were an opening offer. Then she tried to pay with her credit card. The assistant showed the card to a senior staff member who told her they did not accept those cards. She did not have enough cash and went elsewhere. When she told her mother about it her mother said there had been a Mothercare store there but not for years, saying that the store was now the HSBC bank she used. So the next day they went to town and found there was a bank where Imogen had found the Mothercare store. This explained the low prices: they were consistent with the early 1980s, or at least post decimalisation of the currency in 1973 and post the period where prices were displayed in bothe decimal and pre-decimal currencies.

Imogen noticed nothing unusual about the store or the assistants other than the low prices. No aura of quietness is mentioned, no reversion of the store to a bank. Had she been able to purchase the items there would have been proof of the reality of her experience. There is no known record of a Mothercare assistant in the1980s encountering a woman dressed in the fashion of 2011 or presenting a credit card with an expiry date in the future, but this is not surprising: a dodgy credit card is much more common than a visitor from the future.

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Imogen either dreamed the entire episode, then woke without realising the building she was in or had just left was a bank not Mothercare, or she got confused in her location and went into another Mothercare store. Or she travelled back in time briefly. Author Colin Wilson proposes a kind of censorship whereby conclusive proof of the paranormal is forbidden, which would suggest Imogen could only experience a time slip because she had very little cash on her: had she had enough cash there would have been another reason to stop her buying the goods.


The thief who escaped by slipping back 40 years

In 2006 a 19 year old man who had been shoplifting was running from a security guard and turned into a dead end street called Brookes Alley, 4 minutes away from Bold Street and waited for the guard to come round the corner. He was out of breath and developing a tight sensation in his chest which he realised was cause by the atmosphere around him.

When the guard failed to appear he walked out of the street and soon realised everything looked wrong. At which point he started to panic. His mobile phone did not work. He headed over to a newspaper kiosk and read the date on a paper called the Daily Post. It was 18th May 1967. At this point he was really panicking as he walked on. Eventually he found himself back in the present but could still see people walking around in 1967 at the end of the road. A local paper that interviewed him found his account was totally historically accurate.

Meanwhile the security guard had turned into the dead end street and found the man he had been chasing had vanished.

Time slips by

Time slips by

Is Bold Street Special?

Bold Street seems [1] to generate an unusual number of time slips and the stories above seem to suggest occasional bubbles of misplaced time floating around. This is of course a very imprecise statement that must be sharpened up as new data becomes available. One possible approach is that we inhabit an 8 dimensional space time in which some points, normally distant in space and time coincide for a while in such a way that people can move from one time to another. Normally these do not involve any shift in space, which could have interesting consequences for theories of time and time travel.

Many people go through their day without noticing their environment and would not notice if they were in a time slip for a little while. Thus time slips may be more common than we realise. At other times the mind may censor the experience to reduce cognitive dissonance.

Future Timeslips

Timeslips into the future (a subject for a future post), or alternatively, intrusions from the future seem much rarer than slips into the past. This may be because it is harder to recognise the future than the past or the future is more easily accessed through dreams, which suggests an asymmetry in time that seems inconsistent with the principles of relativity in assigning a special status to the present moment.

Symmetry alone demands that every timeslip into the past is also, from another viewpoint, a slip into the future, and that people formt he past may also move into the future but as in the case of Imogen and the young shoplifter, the intruder or intrusion may not be recognised as such.

The Wrap

The cases here are just the tip of an iceberg and suggest that humans can normally involuntarily, travel back in time. The specific cases here suggest an area in Liverpool where the boundaries between times, if not places, are permeable. The predominance of slips into the past may arrise because people have some knowledge of the past and so find it easier to access than the future. In the case of dreams however the unconscious censors that prevent access to the future may waeken their grip thus allowing precognitive dreams but fewer time slips into the future.

Further reading

  1. Liverpool Time Slips
  2. True Story Of Mysterious Occurrences In Bold Street
  3. The Speed of Thought: Investigation of a Complex Space-Time Metric to Describe Psychic Phenomena ELIZABETH A. RAUSCHER AND RUSSELL TARG Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 331–354, 2001
  4. The Liverpool Leprechauns

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