Fortean Times

Parallels, Part One

JENNY RANDLES wonders if stories of lonely roads and vanished villages might involve time slips


The big question about UFOs is: where do they come from? There have always been several sides to any discussion of where any UFOs and their occupants might originate – with outer space just one option. But there is another. Because there is support for the existence of UFOs as an historical phenomenon, as well as for them suddenly appearing when we took our first interstell­ar steps after World War Two.

If they have been ever present in history, UFOs could well not be intelligen­ce-driven at all. They might just be unresolved natural phenomena.

However, if we assume that any of the things seen have an intelligen­ce behind them, then the largest factor opposing arrival from another world is the human-like appearance and behaviour of the entities reported. As I noted in a past column, they do not seem alien enough, let alone behave like an exotic species. Acting remarkably like human explorers, they seem more a reflection of our own subconscio­us. Which I find telling.

There are two possible reasons why that might be so. One is that the perception of a ‘thing up in the sky’ – the UFO – is a construct built by the consciousn­ess of the witness. This could be done via imaginatio­n to sell the weirdness to themselves, based on a trigger such as space junk burning up in the atmosphere – a kind of mental gymnastics to resolve the puzzle on the presumptio­n it must be alien.

Or could these visitors be from Earth – just not the one we know? Perhaps from the future – an option we considered in a recent article – who possibly would not want that to be revealed, to avoid paradox. Or they might come from an increasing­ly interestin­g third possibilit­y – a coincident or parallel dimension of space-time where humanity has developed differentl­y but in other respects is a mirror of our human world. Hence there is both parallel and continuity. These other options are being tentativel­y explored in science as we probe deeper into the nature of space-time.

Over 40 years ago I was meeting my fiancé’s wider family for the first time at an engagement party, and they learned I was writing a book on UFOs. An aunt later cornered me to tell a story she wanted nobody else to hear. I realised quickly why – because she feared nobody would believe it. But – she asked – could I possibly explain this weird event? At the time, I imagined that the copious wine might be the best explanatio­n, but tactfully said nothing. It was simply a story about how she was on a drive in the Lake District when she took a wrong turn and ended up completely lost, unable to find the main road again. After driving for what seemed like hours and passing through a village, she was suddenly back on that main road. But when she stopped for refreshmen­ts and told this story, none of the locals believed her – adding that there used to be a road through a village like the one she described, but years before! And it was long since gone.

After some thought I suggested that all roads in those hills can look alike – my fiancé Paul and I had wandered them recently. So maybe his aunt had just got lost. That seemed the sensible thing to say, given I was young and had never heard such a tale – though she was convinced she must have somehow visited the past and returned; which I kept in the back of my mind as an unlikely possibilit­y.

However – over the years – I have heard several very similar stories and after a few more times realised this was actually not that rare. I assumed it was a kind of preTwitter meme, spread by repetition rather than literal duplicatio­n of experience­s. But it was strange to see apparently sincere people swearing these things had happened.

The case that made me wonder came from a man who told me how in October 1967 he was driving through open country in the Scottish borders, not far from Kelso. He got lost on a back road, and had to stop when the road petered out near a village that looked mostly deserted. Here he met an old lady wearing a dated-looking long grey dress and shawl. She pointed him back towards the main road. He turned back exactly as directed and did indeed find the road, but was late reaching his destinatio­n.

His explanatio­n as to why he was late was met by laughter and “That’s a good one!” He showed the map and explained the village was so small it was not even named there. “It wouldn’t be,” he was told with a grin.

Next day, going home, he purposeful­ly took the turn off the main road to take pictures of the village. There was only one possible exit – but it led to only a couple of ruined buildings – and no village. When telling his friends on arrival home they said that they had assumed he was joking as such a village had existed a couple of decades earlier, but was abandoned when a reservoir was built, and this led to the village being depopulate­d.

Is this just a meme-like tall tale, or can people accidental­ly visit a location that might have existed in our reality had not a previous decision changed its future? Usually such an experience suggests a time slip – the modern person visiting the past in a close encounter-like experience. But perhaps the slip was into a version of the location now, but in a parallel reality where events took a different path. If we can experience such an alternativ­e past displaced into our present, can the same thing happen with an alternativ­e future?

What if UFOs and aliens are not from other worlds, but future tracks our lives might take interactin­g with one person’s consciousn­ess in the present? If so then it would be hardly surprising if that person assumed the future people were aliens.

So common are these tales of wrong roads to the past that there is now a scary 2022 TV drama built around the concept. From is very dark, and played for horror, so as of yet we are unsure how they will resolve the central mystery. But in this story the people who get lost while driving on a normal road end up in a village, unable to escape. And the village they are stuck in has very unpleasant residents who only appear when it is dark.

Next time, I will explore this idea further, adding other cases seemingly unconnecte­d with UFOs, but that just might shed more light on the matter.

 ?? ?? LEFT: “I suggested that all roads in those hills can look alike... so maybe Paul’s aunt had just got lost.”
LEFT: “I suggested that all roads in those hills can look alike... so maybe Paul’s aunt had just got lost.”

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