Passages To The Past
In my new novel, Saving Grace Devine, my main character – Alex Fletcher – finds herself cast back to 1912. Clearly my story is a work of fiction, but I have long been fascinated by the concept and reports of timeslips. I have previously written about some famous, allegedly true, occurrences on Bold Street in Liverpool on one of the most visited pages on my blog.
So what causes these doors to the past to open – apparently with such ease? It seems a lot depends on how you view the whole dimension of time. In history, we talk about timelines, assuming time is linear. What is past, stays in the past. The present is where we are now and the future is an unknown country. Yet many eminent scientists, from Einstein to Professor Brian Cox, challenge the finite nature of time and suggest it may be a lot more flexible than we were led to believe at school.
Certainly, an extraordinary number of accounts from seemingly perfectly sane people attest to some very strange experiences that defy conventional explanation. Some may have involved a trigger factor – such as being keenly interested in historical aspects of a particular place. See what you think.
In Leeds Castle, Kent, Alice Pollock was exploring Henry VIII’s rooms, touching objects and trying, mentally, to project herself back in time to experience events in that room from an earlier age. For a while nothing happened. Then, suddenly, the room changed. Instead of a modern comfortable space, it became cold and bare. Logs burned on the fire, the carpet had vanished. She saw a tall woman, dressed in an old fashioned long white dress, walking up and down the length of the room. The woman appeared to be unaware of her visitor and seemed to be concentrating hard on something.
Then, as quickly as it had happened, the room changed back to its original state.
Alice conducted research and discovered that the room had been part of a suite used to imprison Queen Joan of Navarre, Henry V’s stepmother, whose husband had accused her of witchcraft.
Did Alice touch some object that resonated with this era? Did she just will herself into some kind of hallucination? Or did her enthusiasm set of a trigger of some kind, allowing her to glimpse a snapshot of a time long past.
Joan Forman, author of a number of books on ghosts, mysteries and the supernatural, wrote of a Warder at the Tower of London who had an extraordinary experience when he was on duty in the Byward Tower. One night he saw five or six Beefeaters seated around a log fire, smoking pipes. They appeared to be from a much earlier era and the whole room had transformed. Unnerved, the warder left the room, but returned moments later whereupon it had reverted to its original state. There was no sign of the Beefeaters.
Forman wrote of many other experiences, and then had one of her own. At Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, she paused to admire the surroundings. Suddenly she saw four children playing outside. She watched them, especially captivated by the oldest girl, who had blonde hair, wore a high Dutch hat and a long green-grey silk dress with a white collar. Clearly not of this era. She was certain she was watching them with some kind of inner vision, rather than with her physical sight. Believing that the little girl might actually have existed, she searched the ancestral portraits until she found her. She succeeded and found herself looking at a portrait of Lady Grace Manners who died in the 1640s.
Through her own experience and those she documented, Joan Forman became convinced that the theory of a trigger factor, instigating the ‘timeslip’ was true. She had been caught up with the atmosphere of the place, had let her mind drift for a second or two and allowed the past to slip into the present.
Whatever the truth of the many well documented occurrences of apparent timeslips, they simply won’t go away and accounts are found from all over the world. With scientists telling us that bending time is indeed possible, who knows?
Here’s a flavour of Saving Grace Devine:
Can the living help the dead...and at what cost?
When Alex Fletcher finds a painting of a drowned girl, she’s unnerved. When the girl in the painting opens her eyes, she is terrified. And when the girl appears to her as an apparition and begs her for help, Alex can’t refuse.
But as she digs further into Grace’s past, she is embroiled in supernatural forces she cannot control, and a timeslip back to 1912 brings her face to face with the man who killed Grace and the demonic spirit of his long-dead mother. With such nightmarish forces stacked against her, Alex’s options are few. Somehow she must save Grace, but to do so, she must pay an unimaginable price.
You can find Saving Grace Devine here:
About the author
Catherine Cavendish is joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology competition 2013. Her winning novella – Linden Manor – is now available in all digital formats and the print anthology will be published in October. She is the author of a number of paranormal horror and Gothic horror novellas and short stories. Her novel, Saving Grace Devine, is published by Samhain Publishing on July 1st.
She lives with a longsuffering husband in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid-18th century which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV.
When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.
You can connect with Cat here: