IN THE MOVIE Star Trek: Generations, Captains Kirk and Picard join forces to fight Dr. Soran, a madman who viewed time as his enemy. Picard, however, came to see time as a companion that accompanies us on our journeys through life.
Throughout the many experiences of our lives, we regard time in both ways: as a kind of enemy when we’re late for something or eager for something to happen; but on an everyday basis as something we can rely on. One thing follows another, cause and effect, twenty-four hours in a day.
Every once in awhile, however, time seems to go haywire, gets fouled up in a glitch, moves impossibly fast or impossibly slow. Is it time itself that gets screwed up? Or is it just our perception of it? Consider these reports from people who suspect that the flow of time (or the flow of their lives through it) went mysteriously wrong.
TIME MOVED TOO SLOWLY
Don and his wife had their encounter with missing time in the Nevada desert in 1997. They were driving their small, three-cylinder Geo Metro to Laughlin, Nevada from San Diego, California. “We took the back way to Laughlin on 8 East through the desert to 95 North,” says Don. “Around dusk, our windshield had a rather large collection of bugs, so we pulled into the only gas station at Vidal Junction to clean the glass.”
As they pulled into the mini mart station, Don noticed a seedy looking character at the pumps staring at him and his wife. He had greasy hair, a disco shirt and a leather vest, and was driving a beat up, early ’70s Toronado. Don quickly cleaned his windows and got back in his car. The greasy dude was still staring at them.
Darkness was quickly approaching as Don pulled back onto 95N, hoping the creepy stranger would not follow them. But he did. “Immediately, I had a bad feeling,” says Don, “knowing that in the lonely desert there are bandits who prey on tourists, nudging their car, then robbing them after they pull over for a fender bender.”
Don knew his Geo Metro was no match for the stranger’s aging muscle car, but tried to outrun him anyway. Even managing to reach 80 mph, the stranger stayed on his tail. Don and his wife began to get frightened. “I told my wife to get the gun out of our backpack we travel with for protection.”
But then something weird happened. “A split second later, with no turn offs, we were suddenly alone on the highway,” Don remembers. “No greasy dude, no one but oncoming traffic miles ahead. A few minutes later we were at 95N and Hwy 40 in Needles. But it was 7:00 p.m. when we left Vidal Junction, and Interstate 40 is fifty-five miles north of there. Now it was only 7:20 p.m. Somehow we'd made the entire fifty-five miles in twenty minutes! No Geo Metro can fly like that. We would have had to go at least 130 mph or more on a two-lane that twists through some mountains. The other strange thing was we had a strange floating feeling just as the other car disappeared.”
TIME MOVED TOO QUICKLY
Two years later, in August 1999, Kim and her husband also had a weird experience near Laughlin, Nevada. Instead of their trip taking a far shorter time than it should have, it took inexplicably longer. “I was following my husband home from Las Vegas to Kingman, near Laughlin,” Kim says. “He was on his Harley and I was following in my car. We had made this trip several times before and knew exactly how long it took to reach home from the Hoover Dam – one-and-a-half hours.”
The weirdness began with their perception of the weather. “My husband swears it was raining in the distance and lightning was so close he could almost feel the electricity,” Kim says. “I swear it was dry as a bone. Also, I had a hard time keeping up as he was going very fast around the corners. I could see him in the distance, and suddenly there were a lot of cars ahead of me and behind him. I thought that was odd since there was a mountain up one side and a sheer cliff down the other. There was nowhere for those cars to have come from. Oddly enough, as soon as I thought that was weird for them to be there, they were gone.
“It seemed as though the trip was taking forever and I was getting really tired. When we arrived home, I thought it was really late and so did my husband. We looked at the clock and the one-and-a-half hour trip had taken over four hours! We are afraid of what happened to us during that missing time.”
MISSING TIME AND A BROKEN CLUTCH
John and his wife also seem to have experienced a serious amount of missing time, and their car was also physically affected. “It was about 10 a.m. when my wife and I departed home in our jeep heading toward the local mall,” reports John. “This was a trip we had undertaken a hundred times before. The entire event would normally take about three hours and we would be back home around 1 p.m. The drive to the mall takes about ten minutes.”
John parked in their usual area, and he and his wife went into the mall to shop. “As we departed the mall, we both looked at each other and we both felt that something was just not right,” John says. “First, for some unknown reason, I had parked the vehicle in an unfamiliar area of the mall, a parking area that I had never used before. Then when we entered the vehicle, it would not start. Finally, when it did start, the clutch would not engage, like it was loose or broken. We noticed the sun was setting! I looked at my watch and noticed it had stopped. I looked at the clock display on my dashboard and it read 5:30 p.m.!
“My wife and I still can't figure out how we lost almost five hours of our lives. We did nothing unusual or out of routine. And I don't understand how a brand new vehicle gets a broken clutch while sitting in a parking lot.”
Next page: Other times, other dimensions