One of my favorite movies as a child was The Time Machine based on a book by H. G. Wells. It featured the green, meat-eating Morlocks who lived underground ruining the paradise the time traveler found in Earth's distant future. Of course, Hollywood time travel is nothing like what scientists think could really happen. And some people claim to have traveled through time--without a machine. I researched this idea in my book How to Travel Through Time. These stories are taken from the book.
A different time trip on the Titanic was experienced by a man born two years after the Titanic sank. Though his name has not been identified, I will call him Frank Hays.
As an adult, Hays began to have a series of visions in which he saw himself as a young child involved in a tragedy on an ocean liner. By piecing together the details of his visions, he concluded that he had been aboard the Titanic with his family and had died when it sunk. At the time of his death, he was two years old.
Here are the details that he recalled:
He remembered his second birthday, which was celebrated at his wealthy aunt's home in Hampstead, near London. At the party was a teenage girl, his cousin. After the party, his aunt drove him and his mother to a subway station, where they connected to a train. The next day they boarded a ship and were shown to their third-class cabin. He was the only child who spent the days with his mother; the other children spent their days in a nursery school. During the voyage, everyone was given a tour of the entire ship. There was an accident, and the ship sunk. He drowned along with his mother. Their bodies were recovered and buried in the United States. His father had gone to Canada or the United States on an earlier ship and escaped death.
Hays never saw the name of the ship in any of his memories, but he decided that it must have been the Titanic. He did recall that at his birthday party, his cousin had asked his name. Although he couldn't see the name clearly, he recalled that it looked like "A-ed." He interpreted this to mean "Alfred." By looking at the Titanic's passenger list, he came across the name of Alfred Peacock, a young boy traveling with his mother and sister in a third-class cabin.
Titus Rivas, a researcher at the Parapsychological Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands, was contacted by Mr. Hays. He asked Rivas to investigate the possibility that he had been reincarnated. Rivas, in turn, called on seven colleagues to assist him. Together, they unraveled Hays's story and located the following information:
Alfred Peacock was only seven months old at the time of the trip, according to London's Public Record Office. He had been born in September 1911, not April 1910. He traveled with his mother and his four-year-old sister; they had spent their last few days in Southampton, not London. Although his father had gone to the United States a year earlier, Alfred did not have an aunt living in London, nor did either of his two aunts have a teenage daughter.
Historians who have studied the Titanic told Rivas that no nursery school existed on the ship and that passengers had not been given a tour of the ship during the voyage.
When Rivas told Hays about his findings, Hays argued with him.
"This is the truth," Hays said.
He insisted that he wasn't lying and that he knew he had been reincarnated. Unfortunately, Rivas was unable to uncover any proof to substantiate any of his claims. In the end, Rivas concluded that Hays had constructed an elaborate fantasy that had no basis in reality.
His was a sad case.
Copyright © James M. Deem. Adapted from How to Travel Through Time (New York: Avon, 1993). All rights reserved.