Do other realities brush up against our own? Are there parallel dimensions lying just beyond through some thin, untraceable veil separating us? The idea of parallel realities beyond our own is not new, yet what if this phenomenon were to come bursting forth from the realm of theory and speculation and come crashing down into the now? Are there perhaps some people who have stepped over that barrier into domains we have not yet to see and which we may indeed not even be meant to see? I have covered such alleged excursions into the horizon beyond our known reality here at Mysterious Universe before, and here I will revisit this topic with a selection of other cases that seem to imply the possibility that not only are parallel dimensions real, but that they are destinations to which we can be whisked away, whether intentional or not.
In the September, 1956 issue of Fate Magazine there was the curious story of a woman who apparently shifted into another parallel universe in 1934. According to the report, in the fall of that year a woman by the name of Miriam Golding had a profoundly unusual experience while riding an elevator with her fiancee in Chicago. The elevator was crowded, and when Miriam made a mistake and got off at the wrong floor she found that she could not push her way back in past the throng of people and resigned herself to waiting for the next one. That was when she looked around and was startled to realize that she was no longer in the store at all, but rather an expansive train station.
The enormous railway station she found herself in was allegedly bustling with fevered activity, with throngs of travelers rushing to their trains and booming announcements of arrivals and departures echoing through the air. There seemed to be no way this busy place could have any connection whatsoever to the music store she had been in moments before. The confused Miriam made her way to an information booth to ask where she was, but found that the woman working there completely ignored her, as if she weren’t there at all. Perplexed, Miriam followed a series of signs pointing the way to the street outside, and she emerged out into a mild, sunny afternoon that seemed to be in the midst of summer rather than fall, in a place that was most certainly not Chicago.
She wandered about in confusion and noticed that everyone around her seemed to completely ignore her and walk on by as if they did not even see her. At some point she claims that she saw a confused looking boy standing in the sidewalk similarly being passed on by people who seemed to have no idea he was even there, and Miriam approached him wondering what was going on. The boy was able to actually see and respond to her, and looked in her direction, the first time anyone had acknowledged her presence in this strange, surreal place. As she approached, the boy seemed equally relieved that he was visible to Miriam, smiled slightly and purportedly saying: “I guess they let you off at the wrong stop, too.”
The two lost people walked together down the street in confusion, the whole time completely ignored by those around them, and the boy told Miriam of what had happened to him. He claimed that he had been playing tennis in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the United States, and had gone to the locker room to change his shoes. When he had gone back to the courts to play some more he had found that the tennis courts that had been there moments before were now gone and in their place was a huge train terminal, which had turned out to be the exact same station into which Miriam had enigmatically entered from the elevator.
The two allegedly kept on walking until they reached an open area that led to water, and over the waves they could apparently make out a sand bar with several women upon it chatting and seeming to act as if nothing was beyond the ordinary. To Miriam’s astonishment, one of the women was oddly her fiancee’s sister. The women out on the sandbar seemed to notice them and began waving and shouting to Miriam and her companion. This encouraged the boy to try and make a swim out to the sandbar, which did not seem so far and which he was confident he could reach. Yet even though he was a good swimmer it seemed that no matter how much he tried and pushed against the waves, he was unable to draw any closer to the mysterious sandbar and he returned to shore in frustration. It was then that the sandbar supposedly suddenly vanished into thin air.
Miriam closed her eyes in exasperation, disappointment, and exhaustion, and then was overcome by the sensation of floating through space. After some time of this odd feeling of hovering in darkness she claimed that she suddenly opened her eyes to find herself sitting atop a stool in the music store in Chicago, which seemed to be in the process of closing for the night, suggesting that she had been there for at least several hours. Disoriented, Miriam looked around for her fiancee but could not find him and decided to head back to his home. When she arrived, her fiancee was noticeably relieved and explained that he had lost her in the store and had waited for her to come to the right floor for a few hours before deciding to go back home. Bizarrely, the fiancee’s sister, whom Miriam had seen on the mysterious sandbar earlier, claimed that she had seen Miriam in town and had even called out to her, but that she had been too absorbed in talking to a young boy to notice her. Where did Miriam go during that time? Why should she see her fiancee’s sister on a sandbar while the sister had seen her in town, all while they could not reach across to communicate? Were they separated by strange barriers we do not and may not ever understand? It is a mystery.
Another strange article in the April, 1959 issue of Fate Magazine tells of the weird experience of a Frances E. Peterson of Keokuk, Iowa, who in 1935 was traveling home with her husband and four children from a weekend trip to Missouri. On the way they noticed what looked like a quaint, scenic detour in the area of St. Patrick and they whimsically took it, driving along the rustic, quiet scenery until they reached the rim of an expansive valley. In addition to the picturesque scenery was the rather odd sight of several women in old-fashioned sun bonnets and long skirts and aprons busily pulling water from a well into simple wooden buckets and carrying them off on wooden poles balanced across their shoulders. There were men here as well, who all had beards and wore similarly old-fashioned clothes such as smocks and large black hats, and who were tending flocks of sheep and goats or collecting firewood. Enamored with the quaint, charming scene, they later asked locals what the settlement was, yet were told that no such place had ever existed. Convinced that it did indeed exist, Peterson and her husband returned to the area several times afterwards, but could find no sign of the valley they had seen or its unusual inhabitants, suggesting that either the family or the place they had visited had been temporarily transported over some little understood thin spot between realities.
In another similarly strange road story from 1962, a Mr. R. W. Balcom and his wife were driving to Lake Tahoe from their home in Live Oak, California. The couple stopped at a quaint restaurant nestled away off of Highway 50 a few miles from Placerville. They had never noticed the restaurant there before in all of their years of traveling along the same route, even though it seemed from its weathered, rustic look to have been there for years, and they decided to stop there for a bite to eat. The food was described as being surprisingly good and the service was cordial and friendly, so they decided that they would visit again. On their return trip from Lake Tahoe they attempted to seek out the charming little restaurant to eat there again, but when they arrived at the location it was reportedly gone as if it had never been there at all. Perplexed, the couple supposedly spent three more weekends traveling through the area in an effort to find the restaurant that they were convinced was there, but never found it again. Did Balcom and his wife travel to a parallel universe for lunch? No one knows.
An intriguing case of a mysterious doorway to another dimension and perhaps even through time itself occurred in 1956, when a treasure hunter by the name of Ron Quinn ventured with his brother Chuck and some friends into the remote and rugged mountains of Southeastern Arizona looking for mysterious lost Spanish treasures and gold mines. The case begins with high strangeness and only gets more bizarre as it goes on. Three weeks into their adventure, the treasure hunters set up camp one night, and that evening they were surprised to see two large balls of bluish green light floating about in the darkened, starry sky. The bewildered campers determined that these were not flares of any kind, nor any sort of known aircraft. The weird balls of light hovered about for several minutes before vanishing behind some mountain peaks. The next evening, the same phenomenon was witnessed again. When they mentioned the strange lights to a local cowboy named Louie Romero, he informed them that the unexplained lights were a recurring phenomenon in the area, and had been seen as far back as 1939. The group would spot the strange lights several more times over the course of their excursion.
At one point during their travels, the group passed by what looked like a stone archway, which stood out as something of an anomaly upon the landscape, looking decidedly out of place, yet they didn’t think much of it until later, when they spoke to a Native local named John, who claimed that the archway had long been surrounded by strange stories and rumors that anyone who entered the doorway never came out, and that objects thrown in would not emerge from the other side, earning the structure the name “Doorway of the Gods.” There were also stories of the archway shimmering, and of strange figures lurking around it dressed in old fashioned clothing that did not seem to be ghosts, as they disturbed the gravel where they stepped and cast shadows, yet they would suddenly vanish. There were also tales of camps near the archway that had been mysteriously abandoned and of prospectors who had never returned from the area. John relayed his own tale of strangeness concerning the archway, claiming that one dark and stormy day he had visited it and peered through it to see that, although the scenery was the same, the sky was oddly clear and blue on the other side. When he looked around the edge of the doorway, the clouds were once again dark and thick, hanging menacingly over the scene, and the bizarre sight with its contrasting views frightened him.
Enthralled with these odd stories, Quinn and his group went back through the perilous rocky terrain to find the mysterious archway and investigate it. They managed to locate the strange looking structure once again, and upon closer inspection it proved to be surrounded with an unusually large deposit of geodes, some of which were broken open with their interiors glittering in the sun. The archway itself was measured as being around 7 feet high and 5 feet wide, with columns of andesite 15 inches diameter and it stood beside a steep, rocky slope. After checking it out, the team went to work testing out the weird stories by throwing various rocks through the opening, but the rocks all mundanely fell to the ground on the other side and there was no sign of anything remotely mysterious whatsoever. Increasingly skeptical, some of the members of the team boldly put their arms through without incident, although no one was willing to try stepping all the way through. After around an hour of this, they departed no closer to understanding the supposed mystery of this location. However, a weird series of events would unfold in the coming days that would make them think that something strange was going on.
One day as they were checking out the portal yet again and collect some of the geodes, Roy and another member of the team, Walt, noticed that the stone portal seemed to be shimmering as if simmering in intense heat, even though it was a cold January day. The odd shimmering allegedly lasted a few minutes, during which time both men claimed that they could feel a building pressure within their ears, before the shimmering and the weird physical sensation slowly ebbed away. The inexplicable event spooked both of them, especially Roy, who vowed never to go anywhere near the archway again. On another occasion, the group came across another group of three treasure hunters who claimed that they had also camped out near the mysterious stone portal. The group claimed that that evening their camp had been hit by what sounded like rain hitting their tents, even though it was a clear night. Looking out of their tents, they were met with the sight of small, reddish brown pebbles around the size of a pea falling in great numbers from above. The pebbles were found to be warm to the touch and there was no explanation for where they came from. They had seemed to be made of some king of iron ore.
All of these escalating odd occurrences would point to something decidedly strange going on at the archway, but the most bizarre incident would happen years after the expedition was over. Four years after that fateful treasure hunt, on October 14, 1973, Chuck Quinn was compelled to make a personal trip to the site of the stone portal that had eluded their understanding, and arrived at the canyon that led up to the slopes that would lead up to the site. Chuck went about climbing up the steep, rocky slopes towards the archway, stopping for a breather about halfway up the harrowing climb. It was here as he looked out west over the majestic scenery all around him that he noticed that there was a canyon that should not have been there. Baffled, he made his way back down the slope to enter from the east, and it was here that he realized that in fact he was in the same canyon he had been in before, only he had somehow been transported 250 yards down the canyon he had hiked along, and to another slope that was facing south rather than west. The strange event convinced him that indeed there was something strange going on here, and hastily left the scene. Was this some sort of doorway to another dimension or merely tall tales?
One wonders if perhaps some of the more bizarre vanishings and reappearances of people also have some form of interdimensional shift at their core. On July 30, 1960, 13-year-old Michael Helferty was seen walking along a beach in Ontario, Canada when he simply disappeared in full view of others. A search was organized and the area scoured by police, volunteers, and friends and family, but no sign of the missing boy could be found, and considering that there were many other people in the area at the time it was as if he had just blinked out of existence. A hefty reward posted produced no leads, and no one in the area could remember seeing him after that moment when he had last been seen on that beach. The best theory anyone could come up with was that he had perhaps fallen into the water and drowned.
Five days later, Michael was found sleeping peacefully in some tall grass along the Canadian National Railway tracks west of the town of Picton. He woke up and proved to be completely healthy, lucid and alert, as if he had just merely laid down for a short nap. He showed no signs of hunger, thirst, or any trace of exposure to the elements or sunburn. When he was examined at a hospital, doctors proclaimed him to be well-fed and clean, with no indication at all that he had been wandering around the wilderness for 5 days. His clothes, which were the same ones he had had on when he had vanished, were also completely clean and dry despite the fact that the previous evening there had been an unusual amount of dew in the area where he was found. Indeed, the only thing out of the ordinary about the boy at all was that he was wearing a bathing suit under his trousers rather than underwear, but this could have simply been because he had been planning to go swimming.
When he was asked where he had been for the last five days, Michael didn’t know what they were talking about. He said that he had just been walking along the beach and must have laid down for a nap. He insisted he had no memory whatsoever of where he had been, and as far as he was concerned he had never been gone at all. Where did Michael Helferty go during those 5 days? How do we explain his mysterious bout of lost time? He obviously did not spend five days out in the wilderness, so where was he during that time when everyone was searching for him? Did he perhaps phase into another dimension and then phase back into his own reality somehow? It is a rather bizarre case to be sure.
A similarly perplexing vanishing and reappearance concerns 6-year-old Kathy Cramer, of Wood’s Hole, Massachusetts. At about 7:00 P.M. on August 15, 1960, Kathy simply vanished from her room in her home. Her parents had checked on her when she was sleeping one minute, and the next she was gone without a trace. When authorities arrived the house was searched top to bottom, and no signs of forced entry or a struggle could be found. Cathy’s bed seemed to be in a peaceful state, with no sign of being disturbed in any kind of confrontation. The window to the room was also closed and showed no signs of anyone coming in or going out that way.
An intensive search was immediately launched, composed of hundreds of people including police, firemen, volunteers, airmen from nearby Otis Air Force Base, and bloodhounds, as well as the Coast Guard scouring the nearby coast, yet absolutely no evidence of the missing girl could be found anywhere. She had simply vanished off the face of the earth. Then later, at 3AM on that same evening, Cathy’s very worried parents went into to her room to be startled by the sight of their missing daughter sleeping peacefully in her bed as if she had never been gone. When she was asked about where she had been, the girl gave the cryptic response of “I’m not telling.” What in the world happened to this little girl? How could a 6-year-old disappear from her bed, elude an intensive search by various professionals, and then reappear fast asleep exactly where she had vanished? Is this also perhaps an example of someone crossing through the veil between realities to pass temporarily into some parallel world or dimension? The only person who knows the answer to that is Cathy Cramer herself, and she’s not telling.
So are any of these accounts somehow anchored in any way to reality as we know it? Are these the realm of the lost mind untethered, spinning fantastical tales either out of hallucination, insanity, or an irrational attempt to make sense of distorted perceptions? Can this all simply be explained away somehow or is there a genuine phenomenon hinting at forces of the universe we have yet to comprehend buried within these disparate accounts? Are we perhaps just one of many alternate realities stacked upon one another and which between slips, shifting and travel are possible? The answers are elusive, and we may continue to pour over and debate them forever. However as long as there is the probability and possibility of worlds beyond our own there will always be those who look out into our universe, or perhaps inward, to seek to try to grasp just what this all might mean. In the meantime, cases like this will remain a tantalizing peek into what just may be out there beyond our grasp to conceive of it.