A few days ago I was interviewed on a Canadian morning radio show about my research into so-called “cryptids.” We’re talking about the Chupacabra, lake-monsters, Mothman, and so on. During the course of the interview the host – in a very lighthearted fashion – asked me if I thought it was possible that what people are seeing might be animals extinct in our world today, but which are time-traveling back and forth from the periods when they were alive. Because that’s the kind of question daytime radio asks, right?

I told the host I’m actually quite open to the idea that at least some of our cryptids may originate in other realms, or dimensions, of existence. Which had him momentarily stuck for words, I’m pleased to say. But, I added, that’s very different to imagining Bigfoot has a Delorean-style time-machine to traverse countless millennia. Even I have limits on what’s feasible and what isn’t. Well, most of the time I do. Okay, some of the time. So, I said it was pretty unlikely. Even though, admittedly, I have to say I have heard a few stories broadly along those lines.

It was, however, the host’s words that led to an interesting question from one of the listeners, when the lines were opened up. She wanted to talk not about cryptids, but about that time travel issue. Not, as I was expecting or anticipating, from the perspective of whether it’s feasible. Rather, from the perspective of how we might actually go about finding time-travelers, if they really are among us.

Of course, to accept that time-travelers are with us – right here, on 21st century Earth – requires that we acknowledge time-travel is a reality. And by time-travel, I mean from the perspective of the caller, of me, and of most people: the ability to travel back and forth throughout the centuries and to witness world-changing, historic events. You know, sci-fi stuff: Back to the Future, The Philadelphia Experiment, 12 Monkeys.

Without solid proof of their reality, time-travel concepts remain things to ponder upon, to consider, and to be entertained by. But, let’s go back to that question put to me: if time-travelers are here, where are they and how do we find them? I have to concede that on more than a few occasions I have wondered if the Men in Black might be time-surfing entities, doing their best – but spectacularly failing – to blend in.

Let’s face it, their clothing – 1950s-era Mafia suits and your great-granddad’s fedora hats – is out of time. Their mode of transport – old-time Cadillac cars – is out of time, even though there is still a cool air about it. They have even asked witnesses, on more than a few occasions: “What time is it?” Maybe they’re actually asking what year they’re in. Or even what century. After all, constantly jumping back and forth has got to rattle a few brain cells, which may explain their often-reported clumsiness and odd actions. That or the beer is much stronger now than the stuff they serve in the 27th century. If so, thank God I’m a product of the 20th century.

If time-travelers are here, right now, I would suggest that tracking down a Man in Black or several might be a good place to start. Granted, there are numerous theories for what the MIB might be, but that doesn’t mean we should avoid the more controversial angles.

I would also recommend that we take a long and deep look at all those supposed alien entities that people have met over the decades: the Greys, the Space-Brothers, and all the rest that hover hazily somewhere in between. The appearances may differ, but one thing unites so many of them: they are very often extremely keen to tell us they originate on some faraway planet in an equally faraway star-system.

That all strikes me as a bit suspicious, a bit too keen. It’s almost as if – from the very first moment of interaction – they want to ensure we believe they’re extraterrestrials. Maybe they’re being honest and that’s exactly what they are. On the other hand, ensuring we accept their ET origins would actually work very well for them if they are really…something else. Like us, from a future so distant it’s near-incomprehensible.

There’s another matter, too, when it comes to trying to find time travelers. When they’re in our time, they may well be forced to exist on the fringes of society and to tread very, very carefully. Mixing with people – other than when there is absolutely no choice – may be a definitive no-no. We’re talking about screwing up the time-lines. Killing your parents before you’re even born. Giving next weekend’s lottery numbers to a random stranger. Hooking me up with Angelina before she met Brad. Things like that.

The biggest problem we face when it comes to finding time travelers is that they most likely have very good reasons for not wanting to be found – ever. That’s if time travel is real, of course, and I’m not just rambling on and on…and on.

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