Despite the incredulity of scientists and other skeptics, time travel appeals to the human imagination. This volume in Kidhaven's Mysterious Encounters series examines the science associated with transport between dimensions, as well as the best-known cases of individuals claiming to have slipped through time.
The vivid accounts of individuals who went to their deathbeds believing they have travelled through time are interesting and compelling. There are some of the more predictable cases of time travel ideation. There is an examination of a series of 2000-2001 Internet bulletin board postings claiming to be from John Titor, a soldier sent from a future incarnation of the Department of Defense to obtain hardware for post-nuclear reconstruction. There is also the well-known case of confidence trickster Billy Meier, the Swiss profiteer whose photographs purporting to be of the future were debunked. But private individuals do look to time travel to explain their experiences. In 1901, two English women on holiday in France claim to be transported to the household of Marie Antoinette while on the grounds of Versailles. They published their accounts anonymously, to avoid ridicule, and while critics suggested they actually stumbled upon an exceptionally well-costumed masquerade, no explanation was ever produced. In an even less explicable case, two reporters claim to have been in the midst of a British air raid on Hamburg, almost a decade before the event. They attempted to photograph the battle, but the film did not reflect their experience in the shipyard.
Another section of the book introduces an Italian monk named Pellegrino Ernetti and his 1950s invention, what he called a chronovisor, allowing an individual to tune to a location and date in time, much as one tuned a television set of that vintage. The sound and light waves left behind throughout history, Ernetti believed, would be made visible by the device. Some believe that the Vatican opposed the technology because it would allow for contradiction of Biblical events underpinning church dogma.
In a more rational vein, the book outlines Einstein's twin paradox, describing the slowing of time due to motion dilation. Those concepts provide the barest beginnings for students interested in these ideas, and those with a more philosophic bent may continue to delve into potential differences in traveling to the future and to the past. For those who believe the future will be inevitably altered by any intervention in the past, the “grandfather paradox,” allowing for simultaneous versions of reality, offers some room for the possibility of travel back in time. But such a split-time track would make subsequent traffic between the universes impossible, offering support to the rationale that we cannot alter our reality through dimensional alterations.
The text, with plenty of white space and compelling illustrations, will be accessible to a wide range of readers. Students writing creatively about time travel may appreciate the descriptions of alternate futures advanced in past years. Text boxes highlight specific conceptual aspects of time travel throughout. Specialized vocabulary is indicated with boldfaced type and defined contextually. There is a glossary, and footnotes reference source texts. Additional materials recommended include books, DVDs, and websites, all written for the mass market and published recently. Recommended for school and public libraries.