7 February 2022


Von Braschler. Time Shifts. Destiny Books, 2021.

This is not quite what its subtitle might imply - experiences of slipping into the past and future - and although that is not in of itself in any way incorrect it is just more than a collection of cases. The book starts off with a few accounts of time slips and there are personal stories from the author’s life throughout but it develops into more of a 'How-To' guide for experiencing such things yourself and what they might mean, rather than just an investigative exploration of the data.
However, I do not say that in a negative way. This certainly is an intriguing look at such things from a personal perspective - but best to temper expectations if you seek a scientific investigation of the best known cases. Though given the author’s previous work and writing in spiritual and psychic matters via the Theosophical Society and Omega Institute this likely will not come as a surprise to readers.

Most of the time slip cases that introduce the book are ones you will likely be familiar with - such as the Petit Trianon case from 1901 and the Charlie Chaplin movie in which someone seems to walk through shot with an out-of-time ‘mobile phone’ like device. Others are collated from blogs - leading to a pretty minimal account of the well researched Avignon hotel timeslip, unusually involving four witnesses together. A fuller account was accessible - indeed I made a TV show about it with two of the witnesses over 25 years ago.

So do not buy the book looking for its in depth case histories. However, there is much more here and it grows more intriguing after the details about the author’s own time slip accounts and the fascinating theories he has derived from these regarding what such events might actually be.

The first really interesting chapter relates in detail an experience he had aged 12 in Washington State, USA, where he became ill by eating berries on a school bus outing. With the driver being unable to take him for help he set off to walk along the railway tracks to his house. Here he was taken to hospital where his appendix burst which could have been disastrous had it happened in open country miles away.

The problem was he later realised there was no train track passing his door. His recall of how he rescued himself was part real, as it started near tracks by the field - but partly not his actual journey home. Yet not long after his family moved to a new home where tracks did pass the house.
So - he questions - what kind of time slip was this? Not into the past or entirely into the future - but a mish mash of realities and times begging many questions about what happens in similar stories that have been told for centuries. Is what we think they are, really what they actually are, and what part do we and our needs play in the construction of or experience surrounding what then happens? This puts the book into intriguing new territory as it could easily be expanded into wider areas of the paranormal.

Indeed the reader will soon start pondering how the clues and ideas he pieces together from other such accounts might be applied to, say, UFO close encounters or abduction stories where the saga seems to become a confused multi-reality experience that partly looks to be based on a trigger event but then wanders into altered states of consciousness. These make less and less sense as peculiar states of awareness trigger what I call the Oz Factor.

In some ways Braschler is rediscovering this by a slightly different path and a very different set of experiences. Although really when you think it through they are not so very different at all, other than in interpretation of what causes them - given many confusing time-altering narratives seem linked to alien contact, especially close encounters of the fourth kind.

His adventures after digging into the past experiences of mystics on the nature of time lead him into apparent slips into past as well as future and sometimes events that were maybe morphing in between. Akin perhaps to multiple worlds. He describes how ‘my consciousness went to a quiet still place deep inside’ during such events which immediately whispered Oz Factor to me, though his unfamiliarity with UFO events likely means he is unaware of the parallels.

I have certainly seen cases where the Oz Factor happens that are completely without any UFO connections. I tend to agree with the author this is a state of consciousness some people achieve more often or more easily at certain times and there can be ways to train it like you can hone intuition or learn how to lucid dream.

This leads Braschler to explore the ideas of space time and how "many nows could be happening all at once". I will not spoil your enjoyment of following the track as his story develops and he explores parallel ideas from lucid dreaming, controlled imagining, vision quests and the like and the ideas of old theosophists and scientists.

The later chapters also are dotted with experiments the reader can try so as to maybe harness these experiences themselves and work through a multiverse of past, present and future states that may be accessible. We just need to figure out how to do this and some may accidentally trigger this happening via what are usually assumed to be time slips or, I kept thinking, wider experiences such as Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind.

An unassuming book when you start reading it but one that rewards your patience and that may lead you on a vision quest of your own. It ends up being much more than the sum of its parts.
  • Jenny Randles.

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