Time Slips: What Is It and How Does It Happen?


Time Slips phenomenon happens when a moment from the past spontaneously intrudes on the present through seemly unexplained means. NIA JONES takes a look at Time Slips and finds some really strange goings-on…

Time slip

Time is seen as a force eternally impenetrable and displays itself as normally past, present and future.

Human beings have always seen themselves as controlled by time.

They complain there is never quite enough of it, yet time is infinite.

So why do certain people witness instances contrary to what we traditionally perceive as time?

The so-called time slip phenomenon has been defined as an event where a moment from the past spontaneously intrudes on the present through seemly unexplained means.

Involving one person or even a group of people, many of those who claim to have experienced time slips say they merely observed a past scene, lasting only a few minutes.

Others allege that they have been fully immersed in the scene visited.

It is also reported that the surroundings witnessed are still, under lit, out-of-place, with a muffled or unfamiliar sound.

Time Slip examples

There have been many examples of British time slips, Bold Street and Rodney Street in Liverpool have had ample reported time slip phenomenon, the last instance occurring in 2009.

But the most famous case involves the principal and vice-principal of St Hugh’s College, Oxford, Charlotte Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain.

On 20 August 1901, the ladies were visiting the Palace of Versailles.

The Palace of Versailles was the scene of a very famous Time Slip case.
The Palace of Versailles was the scene of a very famous Time Slip case.

While walking in the gardens of the Petit Trianon, they claimed to have encountered people in old-fashioned attire whom they later assumed to be members of the court of Queen Marie Antoinette.

They also believed to have glimpsed the Queen herself on the day in 1792 when she heard the revolutionaries had stormed the Tuileries Palace.

A book about their encounter called, An Adventure, was published in 1911.

The Simpsons and The Gisbys: Time slip French trip

Another widely publicized case concerns two British couples; the Simpsons and the Gisbys.

In October 1979, they were driving through France en route to a holiday in Spain.

Coming across an extremely old-fashioned looking hotel in Montelimar, the couples decided to stay the night; as other hotels in the vicinity were full.

They found the surroundings basic but comfortable and the locals were dressed in clothing more similar to the fashion at the turn of the century.

Costing only 19 francs for their entire stay the couples thought there had been an error and quickly left. 

On their way home from Spain they decided to stop by the hotel again, but could not locate it.

Time slips are popular in fiction, such as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Book
Time slips are popular in fiction, such as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court Book

Photographs were taken in the middle of the film roll, but when developed there was no trace of them, even from the negative strips.

So did these people actually travel back in time or just encounter a haunting?

Is there a yet undiscovered scientific reason for this reported phenomenon, or could these people be caught up in some sort of paranormal occurrence where, like an old film, it re-plays the events from years gone by?

Watch Time Slip Interview with Dr Ann Winsper

Have you or someone you know experienced a time slip? Tell us about it in the Comments Section below!

Read more Nia Jones articles on Spooky Isles


  1. I have been investigating a local disappearing house mystery for two years and this has spawned a strong interest in the time slip phenomenon. I am coming to the view that yes, some people are apparently travelling in time, although maybe “travel” is not the right way of looking at it. If anyone has any personal experience of this phenomenon, I would be very interested — I am currently compiling a catalogue of cases.

    • Hi Carl Gove,
      I would be very much interested in your case finding of the various time slip phenomenon. Although I haven’t experienced one myself I am a paranormal investigator and have investigated witnessed symptoms, dates, celestial abnormallys, locations and overwhelming similarities between cases. I appreciate this message was from 2015 however any information would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Many years ago me, my husband and two of our children were travelling from Scotland to the North East of England. It was pouring with rain and the children were complaining of hunger so when we spotted a sign saying food next right one mile. We decided to turn off the road and seek it out. We went down a country lane and came upon a grand looking house. The lights were on inside and we parked the car and entered the building. There wasn’t a single person to be seen. We walked into a large room with crystal chandeliers and some tables set with spotless white linen tablecloths. there was a huge curtain wafting behind them. Just then a man dressed in very formal attire showed us to a table. He was very stiff and proper and just seemed very out of place. We sat down and he handed us a menu. The food on offer was amazing and we all ordered what we wanted. He went off and we looked around the room, it was eerily quiet. I felt uncomfortable in the extreme. I glanced out of the large window to the side of us and I saw what appeared to be nurses in white uniforms pushing a number of patients out to a terrace which would have been another part of the house but leading from a conservatory to the garden. I was very spooked. The food arrived and was absolutely beautiful, roast beef and lamb and all the trimmings. I encouraged the children to eat their meal quickly and when the waiter returned to check things were ok I asked him did they make a profit with so few people and the food being so delicious etc. I asked if they advertised….he spoke to me in a very strange tone and didn’t smile but said “We don’t need to advertise” At that moment a chill ran down my spine and urged my husband to pay the bill and we were out of there in a heart beat. Some time later we were travelling that route again and turned off to see if it was still open and to our horror there was absolutely no sign of the hotel, we got out of the car and where it had stood was old old foundations level with the ground almost completely covered with grass, not a sign of the building that we had eaten in a few short months before. This is fact.

    • So your family dined on food made in the past? Did you do any research on what building had been there before? If that happened to me I would have been all over it to find out every detail. Certainly nurses used to push people in wheelchairs to sit on terraces as they actually thought this helped TB sufferers [before antibiotics were available]. It sounds like you were perhaps in part of a sanitorium used for the general public. There was a sanitorium in North East England that was built in 1907 and demolished in 1984. It was just off the A1 just south of Morpeth. Interesting story.

      • Hi Angus – the sanatorium near Morpeth was called Stannington but for a couple of reasons it doesn’t match the details of the story. Although the frontage of the main building was impressive, it was not visible from the access road. The road approached from the rear of the building and the vista which met anyone driving down it was a cluster of single-storey redbrick maintenance buildings on one side of the road, and a large boilerhouse and watertower (which still remain) on the other. One would have to walk through or around the main building out onto the lawn and look back to get any view of the frontage.
        Also, for such a large establishment the dining room was comparatively small and not at all grandly appointed. Some (not all) of the wards had their own kitchen and dining rooms so a large dining area wasn’t needed.

  3. Not to sure if mine was a time slip or a real event via incarceration?
    Was the most horrible scene one can ever experience
    I still would be too scared to even talk about it

  4. I have heard of the time slips on Bold street and investigated them more out of curiosity, and there are some good retellings of some on reddit for people who want to hear more accounts.

  5. TIME TRAVEL IS SO SO SO COOOL!!!!!! its my dream to travel not just the universe and be friends with aliens and learn their culture and all tht, but also to travel time! I mainly wanna visit the future tho bc uh im black X3


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