Time is the great chain along which our lives are guided. Theoretically it is possible to travel in different directions through time. Unfortunately for us, we are trapped in the endless march towards the future. Our ends written in the very fabric of time, even as we move freely in space.
But what if things weren't so certain? What if there were places, thin places scattered across our world, where time was more yielding? Imagine walking along in the now, when suddenly you find yourself in the past.
That is exactly what three Royal Navy cadets claimed to have done in 1957. While out on a map-reading exercise, the boys accidentally slipped through time. Their observations of the past seemingly add validity to their claims.
Their Story – 'Twas Accidental
The trees had turned yellow in the Autumn of 1957. Michael Crowley, Ray Baker, and William Laing were 15 years old. They were training to join the Royal Navy. Tasked with navigating through rural Suffolk, in England – follow a map to several coordinates and report back. Simple enough.
Upon reaching the area outside the village of Kersey, the boys stopped to check their map. From their vantage point they could clearly see the church that stands at the center of Kersey. The church tower's bell was ringing, calling locals to the Sunday service.
Our intrepid cadets moved down into the village. They felt a strange silence envelop them. Suddenly the peal of bells was no more. Intrigued, the cadets moved deeper into the village.
They noticed that there were no signs of modernity in the village. Power lines and cars were nowhere to be seen. Something was off. Even in the late 50s, there should have been some cars around.
Adding to the strangeness, there were no people in sight. The trees that had been decked in Autumn-hues moments ago, were now bright green. Nothing moved aside from the ducks in the pond.
Kersey's buildings looked different as well. The homes looked hand-built, and the church no longer had a tower!
Seeking some explanation, the boys moved towards what looked like a butcher's shop. Peering through the window, they saw the partially processed bodies of three oxen. Disgustingly, the carcasses were green with rot.
William Laing said this about the scene:
“There were no tables or counters, just two or three whole oxen carcasses which had been skinned and in places were quite green with age. There was a green-painted door and windows with smallish glass panes, one at the front and one at the side, rather dirty-looking. I remember that as we three looked through that window in disbelief at the green and mouldy green carcasses… the general feeling certainly was one of disbelief and unreality… Who would believe that in 1957 that the health authorities would allow such conditions?”
Thoroughly freaked out, the cadets fled the village. Once outside of Kersey's limits they looked back. Kersey was back to normal. Power lines hung across streets, smoke rose from chimneys, and the church's tower had returned along with the sound of its bells.
Andrew Mackenzie – Psychical Researcher
William Laing could never quite shake the strangeness of his experience in 1957. He returned to England in 1990 to meet with Andrew Mackenzie, a psychical researcher.
Mackenzie recorded Laing's report. He set out to investigate the claims made by the man who had once been a cadet. Together they traveled to the village of Kersey.
One of the first things Mackenzie checked was the building that Laing described as a butcher's shop. It wasn't a butcher's in 1990, and upon checking the village records, it hadn't been one in 1957. Strangely though, it had been registered as such from 1790 to 1905. Earlier records didn't exist, but Mackenzie believed there was evidence that the building had been used as a butcher's shop all the way back to 1350.
Mackenzie's next target was the church tower. Records indicated that St. Mary's church was originally built in the 12th century, with the tower only being added in the late 15th century. Today, as in 1957, the church tower is always visible when in the village and in the area outside.
The psychical researcher narrowed the boys' visit down to a specific decade. According to Mackenzie's research, the town first became wealthy around the 1420s. This is important because the windows described by the boys weren't cheaply available.
Kersey may have been empty during the cadets' visit due to the Black Death. While the original outbreak happened in 1348, the plague continued to intermittently ravage the island nation into the 17th century. What else could cause the butcher to abandon three oxen to decay in their shop?
There are those who dismiss the cadets' story as pure imagination. Others, like Mackenzie, point to knowledge of the village brought back by the boys as proof that they truly did visit the medieval period. What do you believe about the case of the Kersey Time Slip?