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Friday, November 19, 2010

Time Slip at Waterloo Station

So, I found this post I'd written waaay back in 2004 on the Fortean Times forum, and it seemed worth dusting off, particularly after the tweet about "please don't embellish or try and add atmosphere". It's worthy advice, otherwise stories really do just force themselves to be filed under Too Good to be True.

As someone who would like to believe, sometimes my innate skepticism annoys me, but I think we owe it to ourselves to always, always discount all rational explanations. It doesn't always make people happy, but again if someone takes sensible questioning too personally, it makes me automatically question the integrity of a story. Occam's Razor, kids!



Anyway, here it is ...

Hello all! It's my first time posting here and just wanted to mention an experience I had, namely, back in May or June of 1992, I experienced what I can only think was a time slip.

Going up to London with a new boyfriend, we caught a train to Waterloo and then headed down into the underground. I can’t remember which entrance we took: I just remember heading down the escalators and seeing scraps of paper lazily blow past me up the other way. That was the first hint of weirdness. The paper wasn’t gusting like it normally would in the blast of subway air – this was deliberately slow mo.

It was at that point that I think I sensed the shift in atmosphere. From the normally bustling energy of Waterloo on a Saturday, it segued into a heavier depressing gloom. Everything was too quiet. Even though there were still people around, they all seemed subdued. It was almost like being underwater.

At the foot of the escalators, there were lines and lines of string, like multitudes of washing lines. Bits of cloth and rag were hung up on the lines, as though makeshift camps had been set up all along corridors and in any available spaces. It wasn’t just a couple of isolated areas, it felt like all the passages had been turned into living areas or camps. I don’t remember which underground line we were taking, but we seemed to be walking far further than usual. The strangest thing was, I felt so tense and at a gut level KNEW that the surroundings had flipped into something more alien, yet it never occurred to me to say something to my boyfriend.

Standing in a corner was a man in official uniform – I don’t really remember him, just have a sense that he was bareheaded, had shiny buttons on his jacket – whose presence made me feel no less uneasy. I was trying to convince myself that if he was there, it meant that all the weirdness of the clothes lines were somehow explicable. Only afterwards, when my boyfriend and I compared notes did we realise that we both sensed something archaic about his outfit and demeanour.

By the time I got on the semi-crowded tube train, I was beginning to feel seriously panicked. Sitting across from us was a man who looked close to tears, red faced, breathing frantically, a really scared expression on his face. My boyfriend gave a surreptitious nod in his direction – the first clue I had that I wasn’t actually the only one experiencing something disquieting. Then my boyfriend whispered, "Look, him too," and there was another man further down the carriage who looked in fear of his life. At that point, it STILL didn’t occur to us to ponder what the hell was going on – we just both thought that maybe we had a premonition or something and ought to get off the train immediately. Only afterwards did we realise it totally felt strange from the moment we headed down into the underground station.

I guess we both assume that maybe it was some kind of time slip or overlay back to maybe the second world war – I don’t know if they turned any parts of Waterloo stations into shelters.

Sorry it’s not as dramatic as hanging out with Marie Antoinette in Versailles, but it still creeped me out big time, and whenever I think about it, I still recall just how scared it made me.

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