On Micah Hanks’ website, he shares the following spacetime slip, experienced by a podcast listener, that took place in northern Ireland in 2008. Whether it’s an Alternate Reality TWIDDER or possibly Forward to the Future, I don’t have a clue!
At the time I was staying in the town of Derry, in Northern Ireland, and had decided to take a day trip via public transit to the beach town of Buncrana. The bus trip seemed to take much longer than expected and when I asked the driver which stop was to be Buncrana, he laughed and said I had missed it ages ago. Not only that, but this bus service was infrequent and the next one going back in the direction from which we’d come wasn’t going to be for several hours. The driver let me off in a small village, the name of which escapes me, and I began hitchhiking back toward Derry. It was raining heavily that day, so it was lucky my first ride came quickly – two older Irish men who kindly took me back as far as Buncrana.
Buncrana isn’t a large place, so it was a short walk to the beach from where the men dropped me off. At some point in the drive the rain had stopped and as I arrived at the beach the sky was clear and a late afternoon sun was beginning to set (this was in December). It was a lovely scene, but after a while I noticed it was eerily quiet and the only living thing I could see for any distance was a black dog, which had turned up when I wasn’t paying attention. It was unremarkable, so far as dogs go – I know sweet piss-all about dogs but I think it was a black lab – but it behaved in a curious way; wherever I went along the grass near the beach, the dog followed, staying about 5-6 feet away. Whenever I stepped closer to him, he began to growl and bark. Eventually this behavior and the quiet started to wig me out and I began walking toward a large hotel looking the water some distance away. My thinking was I’d have a cup of coffee, harmlessly (and, no doubt, poorly) flirt with a waitress then head back to the highway and thumb a ride to Derry. The black dog paced me the entire trip to the hotel, maintaining the same amount of distance, and the closer I got to the hotel, the more unnerved I was by the whole situation and the more desperate I got for that coffee and some human interaction. When I arrived at the hotel – the Inishowen Gate Hotel, I’ve since learned it’s called – I was devastated to see that the whole place was boarded up – windows, etc – and just as deserted as everything else.
What made this more odd than it might ordinarily be was the size of the place – this isn’t a small hotel, and it’s unusual to see a place that big and in a spot that choice, unoccupied. I didn’t explore the building much because by this point the sun had passed the horizon and well, I was still unnerved. Turning away from the hotel, I saw the black dog was gone just as quickly and quietly as he’d come. From the hotel I walked along the water’s edge to a boat launch, where I watched a bank of fog roll down the hills across the water. By the time I looked away from the coming weather there was a group of about five or six cats who had turned up to keep me company. For whatever reason, this eased my mind a bit and I started walking back towards town.
My memory of the day is murky but the way I recall it, I went from a kind of cavernous silence to “regular small town” in a matter of moments; suddenly there were people, cars and noise. Soon enough there was rain again, too. It took two rides to get back to Derry, the second of which was with a middle-aged man who had grown up in the area. We were talking about the scenery around Buncrana and he told me he’d been married in the hotel on the water. When I mentioned it was now closed he sounded surprised – apparently the place is a bit of a local institution – but didn’t press the subject further.
. . . and so I decided to figure out which hotel it had been and see whether they had been closed during the winter of 2008. The clerk I spoke to at the Inishowen Gateway Hotel this afternoon informed me they do not close during winters and, as far as she knows, it was not shuttered during winter 2008.
A retired teacher I may be, but collecting the extraordinary accounts of spacetime slips folks have documented keeps me busy. (Almost as busy as racing after 14 grandchildren!)