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  • Writer's pictureJohn Wick

Time Slips Observed In Trains And Planes

Our history is filled with the disappearances of people who vanished from the face of the earth while travelling routine journeys. Many of these disappearances have proven frustrating to investigate as neither the transportation that was involved nor its occupants were ever located. And in a minority of cases, stories persist that vehicles reappearing in impossible locations or time frames long after their travels should have come to an end.

Our civilization is constantly striving to improve upon the manufacturing techniques and technological achievements of the past. On a near-daily basis, every aspect of society is under an unyielding state of scrutiny, in search of methods, which will enable the evolution of our creations towards ever safer or more efficient successors. And in no field is this more evident than the transportation industry. Every new vehicle that is conceived, be it for land, sea, or air, is built in the shadow of the limitations and flaws of those that have gone before.

Transportation is an industry which continually pushes itself to manufacture vehicles which are faster, more efficient and safer. And yet, even with such constant analysis and refinement, each year, millions still lose their lives whilst traveling from one point to another.

Despite the invention of satellite communications and GPS tracking, ships and planes continue to vanish from across the globe, leaving no trace of their passing. Simultaneously, the remains of mysterious boats wash up on remote shorelines, their identities long since removed by the effects of weathering and decay. It has been theorized that there are places on this Earth where time operates in a somewhat different manner, where some invisible portal or corridor is capable of propelling a vehicle and its occupants to a very different moment in history, both in the future and the past. Could it be that this outlandish theory is the reason behind some of the inexplicable disappearances that take place on a near-daily basis?

Disappearance of the Zanetti Train

In the summer of 1911, shortly before the Great War which would forever change the face of the European mainland, a small Italian manufacturing firm situated in Rome was seeking investment for a new railway project. Having successfully constructed a prototype locomotive, the directors of the Zanetti company sent out invitations to local investors and dignitaries, offering them the chance to be part of a luxurious demonstration Journey.

On the morning of July the 14th, the Zanetti engine set off from Rome's principal train station, traveling up and along the railway lines which led to the northern city of Milan. It pulled behind it three heavily laden passenger cars occupied by a total of a hundred and six company employees and guests. Spirits among the travelers were soon riding high, as their mode of transportation wound its way up through the idyllic Italian countryside.

Several hours later, the passengers found themselves crossing the southern regions of Lombardy, not far from the end of their Journey. The plains they were passing through gradually started to give way too much rockier terrain. This marked the run-up to a mountainous region, which they needed to negotiate in order to reach their destination. It was at this point, as the locomotive was approaching the first of a series of tunnels which had long ago been carved through the base of the mountains, that some of the guests began to experience an unexpected phenomenon.

Several reported to the stewards that they could see a mysterious white haze forming around the train's exterior. At the same time, an ominous and deep humming sound began to pulsate through each of the carriages, causing some of the passengers to experience a degree of nausea and vomiting. One of the travelers pulled down the window nearest to where he was standing. He peered up ahead of the train, looking beyond the filthy black smoke issuing forth from its funnel, and then cried out in alarm.

The milky fog that was smothering the train seemed to be pouring out the mouth of the tunnel that they were rapidly approaching. As this vapor continued to envelop the carriages, it became so thick that visibility inside the compartments was reduced to a shadowy half light. By now, despite the best efforts of the train's staff, fear and panic began to take hold. As the engine rushed on towards the foreboding tunnel entrance, there was a panicked rush towards the doors of the three carriages. Passengers jostled and pushed one another in a desperate effort to exit the train, with two successfully managing to break free, and hurl themselves out onto the ground.

The two escapees watched on in terror, as the train and its three carriages barreled down into the tunnel, disappearing from sight. It would take several hours for word of the incident to make its way back to the company's offices in Rome, who in turn alerted the authorities in Milan. Soldiers and mountain rescue staff were immediately rushed down to the tunnel network, in a frantic bid to locate the missing locomotive. But no trace of the Zanetti engine or its passengers were to be found. Troops and rescuers accessed the tunnel network via the Northern end of the line, only to emerge in confusion at the point where the missing engine had entered. There was no wreckage, no bodies and no sign that the train had ever passed through the tunnels.

Eager to avoid damaging the reputation of the country's rail network, the authorities moved swiftly to cover up the incident, working closely with national newspapers to minimize coverage of the story. Over the next few years, private searches of the tunnels were organized by relatives of the missing travelers, without success. Eventually, after sustaining damage from Allied bombing raids at some point during the Second World War, the tunnels were closed down and their entrances blocked off. The Zanetti train became little more than a distant memory: a ghost story told to local children before they went to sleep at night, until a mysterious incident, nearly 40 years later and 2000 kilometers away from where the train vanished.

On October the 29th 1955, a railway signalmen in the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol reported to his superiors that a mysterious train had passed through the crossing he had been working on. He described the train as being very old in appearance and pulling three carriages, all with their curtains drawn. More concerning still, he insisted that not only had it passed directly through the crossing barriers, but had also crossed the railway line at a point where there were no corresponding tracks for it to travel upon.

The mystery train was witnessed several more times traveling through the Ukrainian countryside, most recently in September of 1991, when hikers reported having observed it passing through a crossing near the city of Poltava. These sightings prompted University researchers in the country to investigate the history behind the ghostly locomotive and were shocked by what they discovered.

Apparent references to the train may have been made as early as the Middle Ages. Monks in the Italian city of Modena wrote that they had witnessed a great metallic creature traveling across the fields near their monastery, with three similar entities following behind it. They further described how it spouted suffocating black smoke from its snout, before disappearing from view.

There is also a report that over a hundred patients were admitted to an asylum in Mexico City during the summer of 1845, after they were found wandering the streets in a confused state. The detainees claimed to be Italian, having travelled to the city by train, even though no documentation or witness to their arrival could be found in the city's railway station. Did the Zanetti train somehow enter a portal or doorway that caused it to travel both backwards and forwards through time? Is it still trapped within a winding and unpredictable corridor through space-time, reappearing in various locations only to come to a distressing and inevitable conclusion in 19th century North America? With very little in the way of verifiable source material, it defies belief, much like the next case we will examine.

Flight 914's Mysterious Appearance and Disappearance

On the morning of the 9th of September 1992, a year after the Zanetti train's alleged last sighting, air traffic controllers of Venezuela's Simon Bolivar International Airport were surprised by the unexpected appearance of a new target on their radar systems. As the small symbol steadily made its way across their screens, repeated efforts were made to establish radio contact with it.

Finally, after several frantic minutes, a controller named Juan de La Corte managed to elicit a response from the pilot of the unknown aircraft. The conversation was stilted, with Juan finding it difficult to make sense of what the American aviator was telling him. As each of his questions were answered, Juan quickly scribbled down the response, his fellow controllers crowding around to read the notes he was making. The pilots identified is aircraft as Pan American Airways flight 914, a Douglas DC-4 airliner which had set off earlier that day from LaGuardia Airport in New York.

He then went on to explain that he and the other three members of his crew were carrying 57 passengers and had been heading towards Miami when they had lost sight of the ground. Juan found himself clarifying the flight plan several times with a pilot, struggling to believe that the aircraft had managed to arrive at a location over 2000 kilometers away from its intended destination.

A low murmur broke out amongst his colleagues, as they began to survey various maps and charts in an effort to understand the route, which the American plane must have taken to arrive at their Airport. As the airliner finally came within visual range of the control tower, some of the controllers made their way outside to observe its approach. At this point, the pilot's tone changed abruptly, with him now demanding answers from the Venezuelan tower. He began to ask questions about the various aircraft he could see moving around on the ground ahead of him seemingly confused by their appearance. Juan tried to answer as best he could but was confused by what the pilot was trying to ascertain.

Suddenly, there was a commotion from the nearby balcony and one of the controllers shouted that the airliner appeared to be in trouble. Juan again radioed the pilot asking what was going on. When the reply came, he could hear yelling and clamoring in the background, before someone cried, "Oh God, we're going again." The men outside saw the DC-4 bank sharply and turn away from the airfield. As Juan continued to try and re-establish radio contact with its pilot, there was another commotion from the balcony.

The airliner was gone, having disappeared into a nearby cloud bank. Seconds turned into minutes, but it failed to re-emerge. Emergency services were dispatched to comb the area around where the aircraft was last seen, but no wreckage was found. Much like the Zanetti train before it, Flight 914 had simply disappeared.

In the aftermath of this occurrence, Juan and the other controllers also logged an incident report with Pan American Airlines, but this simply confused things further. There was no record of a flight 914 taking off from LaGuardia on the morning of the 9th of September 1992. There was, however, a flight 914 which took off from LaGuardia on the 2nd of July 1955, 37 years in the past.

It had disappeared shortly after takeoff, and no trace of the aircraft was ever found. Despite the story of the missing Pan Am airliner having been circulated in a number of newspapers, there is a stark lack of official corroboration, which would seem to indicate that it's completely fabricated. Some versions of the tale have the airliner landing before its crew panicked and took off again. Others have it flying to Miami, where both it and its passengers were seized by the American authorities.

Could it be that all official records pertaining to both the loss of the aircraft and the subsequent encounter in Venezuela have been officially suppressed and the survivors of Flight 914 hidden away by the government? Are they still trapped in some sort of time loop, oblivious to the nature of their unending journey? Or is it just another tall tale, another internet Creepypasta to add to the ever-growing list?

Whatever the degree of authenticity relating to these two stories, they are only two examples of a much larger cache of supposed incidence, indicating that there may be cracks in time, which both machines and the people who pilot them inadvertently fall through. Another notable example is that of Gil Perez, a Spanish soldier who was stationed in the Philippines during the late 19th century. One evening, he fell asleep whilst on guard duty in Manila, only to wake up in Mexico City's main Square on the other side of the world. He was detained by the Mexican authorities and interrogated at length, only to be released when the Spanish government confirmed his identity and that he was missing from his post.


Are timeslips the true cause of such notorious disappearances as that of Flight 19 or MH370? Perhaps the USS Cyclops may one day finally arrive in Baltimore, its crew unaware that they have been missing from the seas for over a hundred years. Or is such a concept one that is merely limited to the pages of Science Fiction and Fantasy, used as a comforting alternative in the aftermath of such disasters? Was the loss of human life so harrowing in these cases and the circumstances so inexplicable that the relatives of those who are involved embraced the idea of something extraordinary in a desperate effort to accept and understand the tragedy?

Unfortunately, with no viable or convincing evidence to substantiate them, stories of time slips all too often proved easy to dismiss as fabrications, dependent only on the word of those who claim to have witnessed or experienced them? For now, at least, what we are looking at here are two intriguing but completely anecdotal tales. Perhaps in the future, scientific study or even hard evidence will finally come to light that either proves or disproves the concept. Only time will tell!


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