Whitley and Anne Strieber have had several odd experiences that they think of as “time slips”, or time travel. They occurred spontaneously, with little to no warning, and remain as enigmatic as anything else related to the visitor phenomenon. They aren’t necessarily instances of time travel; they could be time superimposition, glimpses of a parallel world, shared hallucinations, to name just a few of the possibilities. But “time slip” is as convenient a term as any.
The first, and most notable, of these time-slip events happened sometime in the late ’80s or early ’90s. Strieber was driving one of his young son’s friends from his cabin near Pine Bluff, New York to a diner on Route 17 in Paramus, New Jersey. They had made this trip many times before, as the boy often stayed with the Striebers and was usually driven back to New York City by his father. The diner was their meeting place. To reach it, Strieber took a certain exit ramp, then backtracked several hundred yards. In this part of New Jersey, Route 17 is lined with strip malls and fast food joints, so the scenery was mundane and very familiar to Strieber and his son’s friend.
On this occasion, a cloudy day, Strieber and the boy spotted the father’s vehicle in the parking lot of the diner as they drove past it on their way to the exit ramp. But when Strieber took what he thought was the right exit, he found himself on an entirely unfamiliar highway. Unlike 17, it was deserted and eerily quiet – not a vehicle or business in sight. Tall concrete walls flanked either side of this highway for a short distance.
They ended up on a silent residential street shadowed by a canopy of trees. Just like the strange highway, this place was devoid of life. Not one resident was walking the dog or tending to the large, immaculate lawns. Weirdly, the day had become sunny in a matter of seconds.
The houses were the spookiest part. Single-story and boxlike, made of tan stone, two of the dwellings had enormous snake designs carved into their facades.
Strieber and the boy became deeply uneasy. They reached another exit leading to an ordinary, busy highway. But instead of Route 17, it was Route 80, an estimated twenty-minute drive from the diner. They had been in the serpent house neighborhood only for about five minutes.
Later, after searching the area thoroughly, Strieber realized the bizarre neighborhood didn’t exist. Neither did the unfamiliar exit that had led him to Route 80. The boy and his father also searched for the street in vain.
Strieber feels that he and his son’s friend were spontaneously dropped into the future, or were given a brief tour of another world.
It was not Strieber’s first brush with the future. Shortly after his abduction of December 26, 1985, he began to recall long-buried memories of childhood encounters with the visitors, including receiving a series of nine lessons from the female visitor he calls the Ancient One in a “school” tucked away in the Olmos Basin of San Antonio. In the summer of 1954, when he was nine years old, the visitors showed him a glimpse of the future in the form of images on a flat-screen TV.
On the screen he saw news footage of disasters that would occur years later, like the Malibu fire of 1993. Other disasters that were shown to him involved the environment, and Strieber says some of them worked their way out of his subconscious mind to take form in Nature’s End, the novel he wrote with James Kuntka in 1986.
In 1995, Strieber had a vision of America in the year 2036. The nation was in ruins, devastated by an atomic bomb set off by terrorists, and ruled by a military dictatorship. Though Strieber acknowledges this may have been a dream, he suspects he was briefly given the ability to access memories of his future self.
Whitley, Anne, and their friend Starfire Tor simultaneously experienced a time slip in a Hollywood theatre in 2010. This took place at the Magic Castle, a Victorian mansion where magic shows are staged.
After a show, Anne and Starfire entered a small restroom while Whitley waited outside. They were the only people in the restroom, and Whitley was in full view of the door. He says no one else entered the room while Starfire and his wife were inside. Anne left the restroom by herself and waited directly outside the door for Starfire; she, too, saw no one else enter. Yet when Starfire exited a stall seconds later, she literally ran into a woman who seemed to materialize out of nowhere. The woman seemed disoriented, and turned to leave. Anne was astonished to see this women walk out of the restroom ahead of Starfire.
Most people would classify this encounter as a ghost sighting, but Starfire Tor and the Striebers believed it was much like their other time slips. Somehow, two times became superimposed on one another.
Anne Strieber thinks the visitors themselves could be time travelers. Strieber believes that mastery of time, and time travel, is key to the visitor experience and the future of humanity.