The poorly understood power of time can be very destructive, as we all know. In its subtle passing it can ravage the most aesthetic face, topple the greatest building, and could ultimately bring the earth's rotation to a gradual halt (through tidal friction); but what is time? Professor Stephen Hawking, the foremost expert on time and space in modern times, as well as Albert Einstein, have formulated elaborate theories regarding time, yet their conjectures have not yet provided us with a practical way to control the passing of time or to allow one of the human race's age-old dreams to come true: the ability to travel into the past and future. The prophetic Victorian writer HG Wells wrote a novel called The Time Machine in 1895, in which an amateur scientist builds a vehicle that travels thousands of years into the future. Wells explained to his readers that there are three dimensions of space: backwards and forwards (length), side-to-side (breadth) and up and down (depth). All of these dimensions are at right angles to one another, but the fourth dimension - was the dimension of time. Albert Einstein came to this same conclusion in his theories of Relativity in the early 20th Century, but HG Wells beat him to it. Wells stated that we can specify 'where' a physical object is with the three spatial coordinates of length, breadth and depth, but to specify 'when' an object is, we have to use the coordinates of the time dimension. For example, a person in Liverpool can be specified by 53.25 degrees latitude and 3 degrees longitude, but to be completely accurate, we would have to say when that person was there (i.e. 1968).
So much for the dimensions of space and time; what about the phenomenon of timewarps? A timewarp is when an element of the past or future intrudes into the present. In 1992, Billy Wilson, of Aigburth, Liverpool, experienced an intriguing timewarp concerning what appeared to be radio messages from the future, and these cross-time transmissions were apparently from Billy himself! The time was 5 a.m., and the place was the office of Merseycabs off London Road. Billy was sitting at the microphone, when suddenly, a faint but familiar voice came over the speakers that said: 'Who's the next cab on the Kingsley Road stand?'
Billy was dumbfounded, because it was his voice. He listened tensely, and heard his voice ask: 'Who's on Penny Lane?'
Several more messages came in mentioning Broadway and other locations in the city, then the baffling transmissions ceased. 'It was so uncanny,' says 55-year-old Billy, who has now retired from Merseycabs and runs the Calderstones Café, 'hearing my own voice broadcast to the cabs. An hour later, a list of jobs came up on the computer, and as I read them off over the radio, I realised they were the very same ones I'd heard earlier on the radio. I mentioned Kingsley Road, Penny Lane, Broadway, and so on. It was as if something had given me a preview of the future, and it still baffles me to this day.'