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The Ghosts of Time

Richard finds his life's work...

“Let’s call this class to order, shall we?” The Professor looked as aged as the two-century-old building he was teaching in. Dressed smartly for his age though, he had the physical presence that outstanding educators naturally possess.

Selecting a book on the wooden table in front of him, he opened to the marked page.

“The great Albert Einstein said: The only reason for Time is so that everything does not happen at once.”

“In his Relativity of Simultaneity, Einstein also said: Two events, simultaneous for one observer, may not be simultaneous for another observer if the observers are in relative motion.”

“Now then, I propose to all of you that if Space is the distance between two points then Time is the difference between two observed events. And what does that tell us with regards to Einstein's comments? Class?”

The class is silent. How in the world are they supposed to know this? They're only in their first year of physics.

“Come, come. Think about this now. This means that from the perspective of a third observer, if one observer is in relative motion to a second observer then the third observer sees the past of one and the future of the other. We know from the great Einstein that Time separates events so they do not happen at once. AND if Time is the difference between two events then it is easy to see that Time is kind of like a Storage Hamper for all Observable Events which, depending upon your observation point and relative motion, might be something in the past or the future. The SHOE contains all observable events though, correct?

“Richard. I see you’ve grasped this point, yes?”

The old professor paused and his eyes twinkled as he looked upon his star pupil. He was expecting a grand statement from Richard and he got it. Richard was a fine man.

“Professor, this means that if we move to a different observation point and have the correct relative motion that we can see into someone’s past or another person’s future. We can look in their SHOE so to speak.”

“Bravo, Richard! Bravo! I knew you would get my point. We don’t want to smell that SHOE do we, no, but we want to look into it. We might even want to walk a mile in their SHOE so to speak, yes? The observable events. That is what we will see. Everyone understands that, yes?

"Now let’s complicate this a bit. What if we stand still and the SHOE is moving about in relation to us?”

Richard paused and looked thoughtfully toward the ceiling before looking at the professor. “Then the SHOE would be giving us glimpses of something in someone’s past or another person’s future and we would not have control over it! The SHOE would be showing us different parts of a person’s life!”

“Bravo again, Richard! Brilliant and Bravo!”

Richard went on. “But there’s no way to prove this, Professor.“

“Ah, but there is Richard and if we had more Time, sorry for my little joke, you would discover for yourself that the World is proof that Time is moving relative to we observers...Because our Time is precious, and yet inexhaustible, let me ask you a question that's tangential to this argument. Do you believe in ghosts?”

Richard’s eyes went wide.

”What? Surely you’re not suggesting that ephemeral apparitions are observable events that the SHOE shows us under certain and specific conditions? You’re saying ghosts are someone else’s memories or someone else’s future memories? That’s not possible!”

The Professor knew he had Richard all fired up now.

“Well then, do you believe in the Hebrew prophets and their accuracy in forecasting the future for the people of Israel?”

Richard’s eyes widened further. He became maniacal and lept out of his chair to grasp the Professor by his lapels to shake some sense into him. With as much vigor as he possessed, he reached his hands out to grab the Professor...but somehow his hands came up with empty air. Richard stumbled but did not fall to the floor.

The Professor quickly stepped to the other side of his desk and put Space between them.

The class perked up immediately. Everyone sat straighter and craned their necks to see the Professor and Richard engage in the classroom debate. The students didn’t know what either one was talking about...but they smelled a postulation in the air and a refutation in the making. That is easily the dynamic duo of interest in an academic environment.

“Calm down, Richard.”

Richard shouted, “I won’t, Professor. You can’t come into a classroom of higher education and say that ghosts and Hebrew prophecies are the result of vibrating or rotating or moving SHOEs! You just can’t!”

“Why not, Richard? If the SHOE fits… isn’t that the expression? If Time is moving relative to two observers then it only makes sense that a third observer might see the memories of Brad Pitt and the future of Angelina Jolie if they look in the right Space at the right Time. And under some circumstances, they might even see their past or their future. Of course, it does require that your mind be tuned or opened to these Time vibrations in order to understand what you’re looking at.”

“No, Professor. You can’t say this. Einstein must be wrong. It isn’t possible that one can look into the future and the past and it certainly isn’t possible for Time to move about and spill the contents of the future and the past into a present observer.“

“Ok, Richard. Then if Time is not relative to motion and observers, please explain how and why people see ghosts and how the prophecies of some people are so incredibly accurate.”

“I will do this, Professor. I know there is something happening at the sub-atomic level that Einstein has not understood.“

“Good luck to you, Richard. I wish you a good life.”

The Professor took a couple of steps backward to put some Space between himself and Richard. Then he added a few seconds of Time between them as well.

Melanie,  with the short skirt and tight tube top who sat in the front row, shrieked and pointed as the image of the Professor faded from behind his desk and then re-appeared behind Richard. The class erupted into chaos.

Richard stood staring at the empty Space in front of him. How had the Professor managed to disappear in front of his very eyes? And what the hell was the class shouting out? Richard turned quickly around and caught a glimpse of something fading from view.

“What are you freaking out about?” Richard shouted at the class.

All the students in the classroom raised their fingers and pointed toward the doorway. Richard turned slowly around and was just able to catch a glimpse of a shadow that slammed the door shut with a BANG!

Everyone jumped up and began running out the very same door that had just slammed shut. Richard stood still. Motionless. Observing. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Where the Professor had been standing, Richard saw himself kissing his girlfriend. He turned his head slightly and looked at a different piece of Space and saw himself a few years older writing a letter at his desk. He watched the two visions disappear and then he shook his head and muttered to himself.

“The Professor really pulled one over on me. I don’t know how he did it. Somehow he was controlling these spooky actions from a distance but it’s obvious he was never in this room to begin with. I don’t know how he did it and I don’t care to know. Ghosts of Time. Pshaw. Silliest notion I ever heard. This was a good prank though, really good.”

At the same Time but in a different Place, the Professor turned to his new pupil and said “Well, Heisenberg, are you still uncertain that Time and Space can be controlled with a minimum of energy?”

Heisenberg ignored the Professor’s sarcasm and made a note to look up this fellow Richard. Perhaps they could work together on something.

First though, he had to deal with his roommate's cat. Was it dead or alive inside the box it had been left in?

 

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