It is not very often that I go off-topic here, but today is one of those rare occasions. I am going to veer off-topic for this post, and pen an article that is not directly related to zoology, but, instead, physics.
In the past few months, I have been researching wormholes: those connections between different regions of spacetime that are predicted to exist according to some solutions of Einstein's equations of general relativity. Wormholes have become a fixture in popular culture, with their potential use as devices for spacefaring across vast regions of space to faraway galaxies, as well as for travel between parallel universes and for time travel, having gained a firm foothold in at least some quarters of the general public. It is this last potential aspect of wormholes, travel through time (besides the normal time travel that everyone is constantly doing of going to the future at the rate of, within one particular relativistic frame of reference, one second per second), that will constitute the primary focus of this present article.
First, it shall be useful to elucidate what, exactly, a wormhole is, and how they probably come about. For this, it shall be necessary to turn to an explanation of the theory of general relativity, popularized by Albert Einstein. According to general relativity, space and time are melded together into a single entity known as spacetime, and the existence of matter, by necessity, warps and bends the spacetime it inhabits to some degree, which leads to the phenomenon of gravity. When an object is attracted by a larger object's gravitational pull, according to general relativity, it would be falling into the dip, or dent, in spacetime created by the larger object's mass. A useful analogy would be to imagine spacetime as being a blanket. If a ball were to be placed in the center of the blanket, it would cause the fabric of said blanket to dip downwards in the middle. Now imagine if something of sufficient mass was placed in the center of the blanket to cause such a large dip that the two ends of the blanket now rise up and meet, forming a connection between them.
This is how wormholes are probably formed. When something of sufficient mass exists in the fabric of spacetime, it creates such a strong gravitational force that it bends the fabric of spacetime, causing two distant regions of spacetime to come together and meet, thereby forming a connection, or a shortcut, between them. This connection is what is referred to as a wormhole.
Physicist John Archibald Wheeler, about sixty years ago, was the first to hypothesize that spacetime, at the smallest scales, became a chaotic mess of wormholes, black holes, and a variety of other such phenomena, constantly popping into and out of existence. Spacetime was predicted to take on such a structure at the Planck scale, the smallest scale known to physics, far smaller than an atom. This structure is known as quantum foam, and, according to Barry R. Parker, Ph.D., the vast majority of physicists are now convinced that quantum foam exists, and that it is full of very small wormholes. It was predicted that, at such a tiny scale, the normal laws of physics would break down, causing the very structure of spacetime itself to turn into a chaotic, foamy mess. Spacetime would curve in on itself in many regions, temporarily forming connections between different regions of spacetime, i.e., wormholes.
Now that we have an explanation as to what wormholes are, how they presumably come about, and why microscopic versions of them are predicted by physicists to exist at the smallest known scales in the universe, we can now delve into the real gist, the real meat and potatoes, of this article. And that is the phenomenon of people reporting seeing television series long before they actually aired, or were even produced, commonly associated with the phenomenon known as the Mandela Effect, which has been gaining attention in recent years, and how these microscopic wormholes might offer an explanation for this phenomenon.
The Mandela Effect is a term coined by writer Fiona Broome about six years ago to describe a phenomenon she, and many others, experienced, of remembering the death of famed South African reformer, anti-apartheid activist, and politician Nelson Mandela while he was in prison in the Gregorian calendar decade of the 1980's, while, in reality, it is known that Mandela passed away on the (Gregorian calendar, base-ten) date Thursday, December 5, 2013. There are numerous other examples, perhaps one of the most widely-known being the tendency of a plethora of people to remember the title of the popular book series The Berensta/ein Bears being spelled "Berenstein", with a third "e", while the correct spelling is actually "Berenstain", with an "a" in place of that third "e".
Some cases of the Mandela Effect I could find related to people claiming to have seen programming on television, including events on the news that had not yet happened, long before they aired, ranging from the aforementioned death of Nelson Mandela, whose funeral many people claim to have seen on television in the Gregorian calendar's 1980's decade, to television coverage of the death and funeral of noted evangelical preacher Billy Graham, whom, as of this writing, is still alive, to someone who claimed to have watched Leonardo DiCaprio win an award on television a week before he actually won said award.
What really intrigued me about the Billy Graham case was this: I could find three different people saying they watched news coverage of his death and funeral on television at at least three different times. One reported seeing it around Gregorian calendar base-ten year 2009, around the time of Senator Ted Kennedy's death, while another reported seeing it a few months before the death of Ronald Reagan, which would place it circa Gregorian base-ten year 2004, while another reported seeing it in Gregorian calendar base-ten year 2000. And all three of them gave a description that was startlingly, even eerily, similar; that they saw Bill Clinton and George W. Bush presenting their condolences at Graham's funeral. It really did seem like these three different people, despite having reportedly watched this programming at different times, were describing the same television programme.
Meanwhile, on Reddit, I was able to find a post from someone stating that they remembered watching an episode titled "And Then" of a TV series titled "Medium" in Gregorian base-ten year 2003, when they stated that they were ten years old, while, in reality, that series did not premiere on television until Gregorian base-ten year 2005, and that particular episode did not premiere on television until Gregorian base-ten year 2008, when they stated that they were fifteen years old. According to the poster, they remembered they saw the episode while they were sitting on the recliner in what was, at the time, the room in their house reserved for television. The poster says that, in 2004, the room was turned into a bedroom for their mother, and, by 2008, not only was that room no longer the TV room, but the recliner in that room was long gone. Always making sure to be critical and skeptical of all claims, with there always being a possibility that someone is just making up this story and attempting to pass it off as genuine, I looked through this Reddit user's other posts to try to gauge if their pattern of posting could be indicative of deception. I did not find any indication of this. On the contrary, I even found that they had started a thread in which they intended to critically investigate common urban legends, and, in this thread, this user even wrote a post debunking one such legend, about insects, common in their area. So this person not only appears completely honest, but also appears to be in possession of a critical, skeptical mindset. Not the kind of person easily given over to either hoaxing or credulous acceptance of the extraordinary as an explication for the mundane.
I have devised a hypothesis, involving the tiny, sub-microscopic wormholes thought to exist by physics, to explain these seemingly anomalous occurrences of people reportedly seeing television series long before they officially aired. This hypothesis is that, while a television program is officially airing, and the television signal is travelling through the air and through cables to reach television sets around the world, some of the signal passes through these tiny wormholes, managing to make its way into different time periods through them. The reason why a television signal would be able to pass through these tiny wormholes, while a larger object would not, is simply due to the miniscule size of these wormholes. As they are vastly smaller than an atom, or even most subatomic particles, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for anything made of matter to pass through them. Meanwhile, a television signal is a massless wave, made up only of energy, so it would not have a problem navigating its way through these infinitesimally small rifts in spacetime.
Although I have yet to encounter anyone else devising such a hypothesis with regard to television signals, in particular, I have come across an article by British astrophysicist John Gribbin, published in the base-ten Gregorian calendar month of January 2013, in which he writes about these tiny wormholes, and speculates that, although they are far too small for any matter to go through, perhaps information, such as signals transmitted between particles conveying how they are supposed to behave according to the laws of physics, could be constantly passing through these wormholes, which could provide an explanation as to how the entire universe, all known areas of space and time, seem to follow the same laws of physics. Gribbin ends his article by musing, "And there you have the ultimate paradox. It may be that we only actually have universal laws of physics because time travel is possible. In which case, it is hardly surprising that the laws of physics permit time travel."
This is the sentiment by which I would like to conclude this foray into the realm of quantum physics and anomalous television programmes on a zoological blog -- which, in my view, constitutes an anomalous occurrence, in and of itself.
Broome, Fiona. "Nelson Mandela Died in Prison?" Mandela Effect. 9 September 2010. Web. Accessed 27 December 2016. (http://www.mandelaeffect.com/nelson-mandela-died-in-prison/)
Gribbin, John. "How to build a time machine." John Gribbin Science. 15 January 2013. Web. Accessed 27 December 2016. (https://www.johngribbinscience.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/how-to-build-a-time-machine/amp/)
Parker, Barry R. (1991). "Cosmic Time Travel: A Scientific Odyssey." Plenum US/Springer Science+Media, LLC. Page 234. Print.
Broome, Fiona. "Nelson Mandela – The Memories, So Far." Mandela Effect. 11 February 2013. Web. Accessed 27 December 2016. (http://www.mandelaeffect.com/nelson-mandela-the-memories-so-far/)
Broome, Fiona. "Billy Graham's Funeral on TV." Mandela Effect. 25 April 2013. Web. Accessed 27 December 2016. (http://www.mandelaeffect.com/billy-grahams-funeral-on-tv/)
"Not_Really_A_Name". "Saw an episode of a TV show 5 years before it aired." Reddit. 13 September 2016. Web. Accessed 27 December 2016. (https://www.reddit.com/r/Glitch_in_the_Matrix/comments/52lbij/saw_an_episode_of_a_tv_show_5_years_before_it/?utm_source=amp&utm_medium=comment_list)