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Time Slip In A Church


This incident happened many years ago, when I lived in Minnesota, but I remember it pretty clearly. I was with a dear friend of mine, a friend who was going to join a Catholic seminary that fall. I was going off to the university, and for reasons I don't care to go into, was trying to avoid being home as much as I could.

This friend of mine liked to visit a church near his home. This was in a rural area of Minnesota, and the church was often unlocked. Even if it had been locked, he was known to the priest, and the priest would open it for him so he could go inside to pray. I'd usually just sit and read a book. I was just as happy to be out of the house, and this church - really more of a small chapel - always felt welcoming.

My friend's family had lived very near to the church, on a family farm, for at least four generations. His great-grandfather was buried in the little cemetery off to the side.

Picture the most idyllic "local boy wants to be a priest, goes to chapel and prays a lot" type of scenario, and you'll get the idea.

The church itself is small (I just checked, it's still there), and can hold maybe one hundred people, tops. It's been there for a good long while - some of the people buried in the cemetery must have been settlers of the area.

At the time, the pews were arranged in two long rows, with a wide aisle down the middle and narrower ones on the sides. There was a little bit of religious art here and there on the walls. Up towards the front, there were two niches in the walls, one on either side of the aisle. They were fairly big - I think they were made for larger statues than were placed there.

One side had a statue of Mary holding baby Jesus. The other held a much smaller statue of another saint (perhaps the one the church was named for). My friend liked to pray near the statue of Mary and Jesus. He'd really get into it, too, eyes closed, praying out loud. Again, I was fine with that. I didn't do anything disrespectful while there, just read. Let's say I was sort of claiming sanctuary.

One afternoon we were there, and I had forgotten my book. That had happened before. Sometimes I'd walk around the cemetery outside, or just look at the art. This time I just sat at the other side of the aisle, looking at the art above the altar and the little statue in the niche... I daydreamed a while, wondering what had been in that second niche before the all-too-small statue had taken its place. I didn't notice it at the time, but the background noise faded. I looked up at the niche.

Instead of the little statue, I saw a statue of the angel Gabriel, complete with spread wings and a sword. Nicely carved, same style as the one of Mary and Jesus. (And it was just a statue, not a real angel)... I was surprised, and stood up to examine it. I looked at it for a very short time - maybe ten seconds - then the sheer weirdness of it overcame me and I turned around.

Instead of seeing the empty pews, I saw a slightly different configuration of pews, *and people sitting in them!* they were mostly transparent, and the color was quite washed out, but I could make out an adult woman in the front row, with a hat and fluffy hair under. She was wearing a dress with puffy upper sleeves. There was an old woman next to her, and I think she had a veil or scarf over her hair. There were a couple of children on the other side of the adult woman, but they weren't as distinct.

I only saw them for a second or two, long enough to see the adult woman's look of surprise, and then I fled down the side aisle and out the door. As I fled, I began to hear the background noise of my friend's praying again. I hadn't heard it at all while all this was going on. I sat on the steps and waited for my friend to finish.

It wasn't too long. I suppose I might have yipped in surprise as I left, or my pounding feet made a racket, and broke his reverie.

Of course, since he'd been praying with his eyes closed the whole time, he'd seen nothing. At his suggestion, I sketched out the statue and the way the pews were set up. I was going off to study art, so my sketch was a fairly good representation. He showed the sketch to his grandmother, who lived just down the road.

She said the statue had been there for a while, and the pews had been set up like that, but it had been more than fifty years ago...

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, generalchaos, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Caz (338 posts)
10 years ago (2011-09-25)
Generalchaos...What an amazing experience! I can quite understand why it would give you 'a bit of a turn' at the time, but what a great memory to look back on and chat about! Ha ha... I bet it gave that woman something to talk about too! I wonder if she ever did though! She may have been afraid she'd be locked up in an asylum in those days! Wonder what she made of your 'strange garb'! Hmmm! Definate time slip I'd say! Thank you for sharing!
hippiechick83 (5 stories) (112 posts)
10 years ago (2011-09-24)
generalchaos: Wow, that is one heck of an experience. This is definately going into my favorites. Thanks so much for sharing. Again, wow... I don't know what else to say! Definately looking forward to any future strories! 😊

Peace and Love,
jak89 (1 stories) (16 posts)
10 years ago (2011-09-24)
this was probably one of the coolest stories I have read on here. That would have been awesome to see in person. Althogh I felt right there as you were describing. Definitley going in my favorites.
generalchaos (2 stories) (141 posts)
10 years ago (2011-09-24)
Unfortunately my friend's grandmother has since passed, and I live far, far away from that area now. Kind of wish I'd done a little research to see if there were any reports of a "ghost" appearing once some time ago, you know, see if *I* appeared briefly as a ghost or something...? I've looked around a little and never found anything, but I didn't look hard... Makes me wonder, anyway.

I don't think I had my head covered, it was summertime, but I was in a broomstick skirt, I think, and probably a short sleeved shirt. Not *quite* appropriate for church back in those days. Heheh...
generalchaos (2 stories) (141 posts)
10 years ago (2011-09-24)
aw, thanks everyone:)
At Javelina - yeah, I was raised Catholic (although I haven't been a practicing Catholic for many years).

At Nysa - No, as far as I recall, the whole incident was quiet. I didn't hear anything for those few seconds - modern or not. (It was a very rural church, so it wasn't unusual to *not* hear cars or horns or other noise.)
scarylover13666 (1 posts)
10 years ago (2011-09-24)
awesome story I liked it it was a really cool wish I could have seen it
ngute80 (220 posts)
10 years ago (2011-09-23)
I love this story! I'm originally from Minnesota so I enjoyed reading this that much more 😊. Everyone so far has offered you great theories, and there isn't anything new that I can add. Thank you for sharing this awesome story with us 😊
Nysa (4 stories) (685 posts)
10 years ago (2011-09-23)
My understanding of what some call a time slip is that two times accidentally "overlap," allowing for both to sort of be there at the same time. I am wondering if you could hear any of what was going on in the church at the time you were seeing? Perhaps a sermon or people moving around in the pews? You said that the sound of you friend faded but don't mention if there was a hint of other noises replacing it. I have only read a few accounts of this kind of phenomenon and I am thinking most of those were only visual, but I am not sure. For those more familiar with time slip, do most accounts include reports that people on both "sides" appear to be aware of the event?
Javelina (4 stories) (3749 posts)
10 years ago (2011-09-23)
What a truly wonderful experience. Thank you for this. I felt I was right there with you as I followed along reading. One thing you mentioned, about the younger woman wearing a hat and the elderly woman a scarf or veil over her head? That was the traditional way for a woman to appear in a Catholic church. Always have your head covered. We had 8 kids in our family, and trying to get everyone dressed and out the door for Sunday Mass was pretty wild. My mother always kept a supply of doilies in the glove box for those who forgot their hats. I had all but forgotten about that until I read your account of what occurred that day. I can only imagine what it felt like as you looked over to find the statue of the Archangel Micheal in the niche. WOW!
This is going straight to my favorites list.
Thank you for sharing.

Jav ❤ 😊
stephyw2001 (guest)
10 years ago (2011-09-23)
Wow! That would be quite amazing indeed. The woman gave a look of surprise? Like she saw you? That's quite something. It sounds like you put yourself into a meditative state where you were able to see the astral counterpart of your surroundings. A memory of the room from the past. How cool!
BeaW (guest)
10 years ago (2011-09-23)
I can tell you are an artist as you have an eye for detail and great powers of observation. Well-written piece.
lynrinth (guest)
10 years ago (2011-09-23)
Oh wow! Now that is truly a unique experience. And to think the woman actually saw you! You must have been in a trance, or certain state of mind, and concentrated hard enough to where you were slipped to a time when the statue was there. Now this is a experience to really cherish.
Miracles51031 (39 stories) (4998 posts) mod
10 years ago (2011-09-23)
generalchaos - What a truly unique and amazing experience you had. I agree with Pjod, for the woman to have noticed you, it certainly wasn't residual.

I thought at first you may have traveled, for just a few brief seconds, back in time. But I think what happened is you saw an intelligent haunting. You said they were mostly transparent, not distinct. This leads me to believe ghosts. I could be wrong and it is only my opinion 😊. But I think it is a wonderful experience, no matter what it was: time travel or ghosts still enjoying church.
Pjod (3 stories) (978 posts)
10 years ago (2011-09-23)
nice, interesting story. Enjoy the small town feel of it. Strange that the woman even noticed you...which, if that was the case, would not seem to be a residual incident. (so to speak)

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