Fortean Gateways

One of my guilty pleasures has always been hunting down the trashy paperback novelisations of old ’80s and early ’90s action films. Occasionally this opens up a whole different and vastly more interesting plot, such as the original short story by Stephen King which would go on to become The Running Man, but mostly these pop culture milestones slavishly describe what was originally seen on the screen. Regardless of pedigree, there are occasions when the book offers something of interest to the more magickally minded among their audience, and surprisingly enough the adaptation of Terminator 2 Judgement Day by Randall Frakes did just that.

What initially piqued my interest was a throwaway section at the very start of the book, one that was for some reason omitted from the final treatment of the film. The description of the time travel device which Skynet developed to eliminate the leader of the human resistance in the past is a little laboured perhaps, and lacking in any real scientific underpinning, but I found it intriguing for completely unintentional reasons. Once the spinning rings are out of the way and the light show had abruptly ended, the human chrononaut is replaced with a sphere of not just time but space belonging to the year 1984; smog, beer cans, concrete and all.

John Keel, one of the few researchers in the field of Forteana that I would consider a personal hero, is widely credited with coining the concept of window areas to describe the way that certain places seem to attract more than their fair share of weird events over a protracted period of time. Taking the example from the book, and the way that instead of simply inserting the naked soldier into 1984 the machine swapped the area he was supposed to appear in with a small bubble of space from 2029, we see a potential explanation emerge. For a few nanoseconds both locations would have existed together, phasing through each other with forty plus years of time lurching unsteadily in either direction away from them.

I argue that in attempting to solve the problem of Keel’s window areas we need to suppress the assumption that all of what we see, every inch of this Earth or light year of space is in fact native to this reality. What if that bubble was constantly wedged open, to the point where the very area in Los Angeles where he was dropped off did not even belong in our reality yet was indistinguishable from those locations around it that did? There is a chance that our realm may instead be made up of many such open doors, areas that appear native to this dimension by virtue of us placing houses in their forested boundaries and roads through their rolling hills, yet which may instead belong somewhere else entirely.

Is it right to assume that the land we claim is part of the same world that humans hold dominion over and therefore ours for the taking? What if our reality was less a crisp new cotton sheet flawlessly woven from a single material and instead a patchwork quilt made up of many overlapping fragments of a hundred, perhaps thousand other realms instead? This theory also posits that creatures such as bigfoot and the mothman are not coming here at all but rather staying where they actually belong. They are only seen by us because their world and ours are the same actual physical space in certain areas, such as Point Pleasant or the American national park system.

What if the people of those dimensions tell similar tales of the strange things that happen in the areas that bleed into ours, of the odd bipedal ape men in khaki shorts and plaid shirts that drink foul-smelling liquid from weird metal containers and toast puffy little foodstuffs over roaring fires? Could we in fact be the invaders, blandly indifferent beings huddling nonchalantly within a dimension that is even now drifting like some incomprehensibly vast ball of scrap throughout the multiverse and gathering up more spacial debris as it goes? Are we just as guilty of interloping as the bizarre creatures that Keel described?

To take this theory to its more pessimistic conclusion we are then left with a final, sobering question. If we are indeed but little better than parasites living at the edges of another’s existence, could that explain the double-edged interest supposedly paid to mankind by the Ascended Masters, Tall White Aliens, Men in Black and all the similar groups of vastly superior beings which infest popular occult folklore? And worse, could their efforts at both guiding and in some cases curtailing human development be an attempt to deal with a growing roach problem – roaches that unfortunately just so happen to be us?