Wormholes act like a shortcut, which can be defined as a less time-consuming way between two different points otherwise connected by a longer route. We are all familiar with how a shortcut works, and you’ve probably taken a few today. There might be a shortcut connecting your college to your home or between two busy intersections in a city. But, what if a shortcut existed between your college today and your childhood home from fifteen years ago? What if there is a route connecting two important junctures in history – the Mohenjo-Daro Civilization, 2500 BCE and the erection of the Taj Mahal (commissioned in 1632 )? Sound impossible? Well, the Einstein-Rosen Bridge theory would disagree.
To understand wormholes, let’s look at a simple example. The distance between sun and earth is about eight and half-light minutes. This means that the sun we see is not the sun at present, but rather it’s the sun from eight-and-a-half minutes ago. Suppose the sun died and turned into a frigid mass at this precise moment. We would continue to see the sun here on earth as we know it and only see it turn to ice after eight-and-a-half minutes.
If we mark earth and sun as two points and then connect them by an unbent path, we would get a straight line approximately 150 million kilometers long. Now, if we bend that straight line at its midpoint and fold it over so that it comes to rest on itself, then the two ends of the line will meet. Since one end represents the sun and the other one earth, this folding of the line would put them within touching distance of each other. In other words, we could bypass approximately 150 million kilometers in space a few millimeters wide.
While circumventing a distance of eight and half-light minutes is indeed a magnificent feat, it is too insignificant compared to what could be achieved through a similar shunting across a distance of billions of light-years in space. It is beyond our imagination to consider we could travel the distance it takes light to travel a hundred billion years in less than a minute through a temporal ‘shortcut‘ called the Einstein-Rosen Bridge or a wormhole.
Owing to Star-trek’s profound popularity, traveling through space-time is no longer an unfamiliar concept, but how it works is. Einstein’s field equations of general relativity connect different points in space-time. Wormholes emerge as solutions to those complex field equations, and you’ll find theoretical explanations in many technical papers and journals. Their fictional adaptation has spanned from the pages of sci-fi thrillers to the screens around the world. Popular series, such as BBC’s Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Stargate, all feature them in prominent storylines. Theoretical physicists Hermann Weyl, John Archibald Wheeler, Charles Misner and many others have substantiated the wormhole theory of matter concerning the mass analysis of electromagnetic field energy.
Wormholes And The Chronicles of Narnia
In The Chronicles of Narnia, first published in 1950, little Lucy discovers another world just inside her cupboard. The cupboard acts as a shortcut between two different worlds, with unique time perceptions in each of the two worlds. When Lucy spends a long time in the other world and returns to her world, she learns that no time has passed at all. This is consistent with current wormhole theories.
However, despite the technical justification and popular culture popularity wormholes have enjoyed, their existence continues to be limited to within the realms of fiction.
You could browse countless pages of online journals and records of national libraries worldwide and not find even a single account on record of someone discovering a wormhole. Does that mean they don’t exist? Or is it that human science isn’t advanced enough to identify them?
Do they not exist, or do they just not exist on earth or anywhere near our solar system?
Let’s not rush to assumptions just to concoct answers to the above questions because if we do, the following bizarre incident will seem even more impossible.
Sir Robert Victor Goddard’s Discovery
In 1935, Sir Robert Victor Goddard KCB, CBE, flew in his aircraft over an abandoned airfield in Drem, a small village in Scotland. After many months of inactivity, the airfield had become home to cattle and thick clusters of plants and bushes. Sir Goddard could very easily recognize the derelict state of the decommissioned airfield from his plane.
Days later, while retracing that route on his return journey, his airplane met a storm – a weird storm the likes of which he had never experienced before. The peculiarity of the storm didn’t lie in the wind and rain. Rather, it was the color of the clouds that stunned him. He tried to rise above the clouds (common practice pilots often adopt in an attempt to elude storms) but found himself lost and disoriented amidst unending masses of yellow clouds. His controls went haywire, and the aircraft began to plummet. As his aircraft dived, the clouds tore apart, and the ground came rushing at him. Luckily, he managed to bring the aircraft under his control again.
During his potential encounter with wormholes, everything seemed normal for a moment, and then he noticed something odd. The rain, the wind, the yellow clouds had all collectively disappeared into thin air. The storm he had struggled through just seconds earlier seemed to have vanished instantly. Sir Goddard spotted an active airfield in the distance. Mechanics clad in blue uniforms hustled about working while four yellow planes stood on the runway. A particular new monoplane caught his attention.
The veteran pilot had never before come across yellow planes, seen RAF (Royal Air Force) mechanics dressed in any other uniform except brown, or known of any such monoplane model in the entire RAF. But that wasn’t the strangest thing. The airfield he saw below him was the same abandoned, foliage-covered cattle-filled area he had crossed just a few days earlier. Without considering the oddity too deeply, he set his course for his home base. But soon after, his plane was once again engulfed by torrential rain, wind and bizarre yellow clouds. Again he struggled to control his plane and finally managed to pilot his plane to his destination unharmed.
His co-workers at the base station didn’t believe his story about Drem’s abandoned airfield being operational again. They knew Drem well and knew the airfield had long since been decommissioned. Additionally, officials had not heard of any plan to bring the forgotten airfield back to operation anytime in the near future. Furthermore, yellow planes, RAF mechanics in blue uniforms, and the monoplane type he recalled didn’t exist anywhere.
The ripples of doubt lasted for a few days, but finally, Sir Victor Goddard’s outlandish account slipped from his co-worker’s thoughts–until four years later.
In 1939, the Drem airfield was reinstated. The airfield opened again with RAF mechanics in blue uniforms, and the RAF painted its planes yellow for the first time. One of those airplanes, a brand new model of a two-seat monoplane called Magister, was commissioned for the first time in the history of RAF. The precise model Sir Victor Goddard had described four years earlier.
He had first shared his story following his 1935 flight, and records confirm the timeline. Did he travel through time? It is possible he became delusional during the flight, experiencing hallucinations resulting from disorientation caused by turbulences of a very ordinary storm. Perhaps it was a fascinating coincidence that everything he hallucinated that day accurately matched the exact picture of the place four years later.
Wormholes, however, offer another possibility.
The two turbulences Sir Victor Goddard mistook for storms with strange yellow clouds could have been the two ends of a wormhole. Did the RAF pilot inadvertently stumble into an Einstein-Rosen Bridge–a bridge that transported him four years into the future (1939) and then back again to 1935?
Goddard didn’t write about the event until 27 years later for his 1966 book Flight Towards Reality. During that time, he became convinced he could not have possibly known that the RAF would change uniform and plane colors four years before it happened. In the end, the decorated air marshall concluded he had slipped through time and glimpsed the future.
The event has not been recreated nor disproven.
This article was originally published June 10, 2021. It was updated in October 2021 to comply with SEO norms. Any textual updates are enclosed in square brackets and preceded by the date of update as follows: [UPDATE: Oct. 14, 2021:]
Victor Nandi is a Senior Content Developer with an Ed-tech company. In addition to various international magazines, his works of horror, fantasy and sci-fi have featured in anthologies from several publication houses worldwide. When he isn’t spending time with the characters from his imagination, he is usually chatting with the ones in his life about investment tools, sugar-free diets, and workout regime. He can often be found curled up in his cave with a novel or trying to cheer up a dispirited friend with a horror story. He lives in Bangalore, India.