Car accidents are, sadly, a normal occurrence on Britain’s A3 highway. But there was nothing normal about a crash that took place on it in 2002…
On the evening of 11th December, Surrey Police’s annual Christmas party was interrupted by calls from multiple witnesses reporting a probable car crash on the A3. They said they saw a car lose control and career off the dual carriageway—headlights blazing—about 100 metres before the slip road at Burpham in Guildford, Surrey.
All seemed fairly routine. Police attended the scene, initially finding no evidence of a crash. Continuing to search the area, they came upon a wrecked Vauxhall Astra, nose-down in a ditch just 20 yards from where witnesses had seen it veer off the road. It was obscured by trees and undergrowth that made it impossible to spot from the road.
The driver was found near the car, dead. It appeared that he’d crawled from the car and tried to climb the bank to seek help, but didn’t make it. The driver’s door was badly damaged, so he’d probably crawled out of the passenger side.
And his body was a skeleton.
I know, right. Classic “wait—what?” moment.
Turned out that the man, identified by dental records as 21-year-old Christopher Brian Chandler, was wanted by the police for robbery and went missing in July of that year.
So—unless skeletons are capable of driving—Mr Chandler’s accident actually occurred five months before the police found the car.
Question is, what on earth did all those witnesses see?
There are numerous possibilities. The most popular explanation is that they saw a ghostly apparition of the original crash, a ‘replay’ if you will. Perhaps the lost soul of Christopher Chandler had decided to re-enact the accident to draw attention to his final resting place.
Another more mundane explanation is that the car they saw was a different one. The police certainly didn’t subscribe to any paranormal possibilities. Sergeant Russ Greenhouse of Surrey Police said this:
“The car was discovered as a result of a report from members of the public who thought they saw a car’s headlights veering off the road. The officers could not identify that collision but they had the presence of mind to search on foot and they found this car.”
So this officer is hinting at two separate incidents. He’s even suggesting that what the witnesses saw may not have been a car.
Yes, witnesses do misperceive and misinterpret things. All the time, I expect. But we’re talking about multiple witnesses reporting a car with its headlights on veering off the road—what else could it have been? A UFO?
And if it was another car, two big questions arise. First, what happened to it? It must’ve crashed. The embankment was steep and it would’ve plunged into trees and undergrowth just as Chandler’s did. How could it have just… disappeared? Second, is it not too much of a coincidence that it came off the road in exactly the same place as Chandler’s? I guess that depends on how you feel about coincidences.
There’s another explanation nobody’s mentioned. The witnesses saw a time slip. Just as he went flying off the road, Chandler’s car slipped forwards in time—five months into the future—and slipped back again. There are many similar cases—Rudolph Fentz, the vanishing hotel, the couple who disappeared near Loch Ness, and the Moberly–Jourdain incident. Nobody knows for sure if time slips are real or what causes them, but a popular theory is that they’re ‘weak spots’ in the space-time continuum.
Funny how, when looking for explanations for all these strange happenings I write about, I always end up back at time travel.
Not that I’m a time travel nut or anything.
*climbs back into makeshift time machine to watch Back to the Future*
Next week: is the Moon a hoax?