Each of my novels use the concept of inter-dimensional portals to other worlds. In my original research I discovered the principles of string theory supported this idea. If you're a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you know Sheldon Cooper based his career on it, so it must be real, right? Part of my research took me to the Somerset town of Glastonbury where the mythology of fairy doorways dates back centuries. Saint Colllen, a Welsh bishop, lived close to the Tor and recorded his encounter with fairies. Don't tell me he was high on drugs, he was a man of the church! But, in all seriousness, the science community are buzzing with the idea. Not least because NASA have got involved in the story. So, might events in my stories be less fantastical than I imagined? Let's see.
NASA's investigations are being led by plasma physicist Jack Scudder of the University of Iowa. To simplify the science, the Earth's magnetic field connects to the sun's to form a pathway. On earth this pathway forms X-points or electron diffusion regions, they don't last long and vanish but their existence can be recorded. Not only that, they're identifying "signposts" to predict where these X-points will occur. Watch the 4 minute animation explaining the concept here.
Harvard's theoretical physicist Lisa Randall has written about the possibility of such portals, there's an interview with her here. She suggests the Large Hadron Collider may be the device that proves the idea eventually and references the latest news, neutrinos travel faster than the speed of light, as the discoveries that might lead the way. If you want the science, read about the Randall-Sundrum model.
So the science suggests the possibilities of, not just other dimensionals, but "gaps" which may exist between them. Gaps which could facilitate travel eventually. As a teenager, fully immersed in science fiction, I read dozens of stories suggesting our civilisation was only the latest. Usually global catastrophes brought about the end of those that had gone before. Not to be gloomy here but our own society came close in the 1960s! Some would argue we aren't any further away from Armageddon. The stories from ancient civilisations reinforce this theory. I'm always amazed how we consider our ancient ancestors to be unsophisticated yet could make astrophysical calculations. Here are a few stories to illustrate this.
People like Freddy Silva have made a career in literature and TV presenting evidence to support these theories. For instance, Noah's flood is a global catastrophe referenced by every religion and significant culture. He also supports the idea used in my stories, places of worship are the home of portals because they were always built on top of pagan locations of energy.
However, if you're looking for an example of a specific place, let me whisk you off to Peru. Puerta de Hayu Marca in Peru is situated on a plateau just off the western banks of Lake Titicaca, Puerta de Hayu Marca translates to the Gate of the Gods. Reaching 23 feet in both height and width, Hayu Marca appears to be a doorway to nowhere carved into a rock face in a remote area known as the Valley of the Spirits or Stone Forest. Legend has it that when Spanish conquistadors came to Peru to loot the Inca’s gold, a priest named Amaru Meru used Hayu Marca as a portal to escape. Meru allegedly placed a golden disk, known as the “Key to the Gods of the Seven Rays,” into a socket in the center of Hayu Marca’s carved door, opening a portal and allowing him to walk through the stone never to be seen again.
Closer to home, you can visit Portals of London. As the site explains, "From doors between worlds to spacetime-crunching wormholes, the city’s fabric, dimensionally speaking, seems to be uniquely porous.
But if there’s one thing more striking than the number and diversity of portals in the UK’s capital, it’s the strength of the almost wilful effort by the city’s inhabitants to forget these gateways exist at all."
Intriguing to me is the inclusion of the Christopher Wren churches in this list. In 'Revenge for the Bastard' my hero travels to London via a portal, it brings him out in St. Brides church on Fleet Street. This is the oldest church in the city (at least its foundations are). It has Roman mosaic floors and was originally built by Celtic monks. I'm going to come to this next point in a moment - the church is also situated on a ley line. Final bit of trivia, it includes the only remaining charnel house in the country!
The intriguing thing for me is this: why build here? What factors led to the choice of that location?
Let's deal with ley lines. To many people they are pure hokem.
They are supposed lines of energy which criss-cross the world. In Britain there are two major ley lines, (referencing Christian saints!)There is the Mary Line and the highly vigorous Michael Line. Ever wondered why churches on hills get named after Saint Michael? They are all on the Michael Line - which enters England at Penzance, the location for St. Michael's Mount (copied from the grander Mont St Michael in Normandy, also on the ley line).
Believers of ley lines will tell you about Alfred Watkins, an amateur archaelogist who coined the term in his 1925 book on the topic. There's more about them in this BBC article. Watkins claimed prehistoric navigational purposes but subsequently others have detected energy signatures which have strengthened the claim to their existence.
As this map shows, our prehistoric ancestors liked to locate their sacred sites on these lines. Pursue the lines in more detail and the number of churches named after Mary and Michael is astonishing! (Saint Michael is the Christian dragon slayer, if you don't know your Bible. An image long associated with his interest in slaying pagan beliefs more than dragons!. 'The saint of high places' - churches on hills again).
Ley lines transmit energy, that's the theory. Not electrical cables but natural versions of the concept. More here. And here. Religions have placed temples and churches on these hotspots or built fortified structures. They are referenced in every single religion. Is that coincidence?
If you look at the map, you can see Glastonbury is a major hotspot for the Michael and Mary lines.
On my research trip prior to writing The Bastard from Fairyland, I discovered these two lines travel through Glastonbury Abbey in parallel lines. Yet, according to the townsfolk, they diverge briefly where King Arthur was originally believed to be buried. (Edward III moved his body much later.) The Mary line goes through the Abbey's Lady Chapel - originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The battle in the climax of the book takes place in this location, I hope she didn't mind! This National Geographic article follows this up and includes reference to how ley lines resonate in other cultures, such as Chinese feng shui following Dragon Lines and in Australian native races' Songlines.
Once again, it left me asking this question: if this is so much hokum, why is it shared across the globe in every culture and every religion?
I'm connecting all my stories in a series I've called The Tales from the Fae Dimensions because they all use the concept of these doorways. I won't bore you with all the trivia picked up on my Glastonbury trip suffice to say local people are convinced such things can exist. There are so many stories (often recorded if you know where to look) of people who have gone missing, returned with no memory, seen strange things. The Tor, with its Cretan maze (yes, the same pattern used in Crete, China and by the Hopi tribes in Arizona) is another bit of proof - admittedly badly weathered now. (I use all this in book 2, The Bastard in the Dark).
The book that got me started writing seriously was this one, Faerie Tale by Ramond E Feist. It's impact on me has been immense. It was the first time I read a story that aimed to make you believe in the existence of such beings as faerie. It did so with evidence of ancient lore which we, as sophisticated, civilised people, chose to dismiss.
It made me want to do the same thing.
You see, I have to question how disconnected we might be with the natural world. I'm no aging hippy! Aging, yes. But I grew up in the countryside where a belief in Nature existed and was frequently proved right when expert sources said otherwise. I get the impression, as events such as pandemics and climate change impact on our collective consciousness, we are returning to an appreciation of Nature. We're starting to question whether it may harbour answers and solutions we had previously ignored. Perhaps science will discover inter-dimensional doorways in the future, that our ancestors had left us clues we chose not to believe. In the meantime, as an author of speculative fiction, I want to encourage my readers to think about what they might mean to us. The Valkyrie of Vanaheim pursues the idea of colonising a new dimension because of the mess we've made of this world. It could be easier than sending rockets to new planets! In the meantime, I plan to develop more stories with doorways to other dimensions and to make the idea as realistic as possible.