25 | Multiverse Concept & the Upside-Down from Stranger Things

Is there a world within this world? Do multiple dimensions really exist? Chapter 25 of ORIGINS explores the multiverse concept and the upside-down as made famous by Stranger Things.

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Is there a world within this world? Do multiple dimensions really exist? Chapter 25 of ORIGINS explores the multiverse concept and the upside-down as made famous by Stranger Things.


I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with potential. What I mean by that is the concept that there are multiple universes and co-existing worlds that we can’t see living and breathing all around us. It’s the reason why Alice in Wonderland is my favorite book of all times, why I can’t get enough Back to the Future, especially number 2, and explains my obsession with Stranger Things and the Upside Down. A few years ago, I wrote a book that takes place in a world much like Stranger Things. It’s a town that has a gate to a secret, evil world inside its borders and one boy who is chosen to uncover it. The story is titled EXPOSURE and I can’t wait to share it with the world.

On this chapter of ORIGINS, I’d like to explore crazy concepts like the multiverse theory and the possibility of the Upside Down really existing.

Every choice you make erases all other possible choices. With billions of people making billions of choices, it’s not hard to see that one changed decision would have a ripple effect that could change the world for everyone. Like the butterfly effect. In the bubble theory, it’s thought that as the universe expands, bubbles of alternate universes identical to our own are created. Even if you believe in God, this could be reality. Think about it: God creates multiple planets with multiple beings to experiment and see under which conditions we thrive and succeed. Who’s to say otherwise? Personally, I think it’s more believable than the idea of aliens. Haven’t you ever done or said something that felt like it had happened before? Maybe it’s not a supernatural déjà vu type thing. Maybe it’s a moment of awareness from a multiple dimension.

Scientists have encountered a “cold spot” in the universe that may be the first indication of an actual multiple universe, perhaps one that collided with our own in the bubble theory. I wonder if I’m there? In the case of the Upside-Down, that is not a different universe but rather an alternate reality, one that coexists in the same space as our own at the same time, which goes against many hard-scientific laws, like the Pauli exclusion principle in physics that states two identical fermions (particles with half-integer spin) cannot occupy the same quantum state simultaneously. However certain isotopes of atoms at extremely cold temperatures behave as if they are a single unit and take up the same space at the same time. Think of it like a tapestry. Each string is it’s one distinct entity but only together does the picture form as one complete idea. In the case of this quantum fabric, we need a point of entry to travel between realities or from thread to thread, like a portal or a portkey, if you’re a Potter fan. I know, it’s hard to wrap the brain around your one, but if this cold part of the universe contains these atoms, it’s possible that you and I are doing something completely different at this very moment in an alternate reality. Pretty cool, huh?

Like the Upside-Down has its own laws of physics and appearance, the multiverse theory proposes that many universes coexist. In our world, time is linear. In other worlds, time might not exist. I love the idea that time travel is possible when you consider you aren’t traveling across a timeline, but rather into and out of different strings of universe potential, arriving at a new point where the affects are felt. Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63 is an incredible exploration of this multiverse concept. Through a portal found in a diner’s pantry, one man can travel to a specific point in an alternate dimension where his choices alter the present in another man’s world. It’s an incredible book and there’s a great mini-series that is worth the watch of the same title.

Could the ORIGINS of these concepts have originated with the universe itself? For me, it makes sense. Perhaps dreams are places where those threads cross and that’s why you are in familiar places that you don’t recognize with familiar people you don’t know. Maybe it explains why you can fly or why the sky is green or why you can breathe underwater in dreams. It’s fun to speculate because no one can tell me I’m wrong, and these are the building blocks to my books. Those inconceivable, unbelievable ideas that build worlds where anything is possible. In fact, string theory fueled my book Exposure with an epicenter where all the strings collide and the portal out of our world becomes the portal from which monsters enter in.

Like alien encounters, people claim to have personally experienced an alternate reality. Here are a few stories I found intriguing:

One day, two brothers were walking from their house set several miles back from the town in a deeply wooded area. Dirt roads wove between the trees and suddenly, they came across an unfamiliar paved road. The boys swore they had never seen it before and decided to explore. Their feet hit the pavement, and instantly the air noticeably dropped several degrees. Short trees resembling redwoods flanked the path although neither boy had ever seen that variety before. After walking 3 miles, the boys returned home, both freaked out by the paved path and how out of place it seemed. When they went back the next day, packed lunches and tools in tow, they found no path, not even a dirt one, where they had walked the day prior. In fact, trees had miraculously grown in overnight, leaving the brothers to believe they had found a brief entry into a portal and walked through an alternate reality.

In a haunted dog rescue in the Midwest, a man began receiving strange texts from coworkers on his off days asking him why he was working on a day off followed by texts asking where he had disappeared to. At first, the man blew it off, thinking they were messing with him or just mistaken. But then it happened in person. The man would be feeding a dog, when a coworker rounded the corner only to jump upon seeing him because, they would tell him, he was just out front talking to them only a second ago. Or he had just been seen in the storage room and now he was out back with the dogs when that person stepped outside; an impossibility. No one actually saw the man’s face when he was spotted doing dishes or in storage. They decided it had been a premonition of him, a masquerade by a spirit, or a glimpse into an alternate universe like looking through a closed window.

In a small town, a boy became friends with another boy through WOW who lived in a nearby neighborhood. They quickly grew close and enjoyed each other’s company. One day, one of the boys decided to pay a visit to the second unannounced. He walked up the front walk outlined with budding flowers and to the front door painted a deep crimson. He rang the bell. He waited. A man answered, and the boy thought it must be his friend’s father, only the man lived in the house alone and had no children. But the man’s name was the same as the boy’s friend in WOW. This boy was convinced he had somehow crossed consciousness with the man as a boy through some sort of time travel or multiverse experience. This story reminds me of Frequency, the movie and show based off a man who can communicate with his dead father 20 years in the past.

In a flat in the middle of the city, a young girl arrived at her grandmother’s house. Bored inside, she stepped onto the sidewalk and was crossing the street to play at the park when a car appeared seemingly out of nowhere, nearly striking her down. As she jumped out of the way and the car passed as if in a dream, the girl stared inside to see a man, who she swore was her father, driving with a woman passenger and a small girl in the backseat, all oblivious to her presence and the near mishap. As the car passed, she recognized the license plate. It was from her car. Come to think of it, the car was the same shade of steely gray. Had someone stolen their family vehicle? Had her father left with someone else? The girl looked down the road to see their car parallel parked where her father had left it and when she turned to chase down the phantom car, it was gone. Had the car been driving on a street in a parallel universe that she was somehow able to glimpse? Had the girl been her and the woman her mother?

Déjà vu is a strange phenomenon. I love how it’s explained as a glitch in the Matrix. I think this is something everyone has experienced to one degree or another, but a guy said on Reddit that he woke up one morning and checked his YouTube channel where he clicked on a random video unlike his normal video choice. When he did, a warm pressure fell over him and he suddenly knew he had seen the video before, even though it was released in the middle of the night. To take it a step further, he began to recite the video word for word, as if he had memorized the script. True déjà vu, a ripple effect, or a hoax? It’s anyone’s guess.

As a writer, I create worlds that are so real I hope my reader feels like they are there. But sometimes, it feels like the story is writing itself without me. Images pop in my mind that are so detailed and real that I find it hard to believe I fabricated them. Is there a possibility that these imaginations are crossovers to distant strings and multiverses being presented as fiction? Am I creating characters and universes or are they events and people whose lives I’m viewing unnoticed, and turning into stories for your enjoyment? Far-fetched idea, but who’s to say I’m wrong?

I’m Jaimie Engle, and you’ve just discovered ORIGINS.

ORIGINS is a bi-weekly podcast that shares the story behind legends and lore, where myth and science meet, written and produced by me, award-winning author Jaimie Engle. Please rate and subscribe to ORIGINS. It’s your greatest compliment. And if you really love it, support through Patreon.com/thewriteengle where I love to reward my tribe! Finally, stick around for a short story from my book The Toilet Papers titled “The Heist,” a 2012 award-winning story set in an alternate steampunk version of early 20th century Key West, where a wealthy couple will learn the price for playing against the house.

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Support: www.patreon.com/thewriteengle | Show Notes: www.podcastorigins.com | Music by www.bensound.com | Purchase the story from The Toilet Papers

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