Time-Traveling English Schoolteachers Part 1

About the time-traveling English schoolteachers who claim to have been transported over one hundred years in the past, history and account of their story.

The Adventure--of Adventures

On a hot summer's afternoon in August of 1901, 2 respectable English schoolteachers, Annie Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain, decided to visit Versailles on a sight-seeing expedition. They had never been there before. After looking in on the Palace of Versailles, they started to walk toward the Petit Trianon--and suddenly, without realizing it, they walked backward in time. They crossed a garden that did not exist in 1901 but which had existed in 1789. They saw and spoke to people who had been dead for more than a century. Their incredible psychic adventure, fully supported by years of research, created a sensation when it was announced in 1911. It was debated by scientists, scholars, philosophers, and it has been debated ever since.

Annie Moberly was the daughter of an Oxford don who became the Bishop of Salisbury in England. Annie was the 10th of 15 children. She was well educated, honorable, religious, imaginative. She became a teacher and was appointed the 1st principal of St. Hugh's College, a small school for girls, in Oxford.

Eleanor Jourdain was also the daughter of a parson and the 1st of 10 children. Although descended from a Huguenot family, she was thoroughly British. She was introspective and prim, yet fanciful and independent as well. She published 7 weighty textbooks, one on symbolism in Dante. She, too, set out to teach, held several positions, ran a school of her own, and after her psychic adventure was to become vice-principal of St. Hugh's College under the older Annie Moberly.

In 1901, Eleanor Jourdain, eager to learn French, had moved to Paris temporarily, where she was sustaining herself by tutoring English children in that city. Annie Moberly, who at that time knew Miss Jourdain only slightly, came over to Paris to enjoy a short vacation and to offer Miss Jourdain the post of vice-principal at St. Hugh's. The 2 teachers became good friends and began taking trips outside Paris. Neither had ever been to Versailles, and they decided to go by train to visit its historic palace and beautiful grounds.

On August 10, 1901, Annie Moberly, age 55, and Eleanor Jourdain, age 38, with Baedeker guidebook in hand, arrived at Versailles, toured the palace, and then rested before taking a sight-seeing stroll through the gardens. At last, enjoying the lively wind and overcast sky after a week of hot weather, they started their walk. Their destination was the Petit Trianon, a small private chateau at the far end of the grounds, which King Louis XVI had presented to his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette, for her personal use.

Trying to find the Petit Trianon, Moberly and Jourdain missed a right turn, kept going straight ahead, began wandering aimlessly--and thus, as they would later claim, they took leave of the 20th century and reentered the 18th century.

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