The penultimate episode of the first season of Tales Told When the Windows Rattle features an anonymous story called “Curious Mesmeric Experiences in California” (1860). As I mention after my reading, this story foreshadows Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (1890), especially in what it says about the conditions under which we might become acutely aware that time depends upon perception. “Time is relative,” says the narrator of the 1860 work. Apparently, Einstein wasn’t the first.
Be warned: this is a fairly “expository” story. It explores ideas and abstractions, leaning more on premise than plot or characterization. Who knows? Maybe hearing it is preferable to reading it. (And before anyone complains about my inconsistent, muddy English accent, remember this narrator has spent several years in the States! This might be a flimsy excuse — but it’s the best one I’ve got!)
“Curious Mesmeric Experiences in California” is now available at the Tales Told YouTube channel. I’m planning to post additional readings before Season Two starts, so please consider subscribing. You can also find the video version and a downloadable audio-only version here at the Tales Told page.