We all know Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955). He was a man so brilliant that scientists on board the USS Enterprise in 2364 took advice from his computer-generated hologram (on the ever-popular television series Star Trek: The Next Generation). Einstein was a German-born physicist who is widely regarded as one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century. He is best known for his theory of relativity, which revolutionized our understanding of space and time, and for his famous equation E=mc², which shows the equivalence of mass and energy. Einstein was also a key figure in the development of quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics, and he made significant contributions to the study of Brownian motion and the photoelectric effect. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for his work on theoretical physics, and his ideas continue to shape our understanding of the universe today.
Despite all his accomplishments, there was something that he never figured out: a ‘theory of everything.’ Einstein spent much of his later life in pursuit of the universal explainer, also known as unified field theory. He believed that there must be a single, overarching theory that would unify all the fundamental forces of nature, including gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces.
Einstein's quest for a theory of everything was driven by his deep conviction that the universe was orderly and that there was a fundamental simplicity underlying the apparent complexity of the physical world. He believed that a unified theory would be able to explain all phenomena, from the tiniest subatomic particles to the largest structures in the universe.
However, despite decades of work, Einstein was unable to develop a complete and satisfactory theory of everything. His attempts at unifying the forces of nature ultimately failed, and the task of finding a unified theory has since been taken up by other physicists. Nonetheless, Einstein's ideas continue to inspire and inform modern attempts at a theory of everything, and his legacy as one of the greatest physicists of all time remains secure.
One aspect of physics that challenged Einstein was the emerging field of quantum mechanics. As opposed to the classical mechanics of Einstein – which describes macroscopic objects such as planets and trains – this branch of physics describes the behavior of matter and energy at the atomic and subatomic scales. It is a fundamental theory that governs the behavior of particles such as electrons, protons, and photons and provides a framework for understanding the properties of atoms and molecules.
Within quantum mechanics, there were aspects that completely mystified him. He labeled one such aspect as ‘spooky’. ‘Spooky action at a distance’ is a term that refers to a phenomenon in quantum mechanics known as entanglement. Entanglement occurs when two particles become linked in such a way that the state of one particle is dependent on the state of the other, regardless of the distance between them. This means that when a change is made to one particle, it instantaneously affects the other, even if they are separated by large distances.
Einstein first proposed ‘spooky action at a distance’ in 1935, along with Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen. Since then, the phenomenon of entanglement has been observed in numerous experiments, and it has important implications for the development of quantum computing and cryptography. While the effects of entanglement may seem like "spooky action at a distance" from a classical point of view, it is an important aspect of the quantum world and has been extensively studied and confirmed through experimental testing.
During Einstein and the company’s initial proposal of ‘spooky action,’ they argued that it was not possible because it violated the principle of locality. This principle argues that an object is influenced directly only by its immediate surroundings. However, the premise of ‘spooky action’ suggests that through entanglement, an object on Earth could be directly and instantaneously influenced by another object on the far side of the universe.
Einstein was so disturbed by this possibility that he famously quipped,
God does not play dice with the universe.
Despite his skepticism, Einstein did acknowledge that entanglement was a real phenomenon that had been observed in experiments. However, he continued to believe that there must be some deeper explanation for it that would satisfy his intuition about how the universe should work. While Einstein’s skepticism was understandable given the limited experimental evidence available at the time, today, entanglement and "spooky action at a distance" are accepted as fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics, and they have been confirmed through numerous experiments.
Erik Bard: a theory of everything to explain the spooky
In rural Utah, there resides a property that has become infamous for its paranormal and unexplained phenomena. Skinwalker Ranch is also the subject of a hit show on the History channel called The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch, has been the site of UFO – UAP sightings, strange creatures, portals, animal mutilations, crop circles, and other strange occurrences. The ranch was named after the skinwalker, a shape-shifting creature of Navajo legend that is said to be able to take on the form of any animal.
On The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch, ranch owner Brandon Fugal has assembled a team to conduct scientific research to get to try to unravel some of the mysteries there. The Principal Investigator and Chief Scientist at Skinwalker Ranch is Erik Bard, who leads the team’s investigations into the unknown, most significantly with the advanced surveillance system he installed across the ranch.
In April 2023, Erik appeared on the paranormal podcast All Things – Unexplained. He shared that when it comes to describing the incidents at the ranch, they use the term anomalous as opposed to paranormal. Anomalous is defined as deviating from what is standard, normal or expected. It is worth noting here that a synonym that could easily be substituted for both anomalous and paranormal is spooky.
Erik Bard told the podcast:
We have facts. We have these one-off events that I’ve described. We have these data points, and so, I think it would be fair to say for all of us that what we’re hoping to do is to connect those facts in the most truthful way, not just create artwork that suits us. Not just draw any constellation that we can from them, but to actually find the real underlying connectivity between all these things that are happening. I guess for me, … I’m looking for an explanation that has a unifying appeal. If possible, find one cause that could give rise to all of the many different things that we see.
Two scientists, one mission
Unified Field Theory, the quest for the Theory of Everything, began with Einstein and remains an active area of research in theoretical physics. Such a theory would seek to unify the fundamental forces of nature, including gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces, into a single framework. The discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 at CERN's Large Hadron Collider was a major step forward in this direction, as it provided important insights into the mechanism by which particles acquire mass. Nevertheless, it remains an open and challenging problem that may require new breakthroughs in both theoretical and experimental physics.
Albert Einstein was a scientist on a search to unite everything, but he was thrown off by the observation of spooky events that became a part of quantum mechanics. Erik Bard, on the other hand, is a scientist at the infamous Skinwalker Ranch who is on a search to find the one thing that would unite everything spooky.
Perhaps they are not so far apart. Or maybe they are worlds apart. However, ‘spooky action at a distance’ would tell us that such distances should not be a concern. Mayhap, scientists Bard and Einstein could be entangled in ways that stretch beyond our understanding of time and space. I believe that it is quite possible that the spooky segments of quantum physics that foiled Einstein’s Theory of Everything could contain clues – if not entire solutions – to the spooky events at Skinwalker Ranch. Such events, of course, are not limited to rural Utah. There are anomalous, spooky, parascience, and paranormal events that are experienced around the globe, and, conceivably, around the universe. It is only with open minds and open hearts; and generous portions of observation, data collection, and analysis that we will arrive at the crossroads of the unexplained.