Lara Foley, Fordham College at Lincoln Center ’22, currently serves as a layout editor. She studies new media and digital design and loves to doodle. She adores working alongside her fellow layout editors and conquering the labyrinth that is InDesign! She has two cats and a doggo back home in Los Angeles.
Your Favorite Worlds Could Be a Dimension Away
Creators on TikTok are “shifting realities” to live in different dimensions
March 17, 2021
Any self-proclaimed Potterhead likely fantasized about getting their acceptance letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and hopping on the Hogwarts Express with their brand-new wand to study magic. Of course, the novels are fictional, so no one in our reality is secretly singing in the Frog Choir with Professor Flitwick. But what about in other realities?
The “Harry Potter” realm of TikTok has been taken over by creators who claim that through a practice called “shifting,” they have lived in another reality, one in which Hogwarts exists, as do the characters from the novels.
Shifting is the process of moving one’s consciousness from one reality to another, usually triggered through some form of meditation and self-affirmation. People who shift train their minds to leave their current reality to essentially wake up in a “desired reality” (DR). It comes from the idea that there is a multiverse of infinite different realities, each with minute differences that make them unique.
Then they repeat “the Gateway affirmation” to themselves, saying that they are more than just physical bodies and that the expansion of their consciousness is a deep, strong desire.
For example, people who shift believe if a person has to choose between wearing a blue shirt and a green shirt and chooses the blue shirt, there is another reality in the multiverse in which that person chose the green shirt, which would shift that reality in a different direction.
It’s not exclusive to the Wizarding World universe either; for example, anime universes are also popular on TikTok, and some people shift to realities in which they are best friends with their favorite celebrities. People can shift anywhere and to any time, and they can even have multiple DRs that they alternate between.
The Science Behind Shifting
Shifting and multidimensional travel is a process that has undergone significant scientific research, most notably in a 1983 report for the CIA that covered “The Gateway Experience.” Data from this report reinforces the key methods people use to shift between multiple dimensions.
The analysis, by Lt. Col. Wayne M. McDonnell, was in response to a research and development program called The Monroe Project. The program was founded in 1956 by Robert A. Monroe, a radio executive whose goal was to learn how certain sound patterns can expand consciousness.
According to McDonnell, the Gateway Experience works by using a technique called Hemi-Sync, which is binaural technology that gives the subject the right tools to enter a state of enhanced consciousness.
McDonnell explained how the brain transcends the limitations of time and space; when brain waves reach two points of complete rest, for an “infinitesimally brief instant” that energy leaves the confines of time and space and enters energy at infinity, which physicists call “the Absolute.” McDonnell also wrote that between the “material” universe, in which humans actively perceive their existences, and “the Absolute,” there are multiple dimensions for humans in states of expanded consciousness to access.
Finally, McDonnell explains the Gateway Method. Participants begin by letting go of their concerns before humming a single tone found in the binaural tapes to which they would soon be exposed. Then they repeat “the Gateway affirmation” to themselves, saying that they are more than just physical bodies and that the expansion of their consciousness is a deep, strong desire.
“There is a sound, rational basis in terms of physical science parameters for considering Gateway to be plausible in terms of its essential objectives.” Lt. Col. Wayne M. McDonnell
Then, the Hemi-Sync frequencies are introduced and the participants are encouraged to visualize an “energy balloon” that enhances the energy flow throughout their bodies. At this point, the mind should be in a state of expanded consciousness.
“There is a sound, rational basis in terms of physical science parameters for considering Gateway to be plausible in terms of its essential objectives,” McDonnell wrote. This means that based on this study, astral projection and shifting realities are, in fact, possible.
Reaching new dimensions isn’t a joke that a teenager made up in their bedroom. It’s been studied time and time again and is still studied and practiced at the Monroe Project today. The Gateway Method that McDonnell described is almost the exact method that people who shift use to get to their desired realities.
CIA Science to TikTok Trend
How did a CIA-investigated scientific experiment turn into a TikTok trend that young people can use to meet their favorite characters? Some TikTok creators dedicate their entire accounts to explaining shifting and telling their stories, one of whom shared her experience with The Observer.
The creator, who chose to remain anonymous due to concerns about community pushback, recalled that she had seen a video on shifting on YouTube and was immediately drawn to the idea. It wasn’t easy to believe at first, but she chose to give shifting to the “Harry Potter” universe a go.
The TikTok version of shifting is slightly different from the Gateway Method, but it follows the same concept. Most shifters begin by adopting several healthy habits, such as hydration, self-affirmation and meditation, in order to maintain a strong and healthy mind. Then, they create a script, which the shifter described as “a physical or non-physical list of things someone wants/doesn’t want in their reality. I say non-physical because not everyone likes to write it down. Some keep it their head or on their phone or computer.”
“Don’t jump to conclusions just because you’ve been told your entire life that if something is perfect, it’s not real.” Anonymous creator of shifting
To shift, most people follow a method popularized on TikTok. The mainstream method, similar to the Gateway Method, involves subliminal binaural audio, constant affirmation and visualization.
Most people have expressed that they’ve experienced physical warning signs, often referred to on TikTok as symptoms, when trying to shift realities. Some of these include numbness, heaviness or weightlessness; tingling; feelings of spinning or falling; or even hearing voices or sounds associated with one’s DR. The shifting creator explained that she felt a large amount of energy flowing through her body as she was falling asleep.
Common Misconceptions Around Shifting
For most people, shifting is not immediate. The creator said that she didn’t shift for about ten weeks, and by that point, she started to assume shifting was fake. But when she did successfully shift, after falling asleep affirming to herself that she would wake up in her DR, she said that she was quick to realize that what she was experiencing was not a dream.
One of the most common misconceptions about shifting is that it is simply an induced lucid dream, but the creator explained that that is far from the truth: “I understand the comparison with lucid dreaming, but I can assure you it’s not the same. With lucid dreaming you’re in complete control over your dream (at least that’s how I experienced it). It feels real on a mental and emotional level, but not physically. You don’t feel pain, or anything really. That’s how you know it’s a dream.”
“With reality shifting, it’s completely different. It’s not a dream at all. You’re actually travelling to one of the infinite realities of the multiverse. It’s pure science, really. It’s real, and you can clearly separate it from a lucid dream.”
Most often, people who hear about shifting immediately write people’s experiences off as fabricated stories posted for attention. Even with studies like McDonnell’s, expanding the mind to a dimension with magic and unicorns seems preposterous. The creator knows it’s hard to believe, and that it seems too good to be true but she said, “Don’t jump to conclusions just because you’ve been told your entire life that if something is perfect, it’s not real.”
Negative Experiences Online
The shifter explained that these creators are aware that sharing their experiences comes with a lot of negative attention. Despite the negativity, the creator decided to post her content because after experiencing shifting, she wanted to help others experience it too, not because she wants to be famous.
The creator keeps her personal life very private, but she’s found that opening up has given her a stronger connection to her followers and to other people who shift. “I have made many friends because of this and they are such amazing people. We all hype each other up and keep each other motivated,” she said. “It’s nice to have support from people who have interests like you.”
“My favorite content on TikTok, or just the internet in general, is the really weird niche stuff that doesn’t make sense to people who don’t know it.” Justin Mazur, FCLC ʼ22
She concluded that even if people harbor doubts about shifting, it never hurts to try something new. For people who don’t want to or don’t believe in it, she cautioned against treating people who shift poorly. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I respect that. But, respect goes both ways.”
Fordham’s Response to Shifters
Outside of the realm of TikTok and scientists, it seems as though shifting is an elusive subject. At Fordham, most people haven’t heard of shifting at all, and those who have had only heard it mentioned briefly. With some explanation, reactions were mixed, but if anything, most students found it interesting.
“I don’t really believe it, but I feel like using something like shifting to another reality to escape something like mental illness in your own reality might do more harm than good, so it seems like people should be careful,” Marissa Pecorelli, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ʼ23, said.
Justin Mazur, FCLC ʼ22, took a different view, saying, “I think the whole idea sounds pretty interesting. It’s really cool how many niche communities there are on TikTok; my favorite content on TikTok, or just the internet in general, is the really weird niche stuff that doesn’t make sense to people who don’t know it.”
With the hordes of information that have flooded the internet about shifting in the past year, it can be hard to narrow down something that works for oneself out of all of the different methods and the elusive nature of shifting itself.
The shifting creator interviewed offered one last piece of advice: “just relax!” It’s exhausting to obsess over shifting, so the creator wanted to remind everyone, “Don’t forget to live in this reality too!”
Even a phenomenon like traveling across dimensions and going to Hogwarts has science behind it. Who’s to say that something you’ve written off as “too good to be true,” can’t exist?
All in all, whether you’re convinced that you can shift to the Great Hall of Hogwarts tomorrow or are sure that everyone who claims that they’ve shifted is full of it, it never hurts to take a step back and take a closer look at those things that seem unbelievable.
Even a phenomenon like traveling across dimensions and going to Hogwarts has science behind it. Who’s to say that something you’ve written off as “too good to be true,” can’t exist? Shifting is, if nothing else, a reminder to live your “current reality” to the fullest and explore every impossibly wonderful twist life has to offer, even if that something involves a little magic.