This story, which could come straight from a script for Star Trek: The Next Generation, would be funny if it weren't for how serious Ms. Garcia sounds about it. Here's how her plight was described on the site All About Occult:
Lerina Garcia, a then 41-year-old woman from Spain, well-educated, came up with a rather fascinating story. According to her, as she woke up on an unspecified day in March 2008, her eyes fell upon her bed sheets. Strangely, they weren't the ones she remembered going to sleep to. Neither were her pyjamas. As she decided to ignore the minute peculiarities to go to her office, the same she had been working for since 20 years, she found that the department which she called hers didn't have her name on the plate. First she thought she had got the wrong floor, but no, everything was the same, same floor, same department, except it wasn't hers. Then she found out she had been working in a different department altogether, for director she didn't even recognize. Scared, she left the office on sickness grounds.Understandably. But the strangeness didn't end there. In Garcia's own words (translated, obviously, into English; this is verbatim from the site, and I'm aware that some of it seems a little oddly-phrased):
6 months ago I’m not with my partner of 7 years, we left and started a relationship with a guy in my neighborhood. I know him well, I’ve been 4 months with him and know his name, address, where he works as a child you have and where he is studying. Well, now there is this guy. It seems that existed before my ‘jump’ but now no trace, I hired a detective to look for it and there in this ‘flat’.
I went to a psychiatrist and attribute it to stress, believed to be hallucinations, but I know not. My ex-boyfriend is with me as usual, I’ve never left it seems, and Augustine (my boyfriend now) seems to never have existed here, it lives in the apartment where he lived nor find his son. I swear it’s real, I am very sane.First of all, I can't imagine living through this. The terror must be extreme. From the report, it sounds like Ms. Garcia is entirely sincere (i.e., not a hoaxer), although it certainly can be hard to make that judgment simply from an article. But going on the assumption that she isn't lying outright, what are our options for an explanation?
Well, it hardly needs saying that I'm not buying that she's a visitor from an alternate universe. The ad hoc assumptions that would be necessary for us to believe that are simply too numerous. So I think we can safely cancel the Red Alert Status, and send Geordi LaForge et al. back to their stations.
[image courtesy of artist Christian Schirm and the Wikimedia Commons]
One of the most terrifying things about such aberrations, I think. At least for most other disorders, you know you're sick. Here, you're convinced that you're seeing things correctly -- and therefore, it must be everyone else who is seeing things wrong.
So for all of the people who are citing Ms. Garcia's case as proof of alternate universes and the Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics, and so forth, I'm not finding it convincing. It's much more likely that she had a minor stroke, perhaps in the limbic system or temporal lobe, which function together to allow for facial recognition and memory. Rather than trumpet her case as proof of the paranormal, it might be better to see to it that she has a CT scan, and appropriate treatment for what is almost certainly a neurological disorder, not anything (literally) otherworldly.