Quantum Leap FAQL
Created by: Quantum Buc (buc@world) and
Debbie Brown (email@example.com)
With assistance from: Vicky Sailer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Audrey Urling (email@example.com)
Revision Date: 6/5/91
1. Who controls the leaps?
Nobody knows. Sam and Al know that it's not Ziggy or anyone at Project Quantum
Leap. Al told Sam in the pilot that Sam's LEAPs were out of the project's
control, so Sam and Al hypothetize that it's Him who is
2. When Al looks at Sam, what does he see?
Al sees the leapee. In the episode entitled "What Price, Gloria", Al was out
of control at seeing Sam as the gorgeous secretary. Al probably recognizes
Sam because they are linked through their brainwaves transmissions, which is
what is used by the project to locate Sam in time.
3. Who is in the "Waiting room"?
The leapee. To everyone in 1995, the leapee looks like Sam. In one episode,
the leapee was someone Al knew, as Al recognized him in the waiting room. We
don't know if Al just recognized the personality or if this was a gaffe on the
part of the writers.
4. When Sam looks at himself, what does he see?
He sees himself, Sam Beckett - unless he looks into a mirror. Then he sees the
5. Can anyone else at the project go into the imaging chamber and see Sam?
No. In one episode, (Star-Crossed), several committee members entered the
chamber with Al, but for them, they were in an empty room with Al talking
to thin air. The others were not visible to Sam (or us). Only when Al is
touching an object will it be visible to Sam (and us). In more than one
episode, Al brought an object into the waiting room for Sam to see (this is
beyond Al's clothing, cigar and . Dr. Beaks, by holding Al's
hand seemed to be able to see Sam and in turn was seen by him (and us :).
6. Can Sam die during a leap?
According to Don Bellisario, YES he can.
7. Why could Sam see in a blind man's body? Would he be able to hear in a
It appears that at least "part" of Sam is physically leaping through time,
his mass being exchanged with that of the leapee. This is the way Don
Bellisario explained it: if the leapee is hit by a car while crossing the
street, breaking his leg before Sam leaps in, when Sam arrives, his leg will
not be broken. If the Sam is hit AFTER he leaps in, then his leg WILL be
broken. He does not share handicaps or injuries suffered by the leapee before
his leap in, but will sustain injuries suffered while he is there. We don't
know if he will still have this injury during his next leap, or if the leapee
in the waiting room will have a broken leg. Whether the leapee will exhibit
any injuries Sam sustains while there isn't known either.
8. What does the LEAPee remember about his experience after he returns?
This is also not known. The only time this occurred was in the episode
"Double Identity," where Sam LEAPed into another body and the original host
returned. He APPEARED to have no memory of anything after he was leaped
into. However, we don't think this is the normal effect, since this leap was
generated by Ziggy in an attempt to retrieve Sam. It has been stated that
the leapee, while in Sam's body back in the Waiting Room, has a 'swiss-cheesed'
memory, much like Sam received upon his initial LEAP.
9. Can anyone see Sam as Sam, rather than as the leapee? Can anyone other
than Sam see Al?
Small children, the "mentally absent", animals and people near death can see
him (And pretty blondes with very low IQs, if Dean Stockwell got his way :-).
Al has explained that children and animals see things as they really are.
Also, if a person's brainwaves were sufficiently in tune with Sam's that person
would be able to see and hear Al too.
10. Why can't Sam LEAP back beyond his own lifetime?
(or, why can't he LEAP into the far past)?
This is all part of Sam Beckett's String Theory.
11. What would happen if Sam failed to do what he was there to do?
Again, nobody knows. One theory that they have was that he would be trapped
in the past forever, in that host body. This, however, is doubtful. Another
one that we have had was that he would LEAP into another body to attempt again
to fix "that which has gone wrong". In "Double Identity", Sam was pulled from
the LEAPee by Ziggy without resolving the problem he was there to fix. He
leaped immediately into another body in the same room and in that SECOND body
completed his mission.
12. How does Ziggy know so much about peoples' lives in the past?
Ziggy is hooked up to every major database of the mid 90s. It's amazing,
when you think about it, just how much is REALLY known about you that
is stored on computers.
13. How is it that when Sam leaps into a leapee who is shorter/smaller then
he is, people around him don't notice a difference in size?
I belive it is a question of topology. I'm not very good at it, but
consider the following argument. The QL maps everything from a different
time into a frame of reference relative to Sam. (And vice versa for the
host.) Sam doesn't see what really happens, but rather what happens
relative to his host. [Doug van der Veen]
It's all a matter of relativity. Consider a spaceship 10 meters long. Send
it off at 99.4% of the speed of light and it will seem to be only 1 meter long
to anyone still on earth, while still seeming like 10 to those on board.
Gravity can do the same sort of thing, put an object deep into a gravity well
and it will seem shorter. The point is the ship is in a different 'reference
frame' than the earth, and the object in the well is in a different frame then
the observer floating outside it, and things like length (also duration) are
not the same across reference frames. [Pekowsky]
So here's the theory: when Sam leaps his whole body leaps (explaining
things like "Blind Faith"), but it is mapped into a different reference frame.
If you look through a warped piece of glass, things seem to be a different size
and shape. The same thing happens with a warped region of space (cf.
"Gravitational Lenses.") When Sam leaps the space containing him is warped in
such a way that not just length, but all physical properties are altered.
And, of course, the only person in Sam's reference frame is Sam, so when he
looks at himself he sees what he has always seen, but when he looks in a
mirror the photons have passed between frames, and so he sees the leapee.
To answer the original question, when Sam, 6ft or so, has leaped into
someone 5ft7 and is talking to someone, they look at the leapee's eyes,
he sees them looking at his eyes, and likewise he looks down, but the person
he's talking to sees the leapee looking straight. Which is really right?
Neither, or both! It's the same as asking 'how long is the spaceship really,'
the answer is completely dependent on what frame you're in because certain
physical properties have no absolute existence. [Pekowsky]
As for how this ties into superstrings - current thought is that strings
don't just define particles, but also in some sense define space and time
themselves (ref: "Superstrings: A Theory of Everything?" edited by PCW
Davies). When Sam leaps he takes the strings comprising his body and 'soul,'
into a region of space made up of the strings of the person he's replacing.