A time phase was a type of temporal phenomenon.
When Tom tried to use Iris Wildthyme's time-space kinetograph to relive the night of passion he spent with Ben as a young man, a malfunction, probably a loose wire, caused him to jump a time phase. He awoke in his bed at his parents' home, where a hunched figure attacked him, took him to the middle of a forest and buried him alive. The figure then pushed down a pipe to Tom's mouth, allowing him to breathe but also allowing spiders to crawl down his throat. Fortunately, Iris arrived in time to rescue him. (PROSE: Beguine)