As the world celebrates Back to the Future Day, it has forgotten the unknown man whose 2001 internet postings might just have saved humanity.
The man in this video is claiming to have traveled back in time from the year 2032. He says he was born in 2005 and that being able to time travel was made possible in 2028. If what this guy is saying is true, that means that we will be able to travel through time in the near future.
If time travel is possible, why haven’t we met any time travellers?
This was the question Stephen Hawking advanced on the topic of time warps. But it misses something: what if we have met time travellers without even knowing it? Or what if we’ve met them, but didn’t believe them?
As the world marks the passing of Back to the Future’s fictional future, it has almost forgotten a much less famous series of predictions which started sixteen years ago next month.
Time travel is always seen as an invention of the future, when people apparently are so bored with their jetpacks, robots, and moon colonies that they want to go way back and test drive a Geo Spectrum.
But some people claim to have already been to the past, the future, and whatever lies off to the side. Sure, they won’t share the particulars of how they did it. But they are more than willing to share their flat-out crazy ramblings about doing it and really, isn’t that all the proof we would ever need?
He has been the subject of a book, a play, and even Japanese anime. But John Titor’s story began—as all truly reputable ones do—on Internet bulletin boards. There in 2000 a man calling himself “John Titor” repeatedly claimed he was an American soldier from 2036 (hence his military insignia above) and part of a government time travel program out of Florida (apparently this is what happens to Cape Kennedy after NASA loses all its funding). As for how he traveled back in time, Titor described the machine as a “stationary mass, temporal displacement unit powered by two top-spin, dual positive singularities,” all installed in the back of a 1967 Chevrolet. As for why he traveled back in time, it was because the future depended on him landing in 1975 and finding an IBM 5100, the very first portable computer that in reality was a market flop because IT WAS A LAPTOP THAT WEIGHED 55 POUNDS. As for what he was then doing in the year 2000, Titor said he was just making a layover, like you do sometimes when flying between NY and LA or the mid-70’s and mid-21st Century. Titor then used his time in 2000 to post numerous predictions on online bulletin boards, probably from the local library where he also shaved and bathed in the sink. The predictions included a second U.S. Civil War in 2004, the end of all Olympics that same year, and a Russian nuclear strike on the U.S. in 2015 (so get your affairs in order now). No one has ever been able to determine who Titor was, why many of his stories were swiped outright from the sci-fi classic “Alas, Babylon,” or how come he didn’t just place his time machine in the rear of a 1981 DeLorean instead.
John Titor may have gotten all the media attention, but did he invent the stealth fighter at the age of seven? Or serve as the inspiration for “The Punisher”? Or have NASA turn down his application to be a “space marine”? Or is half vampire but hunts vampires because perhaps he really has issues with one side of his family? Or any of the things that Von Helton (formerly Eugene Helton, sometimes spelled “Vonhelton,” and probably referred to most often as “Patient 1164”) continues to add to his job resume in a furiously crazed haze only for his application for “space fry cook” to be repeatedly turned down by Hardees. But Von Helton’s greatest claim to fame/meme is that he says he’s repeatedly traveled back in time. And unlike a lot of people who claim to visit the past, Von Helton took selfies! Or at least had someone take photos of him. Or really just found a bunch of old photos that faintly resemble him and then triumphantly proclaimed, “That looks like my nose so looks like I proved my case!” Of course, the real proof would be if he took a photo of himself in the future, perhaps when jobs in the “space marines” aren’t so hard to come by.
Charlotte Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain
One of the most famous cases of time travel or accidentally stumbling into a costume party and not quite realizing it (famous enough to go by two names, “The Moberly-Jourdain Incident” and the “The Ghosts of Petit Traino,” one of which sounds like a gritty 70’s espionage film and the other a French cartoon your film fanatic friend won’t shut the hell up about), this story involves two school teachers visiting the gardens of Versailles in 1901. Apparently bored looking at one of the most spectacular sites in France, they wandered off and eventually got lost thanks a Fodor’s knock-off guide. That’s when they crossed a bridge and claimed they saw a whole host of people dressed in 1700’s garb, including none other than Marie Antoinette. Concluding that they had entered a “time slip,” the two women did what anyone else would do in similar circumstances—they returned to their hotel room. They supposedly came back the next day but the bridge was gone…or all the birthday theme party guests had left. The two eventually published a book of their mysterious, mystical encounter under the title “An Adventure,” which is sort of like if you battled extraterrestrial forces and named your story “My Afternoon.”
Father Pellegrino Ernetti
Some people claim to have traveled from the future or have visited the past. But only one person claims he actually saw history come alive from the comfort of his chair. The fact that this person was a priest makes it seem likely he was the Catholic school teacher who kept getting notes from the superintendent reading, “If I hear one more mom say you told their kid you saw Jesus get crucified you’re our new janitor.” How Father Ernetti was able to view history unfold while eating dinner was thanks to the “Chronovisor,” a time viewer he supposedly invented that works like a TV with a very deluxe cable package. Naturally, no one ever saw this device, but that didn’t stop him from saying he visited Ancient Rome, took in Ancient Greek theater, and caught a speech by Napoleon. And as for seeing Christ get crucified, the Father offered a photograph that looked exactly like a famous woodcarving of Christ in a nearby museum. (And frankly, if it had been real, it would have involved the most awkward set-up of a tripod imaginable.) Father Ernetti eventually confessed to making up everything on his deathbed, everyone’s favorite choice for a spiritual loophole. But, as you might have guessed, there are those who believe he was forced to make that confession and that to this day the Vatican still uses his Chronovisor in the hopes of giving Dan Brown the idea for yet another book.
If you came from the future would you prepare mankind for what’s to come or just make a sh*tload of money? Self-proclaimed time traveler Andrew Carlssin opted for the later, because despite what “Star Trek” may have taught us, mankind doesn’t get any more enlightened in the 23rd century. Purportedly hailing from the year 2256 with only $800 to his name (just enough in 2256 to either buy a Mento or apparently travel back in time), Carlssin arrived in the late 90’s and by 2002 had made $350 million. Of course, that kind of quick turn in profits tends to alert the SEC, which brought him in for questioning. That’s when Carlssin confessed he was from the future and said—in addition to having complete knowledge of our current investment markets—that he knew where Osama Bin Laden was hiding and how to cure AIDS, all of which he would share if allowed to go back to his ship. The only problem is, there is no Andrew Carlssin. That above newspaper clipping is from “The Weekly World News,” a supermarket tabloid that became famous for such headlines as “R2-D2 Arrested for Drunk Driving” and story after story about “Bat Boy.” But that didn’t stop other news media from reporting it as fact—including Yahoo—and so his legend may live on all the way until the year he would supposedly be born.