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Time travel urban legends

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Title: Time travel urban legends  
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Subject: Time travel, Misner space, Rudolph Fentz, BTZ black hole, Quantum mechanics of time travel
Collection: Hoaxes in Science, Time Travel, Urban Legends
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Time travel urban legends

Time travel urban legends are accounts of persons who allegedly traveled through time, reported by the press or circulated on the Internet. All of these reports have turned out either to be hoaxes or to be based on incorrect assumptions, incomplete information, or interpretation of fiction as fact.


  • Moberly–Jourdain incident 1
  • Philadelphia Experiment and Montauk Project 2
  • Hit and run victim from the past 3
  • Billy Meier's Meeting with Jmmanuel 4
  • Chronovisor 5
  • Bulletin board time traveler 6
  • Time travelling spammer 7
  • Stock-trading time traveler 8
  • Modern man at 1941 bridge opening 9
  • 1928 cell phone user 10
  • Iranian 'time machine' 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13

Moberly–Jourdain incident

The Petit Trianon in 2005, where the incident purportedly took place.

The Moberly–Jourdain incident, or the Ghosts of Petit Trianon or Versailles (French: les fantômes du Trianon / les fantômes de Versailles) refers to claims of time travel and hauntings made by Charlotte Anne Moberly (1846–1937) and Eleanor Jourdain (1863–1924). In 1911, Moberly and Jourdain published a book entitled An Adventure, under the names of "Elizabeth Morison" and "Frances Lamont". Their book describes a visit they made to the Petit Trianon, a small château in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles where they claimed they saw ghosts including Marie Antoinette and others. Their story caused a sensation, and was subject to much ridicule.

Philadelphia Experiment and Montauk Project

The Philadelphia Experiment is the name given to a naval military experiment which was supposedly carried out at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, sometime around October 28, 1943. It is alleged that the U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Eldridge was to be rendered invisible (or "cloaked") to enemy devices. The experiment is also referred to as Project Rainbow.[1] Some reports allege that the warship travelled back in time for about 10 seconds; however, popular culture has represented far bigger time jumps.

The story is widely regarded as a hoax.[2][3][4] The U.S. Navy maintains that no such experiment occurred, and details of the story contradict well-established facts about the Eldridge as well as the known laws of physics.[5] Nonetheless, the story has captured imaginations in conspiracy theory circles, and elements of the Philadelphia Experiment are featured in other government conspiracy theories.

The Montauk Project was alleged to be a series of secret [6] describes allegations of the Montauk Project as an outgrowth of stories about the Philadelphia Experiment.

Hit and run victim from the past

The story of Rudolph Fentz is an urban legend from the 1970s and has been repeated since as a reproduction of facts and presented as evidence for the existence of time travel. The essence of the legend is that in New York in 1950 a man wearing 19th-century clothes was hit by a car and killed. The subsequent investigation revealed that the man had disappeared without trace in 1876. The items in his possession revealed that the man had traveled through time from 1876 to 1950 directly.

The folklorist Chris Aubeck investigated the story and found it originated in a science fiction book of the 1950s, A Voice from the Gallery by Ralph M. Holland, which had copied the tale from "I'm Scared", a short story by Jack Finney (1911–1995), from which the Fentz tale originated.[7]

Billy Meier's Meeting with Jmmanuel

One of Meier's photographs of a beamship floating beside a tree

"Billy" Eduard Albert Meier (February 3, 1937) is a citizen of Switzerland who claims to be a UFO contactee and prophet. He is also the source of many controversial UFO photographs, which he states are evidence of his encounters. Meier reports regular contact with extraterrestrials he calls the Plejaren (aliens from beyond the Pleiades) describing them as humanoid Nordic aliens.

As recounted in the unabridged version of Message from the Pleiades, Vol. 2, Meier was taken back in time by the extraterrestrial Asket where he met personally with Jmmanuel, alleged to be the real Jesus, and who told Meier that Meier's evolution was higher than that of Jmmanuel himself, saying, "Truly, your evolution has proceeded for 2000 years further, which fact I have not considered." (page 512). The contact with Jmmanuel lasted for four days after which Meier was returned to the present time.[8]


Chronovisor was the name given to a machine that was said to be capable of viewing past and future events. Its existence was alleged by Father François Brune, author of several books on paranormal phenomena and religion. In his book The Vatican’s New Mystery he claimed that the device had been built by the Italian priest and scientist Father Pellegrino Maria Ernetti. While Father Ernetti was a real person, the existence (much less the functionality) of the chronovisor has never been confirmed.

Bulletin board time traveler

John Titor is the name used on several bulletin boards during 2000 and 2001 by a poster claiming to be a time traveler from the year 2036. In these posts he made numerous predictions (a number of them vague, some quite specific)[9] about events in the near future, starting with events in 2004. However, as of 2014 these events appear not to have taken place; he described a drastically changed future in which the United States had broken into five smaller regions, the environment and infrastructure had been devastated by a nuclear attack, and most other world powers had been destroyed.

To date, the story has been retold on numerous web sites, in a book, in the Japanese visual novel/anime Steins;Gate, and in a play. He has also been discussed occasionally on the radio show Coast to Coast AM.[10] In this respect, the Titor story may be unique in terms of broad appeal from an originally limited medium, an Internet discussion board.

Time travelling spammer

Similar to John Titor, Bob White or Tim Jones sent an unknown number of spam emails onto the internet between 2001 and 2003. The subject of the emails was always the same, that the individual was seeking to find someone who could supply a "Dimensional Warp Generator." In some instances, he claimed to be a time traveler stuck in 2003,[11] and in others he claimed to be seeking the parts only from other time travelers.[12] Several recipients began to respond in kind, claiming to have equipment such as the requested dimensional warp generator. One recipient, Dave Hill, set up an online shop from which the time traveler purchased the warp generator (formerly a Hard Drive Motor).[13] Soon afterward, the time traveler was identified as professional spammer James R. Todino (known as "Robby"). Todino's attempts to travel in time were a serious belief, and while he believed he was "perfectly mentally stable," his father was concerned that those replying to his mails had been preying on Todino's psychological problems. In his book Spam Kings, the journalist Brian S. McWilliams, who had originally uncovered Todino's identity for Wired magazine, revealed that Todino had been previously diagnosed with dissociative disorder and schizophrenia, explaining the psychological problems his father had spoken of.[13][14] Todino's time traveller was immortalised in the song "Rewind" by jazz trio Groovelily on their 2003 album Are we there yet? The song used phrases taken from Todino's emails within its lyrics.[14]

Stock-trading time traveler

Andrew Carlssin is a fictitious person who was reportedly arrested in January 2003 for SEC violations for making 126 high-risk stock trades and being successful on every one. As reported, Carlssin started with an initial investment of $800 and ended with over $350,000,000, which drew the attention of the SEC. Later reports suggest that after his arrest, he submitted a four-hour confession wherein he claimed to be a time traveler from 200 years in the future. He offered to tell investigators such things as the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and the cure for AIDS in return for a lesser punishment and to be allowed to return to his time craft,[15] although he refused to tell investigators the location or workings of his craft.[16]

The Carlssin story originated as a fictional piece in Weekly World News a satirical newspaper, and was later repeated by Yahoo! News, where its fictitious nature became less apparent. It was soon reported by other newspapers and magazines as fact. This in turn drove word-of-mouth spread through email inboxes and internet forums, leading to far more detailed descriptions of events.[17]

Modern man at 1941 bridge opening

"The Time Traveling Hipster"

A photograph from 1941 of genuine authenticity of the re-opening of the South Fork Bridge in Gold Bridge, British Columbia, was alleged to show a time traveler.[18] It was claimed that his clothing and sunglasses were modern and not of the styles worn in the 1940s.[19][20] The photo originated from the Bralorne Pioneer Museum, and was featured in their virtual exhibit Their Past Lives Here, produced and hosted through investment by the Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC).[21]

Further research suggests that the modern appearance of the man may not have been so modern. The style of sunglasses first appeared in the 1920s. On first glance the man is taken by many to be wearing a modern printed T-shirt, but on closer inspection it seems to be a sweater with a sewn-on emblem, the kind of clothing often worn by sports teams of the period. The shirt is very similar to the one that was used by the [22]

Debate centers on whether the image genuinely shows a time traveler, has been [22] The “Time Traveling Hipster” became a case study in viral Internet phenomena in museums which was presented at the Museums and the Web 2011 conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[23]

1928 cell phone user

A still from The Circus

In October 2010, Northern Irish filmmaker video clip entitled "Chaplin's Time Traveler" to YouTube. The clip analyzes bonus material in a DVD of the Charlie Chaplin film The Circus. Included in the DVD is footage from the film's Los Angeles premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 1928. At one point, a woman is seen walking by, holding up an object to her ear. Clarke said that, on closer examination, she was talking into a thin, black device that had appeared to be a "phone."[24] Clarke concluded that the woman was possibly a time traveler.[20] The clip received millions of hits and was the subject of televised news stories.[25]

Nicholas Jackson, associate editor for The Atlantic, says the most likely answer is that she was using a portable hearing aid, a technology that was just being developed at the time.[20] Philip Skroska, an archivist at the Bernard Becker Medical Library of Washington University in St. Louis, thought that the woman might have been holding a rectangular-shaped ear trumpet.[26] New York Daily News writer Michael Sheridan said the device was probably an early hearing aid, perhaps manufactured by Acousticon.[20]

Iranian 'time machine'

In April 2013, the Iranian news agency Fars carried a story claiming a 27-year-old Iranian scientist had invented a time machine that allowed people to see into the future. A few days later, the story was removed, and replaced with a story quoting an Iranian government official that no such device had been registered.[27][28][29]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Anatomy of a Hoax: The Philadelphia Experiment Fifty Years Later" by Jacques F. Vallée, URL accessed January 13, 2010
  7. ^ Full story in Chris Aubeck Blog
  8. ^ Message From the Pleiades, Vol. 2 (Unabridged) Translated by Wendelle Stevens
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Grapefruit Utopia -Time Traveller Spam
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ a b Brian S. McWilliams, Spam Kings: The Real Story behind the High-Rolling Hucksters Pushing Porn, Pills, and %*@)# Enlargements, (O'Reilly Media, Inc., 2004) page 247
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Time traveler" caught in museum photo ? - Unexplained Mysteries
  20. ^ a b c d
  21. ^ Their Past Lives Here – Bralorne Pioneer Museum
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^ , The Mystery of the "1940s Time Traveller": The Changing Face of Online Brand al.Harkness, D., In J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2011: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. Published March 31, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  24. ^ 'Time Traveler' in 1928 Charlie Chaplin Film? - ABC News
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^

External links

  • article describing Andrew Carlssin hoax
  • [1] the original Andrew Carlssin article
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