The history of mankind is riddled with the weird and the wonderful; bizarre people, strange places and odd events. For centuries, we’ve told each other fantastic stories around campfires and in darkened rooms. Tales of ghosts, UFOs, and conspiracies, but are these stories exactly that: Stories? There’s only one way to find out! Join me as I dive down the rabbit hole and into… the Unexplained Files.
This week: John Titor, Time Traveller.
Art Bell’s Coast to Coast Radio Show. 29 July 1998. Art Bell is hosting one of his usual ‘out there’ radio shows, on this occasion the topic being time travel, when a fax rolls in. The fax is from a man claiming to be from the year 2036, and the story he has to tell has a strange ring of plausibility to it. He claims the coming change of millennium will bring with it disaster. This, remember, was in the time when there was genuine worry about the Y2K bug. And so began the fascinating tale of John Titor. Not long after his faxed appearance on Coast to Coast AM, in November of 2000, on a public internet forum, posts start rolling in from someone using the handle TimeTravel_0. The same someone who faxed Art Bell.
You’re Kidding, Right?
If this sounds like complete horseshit, the forum posts had the strange ring of truth that accompanied the faxes sent to Art Bell. This guy didn’t tiptoe around the subject, like a man intent on killing the circus, he went straight for the juggler.
Among his early posts were pictures of his time machine and its operations manual. He even posted a photo of the time machine. Not only that, but as you’d expect, he was flooded with questions about why he was here, the science and philosophy of time travel, and what the Christ he was doing here – and he ducked not a one.
So why was he here? According to the man himself, the Y2K bug had caused disaster, in his timeline, and there was a new disaster looming, so he was sent back to collect an IBM 5100 computer. He claimed the computer was needed to debug computer programs in 2036.
Now, as my main man @LaughingWolf will testify, my knowledge of all things technological is shite, but apparently, the IBM 5100 runs both the APL and BASIC programming languages. I have no clue what that means, but according to Titor, it was super important. More importantly, to the people back in 2000 who did know what it meant, it made perfect sense.
Hold Your Horses!
So it was all true? Well, there were obviously the people who wanted to test Mr Titor. They weren’t happy with detailed answers to specific questions, they wanted predictions.
Here’s where Titor didn’t do so well. He said that the US would suffer a civil war that would begin in 2004. For those of you without your finger on the pulse of current affairs, that didn’t happen. He then said that the boffins at CERN would discover the basis for time travel around the year 2001, which also didn’t happen, unless they’re really good at keeping secrets from us and oh Christ I’ve just opened a can of worms labelled ‘Mandela Effect’. He also said that the last Olympics would take place in 2004, at which point we have to ask: What the fuck were they doing in 2008 in Beijing?
One caveat to all of these failed predictions was the claim that there are many universes, and each time he travels there is a slight deviance from one timeline into another. This he claims, is why he stopped off in 2000 on his way back to 1975. It also handily makes any claims of his unfalsifiable.
Make Your Mind Up Time.
So is it real? Did he create alternate timelines?
An Italian documentary on Titor hired a private detective by the name of Mike Lynch to get to the bottom of the story. What did he find? He discovered The John Titor Foundation. An IP address connected to the foundation is located in Florida, the home of John Titor.
The John Titor Foundation is a limited liability corporation led by a fellow by the name of Lawrence H. Haber. Haber is an entertainment lawyer from Orlando, Florida. PI Mike Lynch discovered that Haber’s brother is a computer scientist. Someone who would have known about the importance of an IBM 5100 computer and its relevance in fixing futuristic technological problems; something that gave the whole story its air of credibility in the first place.
On top of all that, I gave John Titor until 9 o’clock on the morning of this post to email me and prove that he's totally not full of shit. That email is yet to arrive. Sorry, John.
RATING: 1=Bollocks 2=Not convinced 3=Possibly… 4=Compelling stuff 5=Holyshittheskyisfalling
Further Listening/Viewing: Those Conspiracy Guys are the only ones who’ve covered the story in any real depth that I can find. Plus there’s a 12 minute video from StuffTheyDon’tWantYouToKnow on JT.
What do you think? Comment below!
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In this blog I'll be bringing to you short tales of things that go bump in the night, true stories of weird and unexplained events, and the real-life news of all things odd and macabre, and entertain you along the way.