At some point, just about everyone has wanted to travel back in time. After all, the idea of going back and fixing a mistake or reliving an awesome day from the past or maybe doing something cool like beating up Hitler is pretty damn tantalizing. But most people – sane ones anyway – recognize that time travel is sadly the province of science fiction. But don’t tell that to these people, all of whom have claimed to have traveled through time. Are they crazy? Who knows? [Yes. Yes, they are.] So let us celebrate (and mock – can’t forget that) these seven people who all claimed to be time travelers.
Photo credit: justDONQUE.images, Flickr
7 Alfred Bielek
For years, Alfred Bielek claimed to be one of the crewmen on the ship involved in the famed Philadelphia Experiment, which was supposedly a highly classified experiment conducted on a naval ship in 1943 to see if our nation’s top crack-pots could render a ship invisible. The result, according to Bielek, was that the ship was actually teleported a couple of hundred miles away, from Philadelphia to the shipyard at Norfolk, Virginia and that the ship had actually gone back in time ten whole seconds. Somehow, this apparently caused some crewmembers (not Bielek though who miraculously escaped unscathed) to become fused with the ship or stuck in the steel hull, trapped between time like something out of Fringe. Meanwhile, other crew members supposedly went nuts and the rest had their brains wiped down by the military, including Bielek, who claimed to have started recovering memories of the incident in 1985. Not exactly glamorous, but what the hell, it’s better than being chased by a psychotic Biff Tannen while your own mother tries to seduce you I guess.
Photo credit: YouTube/Channel 3X
6 Charlotte Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain
According to Ms. Moberly (pictured above) and Ms. Jourdain, during a tour of the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, the two women became bored and wandered off. Naturally, they became lost and soon entered a strange realm filled with even stranger people, culminating with the duo encountering a lady dressed in old-fashioned fancy duds. Of course they claimed that this was none other than Marie Antoinette. Some claim that what these two ladies saw – an incident known collectively as the Moberly-Jourdain incident – a paranormal ghost sighting. After all, the gardens of Versailles were frequented by Antoinette maybe her ghost liked to chill there too? Moberly and Jourdain, though, seemed convinced that they had actually went back through time to 18th Century France. Perhaps a better explanation was put forth by writer Philippe Julian, who while writing a biography of the French poet Robert de Montesquiou in 1965, discovered that the poet and his friends frequently gave historical reenactment parties in full period dress at Versailles and that the two ladies might have merely stumbled upon a rehearsal, which is pretty goddamn hilarious if you think about it.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
5 Von Helton
Von Helton is a well-known nutcase who, amongst other things, claims to have not only fought vampires, but to be possibly part-vampire himself. Oh, and he also says he invented the stealth fighter when he was seven years-old. So obviously we know we’re dealing with a sober and rational man here. But besides his vampire hunting, Helton claims to have traveled back in time on numerous occasions, all the way back to the year 1857. Why 1857? Well, it helps to remember that we’re dealing with a dude who lives in a backwoods trailer and has claimed that NASA rejected his offer to be a “space marine” so let’s not quibble about details, okay? It’s enough to know that he says he’s traveled back and forth through time and, oh yeah, he has a bunch of “photographic evidence” that somehow proves it. And you know what? I believe him. (Note: No. No, I don’t.)
Photo credit: YouTube/Von Helton
4 James R. Todino
James R. Todino is the man behind the spam e-mails sent by the hundreds of thousands in the names of “Bob White” and “Tim Jones,” e-mails which claimed to be from a time traveler trapped in the present, begging people to send him parts for a “Dimensional Warp Generator.” Naturally, because the world is filled with insane people and assholes, he got numerous responses and some people even sent him parts, stuff like old computer hard drives, that sort of thing. Eventually, the e-mails were traced back to Mr. Todino, a well-known spam artist. He claims to be completely sane, but his time travel attempts were apparently serious and his father went so far as to beg people not to respond and feed his delusions. I just hope that he got that broken pocket watch and those safety pins I sent him.
Photo credit: guy_david, Flickr
3 Billy Meier
A native of Switzerland, Billy Meier claims to have been in contact with aliens from a very young age and has spent most of his life warning people about impending disaster and other various crackpot nonsense, all shown to him by the aliens, who he describes as being like Nordic humanoids. So basically, we’re dealing with the Nazi super-race of aliens here. Naturally, they also took him back through time – why not? – where he met a dude named Jmmanuel who claimed to be the real Jesus (as opposed to all those fake ones wandering shopping malls) who told Meier that Meier’s evolution had surpassed even that of Jmmanuel himself, telling him “Truly, your evolution has proceeded for 2000 years further, which fact I have not considered.” So hey, at least he’s got that going for him.
Photo credit: YouTube/ZiggUFO
2 Andrew Basiago
Basiago, a Seattle lawyer, claims that as a child he was a part of something called “Project Pegasus,” a secret government project designed to test the effects of teleportation and time travel on young children. He claims that as a part of this project he was sent back in time on numerous occasions, including to the Gettysburg Address, where he claims he can be seen just hanging out in photographs, and to Lincoln’s assassination at Ford Theater. Apparently, the dudes behind Project Pegasus really got off on sending kids to meet Lincoln. Basiago also claimed that every time they sent him back, it was slightly different, as if he were traveling to alternate timelines, and that on a couple of occasions he actually ran into other versions of himself, also visiting from the future. Because, you know, that’s a thing that totally happens to people not on some really, really amazing drugs.
Photo credit: YouTube/AwakeningCenterWA
1 John Titor
“John Titor” was the name eventually given to a dude who posted on a number of message boards in 2000 and 2001 claiming to be a time traveler from the year 2036. In these posts he claimed to be an American soldier, sent back in time to the year 1975 in order to retrieve an IBM computer so that scientists in the future could debug computers in their time. Or something. Naturally, on his way back he decided to stop and just hang out for a while in the year 2000, visiting family and gathering old photos, you know, the usual stuff one does while time traveling. And while he was there, he decided to take the time to warn everyone about a series of apocalyptic events that would lead to nuclear war and the fracturing of the United States into multiple confederacies. Oh, and that a human form of Mad Cow Disease spread through tainted beef would devastate the world. Sure, why not? The funniest of Titor’s ravings might be that he fought as a 13 year-old in something called “The Fighting Diamondbacks,” which he describes as a shotgun infantry unit based in the Hicksville sticks of Florida. Of course, all of these predictions and dire warnings – set to erupt in the years between 2000 and 2008 – never took place. Well, unless you count the Bush presidency in which case, yeah, maybe the dude had a case. But seriously, for dedication to madness and outright quackery, I have no choice but to award the top spot on this list to the one, the only, John Titor. May he save us all from World War III. Oh, and from all that tainted beef.
Photo credit: Guyism
(Previously published on January 16, 2013.)
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