Space travel is so played out. Sorry to rain on your parade, NASA, but we need to start pushing into the fourth dimension. Time travel has been a dream of many for centuries, but as of yet we have no idea how to punch through the stranglehold of chronology. That hasn’t stopped some enterprising frauds from saying they did it, though. Time-travel hoaxes have a rich and hilarious history. Here are 10 people who want the world to believe that they actually managed to travel through time.
One of the most common time travel theories is that the United States government has been trying to pull it off for a long time under a number of black ops programs. The most famous was “Project Pegasus,” where 140 schoolchildren were subjected to a mind-bending array of time-space experiments. We “know” about all this thanks to the tireless efforts of lawyer Andrew Basiago, who claims to have been one of those children. His evidence? A blurry photograph of the Gettysburg Address, which he says he was at. He also claims that Washington, D.C. will be underwater by the end of the year, so grab your snorkels.
This one’s a real enigma. Born Eugene Helton Jr., the man now known as Von Helton has had a pretty interesting life. By his own account, he invented the stealth fighter at the age of 7 and grew up to become a vampire vigilante who walked the Earth fighting evil. Oh, and he also traveled in time repeatedly. His proof of this is a series of photographs of himself from the year 1857 to today, photographs that don’t look all too much like the same person, really. But who are we to mock the dude who also claims to be the real-life inspiration for comic-book character the Punisher?
Nobody really knows who “John Titor” was, as most of his communications were made over the Internet. In 2000 and 2001, a series of cryptic messages appeared on Art Bell message boards from Titor, who said he was a soldier from the year 2036 sent back to 1975 to retrieve an IBM computer that the future needed to debug a variety of legacy programs on. So we can assume that eBay doesn’t exist then? Titor provided a number of goofy predictions from the future, including a new Civil War in the United States that would begin in 2004. After being debunked, Titor disappeared into the ether. Or did he just go back to the future?
Sir Victor Goddard
British Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard has one of the weirdest and most believable stories on this list. In 1935, Goddard was piloting a plane over an abandoned airfield in Edinburgh when he got caught in an unusual storm. He almost lost control in the turbulence, but when he righted himself he looked down and was shocked to find the airfield totally refurbished, with strange-looking planes with Royal Air Force markings being worked on by mechanics in blue uniforms. He told some of his compatriots about his weird trip, but since he had no physical proof, nothing really came of it. That is, until four years later when the RAF changed their mechanics’ coverall colors from brown to blue. Did Goddard have a brief timeslip over England?
Time travel can occur by a variety of methods, but a leaky kitchen cabinet? For Norwegian man Hakan Nordkvist, his path to the future was underneath a sink. When he discovered the leak, he grabbed his plumber’s tools and crawled under the sink, only to find himself in a long tunnel that deposited him in the year 2042. While there, he met his 70-year-old self and quizzed him on a variety of topics, and the aged doppelganger not only knew information that only Nordkvist would know, but he also had the same tattoo -- faded by time, of course. Nordkvist even captured video using his cell phone. Unfortunately, Nordkvist’s journey turned out to be a viral stunt by a Norwegian pension company, but lots of people bought it.
One of the most attractive elements of time travel is the ability to make a killing on the stock market. After all, just a basic knowledge of financial history could let you make investments in stocks like Apple that would pay huge dividends. Hence the story of Andrew Carlssin, allegedly a Wall Street trader who jaunted back from the year 2256 to make a killing on the market. The story claims that, starting with just $800, Carlssin was able to build a $350 million fortune in just two weeks. After he got busted in 2003, the time traveler offered “historical information” such as the location of Osama Bin Laden and the AIDS vaccine. Unfortunately, this was a serious hoax, and Carlssin never actually existed, but some time-travel believers still insist that he did and this is just a giant cover-up.
While some of these time-travel fakers go to extreme ends to fabricate their journeys, UFO cult leader Billy Meier just let it rock in a truly low-grade way. When he was challenged to provide pictures of aliens, Meier just took a picture of his TV screen and tried to pass off a woman from "The Dean Martin Show" as an extraterrestrial visitor. His time-travel claims were no less specious. Meier said he went back to the age of the dinosaurs and came back with photographs of a pterodactyl trying to eat him. That photograph, blurry as hell, was quickly traced back to an illustration from a science textbook. Despite all this, Meier still has suckers buying his stories.
Time travel would be an incredible tool for an archaeologist, but surprisingly, only one of them is using it. Oh, and he’s a little nutty. Macedonian treasure hunter Pasko Kuzman wears a trio of watches on his arm, and claims that one of them can transport him back to the Bronze Age, where he has conversations with Alexander the Great. Needless to say, this kind of talk hasn’t really endeared Kuzman to his fellow scientists, and many of his claims have been pretty intensely debunked.
Another veteran of Project Pegasus, William Stillings alleges that he was the subject of a huge variety of experiments as a child that had him traveling tremendous distances through space and time. Not only was Stillings sent back to various awesome moments in history, but he also served as part of the secret program to establish a base on Mars. Oh, and do you know who else was in that program with him? A young man named Barry Soetoro, better known as President Barack Obama.
The Internet has provided a great medium for time travelers to get together and swap stories, but one of the strangest came from Robert Todino. In 2001, the Massachusetts man started sending out spam emails asking for a selection of mechanical devices required to build a time machine, because he was stranded here from 2003 and needed to get back. The emails were signed “Bob White” or “Tim Jones,” and Todino sent out nearly a million of them. Some people actually took the bait, with one man selling Todino an old hard-drive motor that he called a “Dimensional Warp Generator.” After an investigation traced the emails back to him, it was revealed that it wasn’t a hoax or a scam. Todino really believed that he was a time traveler and was willing to do anything to resume his place in the timestream. We hope the poor guy makes it back to the future some day.