1st February 2006
For some worldly-wise Internet users,
the story of John Titor is nothing new, although there are still
numerous people who have yet to come across this online curiosity
which is steadily gaining status as an urban legend. In the five
years since his absence John Titor has spawned a book, a theatre
performance and rumors of a movie, as well as plenty of web-pages
attempting to prove or disprove his claims to be a time-traveler
visiting us from the near future.
Starting on 2 November, 2000 and continuing for a period of about
five months, someone calling themselves Timetravel_0 began posting
to a number of online time travel-related message boards claiming to
be a time-traveler from the year 2036. The first websites
Timetravel_0 posted to include the Art Bell site1
the Time Travel Institute site.
After a while Timetravel_0 changed his
name to John Titor, although this apparently was not his real name.
Why Was He
Titor said he had traveled back in time because he was a soldier
from the year 2036 who was recruited to a government time travel
project. He had initially been sent back to 1975 to retrieve an IBM
5100 portable computer which was needed to translate between some
legacy IBM systems and UNIX. He claimed the IBM 5100 was able to do
this due to certain in-built functions that were not documented when
it was manufactured.
When Titor left our timeline, some IBM
engineers apparently came forward to verify his claims about the IBM
After collecting the IBM 5100 Titor then
traveled to the year 2000 because, he said, he wanted to visit his
family and his younger self, and to see the effects of the
An IBM Series 5100,
Model of computer
John took back to the future
There is a story that Titor sent faxes
to the Art Bell site in 1998 saying the Millennium Bug would cause
chaos, but when asked on the bulletin boards why this had not
happened he said he had intervened to prevent it.
During his stay in 2000/2001 Titor made it clear his objective was
not to convince anyone he was a genuine time-traveler, rather he was
simply posting messages to gauge people's responses to meeting
someone from their future. He was very willing to
hold question and
answer sessions as well as
give information on his time machine,
share his perspective on our present world, and to make a number of
predictions about the future, including how our present society will
end in 2015 in a brief but devastating global nuclear war.
He also posted a number of pictures of
his time machine and scans from a technical manual showing its
schematics. Possibly one of the most notable (if poorer quality)
pictures he posted showed the time machine warping the light from a
laser pen due to its 'gravity displacement'. For these reasons, as
well as any lack of gain or profit he could make from his
assertions, some people have been willing to accept Titor as a
On 24th March, 2001 Titor said he was going to return to his own
time and, in spite of a number of obvious hoaxers, has not been
heard of since.
It is claimed there is a video showing
Titor returning to his own time although it has not yet made its way
onto the Internet.
Titor described his time machine as a 'C204 time distortion gravity
displacement machine' built by General Electrics in 2034. It weighed
approximately 500 pounds and was transported in a 1966 Chevrolet
Corvette Convertible, which also acted as Titor's vessel as he
traveled through time. The vehicle did not move through space but
remained stationary with the engine switched off.
Some time later the time machine was
removed from the Corvette and placed in a 1987 four wheel drive
truck and the Corvette was sold, which has led to speculation about
where it may now be and who bought it.
According to Titor there were six main components to his time
Two magnetic housing units
for dual micro singularities
An electron injection
manifold to alter mass and gravity micro singularities
A cooling and X-ray venting
Gravity sensors, or a
variable gravity lock (VGL)
Four main cesium clocks
Three main computer units
In his descriptions Titor explained that
his time machine was a stationary mass, temporal displacement unit
powered by 'two top-spin, dual positive singularities', producing a
'standard off-set Tipler sinusoid 2'.
Essentially, the time machine was based on two rotating micro
singularities operating similarly to a single ring singularity
spinning at high speed. The mass and gravitational pull of this
micro singularity was manipulated by injecting electrons onto its
surface, replicating the effects of a Kerr-Newman black hole, thus
(it would seem) enabling time travel.
After Titor fed coordinates into his time machine there would be a
'ramp up' period while an audible alarm sounded as well as a
flashing light, followed by a countdown. Titor would then feel the
pull of up to 2Gs due to the gravity generated by the machine, and
the vehicle would appear to speed up as light was bent around it.
Except for supplies of compressed air,
the only source of oxygen would be an air pocket trapped around the
vehicle. Titor estimated the speed of travel at around ten years per
hour, and the time machine's accuracy of travel at up to sixty
years, although he said this was expected to be improved upon by
researchers in his own time.
According to Titor the nature of time travel and what can be
expected is explained through the Everett-Wheeler model of quantum
physics, or as it is sometimes called, the
Many Worlds Theory 3,
which Titor stated had been proved to be correct. Simplistically,
this means that every event that can have more than one outcome will
result in every possible outcome, and each possibility is the origin
point of a new parallel universe, or world line.
The relevance of this for time travel
Titor explained, is that the traveler does not enter their own past
because their presence would cause changes which in turn would
create an ever-expanding set of world lines.
Instead the time traveler enters a
closely related world line where their presence would not cause this
incalculable level of world lines.
Most of what Titor has said of events between 2000 and 2036 centre
on a Third World War followed by two decades of ongoing
According to Titor, the period of
conflict begins at the time of the American Presidential
elections of 2004/5 when the seeds for a second American civil
war are germinated. The nature of the conflict is described as
civil unrest brought on by intrusive police-state tactics, which
leads to an increasing number of Waco or Ruby Ridge-type events,
peaking at approximately one per week.
Eventually urban and rural areas are
openly pitched against each other. Titor claimed that at the age
of thirteen he had joined a shotgun militia to fight on the side
of the rural army. By 2008 it is popularly realized the
pre-civil war conditions that existed within America are lost
By 2015 the civil war is effectively
ended when Russia begins a series of nuclear strikes on most
major American cities therefore eliminating the federal
government. Most major urban areas worldwide are also badly
affected through a tit-for-tat series of nuclear strikes, with a
death count of approximately three billion people. The areas
worst affected are Europe, Africa and Australia.
By 2036 the world has changed
considerably. America is now made up of five states with
Nebraska as the capital and consists of decentralized,
tightly-knit rural communities. There is a greater emphasis on
religion, personal interaction (as opposed to mass media), as
well as self-sufficiency with people expected to work for part
of the day in the fields to produce food. Water is still
contaminated with radioactivity and needs to be filtered. In
spite of the war and the efforts to construct this new society
from the remains of the old, technology does not seem to be too
badly affected. Titor mentioned a system of rapid rail travel
between cities, space travel, genetic engineering and of course
Besides the American civil conflict
and a Third World War, Titor made a number of other significant
America will wage war on Iraq,
claiming Iraq has nuclear weapons. Titor made this statement
years before a war with Iraq was considered. He also claimed no
weapons of mass destruction would be found.
War will erupt between Israel and
its Arab neighbors, and weapons of mass destruction will be
Korea, Taiwan and Japan will be
annexed by China as the West becomes unstable.
In the early 2000's
CERN will lay
the foundations for time travel. In the autumn of 2001 after Titor had left, CERN released a statement indicating the
creation of mini black holes was possible.
Mad cow disease will be a health
issue in America but it will be under-played.
modified food will be
used to produce hybrid seeds that will have detrimental effects
on the population's health.
Titor made a number of statements about
constitutional and civil rights in America. He also said the
American government will assume its citizens will prefer security
over certain personal freedoms.
The future will judge the present harshly.
Since the Many Worlds Theory is, according to Titor, accurate, this
has implications for Titor's claim to be a time-traveler and how his
predictions for our future can be evaluated. If Titor is to be
believed we need to accept he is visiting from another
closely-related time line with its subtle differences from our own.
Consequently we can expect some of his
predictions for the future to be false for us, but since according
to Titor there is only a two per cent discrepancy between the two
timelines, there is a good possibility some of his predictions will
be fulfilled. Therefore, as the time approaches for each of his
predictions to occur, eventually the probability of Titorís claim
that he is a time traveler will increase either towards being true
or towards being false, depending on whether the prediction is
The story of John Titor has been circulating on the Internet for
almost five years, with some people attempting to provide proof this
is simply a prolonged hoax, while others put forward arguments and
evidence to support Titor's claim to be a time-traveler from the
year 2036. The arguments against Titor are, however, quite damning.
For instance, it has been demonstrated
that the picture showing the laser light being bent was faked, and
Titor's explanation of using mini black holes to time travel is
scientifically impossible. Also, if Titor had intervened as he said
to prevent the disasters caused by the Millennium Bug, then by his
own explanation of the Many Worlds Theory of quantum mechanics, our
world line would have diverged radically from his own4.
This would mean his predictions would be
all but irrelevant for our world line5.
More fundamentally, it is a given of time travel theory6
that a time machine cannot travel beyond the date it was built.
Therefore, if Titor began time-traveling in 2036 he could not have
traveled any further back than 2034, since according to him the time
machine was first constructed on this date.
For those who want to discover the truth for themselves there are a
number of websites with archives of Titor's message-board
postings. If you scratch around the Internet you will
come across more and more bits of information about John Titor and
you will quickly be able to decide for yourself whether there is any
substance to his claims to be a time-traveler. In the final
analysis, however, perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the story
of John Titor is the fact that this phenomenon, which could so
easily have been ignored, has engaged so many people for so long.
The story is recounted and discussed on
many websites and people have expended a lot of time and energy in
support for or against Titor's claims.
It is also remarkable for a story of
this nature to span so many media forms, ranging from a book to a
The Art Bell website is no
A Tipler Sinusoid is basically a
localized Kerr Field, or put more simply a mini black hole.
Cutting through the rhetoric, Titor's time machine operates
by manipulating a mini black hole. Whether this is possible
has been open to debate.
The Many Worlds Theory has
become integrated into what is known as
this is no clear indication that Titor's statement that the
Many Worlds Theory is correct can be relied upon. Since
Titor's visit theories other than the Many Worlds Theory
have been proposed to avoid such things as the grandfather
paradox of time travel.
The only way Titor could know
the Millennium Bug would cause chaos would be if he had
experienced it in his own timeline. Therefore, by preventing
this disaster from occurring in our timeline means events
here have altered considerably from his own timeline. The
two world lines have thereby become significantly different.
Our world line would also have
diverged more than the two per cent Titor said was
acceptable for him to time travel reliably between it and
his own world line.
Respected scientists do study
the subject since Einstein's Theory of Relativity allows for