from Wikipedia Website

John Titor's military insignia


John Titor is the name used on several bulletin boards during 2000 and 2001 of 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[1]) about events in the near future, starting with events in 2004.


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.

Titor's posts sparked an intense debate on the Internet, with some people dismissing the claims, and others defending them. In the time since Titor left the forums, the predictions for events that were supposed to occur by now have all failed to occur (as of January 2008). Nevertheless, the Titor postings still have their supporters, who are quick to explain away these predictive failings.

To date, the story has been retold on numerous web sites, in a book, and in a play. He has also been discussed occasionally on the radio show Coast to Coast AM.[1]


In this respect, the Titor story may be unique in terms of broad appeal from an originally limited medium, an Internet discussion board.



Titor's posts

The first post appeared on the Time Travel Institute forums on November 02, 2000, under the name TimeTravel_0. At the time, the posts had nothing to do with future events, and the name "John Titor" was not being used. The posts had to do with time travel in general, the first one being the "six parts" description of what a time machine would need to have to work (see below) and responses to questions about how such a machine would work. Early messages tended to be short.

Soon after, TimeTravel_0 claimed to be a time traveler from the future and began making various descriptions of his time. As time went on he answered questions posted in the forum, and started to reveal a more complex picture of the future. Although most of his posts concerned the state of the world in the future, Titor also responded to questions both in the forums and in IRC,[2] and sometimes posted images purporting to be the time travel device, or its manual.


He also sometimes talked about more current events, for instance, in an early post he stated that "The breakthrough that will allow for [time travel] technology will occur within a year or so [2001] when CERN brings their larger facility online".[3]

The name "John Titor" was not introduced until January 2001 when TimeTravel_0 began posting at the Art Bell BBS Forums (which required a name, real or not, to sign up for an account). The Titor posts ended in late March 2001. Eventually, a number of the threads became corrupted, but Titor's posts had been saved on peoples' hard drives and were copied to along with new discussions of the science behind Titor's time traveling as well as his predictions.[4] Around 2003, various websites reproduced Titor's posts, re-arranging them into narratives. Not all refer to the original dates posted.[5]

On numerous occasions Titor posted comments that appeared to be tongue-in-cheek. For instance, when asked why his images were of such low quality, he replied that he was not a photographer.


When asked if "Titor" was his real name, he replied that it was "a real name".



In his online postings, Titor claimed to be an American soldier from the year 2036, based in Tampa in Hillsborough County, Florida who was assigned to a governmental time travel project. He had been sent back to 1975 to retrieve an IBM 5100 computer which he said was needed to "debug" various legacy computer programs in 2036; a reference to the UNIX 2038 timeout error.


The 5100 runs the APL, and BASIC programming languages. Titor had been selected for this mission specifically due to the fact his paternal grandfather was directly involved with the building and programming of the 5100.

Titor claimed to be on a stopover in the year 2000 for "personal reasons," to collect pictures lost in the civil war, and was visiting his family; Titor spoke of his family often. Titor also said he had been, for a few months, trying to alert anyone that would listen about the threat of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease spread through beef products, and about the possibility of civil war in the United States. Titor also had expressed an interest in unexplained mysteries when questioned about it by an online poster, such as UFOs (which in his time were still as yet unexplained).


Titor suggested that UFOs and alien visitors may well be time travelers from much further into the future than his own time, and with much more accurate time machines than his own.


Time machine

Titor described the time machine on several occasions. In an early post, he described it as a "stationary mass, temporal displacement unit powered by two top-spin, dual positive singularities", producing a "standard off-set Tipler sinusoid".


The earliest post was more explicit, saying it contained:

  • Two magnetic housing units for the dual micro singularities

  • An electron injection manifold to alter mass and gravity micro singularities

  • A cooling and X-ray venting system

  • Gravity sensors, or a variable gravity lock

  • Four main cesium clocks

  • Three main computer units

According to the posts, the device was installed in the rear of a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, and later moved to a 1987 four-wheel drive truck.

Further, Titor claimed that the "Everett-Wheeler model of quantum physics" was correct. This model, better known as the many-worlds interpretation, posits that every possible outcome of a quantum decision actually occurs in a separate "universe".


Titor stated that this was the reason the grandfather paradox would not occur, following the logic of the argument, Titor would be killing someone else's grandfather in another timeline, not his own.

…The grandfather paradox is impossible. In fact, all paradox is impossible. The Everett-Wheeler-Graham or multiple world theory is correct. All possible quantum states, events, possibilities and outcomes are real, eventual and occurring. The chances of everything happening someplace at sometime in the superverse is 100%.[6]


The most immediate of Titor's predictions was of an upcoming civil war in the United States having to do with "order and rights".[7] He described it as beginning in 2004[8] with civil unrest surrounding the presidential election.


This civil conflict that he characterizes as,

"having a Waco type event every month that steadily gets worse"[9] will be "pretty much at everyone's doorstep"[10] erupts by 2008.

Titor claimed that as a 13-year old, in 2011, he fought with the "Fighting Diamondbacks", a shotgun infantry unit of Florida, for at least four years. However, in other posts he describes himself as hiding from the war. As a result of the war the United States splits into five regions based on various factors and differing military objectives.


This civil war, according to Titor, will then end in 2015 with a brief, but intense, World War III:

In 2015, Russia launches a nuclear strike against the major cities in the United States (which is the "other side" of the civil war from my perspective), China and Europe. The United States counter attacks. The US cities are destroyed along with the AFE (American Federal Empire)...thus we (in the country) won. The European Union and China were also destroyed.[11]

Titor refers to the exchange as "N Day". Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville are specifically mentioned as being hit. After the war, Omaha, Nebraska is the nation's new capital city.

Titor is vague as to the exact motivations and causes for World War III. At one point he characterized hostilities as being led by "border clashes and overpopulation"[12] but also points to the present conflict between Arabs and Jews as a harbinger of World War III:

Real disruptions in world events begin with the destabilization of the West as a result of degrading US foreign policy and consistency. … The Jewish population in Israel is not prepared for a true offensive war. They are prepared for the ultimate defense. Wavering western support for Israel is what gives Israel's neighbors the confidence to attack. The last resort for a defensive Israel and its offensive Arab neighbors is to use weapons of mass destruction.


In the grand scheme of things, the war in the Middle East is a part of what's to come, not the cause.[13]


Examination of the claims

Predictive failures

The posts were met with skepticism when they were being posted, but it was impossible to prove beforehand that they would not happen. Titor claimed the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics was correct, effectively meaning that his travel was from a parallel universe and things could occur differently than he'd predicted. This makes his claims unfalsifiable. At any rate the predictions have failed to come true in this time line.

One of Titor's earliest claims was that CERN would discover the basis for time travel some time around 2001. This event did not occur. An article about miniature black holes being created by CERN (a recurring theme, also ascribed to Fermilab and Brookhaven at various times[14]) was taken by some to be evidence of this claim, but these events did not occur either.


Civil war did not break out after the 2004 presidential elections, and though Titor claimed that the 2004 Summer Olympics would be the last to be held, the successful 2006 Winter Olympics demonstrated this claim to be wrong as well although some speculate he might have been strictly talking about Summer games, in which case it remains to be seen.


Problems with the technology

The image of the laser pointer's beam being "bent" has the obvious problem that objects around the beam are not bent. For instance, the framing of the window visible in the background should be distorted if there was a large gravity gradient in the area, but it is not. Some have speculated the "beam" is an optical fiber.[15]

Titor claimed that he was sent back to obtain an IBM 5100 because it could translate several types of computer code. According to IBM engineer Bob Dubke, Titor's statements regarding the IBM 5100's little-known ability to emulate and debug mainframe systems were correct.[16] Supporters state that this information was not publicly available in 2000 or 2001 when Titor made his declaration.[17] and Titor himself stated that this feature was "discovered (or at least known after testing)" as late as 2036.[18]

However, this capability was actually widely known in the industry, and commented on in depth in numerous publications, both about the 5100 and APL in general.[19] References to this fact were also available on the Internet as early as 1999. This is a fairly obscure bit of trivia, however, which suggests whoever was making the posts was familiar with the machine, or had an interest in retro-computing.[20]


Problems with the story

An examination of the claims also suggests several problems with the story. For instance, in some posts Titor claims that money is widely used and people still have credit cards despite his statement that centralized banking no longer exists. In another post he speculated that today's dollar would be usable in his time, but this would be after the reorganization of the federal government according to his own history, potentially making the currency worthless.[21]

Numerous commenters have pointed out the broad similarities between the Titor story and Pat Frank's classic post-apocalyptic science fiction novel, Alas, Babylon.[22] Alas, Babylon takes place in a small town in Florida just before and after a nuclear war, and describes the struggle to survive as a family in the aftermath.

John simultaneously claims:

"There are also no income taxes." and "Yes, we pay taxes. Sounds like you don't enjoy keeping track of your personal income taxes. I don't think anyone does."



  1. John Titor, Recap

  2. The Story of John Titor, scroll to "IRC"

  3. Best Practices for Time Travelers

  4. One of these forum posts exists in its original form, given by the link below; original webcrawler links are also given below

  5. John Titor - Time Traveler. Retrieved on 2007-03-15.

  6. John Titor, 2/2/01 10:09

  7. John Titor, 2/27/01 17:25

  8. John Titor, 2/1/01 8:36

  9. John Titor, 2/1/01 8:36

  10. John Titor, 2/27/01 17:25

  11. John Titor, 11/7/00 21:23

  12. John Titor, 2/8/01 9:40

  13. John Titor, 12/06/00 21:36

  14. A Black Hole Ate My Planet, mentions one widely-reported article in The Sunday Times

  15. John Titor: Hoax (2004-06-26). Retrieved on 2007-03-15.

  16. Time traveller most likely to be spotted in Rochester, IBM 5100 Engineer Bob Dubke on hidden features. Rochester Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-03-15.

  17. News about the 5100 Computer (2005). Retrieved on March 15, 2007.

  18. John Titor, 12/30/00 13:37

  19. The IBM Family of APL Systems, IBM Systems Journal (1991). Retrieved on March 15, 2007.

  20. John Titor's Story. Retrieved on 2007-03-15.

  21. Tackling John Titor, Time Traveller (2003-11-25). Retrieved on 2007-03-15.

  22. TAN, What to ask next time, #14894