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) about
events in the near future, starting with events in 2004.
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.
In this respect, the Titor story may be
unique in terms of broad appeal from an originally limited medium,
an Internet discussion board.
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, and
sometimes posted images purporting to be the time travel device, or
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  when CERN brings their larger facility online".
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 Anomalies.net along with new discussions
of the science behind Titor's time traveling as well as his
predictions. Around 2003, various websites reproduced Titor's
posts, re-arranging them into narratives. Not all refer to the
original dates posted.
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.
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
Gravity sensors, or a variable
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%.
The most immediate of Titor's predictions was of an upcoming civil
war in the United States having to do with "order and rights". He
described it as beginning in 2004 with civil unrest surrounding
the presidential election.
This civil conflict that he characterizes
"having a Waco type event every month that steadily gets
worse" will be "pretty much at everyone's doorstep" erupts by
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
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.
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" but also points to the
present conflict between Arabs and Jews as a harbinger of World War
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.
the grand scheme of things, the war in the Middle East is a part of
what's to come, not the cause.
Examination of the claims
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) 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
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
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. Supporters state that
this information was not publicly available in 2000 or 2001 when Titor made his declaration. and Titor himself stated that
this feature was "discovered (or at least known after testing)"
as late as 2036.
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. 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.
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
Numerous commenters have pointed out the broad similarities
between the Titor story and Pat Frank's classic post-apocalyptic
science fiction novel,
Alas, Babylon. 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
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."
John Titor, Recap
The Story of John Titor, scroll to
Best Practices for Time Travelers
these forum posts exists in its original
form, given by the link below; original
webcrawler links are also given below
John Titor - Time Traveler.
Retrieved on 2007-03-15.
Titor, 2/2/01 10:09
Titor, 2/27/01 17:25
Titor, 2/1/01 8:36
Titor, 2/1/01 8:36
Titor, 2/27/01 17:25
Titor, 11/7/00 21:23
Titor, 2/8/01 9:40
Titor, 12/06/00 21:36
A Black Hole Ate My Planet, mentions
one widely-reported article in The
John Titor: Hoax (2004-06-26).
Retrieved on 2007-03-15.
Time traveller most likely to be spotted
in Rochester, IBM 5100 Engineer Bob
Dubke on hidden features. Rochester Magazine. Retrieved on
News about the 5100 Computer (2005).
Retrieved on March 15, 2007.
Titor, 12/30/00 13:37
The IBM Family of APL Systems, IBM
Systems Journal (1991). Retrieved on
March 15, 2007.
John Titor's Story. Retrieved on
Tackling John Titor, Time Traveller
(2003-11-25). Retrieved on 2007-03-15.
TAN, What to ask next time, #14894