Time traveler caught in 1940 photo?


The above photo was taken in 1940. Some people say the hipster-looking fellow with the sunglasses on the right side of the photo is a time traveler because his hair, shades, clothing, and camera didn't exist at the time. But Forgetomori does a fine job of busting this rumor, complete with photos. Curses!

The outfit could also be found 70 years ago. Being used as we are to our contemporary fashion, we look at the man and assume he’s wearing a stamped T-shirt, something that would be indeed out of place (or time). But if you look carefully, you can see that he’s actually wearing (or could as well be wearing) a sweatshirt. And sweatshirts with bordered emblems were not uncommon in the 1940s – in fact you can find those in other photos from the same exhibit.

Time traveler caught in 1940 photo?


  1. Wait, so you’re saying that people think the ironic hipster look is somehow original and unprecedented?
    That’s so…cute.

  2. If I could travel back in time I would become the richest, most powerful hipster in the world within 5 years.

  3. Dude could be one of my uncles after they took a break riding their Harley, about 70 years ago, and indeed it’s the kind of outfit my father would wear as a child, again 70 years ago. Give me a break.

    – Ethel

  4. Okay. I’m convinced that the photo is authentic and has not been tampered with. I’m convinced that everything the guy was wearing was available in the 40’s.

    I’m not convinced that his hair isn’t simply the result of a lost hat.

    And I’m definitely not convinced that in 1940 his look would have been considered ‘hip’.

    1. I disagree, how is a stamped shirt the style of the 1940s look at his clothes compaired to everyone else, you guys are all sceptic, you need to believe in the possiblilty unless you want to stay hidden from the truth,

  5. The scariest thing about this is that guy – completely unaware until now that he will travel back to 1940 in the future – has probably just chanced on this blog post, and is seriously freaking.

  6. If this is a legit photo I would suggest his shades are the type ca.1940’s that had “blinders” from the lens to the temple. Welders used them and I think sporty people did, as well. The lettered garment could very well be a tight knitted wool sports jersey. He was definitely a hipster in his own time. There have always been hipsters, however few and far between. A moment of silence for those brave souls. It would be fascinating to view a collection of antique and vintage photos that reveal people who look as if they belong more to our century than the one where their image was captured.

  7. Really, time moves much more slowly than what people commonly feel.

    In terms of human consciousness, the the 1940s and now aren’t that much different.

    After watching many hours of 1930s and 1940s movies on TCM, I strongly believe this.

    1. Even from America’s founding fathers, other than the overwhelming sense of destiny and the fashion of beaver hats-agree!

  8. It’s worse that we ever supposed! We have Time Travelling Fashion Designers.

    The forces of Fnord must be behind this!

  9. I wear fashions from the 2080s sometimes. People think I’m a homeless disco scientist, which is funny, because that occupation actually becomes pretty prevalent by the late 2070s.

  10. I’d be cool with all of this being normal except for the fact that this gathering happens to be in Roswell, NM.

  11. The working man’s clothes of the 19th and early to mid 20th century have been embraced by the gentry of the late 20th and so far, the early 21st century, even as the income gap widens between the classes in the U.S.A. The working man’s clothes have always been sexier than banker’s suits. Think Levi’s, Hensleys, etc. And maybe said clothing acts as a disguise for those who don’t care to flaunt their wealth even though their jeans cost $1,500.

  12. Grandpa looked cool. What so hipsters are just mad that their fathers fathers wore edgier things than them? Awww…

  13. Dang! Not again! That was me but I was there to stop the guy on the right hand side from taking my photo during a previous time travel (if “previous” can be used that way). That photo caused all sorts of problems, with Nixon becoming king, Genghis Kahn causing havoc in the San Dimas mall and the success of a strange television channel devoted to music videos. Now I gotta go back again. I think this time I’ll wear a hat.

    1. Oh, and no one in history has ever had their ears stick out comically?

      Do an image search for “stick out ears” or “ears stick out” and you’ll get plenty of pictures of people with unusually prominent earlobes. Which is more likely? That a museum certified photograph was digitally altered to insert a non-anachronistic figure for no apparant reason? Or that the guy is just a little strange and has ears that stick out a tad oddly?

      ~D. Walker

  14. I want to believe.
    …and as Anon #5 said; first thing that came to mind was 12 Monkeys.

  15. Damn! I forgot to take off my shades. Geez, the Agency’s going to be real pissed off about this.

  16. I’m not so sure that it’s not fake he seems a bit out of focus compared to the other people.

    The shirt with an M looks like a 1940’s sport jersey probably football.

    Einstein had weird hair.

  17. The fifteenth incarnation of The Doctor, while formulated to appeal to still younger hipsters, was not a fan favorite.

      1. Actually, you posted it first. I then went into my Tardis, went an hour and thirty 36 minutes back…

    1. That’s no fakery, it’s a time dislocation effect. At it’s worst you look like a ghost. Hence.

  18. yeah, but hipsters would never be the ones to master time travel technology. so that alone dis-counts this whole theory.

  19. I think that guy tried to sell me stock in his new time machine company a few years ago. Now don’t I look stupid?

  20. The ‘time traveller’s right arm isn’t quite right.
    The angle of the forearm best fits the guy standing behind him.
    The hand and the camera are nice sharp lines with which to make the cut.

    1. I suspect that what you’re seeing isn’t really his right arm. I think that is his hand, but he has his wrist bent sharply, and the part that looks like his arm is something else.

  21. @Anon #22

    The working man’s clothes have always been sexier than banker’s suits.

    Eh? There’s nothing better than someone dressed in impeccable formals – a bespoke Savile Row or Neapolitan suit and French cuffed shirt, muted cuff links, a pair of well polished cordovan shoes, and a beautiful seven fold tie.

    Someone dressed in just jeans and a t-shirt maybe comfortable, but he looks like a schmuck who doesn’t give a crap about how he looks.

    There’s a reason men aspire to look like James Bond, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, or Frank Sinatra. Dressing like a slob isn’t one of them.

    1. “Someone dressed in just jeans and a t-shirt maybe comfortable, but he looks like a schmuck who doesn’t give a crap about how he looks”

      I disagree. I’ll take a healthy looking comfortably dressed man over some one in a starched shirt any day.

  22. As we all have learned from the Terminator series it’s that Time Travel requires that you wear no clothing at all. So I surmise that this man is indeed still a time traveler he just picked up the clothes along the way to the ‘gathering’. Nuff said.

  23. This is obviously just a Vintage Car Club shoot where all the people are dressed in 40s era clothing. No need to explain the grainy B&W film; they are going for that authentic look, after all. This guy is just as obviously under-dressed in today’s hipster grunge.

    1. Um, “grunge” was a whole generation ago. And “grunge fashion” just meant not caring about fashion. It was the only time so far, since I was born, when it was cool not to care if you looked cool or not.

      “Grunge” definitely does not describe what today’s hipsters wear, or how they think about clothing.

  24. I am pretty sure time travel won’t be discovered by hipsters. I love em and all, but people that don’t comb their hair don’t combine theoretical physics and electrical engineering to create a time machine just to go back in time to snap some pictures in their ray-bands.

  25. So we know in the future we have colors, but back then everything was black and white. Where is the guys colors? Therefore, he’s not from the future. Another note, sun glasses exist in China something in the 1300s. Shades did not become popular in the US until the 1940s.

  26. If this is NOT a photoshopped image, and that contemporary guy were REALLY there, the crowd would be looking at HIM, and not fascinated with whatever is out of camera range to the left.

  27. the real question is, what is this crowd looking at that is time traveler-worthy? could there be something cataclysmic in the distant future (say, in 2010?) that will occur as a result of whatever it is that the futuristic hipster is observing? therein could be a lesson for us all…

  28. the shasdow, the focus, the light direction….
    ufo’s time element to travel far being used here, no way.
    does our government do it…. hell yeah.

  29. Obviously not a time traveler or faked photo. This is Plastic Man incognito! I encourage everybody to read the comic and discover the psychedelic wonders of taking “acid”.

  30. It’s an insert…look at the guy in the front to the left and the shading…the same source is not present on the guy with the shades given probable light…

  31. pilots dont create the jets. astronauts dont create the space shuttles. but they’re the ones who look cool in photos. so why must we assume the people that create the time machine will be the one who travel through it?

    Forgetomori only explains his clothing. if im a time traveler, i wouldnt want to be the odd looking one in the crowd either. but still wouldnt go for the whole suit either.

    skeptics will always be skeptics even the evidence are slapped in their face. so i guess thats not a dslr he’s holding, eh?

  32. The shirt is not a standerd Forties Michigan offering. But now, Captain Marvel … And is that Jack Ruby who’s readying that strange looking bit of technology in the left foreground?

    These are deep waters.

  33. One thing slaps me in the face, as obvious in the ‘time traveler’ photo… why does everyone but him have reflection of their glasses? Notice the glasses do not have a reflection. I also noticed he is the only one with any “markings,” such as moles,etc. With the values of that time, everyone dressed up…except him, who is also not clean-shaven. Now with what is presented to me, what my knowledge of the 1940’s was, I’m thinking it is a fake. Any determined and well thought person can fake something…. after all, when you work in TV and radio, it makes the thought and possibility more likely. That’s what we do, within our jobs.

  34. The perspective is off. Instead of focusing on him notice the whole shot. This is an excellent photommery.

  35. I haven’t read the other comments so some may have said this already. The photo legitimacy is highly probable. The texture of his clothing denotes natural fibers which is normal for that era. Though it might be a camera, I’m inclined to think he’s holding a hat or helmet. The hair’s swept appearance hints at headwear. His welder style glasses give the impression that he rides a motorcycle or a roadster. No one in the group seems to be looking at him peculiarly. Let’s face it, anyone wearing more modern clothing would’ve been noticed by someone in the crowd. Also, there’s no sign of Photoshop being used. NOTE: everyone is assuming time travelers are white men by default.

  36. The folks who think this guy is SO out of place don’t spend enough time with old images. I have pictures of men dressed like this PRE World War ONE! Those glasses were very popular with bicyclists and motorists (in what we now call convertibles) from the turn of the century until the fifties. His dress doesn’t mark him as a hipster as much as immature, or a college student. Holding down a job before the sixties demanded a shirt and tie. Yes, kiddies, that included entry level and menial jobs! The camera he is holding, however, is a Rollie- now THAT’S hip!

  37. I just noticed another thing, if you look at the front of all of the faces, you wi8ll see “light scatter” or light relfection from a light surface that’s in front of them. “Time traveler” does not have that. I do not notice any light reflection, lightening of the front of his face as with the others. This goes along with my theory of not having a reflection on his glasses. I also cannot help but to notice that everyone around him is looking more to the left, than what he is. I also notice that he is too tall, where more light can reach him, but the light is not as contrasted, or as harsh on him, as the other taller man and people around him.

    I still think this is a fake. I’m also thinking he may not be the only one super imposed. That would make pixelation and other flaws not show, where traditionally looked. It’s kinda like me editing audio, middle sentence, not at the beginning, as usually done.

  38. Surely a better headline for this post would’ve been Look at This F***ing Time-Traveling Hipster.

  39. “Inexpensive mass-produced sunglasses were introduced to America by Sam Foster in 1929. Foster found a ready market on the beaches of Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he began selling sunglasses under the name Foster Grant from a Woolworth on the Boardwalk.
    Polarized sunglasses first became available in 1936, when Edwin H. Land began experimenting with making lenses with his patented Polaroid filter.” (Wikipedia)

    Oh dear, another one slipped through a rupture in time… http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2010/01/11/new-sun-glasses-for-outfielders/

  40. I think the old man on the right is the time traveler as everyone knows an experienced time traveler will make every effort to blend in.

  41. Look at the way the light hits him though…it looks like the light is coming from a higher position on him than anyone else. And the contrast is lesser on him than everyone else. AND look at the base of his neck, there is a man standing immediately behind him, so much close that it doesn’t look natural. To me, it looks more like a photoshop rather than an actual photo.

  42. The person referenced was not in the original photo. This is readily discernable due to differences in Lambertian, Phong, Cooke-Torrence models, as well as the inconsistency of Beckman distribution, anisotropic distribution, and overall specularity. This is obviously a ‘hoax’.

  43. His ear is cloned from the guy in the very front of the crowd. Shadow was added later (it is too sharp).

  44. That is photo shop CS5, 100%. Simple image crop and shading contrast adjustments to match the photo. Anyone can do that. This photo is 100% fake.

  45. Actually, the guy in the picture is college age, he is actually wearing a leeter sweater. In this case the letter is not applied but actually weaved into the fabric. look at some vintage college clothing and you will find almost the exact same sweater shirt worn in the 30’s by college guy at the time. The glasses actually are from the 30’s made in the USA. at the time. but mostly made with green lenses and gold or silver frames. his is black. The exact frames were marketed at the time in the 30’s. Some people seem to think this guy is out of place because of his attire. They noted the people in the picture were higher class and prob had money. Your right. This was most likely a collage age guy. who was wearing his college clothes high style back then and not cheap. he actually fits right in the picture with the times. The only thing I cannot get is the camera. But if he was upscale kid, he may have had the latest on the market, there were many many camera companies back them. Some no longer in business. the picture is not very good. so what we think we see may not be what it is. There was dozens of syles of cameras out there, and this might have been from Europe. Remember this guy is not poor. Upwardly mobile college guy.

  46. The contrast is noticeably different from the actual person in the original photo. Ans, what about the black guy in the photo?

  47. its a legit pic from the actual museum

    its john connor sent back through time to save hitler…stupid prat misheard his instructions…..

  48. ..duh..what do yo mean

    “his hair, shades, clothing, AND CAMERA DON’T EXIST THAT TIME???”

    ..1940??…you say that camera’s don’t exist that time while you cought a picture of him??..what did you use??..not camera??..duh

  49. Yep, he’s deffinitely a Willy Wonka fan; he’s got the glasses and the big W t-shirt. He even looks a little like Johnny Depp

  50. I think he is wearing a collorless sweater (over a T shirt )that were popular casual wear in those times.

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