More tech-using time travelers spotted in archival film footage


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My co-editor Mark recently caused quite a stir here on Boing Boing when he blogged this highly controversial clip of a female figure clearly talking into a cell phone in 1928 footage of people lining up for the premiere of Charlie Chaplin's movie The Circus. There's a neologism for this stuff: Pluperfect PDA.

Disbelievers gotta disbelieve, but with a new week comes new evidence: not one, but two new videos of time-travelers in footage of yore. In the video above, a very, very early adopter of Apple products.

Special thanks to Bill Barminski for "research assistance." For all who seek proof, let us consider this "proofiness."

Now here's that second video...


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  1. Can we be sure the girl is a time traveler?

    I mean maybe the film itself was produced in the future and then it was sent back in time?

  2. OK stupids. This is clearly fake, Apple didn’t even use that logo in the 50s!

    As for the woman talking on the cellphone at the Chaplain premiere…she’s a prankster. She knew this footage would be seen by people in the future so she was faking talking on a cellphone to mess with future viewers. I mean think about how this would look to someone in the 70s. It would blow their minds! Luckily, cellphones have been around now for quite some time so we can easily explain this.

    pfft.

    1. Enough with cell phones. The woman from the early Chaplin video was obviously singing to an early prototype of the Sony Walkman.

  3. What most perplexes me is how the time traveler managed to do so and stay on Earth. With how fast Earth is moving through space, going back or forward in time even a minute would leave you in empty blackness and instantly kill you.

    That’s some impressive calculations and machinery if they were able to compensate for that.

    1. spacetime is defined by the mass in it, so it makes sense that moving through spacetime would keep you in a point relative to the mass that is defining it.

    2. @Tim: That’s interesting, time travel would only be possible for 365 1/4 day intervals then, if the motion was static.

      1. … time travel would only be possible for 365 1/4 day intervals then, if the motion was static.

        Nope. Keep in mind that the sun is also moving, rotating around the center of the galaxy, dragging the Earth and the rest of the solar system along with it. And the galaxy itself is also moving relative to other nearby galaxies due to their gravitational attraction (not counting the overall expansion of the universe). Combine all of these motions, and the position of the Earth in space exactly 1 year from today will be nearly 20 billion kilometers from where it is today. So, a time machine that displaces you in time but not in space is inevitably going to leave you floating somewhere in the void, quite some distance from Earth.

  4. “Obviously not. There are no time travelers, because no one came to the time traveller convention: http://web.mit.edu/adorai/timetraveler/

    Just because I decide to throw a party for Obama doesn’t mean I should actually expect him to come to my house. And, in this case, since it was in the past (from their perspective), they already knew how lame the party would be.

    You’re also supposing that knowledge of the party lasted long enough to reach the people of the future. Maybe the invitation got lost over the years, or do future people scour the future-internet in search of centuries old time travel party invitations?

    1. Or else we just unfortunately exist in one of the timelines in which the time travelers didn’t show up and the party was lame, but in other divergent timelines, the party was a blast, they violated their version of the prime directive, and spoiled the surprise about the eventual zombie apocalypse outbreak at the Tea Party Rally in 2016 so that we were prepared.

  5. I love these videos – they’re the geek equivalent of the lady in East Texas who finds a picture of Jesus and some angels in her grilled bologna and cheese.

  6. “What most perplexes me is how the time traveler managed to do so and stay on Earth. With how fast Earth is moving through space, going back or forward in time even a minute would leave you in empty blackness and instantly kill you.

    That’s some impressive calculations and machinery if they were able to compensate for that.”

    Not if your time traveling device is a spaceship. You go from that point in space to that same point in space, then just fly to wherever Earth is at that moment. There is no need to do an earth to earth time jump.

  7. That second video would be more impressive if it showed the score for Game 5, which is being played today, rather than Game 2, which was played on Oct. 28, the day before this YouTube clip was posted.

  8. OMG Time travel is real! What’s even more surprising is that we have time travel machines right now! I mean, all these time travel videos show people with cellphones, Macbooks, etc. If time travel were invented in the distant future, the travelers would have rayguns and whatever other holographic futuristic gadgetry. The fact that they have modern gadgetry and care about the scores of the 2010 world series shows that they are from 2010! The government is hiding these time machines somewhere, and I demand to have access for world saving and dinosaur hunting purposes.

    1. I wouldn’t put it past the government to waste billions of dollars on research and development of time travel technology and then negligently letting it fall into the hands of children and old ladies who just use it to screw with people on YouTube by showing up in old footage.

  9. Sorry, folks. It was 1959 and the Giants had just moved West and played 3 charity exhibition games. The first with Sunset Scavenger drivers, the second with the Muir Woods staff (pictured) and the third with Muni drivers. I know this because at the time, I was the girl asking the question.

  10. I haven’t had really looked at this latest time travel clip. However – my comment is relevant.

    Charlie Chaplin and H.G. Wells were friends. Charlie Chaplin considered H.G. to be one of his great influences:

    Chaplin became increasingly concerned with politics. A strong supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, Chaplin’s film, Modern Times (1936), was seen by some critics as an attack on capitalism. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), began compiling a file on Chaplin’s activities, including his friendship with radicals such as Upton Sinclair, H. G. Wells, Hanns Eisner, Albert Einstein and Harold Laski.

    Source – http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAchaplinC.htm

    H.G. Wells predicted a lot of technology. Perhaps he and Chaplin discussed the inevitability of miniaturized radios. Forget cell phones – simply mini-radios.

    Please don’t scoff – these were creative people – a comedian and a futurist. Maybe Chaplin, for fun, inserted an Easter-egg? Simple explanation not involving the woo-woo.

  11. I call BS.

    Unless the time travelers can take the entire cell phone infrastructure with them – towers, fiber, switched-packet networks, and all – it just won’t work.

    Q.E.D.

    1. Unless the time travelers can take the entire cell phone infrastructure with them – towers, fiber, switched-packet networks, and all – it just won’t work.

      Which is why you really have to enhance the volume to hear what she’s saying:

      “Hello…? Hello…? Dammit Jobs, how do you expect me to pull off Operation: Grandpa Gates Bucket Kick with this half-assed… Hello?! I knew we shoulda listened to Woz. He told us to get OffMaps. Come on, show me some bars!!”

  12. The whole idea is simply ridiculous. Get out your tin-foil hats and demand to see Obama’s birth certificate, before Muslims from the future destroy the moon.

  13. Obviously both explanations offered for both videos are wrong. In the first, the girl is not carrying an Apple laptop. It’s an Apple portable time traveling machine, called the iTime. And in the second video, the teacher is not a time traveler. The handwriting is of a child, who is the actual time traveler.

    Geesh. Do I have to explain everything around here?

  14. Steve Jobs had tried to suppress all evidence, but at last we have proof! He did not, in fact, invent the rounded rectangle!

  15. Whether or not you will see something weird depends highly on whether or not you’ve been pre-conditioned to see it.

  16. Oh for f—, another one?!? The first one was ridiculous, and this video is even worse. Look, I’m a big science fiction fan, but please: give me something to work with here! This is just stupid.

  17. I have to say, after watching the Charlie Chaplin time traveler I noticed something quite distinct which nobody seems to have picked up on. She’s clearly rolling her fingers at the end when she turns to the camera. Almost like she’s playing idly with her hair.

    The closer we get to time travel, the more evidence of it will crop up in old footage. I like to think so anyway. As anon 12 said, it’s the geek equivalent of religious pareidolia.

  18. speaking of time travel…

    is it me or is there a brand new robo-xeni riding a unicorn in the sidebar?

    i’m pretty sure we haven’t invented robo-xenis yet!

  19. I think the final, clinching proof of time travel is the way the teacher points to the blackboard. She’s holding her hand in the approved Apple iPhone 4 manner. She IS the time traveller!

  20. Well, I’m glad that I don’t have to take any interest in world affairs.

    Sort it out, Time Travellers! I’m going back to my donuts!

  21. I fully expect BoingBoing readers to be the first people to have time machines, and once they do, I fully expect them to go back and pull these sorts of stunts.

    Time travel is really going to revolutionize trolling.

  22. Yes, it’s true. They have progressed enough to BEND time and travel through it. But they have old iPhones and laptops from the 20th/21st century.

    They also then go out of their way to be extras in videos of the time.

  23. The Chaplin film is a possibility.

    The first video above is likely a depiction of an apple chewed all around.

    The last video the n’s don’t match – indicates tampering.

    Cap-Z-ro…

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