John Titor Spun Sci Fi Internet Mystery of Time Travel
Most of us have seen movies and TV shows about time travel and dreamt of the possibilities. Marty McFly in his flying DeLorean or the Terminator and the war of the machines among many other examples make up our human imaginings of what possibilities lie in harnessing time. It’s a topic so thoroughly imagined that we can even predict in advance the repercussions that such an invention might have on our world. Nonetheless, most of us know that it’s an unlikely techno fantasy as opposed to a reality. Or is it? One of the wild stories to populate the earlier days of the internet and technology is the story of an alleged time traveler; the mysterious John Titor.
The Appearance and Subsequent Disappearance of John Titor
John Titor appeared on the internet seemingly out of the blue on November 2, 2000. He remained active online until March of 2001. During these few months, Titor, made many predictions and gave detailed accounts of his life, the future and his time travel machine, including placing pictures of it online and giving detailed descriptions of how it worked. Titor was so open and vocal about time travel and avoiding future catastrophes that he even offered to bring interested parties along with him on his journey. He never revealed what he looked like however. Nor did he reveal his exact location. In March the next year, he simply disappeared and his identity remains a mystery.
While Titor made some predictions, he also included a warning that his predictions may not come true due to the existence of a multiverse. This means that many realities can exist side by side and some details about his past would be different in our future given his arrival in this time period. This served as a safeguard to his several predictions and insulated them from being definitively labelled hoaxes when they didn’t manifest in the exact way that he described. He claimed that he lived in Tampa Florida, was a member of the Army and charged with the task of going back to 1975 to get an IBM 5100.
Periods of Credibility in Titor’s Statements
The predictions that he made correctly were interesting and enough to warrant a mass following. He knew that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in advance of the 2003 war. “None of the things I have said will be a surprise. They were set in motion ten, twenty, even thirty years ago. Are you really surprised to find out that Iraq has nukes now or is that just BS to whip everyone up into accepting the next war?” he said. For many, this statement implied knowledge of the coming war. He also appeared to have foreknowledge about the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003 that killed seven crew members. The most exciting information for many involved was his knowledge that the IBM 5100 had unknown features that weren’t announced until August of 2004. It was discovered later that the 5100 had the ability to emulate older programs in other languages but this information was kept secret due to fear of how it could be used by the company’s competition.
Many things he predicted did not happen, however, including a spread of mad cow’s disease, the Olympics being cancelled as a result and a Civil War that would break out in 2004. In 2009 an investigator uncovered various pieces of evidence that pointed to Larry Haber, a Florida lawyer, and his computer scientist brother John Rick Haber as the people most likely to actually be posing as the time traveler John Titor. They were both very technologically knowledgeable and had also started a for-profit company called the John Titor Foundation that was started two years after Titor’s presence on the internet. Many claim that this doesn’t adequately explain the correct predictions that John Titor made or the detail in which he described his machine, his mission or the future.