It was today in 2000 that a post appeared on an online forum for the Time Travel Institute from someone who claimed he was a time traveler.
He said his name was John Titor, and he was on his way back to his home year, 2036, after retrieving a vintage computer from 1975.
The back story here is complicated – read the Thrillist oral history to learn more – but a John Titor had previously sent statements to Art Bell’s Coast To Coast radio show several years before, so these posts got plenty of attention.
Especially since he had lots to say about the future: Titor said there were wars, technological disasters and diseases coming.
Eeriest of all, he said people in 2036 had tried to go further and further into the future but for some reason “hit a brick wall in the year 2564.”
Critics said Titor was one of the internet’s first viral hoaxes; they pointed out that his big predictions about the future didn’t come true.
But believers still believed.
According to Titor, time traveling changed timelines, so by posting a prediction about a disaster they figured maybe he prevented the disaster!
Several people in our timeline have been suspected of being the real authors of the Titor posts, for a range of reasons from an online art project to wanting to sell merchandise.
Others have come forward and said, actually I’m John Titor, or at least an alternate version of him.
Officially, Titor posted a farewell message online in early 2001.
But before that he provided specs of the time travel device he said he used to come to our time.
Nobody has found a way to make it work as intended, but if you can, maybe you can head to 2036 and get some answers.
Here’s another alternate version of Earth, but not because of time travel.
Build the Earth is an effort to recreate every single spot on our planet, but in the Minecraft universe – with one Minecraft block to represent each square meter in physical space.
It’s gonna get lit when they start work on Area 51.
The Oral History of John Titor, the Man Who Traveled Back in Time to Save the Internet (Thrillist)
Project to recreate entirety of planet Earth in Minecraft (Boing Boing)
Our Patreon backers are so cool they could probably travel through time