"Greetings. I am a time traveler from the year 2036."
Thus began another chapter in the story of John Titor (aka "Timetravel_0"), one of the strangest and most polarizing figures in the history of the internet.
Perhaps you remember my brief mention of John Titor in the Art Bell post I wrote last week. Since then, I've devoted quite a bit of time to researching the man himself, and the results have been, in a word, baffling. John's story started in 1998, when he contacted Bell via fax claiming to be a visitor from the year 2036. Throughout 2000 and 2001, he began posting on internet message boards, quickly gathering a large following of both believers and debunkers. John claimed that a great Civil War had broken out between urban and rural areas of the United States in 2015, and that he was enlisted with the "Fighting Diamondbacks" (see military insignia, above right) in Florida before his trip into the past. He also claimed he was returning to 2036 in March '01, and at that point disappeared from the internet completely.
The reason for Titor's travels through time is a strange one. According to his story, he had to visit the year 1975 to retrieve an obscure portable computer (an IBM 5100, shown at left), which he needed to debug a series of computer programs in 2036 (a reference to the UNIX 2038 timeout problem). After procuring said computer, he stopped in on 1998-2001 to visit his parents and a younger version of himself. As weird as it sounds, research has shown that the IBM 5100 was, in fact, the only computer with the built-in capability to avoid this problem, and the debate as to whether Titor knew this as a result of obscure studies or from actual future experiences remains open. But this is only one in many strange paradoxes in the story of John Titor.
This intro to a series of videocasts on Titor helps sum it all up:
Part of what is so compelling about Titor's story was his extensive knowledge of physics and detail with which he described his time travel device. He would debate at length about the nature of space and time with skeptics, addressing and explaining such concepts as the "grandfather paradox" and the Everett-Graham-Wheeler or "many worlds" interpretation of quantum physics. According to Titor, a time travel device had six requirements to function properly, which were as follows:
1) Two magnetic housing units for the dual micro singularities
2) An electron injection manifold to alter mass and gravity micro singularities
3) A cooling and X-ray venting system
4) Gravity sensors, or a variable gravity lock
5) Four main cesium clocks
6) Three main computer units
Eventually, he even provided copies of instruction manuals and photographs, a few of which are shown below.
Above: Schematics for the GE C204 'Army Model' Time Travel Device
Below: Diagram for the C204's Tipler Sinusoid Field, used to house singularities.
John Titor's posts on the Art Bell Forum (he had previously posted as "Timetravel_0" on other message boards) quickly made him an underground star on both the internet and AM radio. He was an engaging and interesting writer, and spent months answering questions about the future, from both his supporters and the haters. His tales of the upcoming nuclear wars and domestic battles within the U.S. grew in both scale and detail, and soon his life story began taking on a more definite shape. John Titor became less a nebulous idea and more a concrete, scientific lineage incorporating mechanics, backstory, and photographic documentation. But he never "went public".
Before he disappeared from the internet altogether in March 2001, Titor made several predictions about the near future. Although hit-and-miss at best, some of them proved to be eerily close to reality, from his predictions about Mad Cow disease to his statements about CERN and the great strides they would make in quantum technology. He also claimed that the Olympics would cease in 2004 (note unrest at the Beijing Olympics in 2008) and that the United States would elect a "Lincoln-like" president... in 2004.
Listen to an 8-part interview with johntitor.com editor Oliver Williams on Coast To Coast With George Noory here.
If you've got an extra $200 laying around, get a copy of John Titor: A Time Traveller's Tale (reportedly published by Titor's mother) here. Or you can just read all the same stuff in the book at johntitor.com.
And now, we travel onward to the odd phenomena known as "Revelation 13" of The Bible code. "The Bible Code" refers to a certain way of reading the Bible, usually the King James Version, in which all text is condensed together so that conspiracy nuts can play crosswords with it. In doing so, they have found everything from Nostradomus references to predictions of atomic holocaust. Pioneer of this practice and original Bible Code author Michael Drosnin used his techniques to prophesy the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, lending credence to the idea but still keeping it far from the realm of science fact.
Unsurprisingly, practitioners of the Bible Code have found connections to John Titor in their work. The Titor-Bible Code connection is known as "Revelation 13".
YouTube video explaining Revelation 13 and The Bible Code in relation to John Titor
For example, the section shown above is text (or a "matrix") from 2 Chronicles 15:8-22:7, in which the phrase "JTITOR" can be found angled, crosswords-style, through its center. In addition to "JTITOR", we also find the phrases "IN TIME", "PROPHECY", "ALL THE HOST OF HEAVENS", "I RETURN IN PEACE", "THE WATCHTOWER IN THE WILDERNESS", "AND DEPARTED", and finally, "IN THE MOUTH OF THESE THY PROPHETS".
Now take Psalms 45:2-92:14:
In this particular matrix, we have the requisite "JTITOR", along with "IN TIME", "FUSION" (a possible Time Travel power source), "HE WILL BE OUR GUIDE", and the words "LIGHT", "WAR", "FOREVER", and "WONDERS". Creepy.
The earlier-linked "Revelation 13" web page contains 7 of these matrices, all of them containing "JTITOR" and a host of prophetic phrases.
Biblical proof that John Titor was a seer? Not neccessarily. Using Revelation 13, we also find the terms "JTITOR" and "IS A FAKE" in Psalms 15:3 - Jeremiah 24:3 and "JTITOR" + "CONMAN" in 2 Kings 5:10 - 1 Chronicles 16:40.
So YOU make the call. Was John Titor merely a well-educated prankster pulling off a particularly epic hoax on a sizeable group of conspiracy nuts and gullible basement-dwellers? Or is it possible that he was actually a visitor from several decades in the future? As always, it's easy to debunk the wild claims we find on the internet. But suspend your disbelief for a minute.
Things can be a lot more fun that way.
You can read John Titor's original postings on the Anomalies Network here.