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Author Topic: John Titor  (Read 6948 times)
Posts: 25

To infinity and beyond

GravitonGrrl space_cadet126
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« on: July 29, 2009, 08:35:11 AM »

Titor is an interesting story (albeit one I do not believe). He claims to be a "time traveler"..... as impossible as it sounds, he claims he is from 2036!

From Wikipedia:

John Titor is the name used on several bulletin boards during 2000 and 2001 by a poster claiming to be a time traveler from the year 2036. In these posts he made numerous predictions (a number of them vague, some quite specific[1]) about events in the near future, starting with events in 2004. He described a drastically changed future in which the United States had broken into five smaller regions, the environment and infrastructure had been devastated by a nuclear attack, and most other world powers had been destroyed.

To date, the story has been retold on numerous web sites, in a book, and in a play. He has also been discussed occasionally on the radio show Coast to Coast AM.[2] In this respect, the Titor story may be unique in terms of broad appeal from an originally limited medium, an Internet discussion board.

Titor's posts

The first post appeared on the Time Travel Institute forums on November 2, 2000, under the name TimeTravel_0. At the time the posts had nothing to do with future events and the name "John Titor" was not being used. Instead, the posts discussed time travel in general, the first one being the "six parts" description of what a time machine would need to have to work (see below) and responses to questions about how such a machine would work. Early messages tended to be short.

Soon after, TimeTravel_0 claimed to be a time traveler from the future and began posting varying descriptions of his time. Gradually he began answering questions posted in the forum and started to reveal a more complex picture of the future. Although most of his posts concerned the condition of the world in the future, Titor also responded to questions both in the forums and in IRC,[3] and sometimes posted images purporting to be of the time travel device or its manual. He also sometimes talked about more current events; for instance, in an early post he stated that "The breakthrough that will allow for [time travel] technology will occur within a year or so [2001] when CERN brings their larger facility online".[4]

The name "John Titor" was not introduced until January 2001, when TimeTravel_0 began posting at the Art Bell BBS Forums (which required a name or pseudonym for every account). The Titor posts ended in late March 2001. Eventually, a number of the threads became corrupted; but Titor's posts had been saved on subscribers' hard drives and were copied to, along with new discussions of the science behind Titor's time travelling as well as his predictions.[5] Around 2003, various websites reproduced Titor's posts, re-arranging them into narratives. Not all refer to the original dates posted.[6]

[edit] Outline

In his online postings, Titor claimed to be an American soldier from the year 2036, based in Tampa in Hillsborough County, Florida, who was assigned to a governmental time-travel project. Purportedly, Titor had been sent back to 1975 to retrieve an IBM 5100 computer which he said was needed to "debug" various legacy computer programs in 2036; a reference to the UNIX 2038 timeout error. The 5100 runs the APL and BASIC programming languages. Titor had been selected for this mission specifically, given that his paternal grandfather was directly involved with the assembly and programming of the 5100.

Titor claimed to be on a stopover in the year 2000 for "personal reasons"; i.e., to collect pictures lost in the (future) civil war and to visit his family, of whom he spoke often. Titor also said he had been, for a few months, trying to alert anyone that would listen about the threat of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease spread through beef products and about the possibility of civil war within the United States. When questioned about them by an online subscriber, Titor also expressed an interest in unexplained mysteries such as UFOs (which in his time were still as yet unexplained). Titor suggested that UFOs and alien visitors may well be time travelers from much further into the future than his own time, who possessed superior time machines to his own.

[edit] Time machine

Titor described the time machine on several occasions. In an early post, he described it as a "stationary mass, temporal displacement unit powered by two top-spin, dual positive singularities", producing a "standard off-set Tipler sinusoid". The earliest post was more explicit, saying it contained:

    * Two magnetic housing units for the dual micro singularities
    * An electron injection manifold to alter mass and gravity micro singularities
    * A cooling and X-ray venting system
    * Gravity sensors, or a variable gravity lock
    * Four main caesium clocks
    * Three main computer units

According to the posts, the device was installed in the rear of a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible and later moved to a 1987 truck having four-wheel drive.

Titor further claimed that the "Everett-Wheeler model of quantum physics" was correct. This model, better known as the many-worlds interpretation, posits that every possible outcome of a quantum decision actually occurs in a separate "universe". Titor stated that this was the reason the grandfather paradox would not occur; following the logic of the argument, Titor would be killing a different John Titor's grandfather in a timeline other than his own.

    "...The grandfather paradox is impossible. In fact, all paradox is impossible. The Everett-Wheeler-Graham or multiple world theory is correct. All possible quantum states, events, possibilities, and outcomes are real, eventual, and occurring. The chances of everything happening someplace at sometime in the superverse is 100%."[7]

[edit] Predictions

The most immediate of Titor's predictions was of an upcoming civil war in the United States having to do with "order and rights".[8] He described it as beginning in 2004,[9] with civil unrest surrounding the United States presidential election, 2004. This civil conflict that he characterizes as "having a Waco type event every month that steadily gets worse"[9] will be "pretty much at everyone's doorstep"[8] and erupts by 2008.

Titor claimed that as a 13-year old, in 2011, he fought with the "Fighting Diamondbacks", a shotgun infantry unit of Florida, for at least four years. However, in other posts he describes himself as hiding from the war. As a result of the war, the United States splits into five regions based on various factors and differing military objectives. This civil war, according to Titor, will then end in 2015 with a brief, but intense, World War III:

    "In 2015, Russia launches a nuclear strike against the major cities in the United States (which is the "other side" of the civil war from my perspective), China, and Europe. The United States counter attacks. The US cities are destroyed along with the AFE (American Federal Empire)...thus we (in the country) won. The European Union and China were also destroyed.[10]

Titor refers to the exchange as "N Day". Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville, Florida are specifically mentioned as being hit. After the war, Omaha, Nebraska is the nation's new capital city.

Titor is vague as to the exact motivations and causes for World War III. At one point he characterized hostilities as being led by "border clashes and overpopulation"[11] but also points to the present conflict between Arabs and Jews as a harbinger of World War III:

[edit] Examination of the claims

[edit] Predictive failures

The posts were met with skepticism when they were being posted, but it was impossible to prove beforehand that they would not happen. Because Titor claimed the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics was correct, effectively meaning that his travel was from a parallel universe and that things could occur differently than he had predicted, his claims were unfalsifiable.

One of Titor's earliest claims was that CERN would discover the basis for time travel sometime around 2001, with the creation of miniature black holes about half a year after his departure. This event did not occur. An article occurring generally around the time he had predicted about miniature black holes being created by CERN (a recurring theme, also ascribed to Fermilab and Brookhaven at various times[12]) was taken by some to be evidence of this claim; but these events did not occur either. Civil war was not even remotely close to breaking out after the 2004 presidential election, with no further conflict in 2008 in the way Titor described.

A particularly obvious example involves the Olympics, whereof Titor claimed: "As a result of the many conflicts, no, there were no official Olympics after 2004."[13] The uneventful staging of the 2006 Winter Olympics refutes this claim; however, there were arguments as to whether or not Titor was referring exclusively to the Summer Olympics.[14] Though the successful realization of the 2008 Summer Olympics clearly refutes Titor's prediction, the website points to some of the controversies of the opening ceremonies, such as Lin Miaoke lip-synching and fireworks being computer simulated as suggestive that the entire Olympics were faked.

[edit] Problems with the technology

In the context of the demonstration image provided by John Titor, the laser pointer's beam being "bent" reveals the obvious inconsistency of objects near the beam not appearing to be bent as well. The framing of the window visible in the background, for instance, should appear distorted in proximity to a large gravity gradient, but it does not. Some have speculated the "beam" is an optical fiber.[15]

Titor claimed that he was sent back to obtain an IBM 5100 because it could translate several types of computer code. According to IBM engineer Bob Dubke, Titor's statements regarding the IBM 5100's little-known ability to emulate and debug mainframe systems were correct [16]. Supporters state that this information was not publicly available in 2000 or 2001 when Titor made his declaration,[17] and Titor himself stated that this feature was "discovered" as late as 2036 when Unix, as the underlying source behind all computer operating systems still running local infrastructures and other computational tasks, was only two years away from not being capable to function anymore due to 32-bit integer limitations (see Year 2038 problem).[18]

However, this emulation capability was widely known in the industry and commented on in depth in numerous publications dealing with both the 5100 and programmable microcode in general.[19] References to this fact were also available on the Internet as early as 1999 and therefore predated Titor's postings. This is a fairly obscure bit of trivia, however, which suggests that whoever was making the posts either was familiar with the machine specifically or else had at least a general interest in retrocomputing.[20]

    "Apparently, APL was a difficult task for IBM to accomplish with an interpreter in the 5100, so instead they wrote an emulation program so that the S/360 mainframe version of APL could be run instead -- The 5100 is like a desktop IBM S/360 mainframe computer which only runs APL."[21]

[edit] Problems with the story

Numerous commentators have pointed out the broad similarities between the Titor story and Pat Frank's classic post-apocalyptic science fiction novel Alas, Babylon.[22] Alas, Babylon takes place in a small town in Florida just before and after a nuclear war and describes the struggle to survive as a family in the aftermath. In the book, the protagonist lives in the mythical town of "Fort Repose", while Titor claimed to live in the "Fort", formerly the University of Florida (UF). An examination of the claims also suggests several inconsistencies within the story. For instance, in some posts Titor claims that money is widely used and people still have credit cards, despite his statement that centralized banking no longer exists (though that of course would not exclude the possibilitiy of private currencies being used). In another posting he speculated that today's dollar would be usable in his time, but that this would be after the reorganization of the federal government according to his own history, potentially making the currency worthless.[23] In most cases, he claims to have been given his basic education at UF, but in another post claims to be home-schooled [24].

Other problems with the story include inconsistencies relative to Titor's comments. His first appearance appears to have been, not in 2000, but in the summer of 1998 through two faxes to Art Bell's radio program Coast to Coast AM. When he began posting the online story Y2k (1-1-2000) had come and gone without any real problems. Yet in the 1998 faxes to Art Bell he said, "Y2K is a disaster. Many people freeze to death trying to get to warmer weather. The gov. tries to keep power by instituting marshall [sic] law..." [25]

In the online story he stated that a part of his mission was to prevent the coming world war by changing history. Yet during October 2000, a month before he began posting, he appeared in a UK IRC chatroom. In the chat log his response to Yariesa's question asking if we could change the future that he was predicting he answered, "It's too late. I just wish things didn't have to happen they way they will." [26]

[edit] Inquiry on the story

An Italian TV program (Voyager - Ai confini della conoscenza) aired an investigation of the John Titor story on May 19, 2008.[27] Mike Lynch, the private detective hired to investigate, found that there were no registry traces, even far in the past, of any John Titor or Titor family. In addition, the John Titor Foundation had no office and its address is a rented post box; no tapes, recordings, or evidence of Titor were found; and only Larry Haber (an advocate and owner of the commercial rights about all concerns involving John Titor) confirmed his existence. Lynch's conclusion is that John Titor may be John Rick Haber, a computer expert who is or was Larry Haber's brother.


"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your  eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
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