John Titor

John Titor: The Second Fax

While John Titor’s first fax in 1998 was devoid of many of the “plot points” found in his later posts online, his second fax, also sent to Art Bell in 1998, was a bit more consistent.

In this second fax, we get to the good stuff. The person who wrote it (and it’s never been confirmed this was by the “real” Titor, just to clarify) alluded to photographs and copies of his time machine’s operations manual, which we would later see.

He mentioned the Russians as a potential ally. He urged Art Bell to hide Coast programs dealing with military technology and physics “someplace in the midwest.” All hints of the greater John Titor story that would eventually follow on the Internet.

The Second Fax (1998):


“Dear Mr. Bell,

I am glad you’re back. I faxed this information to you the day before you left the air. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t lost in the shuffle so I am sending a gift. If you’ve already seen this please accept my apologies. If you choose to make this public please do not publish the fax number. I had to fax when I heard the other time traveler calling in from the recent time past in fact the year 2500 Ad.

Let me explain, Mr. Bell. I sent a fax with this opening on July 29 1998. As I said then I am a time traveler. I have been on this world line since April of this year and I plan to leave soon. Typically time travelers do not purposely affect the world lines they visit. However, this mission is unusually long and I’ve grown attached to some of the people I have met here.

Anyway, for my own reasons I have decided to help this world line by sharing information about the future with a few people in the hope that it will help their future. I am contacting you for the same reason. Unfortunately there is no historical reference to your program in my worldline.

I believe you can change your future by creating one now.

Some of the information presented on your program may be invaluable to up-line researchers. I suggest you isolate the programs that concentrate on military technology and new physics theories. Transcribe these programs and put them someplace safe away from the box. I recommend someplace in the midwest.

I also urge you to reconsider your paranoia to the Russians.

They are not preparing for war with the average US citizen. They are preparing for war with the US government. They will eventually save this country and the lives of million of Americans.

I realize my claims are a bit difficult to accept so I will send the following once I know you have received this fax. A few pages from the operations manual of my time machine. And a few colored photographs of my vehicle.

If you wish to contact me I will be happy to share with you the nature of time, the physics of time travel and some of the events of your future.

Please send a return package to…”


And, naturally, Art Bell didn’t share the number.

Two years later, on November 2, 2000, someone using the handle TimeTravel_0 would arrive on the Internet, explaining the particulars of a working time machine.

Later, he’d pop up on Post to Post, Art Bell’s BBS forum, and the world would learn the name John Titor.


Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. For nearly 10 years, he's managed Stranger Dimensions, providing a unique perspective on all matters involving time travel, parallel universes, and whether or not robots might one day take over the world.

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  1. “Later, he’d pop up on Post to Post AM.” It’s Coast to Coast AM, not Post to Post. I read the “first” FAX, too. I don’t see why it wouldn’t fit the Titor narrative, as you suggest. As the story goes, before returning to 2036, Titor went back to 1998 after his visit from Nov 2000 to Mar 2001. Simply put, he’d already told his whole story in Nov 2000, why go over it all again when Bell would learn it all two years after receiving the first FAX? I doubt time travelers are in any particular rush.

    1. “Post to Post” was the name of Art Bell’s online forum at the time. Here’s an old archive from February 2001 showing what it looked like:

      Although I’m not sure why I added “AM” to it. I’ve edited that out.

      As for the differences in the story, I was mostly just curious about why Titor never mentioned the “damaged timeline” in any of his 2000-2001 forum posts. It’s an interesting angle. In his 1998 fax, he stated his mission was actually to test a theory involving a nuclear bomb detonation. Nothing about the IBM 5100.

      Thanks for you comment.

      1. Thanks, Rob. The “AM” is what confused me.

        The Titor story has fascinated me since 2003, when I found the message boards he’d posted on. I don’t believe he was a time-traveler but won’t be too awfully surprised if one day I find out differently.

        In my opinion, he was a fiction writer doing some research and testing a character (John Titor) for a novel he was working on. If that was the case, I suspect that all the fakes who surfaced after Titor “left” probably discouraged the author from publishing a finished product.

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