John Titor

John Titor: Method of Gravity Distortion and Time Displacement Patent

On October 1, 2004, Marlin Pohlman filed a patent application for a gravity distortion time machine based on the schematics and descriptions provided by everyone’s favorite alleged time traveler, John Titor.

The patent,  titled Method of gravity distortion and time displacement, described a “technical time displacement device,” which operated through the “modification of gravitational fields.” To form the patent, in his own words, Pohlman “reverse engineered” the information and diagrams that John Titor shared during his brief stint on various online forums from 2000-2001.

The application contains a rather lengthy description of various scientific ideas that would (he claims) allow the machine to work, including quite a lot on quintessence, a hypothetical form of dark energy. It’s all rather complicated, and I couldn’t tell you if any of it makes sense or not.

To further complicate things, when the patent application was published (and it is just an application, by the way, not an official patent), there was quite a lot of speculation on message boards that Pohlman himself was, in fact, the perpetrator of the John Titor legend.

Pohlman dismissed those claims, and honestly there’s no reason to believe he was affiliated with the story in any way; he said he just wanted to contribute something “truly unique” in the form of the patent.

However, Pohlman’s own time travel escapades have been, let us say, put on hold.

Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.


  1. Yes, that took a very disturbing turn. Even if somebody did figure out a way to time travel, I think no matter what it would take a dark turn. I don’t think we’re meant to be able to move through time at will. The Philadelphia Experiment, for example, if it really was an attempt at time travel, when they came back men were fused into the deck of the ship, and the ones that survived went crazy.

    1. I think the biggest reason I’ve always liked the John Titor story is that the time travel involved seems, to me, the most realistic.

      There are limitations to how far you can travel (with world line divergence), and since we’re hypothetically dealing with parallel universes, a single time traveler’s impact on any given world line is minimal. The whole thing is kind of a slow, clunky process with no guarantee of success, at least as far as your own world line is concerned.

      If time travel were to actually exist, and that’s a huge “if,” I think Titor’s description is pretty close to reality.

  2. If this was true, then why, when he was out on bail, didn’t he travel back to warn himself of his future arrest so that he could evade it?