On September 10, 2013, The Victorian Academy of Magick posted this shocking update on their Facebook page, alongside the following image:
“Time travel will be invented in the year 2025. How do we know? Because that is the year that this delightful lady claimed to have traveled from. In the year 1898, according the contemporary reports, Alexandria Alexis appeared ‘as if from nowhere’ and took New York society by storm. Some fawned over her while others claimed she was insane. This debate was however rendered moot when, on New Year’s Eve 1899, she simply disappeared…”
The story swept through the Internet, as all such stories do. Was she really a time traveler? A woman who voyaged through time and space, only to become a Victorian Broadway singer?
Well, no, not as such. It turns out that the Victorian Academy of Magick was a page created as promotion for upcoming novels by Victorian Vampire Press, and that the woman pictured is actress Grace Rawlinson, who performed in the United States from 1870 to 1873.
A disappointing conclusion to an intriguing urban legend.
Oh, but what if she were a real time traveler, and Grace Rawlinson was just a front she used after realizing she’d never return to her own time again?
In point of fact, the true story was relayed to me by an ephemeral munchkin one night after I fell asleep reading Frank L. Baum’s Ozma of Oz. Perhaps I’ll share it some day…