Would you believe it? Fifteen years ago, on March 24, 2001, the individual posting as John Titor left his final message on the Post2Post Art Bell forum, leaving behind a timeless mystery, and one of my favorite urban legends of the information age.
Along with many, many questions.
Who was John Titor? Was he a real time traveler? A hoaxer? Something else? Would this “time traveler” ever return to our worldline, or would this “hoaxer” fess up to the charade? Fifteen years later, and despite many proclamations that he was undoubtedly a hoax, I’d like to think we’ll never know for certain.
03-24-2001 06:19 PM
John Titor posted many times from November 2, 2000 until March 24, 2001, when he left his final message. It contained some goodbyes, some more questions answered, along with an explanation of why, if time travel is possible, there aren’t time travelers everywhere — all the time.
Here is an excerpt from that final post.
Posted By John Titor
Post Date: March 24, 2001
I will be leaving this worldline shortly and this will be my final post. There are only a handful of people who will know exactly when I will be leaving and I’m sure they will let you know when I’m gone.
In the last few days I have found your choice of topics quite interesting and from an objective viewpoint I think it collectively answers one of your own questions, “If time travel is real, where are all the time travelers?” In the past, I have stated that quite frankly, you all scare the Hell out of me and I’m sure other temporal drivers would feel the same. But now I have an expanded explanation with two examples.
A while ago (on one of the posts), I related an experience I had with my parents while we were driving down a highway. Every now and then, we would pass someone who was in obvious distress with their vehicle. I was amazed that so many people could pass them by without stopping to help. Their explanation was fear. The risk of helping someone was too great and with today’s technology, they probably had a cell phone anyway. If they didn’t, the walk to a gas station would be good for them and teach them a lesson for running out of gas.
The other example is the plight of the homeless. When you pass them as individuals on the street I see the way people selectively choose an alternate path to avoid them.
Those two examples best define why time travelers do not show themselves. In trying to help you, we put ourselves as great risk and there’s really no point to it. We know the nature of time dictates that traveling between “exact” worldlines is impossible. Therefore, the only results we will see will be the ones we stay to see. Since worldlines, outcomes and events are infinite, we have better things to do. When I arrive in the “new” 1998 worldline on my way home I could easily start all of this again and continue to go through the same conversations with all of the same people. However, I already know you won’t pay any attention or believe me because we’ve already been through it on this worldline. Besides, I think the walk to the gas station will do you some good.
Titor went on to answer several more questions in the usual way, and mentioned the videotape of his departure, which he claimed his family (in 2001) would take. This alleged videotape would never surface.
His final post ended with some “parting thoughts.”
I also want to thank Pamela for helping me with the email and everyone else who asked intelligent and insightful questions. I have learned a great deal.
My parting thought revolves around something J.C. has been harping on since day one. No, I do not have a secret agenda but I have been paying a great deal of attention to your worldline. My interaction with you was not a direct mission parameter but it was a secondary mission protocol based on standing orders given to all temporal drivers. That secondary objective is basically to gather as much information about a worldline based on a set of observable variables when we first arrive. Your worldline met those conditions. What amazes me is why no one here wonders why Y2K didn’t hit them at all?
Bring a gas can with you when the car dies on the side of the road.
And here we are.
If we are to believe Titor was a real worldline-hopping time traveler, then we can assume his final voyage was a success. With him, he took letters that people wanted to send to versions of themselves in other worldlines (an experiment that may have caused a few to suffer “alter-vus”).
He also entrusted his confidant, Pamela, with a secret song, a type of code word that she could use to verify his identity if he ever did, somehow, find his way back to our worldline.
As far as I know, he never did.
To be honest, the thing that gets me the most about John Titor’s story is that, if it were just a hoax, it’s amazing that no one has ever come forward (with proof, of course), even after fifteen years.
While I’ve said many times that I’ve never personally believed he was a real time traveler, there’s still something about his story that makes me wonder. Why?