Time Travel

Did Time Travelers Leave Evidence In This 1930s Mural?

I honestly don’t know what to do, anymore.

For years and years, I’ve warned about the dangers of reckless time travel. And does anyone listen? No, not at all. Irresponsible time traveling tourists are still leaving proof of their future technology in the past!

Just look at this: A mural made back in the 1930s appears to show a Native American holding what looks like a modern-day smartphone, his thumb just in the right position to send that latest text.

A Native American holds a curious object in his hands
Image: Umberto Romano/U.S. Postal Service

The mural was created in 1937 by Umberto Romano, and is titled “Mr. Pynchon and the Settling of Springfield.” According to Motherboard, who recently shared this curious anomaly, it can be found in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Office Building in Springfield, Massachusetts. It’s meant be an artistic representation of the settlers arriving to the area in the 1630s.

But that’s beyond the point. Now, we have yet another round of tabloids propagating yet another piece of time travel evidence – each piece bit by bit destroying the very fabric of space and time. The more we see, the more wibbly-wobbly things get.

How could the Italian painter Umberto Romano have known about the existence of smartphones so long before they were invented?

I’ll tell you how. And you already know, because it’s the same old story. Time tourists, yet again violating the number one rule of time travel: No cell phones.

Or, as at least one historian has posited, the object depicted in the mural could be a mirror or small book of some kind. They’re not fooling me, though.


Rob Schwarz

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


    1. I doubt a time traveller would waste any time watching or listening to anything from 2017.

  1. It’s a bar of silver. He’s looking at it with an expression of confusion because he has no concept of why this is valuable to the settlers who are overtaking his land. Silver was highly coveted by Europeans at this time and smelting it into bars that look exactly like this was common.

  2. Hi,Rob ~ Ikr, and there’s something else they do that drives me crazy. You know how you misplace something and you’re searching for it for what seems like forever, looking everywhere multiple times, and finally there it is in one of the first places you looked in at least 20 times? Well, after much thought, I do believe I have this figured out: time-traveling assholes. For example, let’s say that there’s two assclowns in a bar in the future having a few cocktails and one of them says something like, “You’re full of ****! There never used to be any company called ‘Sony’. What kind of a stupid name is that? What does it even mean? So the other guy says, “I got 20 bucks (or whatever their currency is called) that says there was.” Second guy says,”You’re on!”
    First guy gets into his time machine and comes back to circa 2015 or so, grabs your cell phone, takes it back to show his buddy and collects his 20 bucks. And since it is one of the immutable laws of time travel, he has to return your item to you. Butterfly effect, you know. But of course, I could be wrong.

  3. Hi, Rob~Do you by any chance remember a post about what nuisances gnomes are and how hard it is to catch them? I just want to let you that that was me and I also wrote the time-traveler post below. As I recall, you were sort of nervous about that first one and I want to reassure you that this one is also is a joke :)

    1. Oh, don’t worry — I know you’re joking! I pretty much read every comment that’s posted here, but I don’t always reply because either I’m working on something else or I forget. They also sometimes get stuck in the moderation filter, so they might not publish right away.

      I 100% enjoy your comments, though!

  4. Without GPS and a massive infrastructure of towers, repeater stations, etc cell phones do not work. So anyone taking one further into the past than 1990 (2G intro) or 2000 (3G intro) – `dates are approximate – is just lugging a paperweight. This is reinforced by the lack of evidence of the satellites and ground equipment existing then. And no, you can’t call directly from one phone to another like voice radio (which ranges from large to huge in size comparison to a phone). So the idea of a cell phone appearing in any piece of art dating from the period earlier than the present would seem extremely remote as why bring something useless with you ?
    Also, any properly run time traveling organization would scrub the travelers of anomalous items like cell phones before shipping them (the British SOE in WW2 did that with its agents before dispatch to Europe- no British brands of clothing for example – so the technique is well known)

    1. Other features of the phone would work such as the camera, video camera, voice recorder, sound recorder, and so on. As long as the “jump” through that thing that influences magnetic frequencies and the like didn’t drain the crap outta your battery, the cell phone would be a handy little tool in documenting the events witnessed/experienced during time travel. Just sayin’.

  5. its a mirror. Those were valuble and made out of polished metal – seeing one’s reflection for the first time was a first time experience for native americans. Hence the expression.

  6. We’re so used to seeing people with their gaze focused on smartphones that we almost automatically interpret any similar-sized object as a phone, even when it’s impossible. I’ll take “Pareidolia” for $1000, Alex!