Time is persistent and continuous. It always flows in the same direction that is, forward direction. Isn’t this what we all think about time but then how could the story of a mysterious man named John Titor be explained? He was someone who claimed that he came from future to retrieve something from the past. This mysterious person named John Titor was originally known as “TIME_TRAVELER_0”. He was a user whom we first met on The Time Travel Institute Forums on November 2nd in the year 2000. Just prior to that, on October 23rd of that same year a user by the name of Paul started a thread detailing time travel paradoxes and theories on how to solve them specifically “The Grandfather Paradox”. The grandfather paradox is an assumption that states if time travel to the past is possible and you were to go back in time and meet your grandfather and kill him you would create a paradox by killing him, as your father would never have been born therefore you would never have been born and so you would never be able to go back in time and kill your grandfather thus creating a loop of time. So time travel would be a finicky business for whoever made the jump. User Paul then went on to state that a possible solution to this paradox was “The Many Worlds Theory” essentially stating that if you were able to go back and kill your grandfather the resulting world would be a different world that you created by your own actions. In the resulting world you would never exist but because you came from a reality where you did exist no paradox will be created.

On November 2nd a user by the name of TIME_TRAVELER_0 answered Paul and said that he was correct and then claimed that he himself was a time traveller. This was the first time when the idea of time travelling caught the attention of millions of people and this is how one of the most mysterious people till date came into existence. In his conversations on the forum, he made people aware of the existence of a time machine. He claimed that with the help of this machine you would be able to travel in time (this suggests that you could go back to your past, undo your mistakes and live a life without regrets in the future. What can possibly be better than this?).  John continued to post on the Time Travel Institute Forums under the name “TIME_TRAVELER_0”. From November of 2000 until the New Year passed in a 2001, throughout this time he was mainly discussing his machine that he claimed was built by General Electric. His task was to get an IBM 5100 model computer from the year 1975 and the reason he stopped in our time was to see his family. He told everyone that he was born in 1998, putting him at just over 2 years of age while his older self was visiting from the future. His purpose of going back to 1975 was to acquire an IBM model 5100 computer. This model computer was apparently useful in debugging computers that had an issue, more specifically he appeared to be referring to the UNIX 2038 issue. The UNIX 2038 issue that TIME_TRAVELER_0 is referring to is a problem that will inhibit computers built on 32-bit architecture from correctly calculating the time, meaning that those computers will stop working or malfunction on January 19th, 2038. This issue is something that has been known about since the 70s but today’s computers are built on a 64-bit architecture system thus effectively resolving the problem, assuming that the computers to be used in 2036 are not running a 32-bit system. This was the first time when people began doubting the existence of TIME_TRAVELER_0.

A post was shared by TIME_TRAVELER_0 on November 15th, 2000 in which he claimed that our universe was not the exact past for his home year of 2036, maybe this justifies the UNIX 2038 issue but does this justifies his existence? He further explained that we were 2.5% divergent from his timeline, (this data was approximately based on his calculations). Thus conveying that any predictions, dates given or events that he had learnt about might not happen. So any time he was asked about lottery numbers, winning bets or anything that someone could profit from with his knowledge, he politely declined to answer rather he spent most of his time explaining how his machine worked. This does not means that he didn’t talk about the future. He did but for those events let’s jump forward in time (a little bit) i.e. January, 2001. A post on Art Bells Forum was shared in which a user named John Titor conveyed a message that he had successfully obtained the IBM 5100 and was returning back to future. This was the first time when we saw a name attached to the user TIME_TRAVELER_0’s story.

Furthermore, in his conversations he claimed that a civil war was going to break out in the U.S. in the year 2004. He described it as a Waco type event that occurred every month and got worse steadily. He stated that the conflict will consume the U.S. by 2012 and conclude with a world war 3 in the year 2015. He also told that in his time the U.S. had undergone a huge change and got divided into five separate areas based on their economic and defensive strengths. This is the second issue with John Titor because as of now no such events have occurred yet. So he built a fallacy into his argument with the assertion that our world line was two and a half percent divergent from his home line. However throughout the entire several months that this went on John continued to assert that a civil war will consume the US. The difference between the timeline that john posits and the timeline that we inhabit now appears to be incredibly different. So in the end we can conclude that given the opportunity multiple times to tell something about the future TIME_TRAVELER_0 gave almost zero predictions which were correct. If he did come from a timeline that was 2.5% divergent from ours we can only assume that our world lines would be 97.5% the same, meaning if John’s story was true then we would have experienced the tragic event that he described for sure.

In 2003 two years after the departure of our infamous time traveller from both The Time Travel Institute Forums and The Art Bell Forums, a for-profit company named “JOHN TITOR FOUNDATION” was formed in Kissimmee, Florida. The foundation had no office or addresses other than a post office box also rented in Kissimmee, Florida. An IP address that was associated with John Titor post also geo located to that area in 2003. A man by the name of Larry Haber owned that foundation. He was an entertainment lawyer from Florida. He also had a brother by the name of Morey Haber who was a computer scientist. Many people finally came to the conclusion that this was an early attempt at an alternate reality game perpetrated by an entertainment lawyer who wanted to profit off of his stories and his brother who helped him with his knowledge of computers whereas some people still believe that he was a true time traveller.

By Ananya Thakur, Neemrana, Rajasthan


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