Most bizarre time travel stories of all time

Of all mysterious phenomena, time travel is the one we want to be real. (Spontaneous human combustion? Not so much.) The possibilities are endless, and according to some people, they've already experienced them. Of course, it's easy to dismiss all these people as nuts or liars, but that's exactly what the Time Gestapo WANTS you to do …

Project Pegasus and Andrew Basiago

No matter what your political views are, we can all agree that the 2016 presidential election was a pretty wild ride, and that's probably the only reason that it wasn't more widely publicized that there was a time traveler running for office. Andrew Basiago, a practicing lawyer, claims that he's been traveling through time since he was only six years old. His father got him into the business, using him as a test subject with a super-duper top secret time travel program called Project Pegasus. While his first trip was just across the country—New York to New Mexico—he not only says that he went back to hear Lincoln's Gettysburg address when he was 10, but also that he has a picture of himself in 1863.

According to Basiago, the government gets firsthand experience of other times in a few ways. They've created Chronovision, a sort of "Magic mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" device that lets you look into another time from the comfort of your own living room, and they've repurposed some of Nikola Tesla's work to travel. Basiago did it, and in 2012, he went public with claims that Barack Obama was also a "chrononaut," and that they went to Mars together as a part of a 10-member team. The White House denied it.

If you're thinking he should probably already know whether his presidential bid was successful, silly you for thinking time travel is that precise. Basiago says he does know he'll be either a vice president or a president at some point between 2016 and 2028, and honestly, we hope so. He says that not only is he going to go public with all the time travel knowledge you could possibly want, but he's also going to put Bigfoot on the endangered species list. (Yes, he's met a father-and-son Bigfoot.) It's about time we had some government officials who are concerned about the welfare of our endangered creatures.

The Australian Time Travel Study Group

The Australian Time Travel Study Group sounds like something a handful of community college kids would name their physics after-class study sessions, but it's a very real thing that claims to have discovered proof of time travel. They advertise their group on the side of a bright blue car, and it was enough to convince Vice writer Mat Drogemuller to attend one of the group's workshops.

But first, the group's website, which has clearly traveled through time from 1992. There's a couple of different names and photos of people associated with the group, and as Drogemuller found, it's a little unclear who's who and who's responsible for what. It links to the writings of a man named Ronald Pegg, who claims ancient texts that talk about visits from God and other celestial beings are recording visits from time travelers, and each trip to the past resulted in the creation of every major mythological pantheon and major religion. Other claims include that the Archangel Michael is author Michael Drosnin, who is, of course, a time traveler, and that the Bible and other religious texts describe modern objects like CDs, computer cables and a mouse, and, for some reason, the 1948 Israeli Census.

That's not proof of time travel, you're saying, that's just crazy talk. Fortunately, Drogemuller wrote about the "proof" that he was shown at the workshop, and he says it's Windows 95. Loading Windows 95—and going through the black boot screen and the Windows sounds—supposedly coincides with writings in Genesis and Revelations. Revelations in particular talks about an ancient book with seven seals, and the seventh is 144,000. The file that launches good old Win95 is 143,442 bytes. BAM. Ironclad proof right there.

George Van Tassel's time machine

George Van Tassel took a slightly different approach to building his time machine. His was called the Integratron, and the point wasn't to pick up a person and take them somewhere else. The point was to erase all the effects time had on a person's body, prolonging their life so they could travel through time the long route. According to Van Tassel, he received the plans for the Integratron by a man named Solganda. Solganda had come to Earth from his home planet of Venus, appeared at the end of Van Tassel's bed on August 24, 1953, and passed along a 17-page equation that held the secret to erasing the effects of time on a cellular level.

To raise money for the construction of the Integratron, Van Tassel organized a series of UFO conventions that attracted thousands hoping to find kindred spirits who had also had extraterrestrial contact. The Integratron was never finished, but it still stands (without its mechanical workings), and whether or not you believe in time travel, you still have to admire its acoustic properties.

Van Tassel was no slouch, and his background was in aviation. An employee of both Lockheed Aircraft and Hughes Aviation, he spent 25 years working on building the complex machinery that he claimed was an electrostatic generator to repair damage to cellular structure and recharge the human body. He likened it to a car battery, and according to those who interviewed him—and his own memoir, I Rode a Flying Saucer—he was completely, 100-percent certain time travel wasn't just possible, but aliens had given him the key. It's definitely a much more optimistic alien encounter tale than we usually get, that's for sure.

The real story of the "Safety Not Guaranteed" time travel ad

Classified ads have always been awesome, mostly because condensing an entire story into a few words tends to leave a lot open for interpretation. In 1997, an ad ran in Backwoods Home Magazine, and it read: "WANTED: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 322, Oakview, CA 93022. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before."

We're not going to lie, we know the story behind the ad and we still want to respond … you know, just in case. It was written by John Silveira as filler, and was one of two ads that he ran in the Sept/Oct issue of the magazine. His other ad—a personal ad, looking for a girlfriend—got a couple of responses. This one got thousands, and more than a decade after it ran, that P.O. Box is still getting mail. (And it was turned into a movie.)

Silveira has said that the idea came from an unfinished novel he had been working on, and he's gotten mail from everywhere, even Antarctica. Some call him out on a hoax, but others are pretty hard-core. He has a pile of letters from people advertising their martial arts and skills with explosives, and a bunch give a sad look into just what people would do with that opportunity. "Dozens, in prison, asked me to go back in time and talk them out of committing the crime that put them away," he wrote in 2010. "Others (and not a few) were from people who begged me to go back and save a loved one from a tragic death. Those letters were so heartbreaking I almost couldn't read them, and I felt a certain amount of shame for not anticipating the false hope I placed in so many hearts." That got dark, and it's a reminder that even if you don't believe … you want to.

Robert Todino the spammer

In 2003, a strange email spammed inboxes. The sender was offering $5,000 for gadgets like a "Acme 5X24 series time transducing capacitor with built-in temporal displacement," and also said that all the parts would be used for building a time machine. The Internet has always been a weird place, and at least one person played along. Dave Hill made up an online store and shipped the email's sender the motor from an old hard drive. When "Bob White" got the motor, he asked for help getting more parts because clearly, it was just what he needed to build his time machine.

Hill stopped the charade, but the Internet was still interested in who was sending out the emails (and who was potentially building a time machine). They tracked down 22-year-old Massachusetts man Robert Todino, and when Wired talked to him in 2003, he admitted to sending somewhere around 100 million emails since 2001. Legal issues saw the state trying to shut him down, but Todino persisted.

Aside from pleas for time machine parts, he also sent emails explaining just what he needed the time machine for. According to a three-page missive, "Robby" claimed he was going to go back and fix his own past, avoiding a childhood where he had been poisoned by his father's girlfriend. He was hoping for the help of any actual time travelers or aliens who might be living among us as humans, and while it's unclear whether he found his help (the state has been monitoring him), his father came out and spoke about his son's psychological problems and the money he's lost to date. Todino insists that the truth is out there … somewhere.

The claim of an Iranian time machine

In 2013, respectable news outlets—like The Telegraph—reported an Iranian scientist had applied for a patent for a time machine. It wasn't the DeLorean sort (in spite of all the Back to the Future jokes), but it was apparently some sort of machine that could print out a summary of what was going to happen to you for the next few years. The story was supposedly picked up by Iran's state news agency, and scientist Ali Razeghi was quoted as saying, "My invention easily fits into the size of a personal computer case and can predict details of the next 5–8 years of the life of its users. It will not take you into the future, it will bring the future to you."

Apparently, that went for everything from large-scale military operations to more personal problems, but he was also cautious about releasing too much information … or a prototype. There was a very good reason for that, too, and it was because he didn't want the Chinese to steal it.

The Atlantic did some digging and found that everything came from the Iranian propaganda machine, and it's not the only far-fetched news story that's been coming out of the country of late … it was just the Internet's favorite.

John Titor's time travel Q&A

For five months beginning in November 2000, John Titor answered the Internet's questions. There were a lot of them, too, as he claimed to be a time traveler from 2036. In his future, the US had been torn apart by a 2015 civil war, nukes had been exchanged with Russia, and he was one of a handful of people sent back in time to get some particular items to help in the rebuilding of society.

Not only did he describe what society looked like (think The Walking Dead's The Kingdom, without all the walker problems), but he also shared technical information about his 1967 Chevy-mounted time machine, along with schematics and details about what it felt like to travel through time. (It gets hot.) Weirdly, he also named the computer that he had come back to get—an IBM 5100—and said he needed that specifically because of a feature that had never, ever been announced to the public and was only known by the people who had designed it.

Awesomely, the story isn't just still alive, it got another chapter from the conspiracy theorists. 4chan came forward with the theory that Donald Trump's uncle, John, developed time travel with help from Tesla's notes, and not only was Trump a time traveler, but he was John Titor. Disgusted by no one believing him, he ran for president. Makes as much sense as anything else about the 2016 election.

The Bold Street time slips

If you only know Liverpool for The Beatles, you're sorely missing out on some cool stuff. In 2011, the Liverpool Echo started collecting some of the stories people had been telling about bizarre phenomena happening on Bold Street, and if the stories are to be believed, time there's very, very thin.

According to one witness, a woman had gone into a Mothercare store and tried to buy a gift for her sister. Workers refused her credit card, and the would-be customer went home and complained to her own mother. The store had, indeed, been there … years ago. When they returned, it was a bank. There's another strange one that's from 1957, and it's the story of a Geoff Kingsley. He was driving through the Queensway Tunnel, when he saw something coming up behind him, and when it sped past, he saw a gold, triangular car that not only left skid marks, but moved Kingsley's car and seemed to vanish into a door in the tunnel's wall. Weirder still? Around a dozen people have seen the same thing.

There's an eerie number of stories about these occurrences around Liverpool, including one from a former police officer who swore he suddenly found himself in the 1960s and knew exactly what stores had been where. There was another story about a shoplifter who not only saw something off, but claimed he had been in the past long enough to find a kiosk and check a newspaper for the date: May 18, 1967. The security guard chasing him confirmed that he had disappeared down a dead end alley, and his testimony about the shops he'd walked past was accurate. Why do so many people find themselves in 1960s Liverpool? Does it have something to do with The Beatles? These questions need answering.

Rudolph Fentz of Times Square

Rudolph Fentz, the story goes, was dead when he was found, so no one could ask him what had happened. The man, wearing old-timey clothes, supposedly showed up in the middle of Times Square in New York City then was almost immediately hit by a car and killed. When police checked his pockets, they found a business card with his name and some coins from the 1800s. His clothes were from the same era, and so were his mutton chops. Problem was, it was June 1950.

Police did some digging and found that Rudolph Fentz had been reported missing in 1876. The address on his business card matched historical records. Time traveler? Yes!

Only … no. The story had made the rounds for years, and it wasn't until 2005 that someone did the research. Chris Aubeck found the story had a very fictional source, and that it was written by Jack Finney in 1951. It was reprinted, spread, and somewhere along the line, someone forgot that they had read it in a book.

The Moberly-Jourdain Incident

Eleanor Jourdain and Charlotte Anne Moberly were two serious and scholarly women from St. Hugh's College in England, and they were in Versailles for some serious, scholarly R&R in August 1901. Neither had any real knowledge of French history. Because they're English and it was France, they thought the majority of Versailles was all pretty boring, and headed to Marie Antoinette's little chateau.

They walked and walked, and suddenly they were walking alongside people dressed in clothing that was very distinctly not modern. They came to a cottage, and Moberly said the feeling of sadness was overwhelming. A strange, handsome man directed them over a bridge (and away from a terrifying, scowling man who seemed to take particular offense at their presence), and they came to Petit Trianon, the chateau they had been looking for. A dignified-looking woman was sitting outside sketching, our heroines left, and said no more of it until a week later.

Independently, they wrote down what they saw and while there were some differences, there was enough similar that they were able to piece together who they thought some of the people were just by descriptions of members of the court of King Louis XVI. There's a whole bunch of theories about what happened to the two women, and most of them are boring. Like: they were in the middle of some kind of historical reenactment, and someone used the words "strange lesbian romance-induced delusion" to rationalize what they saw. We prefer time travel.