The mystery of John Titor: Hoax or time traveler? – John Titor appeared on the Internet in 1998, claiming to be a time traveling soldier from the future world of 2038. He described America torn apart by a 2015 nuclear war with Russia and internal civil war, though he also said he came from a parallel timeline, so maybe none of those things would happen in our future. He disappeared in 2000, leaving behind a following of conspiracy theorists, determined to get to the bottom of the hoax.

Or was it a hoax?

There’s a particular point-of-view that seems to evolve within every amateur Titor investigator I encountered. As the puzzle fails to be solved, when no serious candidates present themselves, the goal of locating the hoaxster morphs ever so slightly, allowing in the possibility that maybe, just maybe, time travel could be real. “Look, of course John Titor didn’t travel through time,” they’ll say, only to dramatically shift with the addendum, “but let’s say he did.”

Mitch Wagner @MitchWagner