Time travel, as anyone with a passing understanding of the laws of physics or an IQ above 93 (or, better yet, both) can tell you, is impossible. Sure, it makes a great premise for movies like Back to the Future and Time Bandits, but it’s not going to happen IRL, folks. Sorry. The best bet for practical time travel has always been and will always be sleep and/or a drunken blackouts, though you will notice that you can only move forward in time in these states.
However, despite the fact that time travel is impossible, it’s still lots of fun to think about. And it’s even more fun to look at, as it were. Here we have gathered a collection of amusing, unusual, and at times outright unsettling images that almost seem to show a time traveller having somehow completed an implausible journey, or else show a scene from the past that’s hard to explain given the supposedly limited technology of the era depicted.
All of these images are real, as far as we know, and have not been doctored in any way. So are they in fact proof of time travel? No. No, they’re not. Still fun stuff, though.
15. 1938 Cell Phone?
The woman in this series of pictures appears to be chatting on a cellular phone, despite the fact that these photos were taken in the year 1938, decades before the cell phone was invented. Here’s the real catch: she is talking on a mobile phone of sorts, albeit not one using cellular technology. Rather she is testing out a wireless device more akin to a two-way radio than an iPhone or Galaxy. And we even know her name: Gertrude Jones. Ms. Jones confirmed the wireless test later in life, and she never mentioned time travel, so there you have it.
14. Time Traveling Travolta?
You never know what’s going to happen with John Travolta, do you? One minute he’s having his face removed, the next he’s dancing to disco, and then all of a sudden he’s worrying about thetans or some other scientology nonsense. But time traveler? Whoa, not even L. Ron Hubbard could have seen that coming. But take one look at this picture from the 19th Century and you just might believe that Travolta somehow travelled through time! Or you could believe that a guy who looked just like him lived during the 1800s, either explanation is just fine with us.
13. Snapping a Phone Pic In 1962?
This image taken during the 1962 FIFA World Cup appears to show a person taking a picture via a flip-style cellular phone. So did someone travel through time, arrive in Chile in June of 1962, and then snap a quick picture with a phone dating from about 2002? Well… no. But the person in question is taking a picture, albeit simply with a film camera held at such an angle that it approximates the look of a phone from a later era. Side bar: if you ever do manage to travel through time, please bring along a DSLR. Or at least an iPhone.
12. The Time Traveling Hipster
The man at the right side center of this photograph would not stand out a bit were he walking down the street in Brooklyn, Seattle, or San Francisco. He has on hip sunglasses, an undershirt with a printed graphic, slightly wild hair, and a five o’clock shadow. But this photo was not taken recently, but rather was snapped back in 1941. So is this a modern hipster who unlocked the secrets of time travel? No, actually he is evidence that certain fashion trends cycle back through now and then; he would have been dressed in style for a young man in his era, and so too is he hip in ours.
11. The Astronaut on the Cathedral
There is a cathedral in the Spanish city of Salamanca that boasts a carving of an astronaut tucked among the many other sculptures and reliefs that adorn its ornate facade. Why is that significant? Only because this particular house of worship was completed in the year 1733 (its construction having begun more than 200 years before that), a solid 220+ years before the first astronauts took to the heavens. But there it is as clear as day in photos or in person: an astronaut statue! How? Well, it was actually added in the early 1990s during a restoration. Sigh.
10. Nicholas Cage of Yore
It turns out Nicholas Cage and John Travolta have more in common than their co-starring roles in the action thriller Face/Off (wow, two Face/Off references in one article… are we back in time ourselves here); they are also both apparently capable of time travel! That or there is an outside chance that the Academy Award-winning Cage also simply looks like someone who lived back in the 19th Century. And someone who knew how to rock a bow tie with style, by the way. This Cage doppelgänger is looking sharp, whoever he is. Like if it’s not Nicholas, we mean.
9. Dinklage and Diego Velasquez
In or about the year 1645, the celebrated Spanish painter Diego Velázquez completed a painting titled the Portrait of Sebastian de Morra, though it is often alternately called Dwarf Sitting on the Floor. Political correctness was not really a thing then, see? Here’s the catch: on close inspection, it becomes abundantly clear that the painting is hardly of a man named Morra, but is in fact clearly a portrait of modern screen actor Peter Dinklage, who clearly mastered time travel somehow and tricked the Old Master into using him as a model for the work. Or probably, anyway.
8. Civil War Soldier Checks Texts?
This image seems to show a Civil War soldier riding along in a carriage, right? OK, OK… that’s not a soldier from the American Civil War, it’s actor Henry Fonda in a still from the movie Stagecoach. You got me. But wait… is Fonda checking his phone for texts? That wouldn’t seem strange had this film been produced in the last few years, but in fact Stagecoach came out in the year 1939! So what is Fonda doing? Merely looking at some black, vaguely rectangular object like a cigar case? Or mastering the bending of space-time laws? It’s one or the other.
7. The Time Travelling Skater
While a small number of Californians took to wheeled platforms in the 60s, skateboarding did not catch on as a distinct sport until the mid-1970s, and even then it remained a rather niche activity, popular largely with counter-culture youth and rarely appreciated by the mainstream. It would take decades, really, before skateboarding was seen as more than a fringe activity and instead embraced as a real sport. So who is this well-dressed gentleman rolling through New York’s Central Park on a skateboard back in the 1960s? Clearly a time traveller from later in the century, that’s who. Or a progressive guy who just liked skating, dammit.
6. Old School McConaughey
Well alright, alright, alright… Matthew McConaughey can travel through time! And no, I’m not referring to his ageless looks. One, because like all of us, he has aged. Two, because if that’s the kind of content you want, look elsewhere, dear reader. And three, because we have clear photographic evidence that the actor can and has travelled back in time, donned a collar-popped shirt and a slick three-piece suit, and had his photo taken to prove the fact that he can move forward and backward through history. Also, sir, grow back that mustache. It’s a thing of perfection.
5. The Samurai’s Chronometer
The samurai were the premier martial force in Japan for hundreds of years, protecting their masters and living a life devoted to honour and military prowess. But their time had largely ended by the mid-19th Century, so this colourized photo of a traditional samurai warrior is a bit strange: look closely, and you will clearly see the man wearing a decidedly modern wristwatch! So, can it be that a modern man travelled back in time and posed as a traditional warrior? Or is this actually just a still from a modern movie of an actor who forgot to take his watch off?
4. Da Vinci the Time Bandit
Leonardo da Vinci was many things. He was, of course, a painter famous for such works as The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. He was a sculptor who mastered the art of forging bronze into lifelike beauty. And he was clearly a time traveling bandit, also. How else could da Vinci have been so far ahead of his time (which was 1452-1519, FYI) in terms of scientific knowledge? Da Vinci displayed an understanding for anatomy, physics, and mechanics that was years ahead of other scholars of the era, as evidenced by his many detailed drawings. Either he was indeed an absolute genius, or he was a loathsome time traveler stealing the accomplishments of future thinkers and pawning them off as his own.
3. Eddie Murphy Through the Ages
Remember when Eddie Murphy was hilarious? Back when he was the scene stealing center of Saturday Night Live or the acerbic and witty standup comic or the star of hits like Beverly Hills Cop or Trading Places? Or, in other words, before Pluto Nash and Holy Man? Yeah, those were the good old days. But not the good olden days; no, for Mr. Murphy, the true olden days came during his stint time travelling back to the 1800s. His adventure was captured in at least one photograph, and we share it with you here. Same guy, right?
2. From the Skies Over Boston
Take a look at this aerial photograph of Boston, Massachusetts. The image is clearly dated on the bottom right corner as October 13th, 1860. That’s right, this photograph was taken more than forty years before human beings mastered controlled flight! So how was it captured? Clearly by a time travelling aviator! Or perhaps it was taken from a hot air balloon. And in fact, dropping the whole shtick, this picture was actually captured by a man named James Wallace Black, ais the oldest known example of aerial photography, so it’s pretty cool even without the whole time travel thing.
1. The Immortal Keanu Reeves?
You know that Keanu Reeves Internet meme/joke that just won’t die? That Reeves is in fact immortal and doesn’t age? It’s all total BS, the guy is 100% mortal, he just happens to be able to travel through time. (And age gracefully, yes.) It’s likely the reason he looks much the same today as he did in his movies from the 1990s is because many of his said films could have been produced at any given time in history. Proof? Well, how else did he pose for this painting by the masterful Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola, which was completed in the 1530s? Boom.
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