John Titor fed the internet’s curiosity with wild predictions that have kept the internet fascinated for decades.
To this day his identity remains unknown, so in this article let’s take a look at the history behind this internet urban legend and try and figure out the full story of Mr. John Titor.
How It Began
The story of John Titor begins with a man who was no stranger to the paranormal or talks of time travel. Art Bell was the host of the immensely popular radio show called Coast To Coast AM that was directly focused on this type of content.
On July 29th, 1998, Art was doing his routine calls from listeners.
This viewer interaction was a staple for this show’s entertainment, and on this Summer night, something a little out of the ordinary would occur.
At the time his phone line was open to receiving calls someone would instead send him a fax.
As the show was winding down that night, Art Bell read aloud this fax from his radio station to an incredibly large audience
Coast To Coast AM Episode 008 July 29th, 1998
I had to fax when I heard other time travelers calling in from any time past the year 2500 AD. Please let me explain.
Time travel was invented in 2034. Off-shoots of certain successful fusion reactor research allowed scientists at CERN to produce the world’s first contained singularity engine. The basic design involves rotating singularities inside a magnetic field. By altering the speed and direction of rotation, you can travel both forward and backward in time.
Time itself can be understood in terms of connected lines. When you go back in time, you travel on your original timeline. When you turn your singularity engine off, a new timeline is created, due to the fact that you and your time machine are now there. In other words, a new universe is created.
To get back to your original line, you must travel a split second father back, and immediately throw the engine into forward without turning it off.
Some interesting outcomes of this are:
One, you meet yourself. I have done it often, even taken a younger version of myself along for a few rides before returning myself to the new timeline and going back to mine.
Two, you can alter history in the new universe that you have just created. Most of the time, the changes are subtle. Sometimes, I’ll notice car models that don’t exist, or books that come out late.
The oldest one was a skyscraper that wasn’t built in a near favorite store of mine in New York.
Interestingly, when you travel in time, you must compensate for the orbit of the earth. Since the time machine doesn’t move, you have to adjust the engines so you remain on the planet when you turn it off. Unfortunately, it was also discovered that anyone going forward in time, from my 2036, hit a brick wall in the year 2564.
Everyone who has ever been there has reported that nothing exists. When the machine is turned off, you find yourself surrounded by blackness and silence.
Now, most time travelers are trying to find out where the line went bad by going into the past, creating a new universe, and proceeding forward to see if the same thing results in 2564. It appears the line went bad around the year 2000. I’m here now, in this time, to test a few theories of mine before going forward.
Now, for the future you might want to know about.
One, Y2K is a disaster. Many people die on the highways when they freeze to death trying to get to warmer weather.
Two, the government tries to keep power by instituting marshall law, but all of it collapses when their efforts to bring the power back up fail.
Three, a power facility in Denver is able to restart itself, but is mobbed by hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed. This convinces most that maybe we shouldn’t bring the old system back up.
Four, a few years later, communal government system is developed, after the constitution takes a few twists.
China retakes Taiwan, Israel wins the largest battle for their life, and Russia is covered in nuclear snow from their collapsed reactors.
Art, the reason I’m here now is because I believe a nuclear weapon set off by Iraq in the Middle East war with Israel might have something to do with the damaged timeline. I will test that theory and get back to you.
Please pray that we discover the reason why there is no apparent future after 2564.”
After this first message, some time had passed.
On October 13th, 1996 Art Bell had left radio due to threats made against his family, but when he ultimately returned on October 28th, 1998, a second message was received the day he got back.
As far as I am aware, while the transcript remains, this audio file is not easily found on the internet.
Note: Pay attention to how the storyline will become inconsistent over time.
“Dear Mr. Bell,
I am glad you’re back. I faxed this information to you the day before you left the air. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t lost in the shuffle so I am sending a gift. If you’ve already seen this please accept my apologies. If you choose to make this public please do not publish the fax number. I had to fax when I heard the other time traveler calling in from the recent time past in fact the year 2500 Ad.
Let me explain, Mr. Bell. I sent a fax with this opening on July 29 1998. As I said then I am a time traveler. I have been on this world line since April of this year and I plan to leave soon. Typically time travelers do not purposely affect the world lines they visit. However, this mission is unusually long and I’ve grown attached to some of the people I have met here.
Anyway, for my own reasons I have decided to help this world line by sharing information about the future with a few people in the hope that it will help their future. I am contacting you for the same reason. Unfortunately there is no historical reference to your program in my worldline.
I believe you can change your future by creating one now.
Some of the information presented on your program may be invaluable to up-line researchers. I suggest you isolate the programs that concentrate on military technology and new physics theories. Transcribe these programs and put them someplace safe away from the box. I recommend someplace in the midwest.
I also urge you to reconsider your paranoia to the Russians.
They are not preparing for war with the average US citizen. They are preparing for war with the US government. They will eventually save this country and the lives of million of Americans.
I realize my claims are a bit difficult to accept so I will send the following once I know you have received this fax. A few pages from the operations manual of my time machine. And a few colored photographs of my vehicle.
If you wish to contact me I will be happy to share with you the nature of time, the physics of time travel and some of the events of your future.
Please send a return package to…”
John Titor’s Forum Posts
Ultimately Art never ended up sharing these photos, and this identity slowly lost interest. But this would change as fans of time travel and science fiction would become incredibly interested in this time traveler’s tale later on.
In 2000-2001 one user would capture the internet’s attention with various forum posts.
The crowd of people interested in this online persona consisted of those who mocked his inconsistencies, while others suspended their disbelief.
After all, only time would tell if he were right in any of his predictions.
These Online posts began in In November Of 2000 when a new user by the name of TimeTravel_0 would register on the Time Travel Institute Forums, and this is where John Titor would begin to gain traction in his daily correspondence.
This mysterious user would continue to post on these forums making various predictions. In various posts up until 2001, he detailed his life from the future, his backstory, and his mission from the year 2036.
You can view his various posts here, and over time he would also post to another forum owned by none other than Art Bell. (Post 2 Post Forums)
The name John Titor really only came about as Post 2 Post’s forum required a nickname, and as such his first message on this forum gained him that identity.
The amount of detail in this hoax would grow as more as an audience would start to build. In several forum posts, John would mention that he is on a mission to get an IBM 5100 for use in 2036.
In his various posts, he mentioned that he grew up in Florida while living in a time-line that is 1-2% different from ours. John details his work in a military unit called the fighting diamondbacks.
This hoax went as far as to add schematics for his “time machine” and a would go as far as to upload various photos of his “devices”.
A significant amount of detail went into the creation of this interactive story. (Similar to today’s modern-day standards of an ARG)
After some time, a countdown would begin on the forums with John mentioning when he would return home.
When this countdown got to its close people began sharing his messages more and more online.
As the buzz began to grow, more and more people would wonder if any of his predictions would come true.
To nobody’s surprise, they didn’t.
In his final message on Post2Post it read:
Posted by John Titor on 01-27-2001 12:45 PM
Greetings. I am a time traveler from the year 2036. I am on my way home after getting an IBM 5100 computer system from the year 1975.
My “time” machine is a stationary mass, temporal displacement unit manufactured by General Electric. The unit is powered by two, top-spin, dual-positive singularities that produce a standard, off-set Tipler sinusoid.
I will be happy to post pictures of the unit.
Who Was John Titor?
As time went on, the conversation regarding John Titor tended shifted to a more negative light.
The internet grew more cynical to these people spouting rumors and the conversation shifted from people anticipating predictions, to “who the hell lied to us?”
Theories have ranged far and wide on the identity of this mysterious individual, however, after looking into the subject it appears one of the Haber brothers seems to be the most likely candidates.
Although I’m not sure which one.
In a detailed investigation called the Razimus Report, it lists 88 potential suspects. This list is mostly comprised of people that may or may not be real people and after further research, only 7 were left as potential suspects. Of the 7 suspects listed all of them had some financial ties to the story.
In 2003 John Titor buzz was at it’s highest and soon after a for-profit limited liability company by the name of The John Titor Foundation LLC was formed in Florida by a man by the name of Lawrence A. Haber.
This LLC also holds the copyright to his insignia and after John’s disappearance, the peak of his popularity warranted the release of a book called, John Titor: A Time Traveler’s Tale.
This book has since gone out of print, but you can still find it on Amazon for a whopping $200 as it has become rare.
Among the other actions by the LLC, a site by the name of johntitorfoundation.com was also created and hosted in Florida.
The Haber Connections
Narrowing the list becomes harder as The Haber’s had more than just one connection.
- Lawrence’s brother’ Richard was investigated by a private detective, which found his brother to have filed a PO Box associated with the Foundation.
- Arthur Haber hinted at it being his brother.
- Morey Haber refused to answer despite sharing a similar word choice done in writing analysis.
Likely one of the Haber’s is Mr. John Titor.
As much as it seems like this was a viral marketing stunt, it doesn’t seem like it was properly planned. Likely this just started as a bit of internet trolling that resulted in people trying to cash in later on.
Technically, we can’t even say that the original fax sent to Art Bell was the same person who appeared on the forums in 2000.
Keep in mind the original story is based on there being nothing in the future; while the forum user talks of a military mission.
It almost as if the person we know as John Titor was just someone using details from this first iteration and running with it.
All in all, the world loves to entertain the bizarre and paranormal. Our curious brains are always looking for that slight possibility
We may never know what happened to this supposed time traveler, but his legacy still remains.