When police responded to a disturbance call at a house on East Second Street in Casper, Wyoming, in early October, they found 27-year-old Bryant Johnson with a message for them. He was from the future, the aliens were coming, and he was drunk, according to radio station KTWO.
Bryant claimed he was from the year 2048 and was in Wyoming to warn the “president” of Casper of an impending 2018 alien invasion. He was drunk because that’s the only way the alien’s time travel device would transport him back in time. That’s also apparently why the machine missed the intended target of 2018 and landed him in 2017.
Police arrested Bryant for public intoxication and took him to a nearby hospital.
As silly as this story sounds, what if Bryant is right?
Stories pop up on occasion of people claiming to be from a different time. The mysterious John Titor and his dire warnings from 2036, the late Al Bielek who said he travelled in time with his brother Duncan Cameron in the Philadelphia Experiment, and Håkan Nordkvist, a Swedish man who said he journeyed into the year 2042 and met himself – just by crawling under his sink.
Great stories, but none are true. Serial hoaxer Joseph Matheny claims to have been part of the Titor hoax, Bielek has been labelled an attention seeker, and Nordkvist? His story was a viral marketing campaign for an insurance company.
However, physicists like Albert Einstein, Michio Kaku, and Stephen Hawking have all said time travel is mathematically possible. The faster an object moves, the slower time passes for it.
To prove this, in 1975 Professor Carol Allie of the University of Maryland synchronized two atomic clocks. One stayed on Earth while the other was loaded aboard an airplane. The times were checked at the end of the experiment, and the mobile clock revealed time aboard the airplane traveled slower by a smidgen of a second than it did for the clock on the ground.
It works for people as well.
While spending 803 days, 9 hours, 39 minutes on the International Space Station, Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev circled the Earth at 7.66 km/s – and traveled in time. When he returned to Earth in 2013, he was 0.02 seconds in the future, according to Universe Today. This was just what Einstein predicted with his Special Theory of Relativity way back in 1905.
“We have a hard time perceiving how time can bend just like other dimensions, so Einstein's predictions seem strange,” Princeton University astrophysics professor J. Richard Gott told ABC news. “But this appears to be the world we live in.”
So why can’t at least one of these time travel claims be real?
Time travel accounts litter history, from English women vacationing in France in 1901 who claimed they stepped into the French Revolution, to RAF Air Marshal Sir Robert Victor Goddard flying over a Scottish airfield in 1935 and seeing it as it would be in 1939, to numerous accounts of people driving on a familiar road and seeing an old building they had never seen before.
And some not so famous accounts.
In 2003, Springfield, Missouri, college student Jake Kell encountered someone at a convenience store who made him wonder if time travel was possible.
As Kell pumped gasoline into his truck, a bald man in a business suit yelled, “What year is it?” at him from across the parking lot. The suit, Kell noticed, wasn’t typical. It was, “along the lines of the things Teddy Roosevelt could wear.”
The man yelled at him again. “What year is it?” Kell would have panicked, except the man didn’t look crazy and was obviously well dressed. He was just angry.
“Two-thousand three,” Kell told him.
The man’s face turned red, and he screamed the question again.
Kell told him 2003 one last time, then got into his truck. When Kell looked in the rear-view mirror, the man was gone. He wasn’t in the parking lot, he wasn’t in front of the store, and Kell didn’t see the man through the large plate glass windows on the front of the store. The man had simply disappeared.
This is only a small sampling of unexplainable time travel stories.
Scientists, like Hawking, have tried to prove time travelers are here. Sort of.
Hawking held a party for time travelers on 28 June 2009. He just didn’t tell anyone, figuring if time travellers read a later news story about the party, they would show up. No one did. However, in 2013, a fan of Hawking, Peter Dean, printed invitations to the party hoping to attract party-goers to change history. We’re still waiting.
Maybe there is a chance.