Saturday, October 30, 2010

Proof of Time Travel

The other day at book club, Julie was talking about a viral video that shows a woman talking on a cell phone. In the 1920s! Someone found it in footage from a Charlie Chaplin movie premier. Proof of time travel!

We once read and liked The Time Traveler's Wife so this is a fascinating subject. It's fun to think what it would be like if you could go to another point in time. Like Marty McFly!

See if for yourself here:

I just couldn't stop looking at this. I just love the idea of someone traveling in time and getting caught on film.


If you really look at the movie closely, it hard not to be distracted by the woman's shoes. U-G-L-Y, even for the time period, I would think. And so, if you were going to be a time traveler, and someday be seen around the world on a viral video, wouldn't you also make sure to have on at least slightly attractive footwear? Think about it, you would know.

Of course, in the book, the Time Traveler could not bring clothing, or objects with him. But in this case, if the woman was able to bring her iphone, wouldn't she be able to drag along some fashion items as well? It's not as if she's hiding here.

And who would she call?

I just don't know! But this brought to mind a photograph that people were talking about a while back, also called proof of time travel. Check out the dude in the sunglasses:

So he looks like he could fit in our times, yet looks out of place where he is.

Makes you think.

I just know that I like looking at old photographs, so I did some googling, to find out what else was out there.

And sure enough, there are people, "photo historians," who do this kind of thing, and generate their own controversies among themselves.

The latest seems to be: what is the first known photograph with a person in it?

See this:

Last month at the excellent Krulwich Wonders blog, Robert Krulwich examined a set of astoundingly-sharp 1842 daguerreotypes of Cincinnati along the Ohio River. According to the University of Rochester, it's "the oldest photograph of an urban area in existence." Zooming way in, one could barely make out what appeared to be two people at the edge of the river, collecting what looked like a bucket of water. Inspired, one of Krulwich's readers did a bit of photo forensics and provided us a much better glimpse of those two folks. He blogged about his findings at Hokumburg Goombah. Krulwich followed up with another post and asks if this is the "first photo of a human being ever?"

And then some other guy magnified and sharpened a detail to show that it had people:

They look kind of like ghosts or aliens to me.

But the commonly accepted first known photograph of a person is this Daguerreotype from 1838:

The purportedly first picture of a living person. The image shows a busy street, but due to exposure time of more than ten minutes, the traffic was moving too much to appear. The exception is the man at the bottom left, who stood still getting his boots polished long enough to show. Look closely and you will also see another man sitting on a bench to the right reading a newspaper. Also in the upper left hand side you can also see another man standing under the awning of the 3rd building from the left. What looks to be a woman standing under the street lantern at 10 o'clock from the man getting his shoes shined and another one in the big white building,1st row 3rd window down. Notice the child in the top floor window of the white building in front.

I can totally see the guy with the shoe shine, but I had to look more closely to see the other people. I have magnified and sharpened the image to show you this detail. Do you see it?


Anonymous said...

Very clever, Mindy. Loved the last photo closeup of the shoe polishing person with YOU(?) in the background. I read the feature story on that time travel person allegedly in the Chaplin film-- it was thought to be a big hearing aid- not a cell phone, like others like to think it is. Maybe she is wearing men's shoes because of bunions?
I'll e-mail you with a ghost/time travel story that a friend told me. It freaked out a lot of her relatives. Aunt Chris

Aunt Kathy said...

Fasinating subject. My personal favorite book was "The House On The Strand' by British writer Daphne duMaurier back in the 60's.

Rebecca Binno Savage said...

Because I look at vintage pictures all day long, I'll now start looking for you in them. Maybe you are walking around downtown Detroit in the 1860's. I'll start looking.