The internet is a hive of conspiracy and mystery, and it has been that way since its inception, when someone first uploaded a grainy image of an amusing cat and the World Wide Web was born. There are sites and communities dedicated to unexplained phenomena, even sites that have been dedicated to single photographs and videos. This in itself is amazing, but what is astonishing is that many of these “mysteries” have already been explained, and even the ones without scientific answers have blatantly obvious ones staring us right in the face.
The 1940s Hipster
This is one of the most enduring photographs supposedly proving the existence of time travel. After all, the man in the sunglasses — to the right-middle of the picture — is quite clearly a hipster, and one who has been transplanted into a different time period. He is wearing modern clothes (branded clothes at that) and sunglasses, and he is carrying what seems to be a modern camera.
You might be thinking that the image was actually taken much later, that this is some sort of fancy dress and the hipster just hadn’t read the invitation properly. The truth is that this image is genuinely from the 1940s — 1941 in fact — but the man in the sunglasses and branded t-shirt is not an anachronism, because everything he’s wearing is perfectly appropriate for the time period.
The sunglasses were not overly common, but they did exist. The camera was a Kodak Pocket Camera, common in that time period, and the “branded” tee-shirt is simply a letter sweater from a local team. This guy was clearly not one for blending in with the crowd and he certainly had a style of his own, but that doesn’t make him a time traveller.
Charlie Chaplin’s Time Traveller
This video “clearly” shows a time traveling woman using her mobile phone. Taken from a Behind the Scenes footage of a Charlie Chaplin film, this dates all the way back to 1928, long before cell phones turned into the modern essentials they are today. If you watch the video from around 0.06 to 0.10 you can see the woman for yourself.
This is a little easier to debunk as some simple common sense can help us out. If we assume that the woman was using a cell phone brought with her from the future, then who was she calling? Maybe, you argue, she was phoning a fellow time traveller who also had a cell phone. But how? There were no masts, no satellites. The phone would not have worked, and we can’t even begin to imagine what sort of roaming charges it would incur if it did.
Although we don’t know for certain, the woman was most likely using an early hearing aid.
Solway Firth Spaceman
In 1964, a fireman from England took many photographs of his young daughter playing in the fields. When he developed the photographs, he uncovered what appeared to be a spaceman standing behind her and the legend of the Solway Firth Spaceman was born, a legend that has endured for many decades and continues to be discussed and believed.
The issue with this image is that it wasn’t the only one. When you look at other images taken the same day you realize that the girl’s mother was also there and appeared in many of them. She was actually standing behind the girl in this photograph, and that is her you can see. She is overexposed and facing the other way, but when you match the other photographs of what the mother was wearing and how she styled her hair, you can make out the details of everything from the cut of her dress to her short hairstyle.
Three Men, a Baby, and a Boy
Hollywood has many myths and legends, and this is one of the most well-known. The still above was taken from the film Three Men and a Baby, staring Ted Danson. The little “boy” you can see behind the curtains in the background was not supposed to be in shot (the scene was a quick pan across the apartment, and the “boy” was on screen for a split second). Apparently, a young boy had died in that very apartment a number of years earlier, taking his own life, only to return to mess up a shot in a Hollywood flick.
As is so often the case, the truth is nowhere near as exciting as the myth, which is why many people still believe this legend. The “boy” behind the curtains is nothing more than a cardboard cut-out of Ted Danson, which someone left in shot. This is most likely an error on behalf of the prop and continuity departments, and is definitely not a ghost boy returning for his staring role.