Great Scott! Commenter says ‘time travel’ footage not what it seems


A video—supposedly shot in the 1930s—depicts a young woman carrying what looks like a cell phone. Is the clip evidence that the woman was a time traveler from the 21st century who forgot to leave her mobile at home?

Keep your DeLoreans in the garage: According to the Daily Mail, the short clip first surfaced a year ago around April Fools’ Day, which probably isn’t a coincidence. Now the clip is back in the news thanks to a commenter identified as “planetcheck,” who claims the woman in the video is Gertrude Jones, the commenter’s great grandmother.

“She was 17 years old,” planetcheck writes. “I asked her about this video and she remembers it quite clearly. She says Dupont had a telephone communications section in the factory. They were experimenting with wireless telephones. Gertrude and five other women were given these wireless phones to test out for a week. Gertrude is talking to one of the scientists holding another wireless phone who is off to her right as she walks by.”

Sounds logical, right? But other commenters aren’t convinced. “I’m quite sure it wouldn’t be that small, the device she is holding is the size of a modern cell phone, ones in the early 80s needed to be carried in a briefcase and later were huge bricks,” a commenter wrote. Others echoed the sentiment and wondered why phones—even those produced many years later—were much larger than the one in the clip.

Planetcheck writes that anyone interested in why the phone never saw the light of day would have to ask Dupont: “Maybe they decided it was too far advanced for people and they abandoned the idea. The Romans invented concrete. But it was quickly forgotten and not invented for another thousand years later. Ideas are hatched, prototypes are made and sometimes like this phone they are forgotten until somebody discovers some long lost film of the world first wireless phone and marvels at it.”

Planetcheck also gave an in-depth description of the phone, which Jones apparently got to keep. “It is light brown and made of Bakelite material. It is about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide. It has small buttons on the inside of the phone. The numbers are nearly worn out. They go from 0 to 9. It has the words Dupont Co. on the bottom of the phone. It weighs about a half a pound. The phone is sealed away in a glass box and has not been touched for many years. I have held the box though and am always amazed that this phone was around in 1938 making wireless calls.”

This isn’t the first time conspiracy theorists have used old black-and-white footage to speculate about time travel. Several years ago, footage from an old Charlie Chaplin film surfaced. In the clip, a woman is seen walking along with something held close to her ear. An Irish filmmaker called it evidence of time travel. The more likely explanation, experts argued: A hearing aid.

And one mustn’t forget the strange case of Nicolas Cage. A photo, supposedly taken in 1870, showed a man with a striking resemblance to the Oscar-winning actor. Cage, on “Late Show With David Letterman,” denied the photo was of him, and said as for any speculation that he was a vampire, “I don’t drink blood and the last time I looked in the mirror I had a reflection.”

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