A self-proclaimed time traveller has claimed he's come back in time from the future and has predicted the end of the world.
Using the pseudonym John Titor, the supposed future dweller lit up the web in 2000 and 2001 by making a series of Doomsday predictions which suggested that humanity's days were numbered.
In a story which might interest Hollywood scriptwriters, Titor claimed on various online message boards to be an American soldier from 2036, based in Tampa in the US state of Florida.
He said he was assigned to a governmental time-travel project and sent back to 1975 to retrieve an IBM 5100 computer.
Titor claimed he had been specially selected for this mission because his grandfather was directly involved with the assembly and programming of the 5100 computer.
The supposed time traveller claimed to be on a stopover in the year 2000 for "personal reasons" – which is when he took the opportunity to scare people in the present day with a series of worrying prophecies.
His claims included a second Civil War splintering America into five factions, leaving the new capital based in Omaha.
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Titor stated that the hostilities were sparked by border clashes and overpopulation.
He also claimed World War Three would break out between the US and Russia in 2015 – and that definitely did not happen.
Titor said the warfare saw the two world superpowers trading nuclear weapons and left a shocking three billion people dead.
He then claimed that a computer bug destroyed the world as we knew it, much in the way the world was scared by the supposed Y2K bug at the turn of the millennium shortly before John Titor shot to prominence.
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Titor's horrifying predictions did not stop there. He claimed the Olympics of 2008, held in Beijing, would be cancelled due to various conflicts, with the sporting spectacle never returning.
A 'Mad Cow Disease' pandemic would engulf the US and still be prevalent in 2036.
And CERN, the renowned research facility in Switzerland, would discover the basis for time travel in 2001 – which presumably would make it easier for him to convince people that he had travelled back in time from 2036.
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Titor disappeared forever after his final post on March 24, 2001, where he advised people to bring a gas can with them in case their car died at the side of the road.
But all was not as it seemed. In 2003 a for-profit limited liability corporation (LLC) self-published John Titor: A Time Traveler's Tale, which is essentially a bound copy of the message board posts.
Private investigator Peter Lynch was hired by investigative show Voyager to look into the riddle in 2008, and he traced the LLC back to Larry Haber, an entertainment lawyer from Florida.
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Haber had become part of the story in 2006 when he contacted radio host George Noory, claiming to represent radio host Kay Titor, a woman alleging to be John Titor's mother.
An interview followed between Noory and Kay, with Haber acting as a go-between, and it ended up answering very little.
In 2009, a report by John Hughston of the Hoax Hunter website named Haber as most likely being behind the legend.
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Lynch also concluded that Haber and his brother Richard, a computer scientist were likely to be behind Titor, whom they actually introduced in 1998.
They throw a number of different predictions out there, including chaos due to the Y2K bug which scared many people in the run up to the millennium.
In 2018, multimedia artist Joseph Matheny, creator of the alternate reality game Ong's Hat, said he worked as a consultant for unnamed individuals responsible for the legend.
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He claimed that John Titor "is a story that was created as a literary experiment by people who were observing what I was doing with Ong's Hat and these people wanted to do something like that. I was a consultant on the project, [but] it wasn't my project."
Despite the story rumbling on for more than 20 years, no one has ever stepped forward and claimed to be behind the John Titor posts.
Some hope this allows for the possibility that time travel could very well be true.
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