Science and Tech


No Evidence Of Time Travelers On The Internet, Study Says

Researchers at Michigan Technical University searched search engine sites and social media for Dr. Whos or Marty McFlys walking amongst us.
Posted at 8:32 PM, Jan 10, 2014

​So, here’s a thought. If time travel has ever been, or ever will be possible, we should know about it, right? That, from time travelers visiting us from other eras. But is it possible they’re here and just laying low?

“Great Scott!” (Via Universal Pictures / ‘Back to the Future’)

Strange as that question sounds, it’s one thought researchers have recently looked into — scouring the internet for proof of visitors with knowledge of the future.

To determine if there were any Dr. Whos or Marty McFlys walking among us, researchers at Michigan Technological University looked at popular search engines and social media sites such as Google, Bing, Facebook, and Twitter. (Via BBC / ‘Doctor Who’, Universal Pictures / ‘Back to the Future’, Michigan Technological University)

Specifically, they were looking for any mention of Pope Francis’ election back in March of 2013, or the Comet ISON spotted in September of 2013 — well before those events had actually taken place. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Papa rock star, Wikimedia Commons / European Southern Observatory)

They also set up email and Twitter accounts, asking time travelers to shoot them an email or a tweet. The catch? It needed to come from one month prior to the date either of those accounts were actually set up. (Via ArsTechnica)

So how many time travelers did the study turn up?


We’ll just let one of the researchers give it to you straight. "In our limited search we turned up nothing. I didn't really think we would. But I'm still not aware of anyone undertaking a search like this." (Via LiveScience)

Well, maybe not exactly like that, but others have sought out time travelers before.

Back in 2012 Stephen Hawking threw a party for time travelers — asking them to show up in their DeLoreans, telephone booths, or what have you — sadly, no one showed. (Via YouTube /WeAreStarStuff51)

In 2005, an MIT student used a similar tactic, holding a Time Traveler’s Convention. Again, no time travelers. (Via The New York Times)

There is other, so-called “evidence” of time travel, floating around the Internet though.

Some claim these videos from the 1920s and '30s show people using cell phones well before their creation — thus, they must be time travelers. Other’s have theorized they were using an old-time hearing aid, or perhaps just mimicking using a regular phone. (Via United Artists / 'The Circus', YouTube / wackyworldnews)

And then there’s a man who hit the Internet back in 2000. He claims to have traveled back in time from 2036 using a time machine installed on a 1987 Chevrolet. He’s predicting a world war in 2015, by the way. (Via

But, while those might be a stretch, there is some scientific basis for time travel — albeit into the future, and on a very small scale.

As Fox News writes, “Time travel into the future is physically possible: Einstein's theory of special relativity predicts that the time between two events is slower for faster-moving objects. This has been experimentally proven by measuring clocks on commercial planes. But time travel into the past is trickier.”

Still, others think, if say, time travelers were here, they might not want us to know. You know, so they don’t inadvertently undo their existence or something.

MediaBistro writes, “It might b[e] physically impossible for time travelers to leave information trails, or for us to see them. Or, maybe, time travelers simply don’t want to be found.”

The researchers presented their findings earlier this week at a conference in Washington D.C. You’ll be happy to know no grant money was used to fund the research. (Via ScienceNews)

Oh, and one more thing. If you happen to be a time traveler watching this video — drop us a comment. Make it from July of 2011, and maybe throw in some winning lottery numbers.