John Titor is the name used on several bulletin boards during 2000 and 2001 by a poster claiming to be a time traveler from the year 2036. In these posts he made numerous predictions (a number of them vague, some quite specific) about events in the near future, starting with events in 2004. He described a drastically changed future in which the United States had broken into five smaller regions, the environment and infrastructure had been devastated by a nuclear attack, and most other world powers had been destroyed. To date, the story has been retold on numerous web sites, in a book, and in a play. He has also been discussed occasionally on the radio show Coast to Coast AM. In this respect, the Titor story may be unique in terms of broad appeal from an originally limited medium, an Internet discussion board.
Titor's Posts - The first post appeared on the Time Travel Institute forums on November 2, 2000, under the name TimeTravel_0. At the time the posts had nothing to do with future events and the name "John Titor" was not being used. Instead, the posts discussed time travel in general, the first one being the "six parts" description of what a time machine would need to have to work (see below) and responses to questions about how such a machine would work. Early messages tended to be short. Soon after, TimeTravel_0 claimed to be a time traveler from the future and began posting varying descriptions of his time. Gradually he began answering questions posted in the forum and started to reveal a more complex picture of the future. Although most of his posts concerned the condition of the world in the future, Titor also responded to questions both in the forums and in IRC,and sometimes posted images purporting to be of the time travel device or its manual. He also sometimes talked about more current events; for instance, in an early post he stated that "The breakthrough that will allow for [time travel] technology will occur within a year or so  when CERN brings their larger facility online". The name "John Titor" was not introduced until January 2001, when TimeTravel_0 began posting at the Art Bell BBS Forums (which required a name or pseudonym for every account). The Titor posts ended in late March 2001. Eventually, a number of the threads became corrupted; but Titor's posts had been saved on subscribers' hard drives and were copied to Anomalies.net, along with new discussions of the science behind Titor's time travelling as well as his predictions. Around 2003, various websites reproduced Titor's posts, re-arranging them into narratives. Not all refer to the original dates posted. On numerous occasions Titor posted comments that appeared to be tongue-in-cheek: when asked why his images were of such low quality, he replied that he was "not a photographer", and when asked if "Titor" was his real name, he replied that it was "a real name".
Online - In his online postings, Titor claimed to be an American soldier from the year 2036, based in TampaHillsborough County, Florida, who was assigned to a governmental time-travel project. Purportedly, Titor had been sent back to 1975 to retrieve an IBM 5100 computer which he said was needed to "debug" various legacy computer programs in 2036; a reference to the UNIX 2038 timeout error. The 5100 runs the APL, and BASIC programming languages. Titor had been selected for this mission specifically, given that his paternal grandfather was directly involved with the assembly and programming of the 5100.Titor claimed to be on a stopover in the year 2000 for "personal reasons"; i.e., to collect pictures lost in the (future) civil war and to visit his family, of whom he spoke often. Titor also said he had been, for a few months, trying to alert anyone that would listen about the threat of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease spread through beef products and about the possibility of civil war within the United States. When questioned about them by an online subscriber, Titor also expressed an interest in unexplained mysteries such as UFOs (which in his time were still as yet unexplained). Titor suggested that UFOs and alien visitors may well be time travelers from much further into the future than his own time, who possessed superior time machines to his own.
Time machine - Titor described the time machine on several occasions. In an early post, he described it as a "stationary mass, temporal displacement unit powered by two top-spin, dual positive singularities", producing a "standard off-set Tipler sinusoid". The earliest post was more explicit, saying it contained:
- Two magnetic housing units for the dual micro singularities
- An electron injection manifold to alter mass and gravity micro singularities
- A cooling and X-ray venting system
- Gravity sensors, or a variable gravity lock
- Four main caesium clocks
- Three main computer units
According to the posts, the device was installed in the rear of a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible and later moved to a 1987 truck having four-wheel drive.Titor further claimed that the "Everett-Wheeler model of quantum physics" was correct. This model, better known as the many-worlds interpretation, posits that every possible outcome of a quantum decision actually occurs in a separate "universe". Titor stated that this was the reason the grandfather paradox would not occur; following the logic of the argument, Titor would be killing a different John Titor's grandfather in a timeline other than his own.
"...The grandfather paradox is impossible. In fact, all paradox is impossible. The Everett-Wheeler-Graham or multiple world theory is correct. All possible quantum states, events, possibilities, and outcomes are real, eventual, and occurring. The chances of everything happening someplace at sometime in the superverse is 100%."
Predictions - The most immediate of Titor's predictions was of an upcoming civil war in the United States having to do with "order and rights". He described it as beginning in 2004, with civil unrestUnited States presidential election, 2004. This civil conflict that he characterizes as "having a Waco type event every month that steadily gets worse" will be "pretty much at everyone's doorstep" and erupts by 2008.Titor claimed that as a 13-year old, in 2011, he fought with the "Fighting Diamondbacks", a shotgun infantry unit of Florida, for at least four years. However, in other posts he describes himself as hiding from the war. As a result of the war, the United States splits into five regions based on various factors and differing military objectives. This civil war, according to Titor, will then end in 2015 with a brief, but intense, World War III:
"In 2015, Russia launches a nuclear strike against the major cities in the United States (which is the "other side" of the civil war from my perspective), China, and Europe. The United States counter attacks. The US cities are destroyed along with the AFE (American Federal Empire)...thus we (in the country) won. The European Union and China were also destroyed.
Titor refers to the exchange as "N Day". Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville, Florida are specifically mentioned as being hit. After the war, Omaha, Nebraska is the nation's new capital city.Titor is vague as to the exact motivations and causes for World War III. At one point he characterized hostilities as being led by "border clashes and overpopulation" but also points to the present conflict between Arabs and Jews as a harbinger of World War III:
"Real disruptions in world events begin with the destabilization of the West as a result of degrading US foreign policy and consistency. ... The Jewish population in Israel is not prepared for a true offensive war. They are prepared for the ultimate defense. Wavering western support for Israel is what gives Israel's neighbors the confidence to attack. The last resort for a defensive Israel and its offensive Arab neighbors is to use weapons of mass destruction. In the grand scheme of things, the war in the Middle East is a part of what's to come, not the cause."
This last observation by Titor makes one wonder if he really was here, given the current political situation in the Middle East news reports of late...