Time travel is exciting, enticing, enthralling. We would like it to be possible. Which, of course, is precisely the danger when presented with "evidence" for time travel like this 1938 film clip of people coming out of a factory in Massachusetts. You want to believe it. You're inclined to ignore logic and other evidence presented to you because the idea is so appealing.
I've got to be honest, I would love time travel to be achievable, and for this film clip and others that appear across the internet to be evidence for it.
But let's look at some of the questions we should be asking here:
Could this be some sort of hoax use of visual effects software like Adobe
After Effects? I wouldn't dismiss this possibility too quickly. It's obviously technically possible to achieve this, and without analysing the original celluloid film, you couldn't prove that it was authentic and untampered.
However, there may be evidence of some trickery in the video clip itself. If you go to full screen and look closely around the 47 second mark, the left arm of the woman in the dark skirt seems to pass through the dress of the woman with the phone, while the right shoulder of the woman on the phone sort of disappears into the shoulder of the woman in the dark skirt.
Inconclusive? Yep. They could have just bumped into each other and it just looks like they're merging. If that's the case, though, wouldn't there have been some reaction by one or both of them if the two women had actually bumped? Instead, there's no flinching, nothing at all to indicate that they had come in contact.
Still not convinced? Here are some other questions to think about:
How does a mobile phone work in 1938 without any transmission systems? Ah, okay so there could be some future flux capacitor at work that enables transmission through the caller's original time. Okay, I suppose it's plausible that if you can come up with the technology for time travel, you could come up with the technology to communicate wirelessly while you are travelling through time.
Why aren't the people around the woman on the phone looking at her as if she was a nutter? Or why aren't they at least showing curiosity? She's talking to herself while holding a box to her ear! That's worth at least a couple of strange looks, but no one even bats an eyelid. Now, you've got to admit that's weird.
Even if the the clip is authentic, could she be holding a small radio to her ear? Or a hearing aid if some kind?
Or is it, in fact, a piece of mobile communications technology developed in the 1930s? Motorola pioneered wireless mobile communications in the 1930s through two-way radio. Maybe it was a prototype?
Anyway, as you can see, we can't get an iron-clad explanation for the clip and whether it provides evidence for time travel. After looking at many of the possible explanations and counter arguments, I've come up with what I like to refer to as my scientifically-based mathematically rigorous "Strasser Likelihood Table for SF-type Phenomena in the Real World" (or "Strasser Table" for short) which provides my estimated percentage likelihoods for each of the possible explanations I've outlined. If you don't like my percentages, or have other possible explanations to add, you can always post your own version of the Strasser Table.
The Possible Explanations need to be mutually exclusive, that is, you can't have two or more explanations being correct simultaneously.
The percentages need to add to 100%, that is, one of them must be correct â€“ even if to achieve this, one of the options has to be "Other currently unknown explanation".
You can't have 0% or 100% for any explanation because this suggests absolute certainties and the table is for phenomena which we are not certain about.
The Possible Explanations need to be listed in order from the most likely to the least likely.
Good luck with your own time travel likelihood!