Boldly Going Nowhere

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Time Traveler

Time Traveler

On Nov. 2, 2000, a person named John Titor began a series of postings on a public Internet forum by declaring that he was a time traveler from the year 2036. On March 21, 2001, he announced he was returning to the year 2036 and was never heard from again. What transpired in between was remarkably strange.

A dialogue between John Titor, who claimed to have been born in 1998, and those who corresponded with him via the Internet lasted about four months. During that period, Titor answered every question put to him. He even posted pictures of his time machine and its operation's manual. He also revealed the future up to 2036.

In 2011, the United States was engaged in a civil war, primarily between big cities and rural people. This had dramatic effects on world governments. It ended in 2015 when Russia attacked the United States.

In 2015, a world war (involving the United States, Russia, China and Europe) killed 3 billion people. The environment subsequently became infected with disease and radiation.

This condition forced people to gravitate into small communities, ranging in size from 1,000 to 4,000 people, where everything was more centrally localized and community oriented. The early new communities were formed around colleges and universities. Food and livestock were grown locally, and a massive effort began to clean up the environment.

In 2036 (present timeline for John Titor), Omaha, Neb., is now the Capitol of the United States. The country is divided into five geopolitical regions, based on their economic and defensive strengths. Each region elects its own president, with different terms of office in different regions. Democrats and Republicans no longer exist; there are now over 10 major political parties. Local governments have more control.

Other conditions in 2036 include:

* Everyone works together to keep the community strong (avoiding work is frowned upon).

* The elderly and orphans are highly revered and looked after by the community.

* Schools are no longer a political indoctrination system but rather help children learn how to learn.

* Medical treatments are more advanced but used less often as people now die when it's time to die.

* Solar energy is the major public source of electricity.

* Safe water is a highly valuable commodity.

* The American flag has not changed but there is debate about altering it from 50 to 5 stars.

* There is no more income tax or nationally subsidized welfare.

* There are fewer cars and more use of horses and bikes.

* A high-speed train system connects larger communities.

* Hats are more common, flashy colors are less common and clothing is more functional.

* Computers still exist and are much more reliable.

* Football remains a major sport.

* Rock-n-roll has survived and is archived on the Internet (which also still exists).

I cannot attest to the authenticity of John Tutor or his revelations about the future. If I had a time machine, I would project myself into 2036 to verify these claims. However, my 1988 Chevy van will only get me as far as Viola or Ash Flat on any given day, always in present existing earth time.

In a certain sense, I too am a time traveler. I've lived in many locations in my life, including Minneapolis, Miami, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and many other smaller towns in 11 states altogether. In 1992, I moved to rural Arkansas where I soon realized I had also moved back into 1957 -- a simpler time.

Time travel is easy. All you need is a strong desire to escape the present and a bit of imagination.

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Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels, which are available at He can be contacted at