question of the day: Was a time traveler caught on film in 1928?

This is so cool that even if it’s fake or a misinterpretation of something perfect reasonable — which of course it must be — it’s still extremely cool and sorta chills-inducing.

Belfast filmmaker and film buff George Clarke was exploring the extras on his box set of Charlie Chaplin flicks and discovered something very odd in some footage from the 1928 premiere of The Circus at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood: what looks like a woman — or maybe even a man in drag — talking on a cell phone. No, really, look:

Of course I’d love to believe that time travel could be possible, but to say that the science is still out is being more than generous. And my steadfast rationality and dedicated skepticism refuses to let me accept this as evidence of anything… except that it does give me wonderful chills just thinking about the prospect that a time traveler — talking on a sophisticated mobile phone that uses subspace instead of cell towers, maybe — dropped in on a Charlie Chaplin premiere. *shiver*

But let’s remain calm. There surely is a logical explanation that does not require that we defy the laws of physics as we currently understand them. Commenters at this post at The Stir about the video suggest that the device the person in the video is using is a 1924 Siemens hearing aid. Or it could be a Western Electric Model 34A “Audiphone” Carbon Hearing Aid. And so perhaps this mysterious person was merely talking to him/herself. While holding the bit of the hearing aid that went into your pocket up to the ear. That’s probably what it is: just a crazy person with big feet.

On the other hand… If this is a time traveler who has now been accidentally outed — thanks to his/her contempt for the temporal protocols that must exist about conspicuous usage of out-of-period technology — via a piece of film footage that had long since been ignored, then this outing will certainly be historical knowledge to the future in which we have invented time travel. Which means it could have been avoided. Or else it means that the technology exists now and the time traveler actually departed from some point in the past, before George Clarke’s astonishing discovery…

See how much fun this is!

Was a time traveler caught on film in in 1928?

One thing is for certain: George Clarke has come up with a brilliant way to get his name and his films before the public eye. His Yellow Fever DVD Distribution surely deserves some applause merely for its mission: “an independently owned and managed firm that is run by film makers – for film makers.” And perhaps we should heed closely the motto of his Yellow Fever Productions: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Have at it…

(Thanks to Ken for the YouTube link. If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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