The Story of the Time Traveller-Advertising-Hoax

Ihr kennt die Anzeige. Garantiert jeder einzelne von Euch hat die schonmal gesehen: „Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke.“ Diese Anzeige macht alle halbe Jahre ihre Runde und das seit Jahren, ist eine Legende unter den Internet-Funnies.


Jetzt hat der Schreiber der Anzeige, John Silveira, die Geschichte dahinter erzählt. Die ursprüngliche Adresse in der Anzeige ist echt und sie erschien als Füller in einer Ausgabe vom Backwoods Home Magazine 1997. Der Mann bekommt bis heute Post von angehenden Zeitreisenden. Sehr viel Post.

Over the years, I've gotten responses from every state and every continent, including Antarctica.

What have the people who've responded wanted? Most seemed to have believed the ad. Several hundred, while admitting maybe it was a hoax, hoped it wasn't and wanted to go back in time for the sheer adventure. Though pay was offered, many of those said they'd do it for nothing. (Hell, I would, too.)

Some letters came from guys who gave me a list of some pretty sophisticated weapons they could bring along with their credentials: black belts in martial arts, explosives expertise, language skills, etc., along with assurances they can pretty much take care of themselves. I believe ‘em.

But many letters came from people who wanted me to correct a past tragedy. Dozens, in prison, asked me to go back in time and talk them out of committing the crime that put them away. Others (and not a few) were from people who begged me to go back and save a loved one from a tragic death. Those letters were so heartbreaking I almost couldn't read them and I felt a certain amount of shame for not anticipating the false hope I placed in so many hearts.

On the other hand, I also got letters from people who, despite postal regulations, threatened me with either bodily harm or death if the ad turned out to be a joke or a scam. I guess it all balances out.

The time-travel ad by John Silveira (via MeFi)