The story of Rudolph Fentz was for many decades considered to be an unsolved mystery, as well as a case of possible time travel. According to the story, in June 1950 a man suddenly appeared in the center of New York City’s Times Square, as if from out of the blue. He was wearing old-fashioned clothes and sported the kind of mutton-chop sideburns that had gone out of fashion decades ago. Glancing about himself, a look first of astonishment and then of panic flashed across his face. He began to sprint forwards, and was then struck down and killed by a car.
When police examined the man, they found nineteenth-century money in his pockets as well as business cards identifying him as Rudolph Fentz. But they couldn’t locate records of a man named Fentz anywhere until they came across the old widow of a Rudolph Fentz Jr. The widow told them that her father-in-law, Rudolph Fentz Sr., had disappeared one day without a trace in 1876. Intriguingly, the address of her father-in-law matched the address on the mysterious stranger’s business cards. So the police were left with an enigma. Rudolph Fentz appeared to have vanished in 1876, only to reappear in 1950. Had he somehow fallen into a time-hole that had sucked him seventy-four years through time?
For decades this tale was popular among members of Europe’s paranormal research community, and it was generally accepted as truean example of a genuine mysteryuntil 2005 when researcher Chris Aubeck investigated its history.
Aubeck discovered that the tale had begun life as a science-fiction story penned by Jack Finney and published in a 1951 anthology. Two years later a writer named Ralph Holland reprinted the story in a booklet, but he did so without permission and removed all indication that the story was fiction. Holland was a member of a group called Borderland that was committed to promoting belief in the existence of a ‘fourth dimension.' The Fentz story, when presented as fact, ably served this agenda. Through Holland’s booklet, the tale of the accidental time traveler made its way to Europe, where it soon took root and circulated for decades within the European paranormal research community.
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