John Titor and the Election of 2004

In late 2000 a man calling himself John Titor began posting messages on internet discussion boards, claiming that he was a time traveler from the year 2036 (his time travel machine was a 1967 Chevrolet). His mission had been to journey back to the year 1975 and make contact with his grandfather, who was a member of the engineering team developing the IBM 5100, but somehow he ended up in 2000 instead. The tale of John Titor is pretty familiar internet lore by now, and I'm surprised that I've only made brief references to him before (though I have posted more about other time travelers). Anyway, to make a long story short, John Titor, during the few months he spent posting messages on the internet (he 'traveled back to the future' in March 2001), made a number of specific predictions about the future. In a nutshell, here they are:

2004: Civil unrest develops around the US Presidential election.
2005: An American civil war begins in earnest: "I would describe it as having a Waco type event every month that steadily gets worse. The conflict will consume everyone in the US by 2012 and end in 2015 with a very short WWIII."
2015: Russia launches a nuclear strike against the major cities in the United States. A world war proceeds that kills nearly three billion people
2034: First time machine built by GE
2036: Titor travels back in time to acquire the IBM 5100

Mr. Dark, on LiveJournal, does a good job of debunking much of the illogic in Titor's vision of the future. However, he also points out that we have arrived at the first stage of Titor's predictions: the 2004 election that is supposed to cause unrest that eventually flares up into civil war. Mr. Dark notes:

"it's been a week and no civil war has broken out, and only the most fringe elements of the left wing still dispute the outcome of the election, do you think we can officially declare the John Titor tale a hoax?  Without this lynchpin, the story falls apart completely.  If there is no 'civil unrest' over a 'disputed election in 2004', then there is no civil war.  No civil war, no nuclear war.  No nuclear war, no need to return to the past for some near-ancient IBM PC to solve some otherwise-unsolvable problem."

The creepy thing, however, is that this election has produced an incredible amount of bitterness and division. Witness all the maps of the New United States that people are sharing via the internet. But are we on the verge of a civil war? I don't think so. So it looks like Mr. Dark is right. John Titor is definitely a hoax (was this ever really in doubt?). Though we'll know with even more certainty at the end of next year when the all-out civil war has never materialized.


Posted on Fri Nov 12, 2004


sorry guys, but is anyone actually aware of how this nutjob expects to use an antiquated IBM 5100 machine to debug legacy code and translate it onto a unix box? perhaps by using the flying elephant protocol?

Short of using it too smash the legacy machine into bits with his IBM and rewriting the code from scratch on a nice new 64 bit unix server, there is no other application for the IBM machine.

Whats the point of all the time travel for an IBM box that will do you no good, when you could just use a unix box which he must have access to if hes sticking the legacy code on, and slap on a quickly coded communication protocol wrapper to grab the code?

I mean he doesnt even have to re-engineer the legacy system, just slap an emulator on the UNIX box, it aint like its hard, a child of 10 could emulate a 1970's IBM processor.

Posted by PM  in  Glasgow  on  Fri Aug 26, 2005  at  09:09 PM
When i first started to read about JT, I was thinking of how easy it would be to pull off a scam this way and have a little fun at creative writing. grin

I did find what he wrote about a Civil War (and I haven't read much) interesting and a year ago I would have laughed it off as being too stupid but now it's interesting in light of what's happening in the south. I read that he gave 2005 for the beginning of the Civil War. It's not something I think is probable but the people in the South have been treated so badly and then with photos w/captions in the press making it worse and the disgusting comment by Barbara Bush to the media...She said "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

It's just interesting to think about.
Posted by Chris  in  Western US  on  Wed Sep 07, 2005  at  11:10 PM
I happened across this one a while ago, and since it has living followers/supporters, I've occasionally looked to see what they would do as predictions started failing dramatically. I originally saw it as modern-day Nostradamus-style future predictions.

Considering what I'd say if I went back to a couple years after my birth and wanted to tell everyone something without sparking off nuclear war or change history, it seems pretty well thought-out, even if the writing was very poor and the 'science' put it over-the-top.

On the other hand, I can't help but see a clear possibility of a rural vs. city war. The cities are fairly evenly mixed, so the remainder of the two sides that survived being cut off would 'cancel' (kill) most of the other out. The rural areas could handle fighting small bands of armed ex-city-dwellers.

The divisions run deep and strong in this country. Yes, it's rare for a population to be homogenized like they are in the US, but it doesn't mean that it couldn't snap and get bloody. If you look at recent events, it's clearly just a terrorist attack or a storm away in most of the country... The oil and the vinegar are clearly beginning to separate.

The predictions were vague enough to describe any number of things, but pointed enough to leave doubt, identical in style to Nostradamus but without the religious twist.
Posted by Eric  on  Sun Oct 09, 2005  at  12:19 PM
Hey all you cretins,ever heard of the possibilty of parallel universes?I'm not saying I believe this thing's for real,just that you are all behaving like petty nitpickers looking for the tiniest way to discredit an argument,analogue to pointing out one's grammar faults and saying de facto that anything that that person says is pointless since he does not master ,say english,as well as a native speaker
pathetic duds
Posted by D'kan  in  europe  on  Fri Oct 28, 2005  at  05:05 AM
John Titor...How could a story like this, with so many holes be real? It simply can't. He claims that we in present time hold the power to change the future ( of course some one trying to complete and ellaborate hoax would say that, because if there predictions don't become a reality they still hold some credibility). Well my question is, if you can change the future where do you come in the picture John how do you know all the information you do if the future is in the power of our hands and is able to be changed? And you claim that much of Africa is destroyed by nuclear war...why would people attack Africa? Also Africa destroyed? Most of it is barron land anyways. John case closed this man is not worth anyones time stop giving him the attention he starves!
Posted by Ry-Dogg  in  illinois  on  Sat Dec 10, 2005  at  09:47 AM
"[...] we'll know with even more certainty at the end of [2005] when the all-out civil war has never materialized."

Done. grin
Posted by Gutza  on  Mon Apr 03, 2006  at  07:02 AM
all i would like to point out is that now there has been a lot of dissaproval of our president. His ratings have fallen to well below standard and his decisions are becoming increasingly contraversial...maybe since Titor was a hoax but there seems to be some emerging truth behind his alligations that the president elected in 2004 would create civil unrest.
Posted by Ben  in  Arizona  on  Sun Jun 04, 2006  at  06:12 PM
I have a friend that has a friend that knows "john titor" and the whole thing was that he was trying to sell some of his old IBMs on ebay and was trying to get the price run up on them....

Posted by geepers  in  North Pole  on  Tue Aug 15, 2006  at  03:27 AM
I have spoken to some of the people originally involved in the Titor posts and subsequent buzz. His "predictions," in fact not predictions but what he claims are pieces of history to him, have not "come true," and he would say that that is because the timeline is different. That is also why they are sort of coming true, why they resemble his history.

He more or less claimed to have diverted Y2K. They key to this claim is imbedded in his posts, and is related to his 1998 FAXs to Art Bell, which were apparently read on-air. These FAXs are usually not included in the Titor material found online.
Posted by Roy Bean  in  Vinegaroon  on  Mon Oct 09, 2006  at  12:52 PM
After reading people's replies on here its pretty clear that many of you have not read through all of John's posts. Regardless of if he was or was not a hoax, none of what he said could be considered "predictions" as they were merely statements made about HIS history on HIS supposed worldline:

"Since I will eventually be leaving this worldline, I could easily tell you all sorts of things that would happen in the next few years. Unfortunately, your worldline is already 2% different from mine, and there's no way to give you absolute facts about future events. When the day comes for my prediction to be realized, it may happen or it MAY NOT. In fact, the information I give you will allow someone to affect the outcome based on the prediction itself.

If what I say does happen, then your ability to judge your environment is crippled by your acceptance of me as a prophet. If I am wrong, then everything I have said that might possibly have made you think about your world in a different way is suddenly discredited.


You are able to change your worldline just as I am. Can you stop the civil war before it gets here? Sure. Will you do it? Probably not."

He clearly never wanted to be taken seriously, and never once made it a point to convince anyone that he was telling the truth.

So what was the point?

The point behind his "story" was to get people to think differently about their lives. To not take the precious things for granted, and to be independent thinkers instead of mindless cattle.

So please stop taking this stuff so seriously, his story should only be taken as a metaphorical truth.
Posted by dirk  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  03:35 AM
Well, now that it's 2008 and none of this came close to happening... looks like we lay lay Titor to rest.
Posted by Iceman  in  USA  on  Tue Apr 29, 2008  at  09:25 AM
Iceman, his 'predictions' are still possibly coming out. Even with a 2% difference there was unrest in 2004 and this 2008 is when people are realizing that their world is not what they expected it to be.

We're halfway into 2008 but the economy has suddenly dropped in the States and people are just starting to realize that there was a depression growing all this time.

As for the 2008 summer Olympics prediction...

With all the crap that's going around with it I don't think many people are going to call it 'official'; as in the true spirit of how it should be.

I might not believe that John Titor existed but it's very possible a person from this past (2001 or whenever he appeared) saw all the crap that was going on back then and made a pretty accurate prediction of what will go wrong if we continued with the path we were on.

Whatever the 'truth' of it, I very much believe we should have been more focused on "Hey, we need to change things" rather than "zomg FAKE!!!1"
Posted by Eir  in  Canada  on  Tue Jun 10, 2008  at  10:18 AM
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