Rudolph Fentz, Accidental Time Traveler

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 true—an example of a genuine mystery—until 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.
Links and References


The debunking account given here does not go anyway towards establishing that the Rudolph Fentz time traveller story was false or was a hoax or was fabricated.
Posted by Durwood Stevens  on  Thu Jan 01, 2015  at  12:00 PM
This incidence was published five months before this so called verification took place. Moreover, the source was never questioned.
Posted by 1232  on  Sun May 17, 2015  at  11:19 AM
What is so funny in the debunk part is that Rudolph Fenz appeared in 1950. Jack Finney didn't write his book until 1951.... And Holland based his book on Jack's book, which was based on the event of the man appearing in thr street..... Does the internet think that all people are morons?
Posted by alex nixon  on  Tue Nov 29, 2016  at  09:25 PM
Has anyone bothered to get/research documentation from the 1950 NYC police and coroner's records about this man? If there are official city records of this man and all his belongings and and his disappearance in 1876 (or whenever) and everything else associated in this story then that would be, well, if not convincing pretty impressive. Of course there is a good chance that the police (and coroners) could have destroyed the evidence of this so it's hard to tell if it isn't true if no evidence is found. Also, it wouldn't have been the first (or last) time a story was inspired by true events.
Posted by jay  on  Fri Mar 31, 2017  at  05:53 PM
I think it is true, maybe when Sr Rudolph fentz disappeared he would be come in New York City’s Times Square in 1950 by time travelling and bcoz of the accident he dies and could not go back to their time so he was suddenly lost in his time.After that when in really 1950 comes people saw their accident.
Posted by hash  on  Thu Jun 08, 2017  at  05:27 AM
Fact check: The Science fiction short was written 5 months after the event! Yes, the story came on the scene first, but a newspaper article reporting this strange event was found dated 5 months previous to the story. So, you have not debunked this story. It is still a mystery. The facts of this comment are all readily found on Wikipedia with refs...
Posted by John Locke  on  Tue Jan 09, 2018  at  05:45 AM