The best images of time travellers from throughout history.
Every now and then an image appears online which people claim shows a time traveller somewhere they shouldn't be. Are they real though?
Every now and then an image appears online which people claim shows a time traveller somewhere they shouldn't be. But are they just cases of people letting their imaginations run wild?
We've rounded up some of the best and most interesting images of time travellers throughout history. Some turned out to be plain fakes or cases of mistaken identities, but others are certainly intriguing.
Which have you seen before?
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The time travelling hipster
This photo was snapped in 1941 at the re-opening ceremony for the South Fork Bridge in British Columbia.
If you look carefully, on the right-hand side you can see an unusually dressed man in what appears to be modern clothing, sporting sunglasses at a time when most were wearing hats and smart jackets.
Many argue this is a time traveller, while others have countered that he's simply a man with a fashion sense ahead of his time. Snopes has shown his clothing is relevant to the time and the area, but it's still great to imagine.
World Cup celebrations
This photo comes from the 1962 World Cup and shows the celebrations as the Brazilian team lifts the trophy.
If you look closely though, you'll see in the bottom centre of the image what looks like someone with a mobile phone snapping a photo of the event.
Could this be a time traveller as well? A bit odd to think someone in the future might have a flip phone , but then they have been making a comeback recently and we know folding phones are about to be big too .
The time travelling sun seeker
This image from 1943 apparently shows British factory workers escaping to the seaside for a break during the midst of wartime. The clothes and beachwear of most people certainly fit the era, but in the centre of a frame appears to be a man dressed like Mr Bean checking his mobile phone.
Or maybe it's a time travel device? Likely a bit of a stretch or a case of overactive internet imagination, but we still enjoy the thought. Maybe there are no public beaches in the future?
Mohawk time traveller
This image from 1905 appears to show the usual happenings of the time - including workers and a banana boat delivering its goods.
However, if you look near the edge of the boat you can spy a man in a white shirt with what appears to be a Mohawk-style haircut. A very unusual haircut for the time and possible proof of a time traveller? Who can say?
Film footage captured during the recording of Charlie Chaplin's 1928 silent film "The Circus" appears to show a lady dressed all in black, wearing a hat and walking around the set talking on her mobile phone.
The footage is a little iffy as is the idea that anyone could be talking on a mobile device in the 1920s, but it's certainly got some suggesting it might be proof time travellers are among us.
The ancient astronaut sculpture
In Salamanca, Spain, there's a cathedral with multiple sculptures carved into its sides. One such sculpture appears to show the likeness of a modern-day (or perhaps futuristic) astronaut.
Considering the cathedral's construction dates back to 1513, people have taken this as proof that time travellers made their way back to that time. However, the truth is the astronaut is merely a modern addition to the artwork carried out by Jerónimo García de Quiñones during renovations in 1992.
Time travelling celebrities
There's an interesting trend of people who closely resemble folks from a bygone era. This could just be a spooky coincidence, but maybe it's proof that time travel is possible.
Perhaps these celebrities are living a double life in another century. Here, Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary Leader Mahir Cayan who was born in 1946 and died in 1972 is shown to bear a striking resemblance to TV star Jimmy Fallon. Is Jimmy Fallon living a double life as a revolutionary communist? Seems hilariously unlikely.
A man and his mobile phone
Some claim that this oil painting by Pieter de Hooch, which was lovingly crafted in 1670 appears to show a young man holding his mobile phone. In an age where such a thing would probably have seen him burnt at the stake, this one is hard to believe.
A description of the image also suggests the young man is a messenger and that's a letter in his hand, not a phone, but it's still nice to let your imagination run wild once in a while. We've often wondered what it would be like to be able to travel back to simpler times to see what life was like for ourselves.
The Adidas trainers mummy
A couple of years ago, an ancient mummy was unearthed by archaeologists digging in Mongolia. At the time, it was suggested the funky-looking footwear she was wearing bore a striking resemblance to Adidas trainers. More evidence of a time traveller visiting ancient times? Investigation of the body dated it around 1,100 years old. That's one heck of a blast through the past.
However, further unearthing showed the woman was more likely to have been a Turkic seamstress which might explain the fresh kicks. She was found with an ancient clutch bag, a mirror, a comb, a knife and more. But no mobile phone.
The time surfer
Another image of an out-of-place individual that people have latched on to as proof that time travel is a reality.
This image dates back over 100 years and shows some smartly dressed Canadians sitting on the side of a hill.
On the left-hand side though, sits a young man in what appears to be a t-shirt and shorts with ruffled hair. He was quickly referred to as the surfing time traveller due to how unusual his attire is. Others have suggested people in the photo appear shocked by his appearance, even pointing out the woman on the right who seems to be gesturing in his direction. Again, this a bit of a stretch as would a time traveller really go through time dressed like that?
A visitor to wartime Reykjavík
This photograph apparently shows a scene from downtown Reykjavík in 1943.
In the heart of wartime, soldiers and sailors can be seen everywhere in the streets among civilians. The man circled though, appears to be on a mobile phone.
We've really got a theme going with these smartphone using time travellers. Who is he calling? And how? And if he is a time traveller, why is he not in Berlin trying to assassinate Hitler?
The dabbing WWII soldier
There's an apparent theme to these time traveller photos that not only includes smartphone users, but also people visiting the second world war.
In this image, a young soldier is seen dabbing, a dance move that became popular around 2014, but certainly wasn't known in wartime.
Of course, it turns out this photo isn't an image of a time traveller, but rather just an image of some actors from 2017's blockbuster Dunkirk . The fact that most of the soldiers are smiling should also be a bit of a giveaway with this one.
In 2019, the internet discovered a photograph from 1898 which showed three children working at a gold mine in Canada's Yukon territory.
The image seemed to show a girl with an incredible likeness to the young climate activist Greta Thunberg. Does this make Thunberg a time traveller who's come through time to save the planet? Weird year for her to choose, but it's a nice idea.
A woman clutching a smartphone (1860)
The painting " The expected one " from 1860, by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller appears to show a woman walking along a rough path, about to be accosted by an adoring young man clutching a pink flower.
A close look though and you'll see she appears to have her attention firmly glued to a modern smartphone. Is this woman actually a time traveller?
A few years back, a number of images surfaced online that seemingly showed Russian President Vladimir Putin snapped over various decades without ageing. Either proof that he's a time traveller or perhaps just immortal?
If true, he's incredibly patriotic, with each image showing him serving his country in one way or another. Though it's more likely to just be a strong likeness.
The AI time traveller
Here's a time traveller with a difference. Stelfie the Time Traveller has been using AI to travel through time. Or at least to give the illusion of doing so.
This creative individual has been using Stable Diffusion to insert the likeness of a modern man into ancient civilisations including Egypt when the pyramids were being constructed, Rome with the centurions and the land of the dinosaurs . It's fun to imagine these as being real, though if you look closely they're clearly AI-generated. As this artificial intelligence improves we'll no doubt get even better images like this. Interestingly even the character taking the selfies isn't real here, but is also made using AI.
- VisualGPS Insights
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The best travel photographs from around the globe
From the morning mist suspended above a lake to the unspoken friendship between a rescued pangolin and her caretaker to a molten galaxy of fire spewing from a volcanic crater, photographs have the power to inspire, captivate and haunt us.
For the past 21 years, amateur and professional photographers from around the globe have been capturing the world's richness, beauty and diversity through a lens as part of the annual International Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) awards. This year's competition saw photographers from more than 150 countries submit more than 20,000 images to judges, who have just announced the winning shots .
Here is a selection of the winning images, along with a few words from the photographers. The winning photos will also be displayed at The Photography & Video Show in Birmingham, England, from 16-19 March.
(Credit: AndreJa Ravnak)
Travel photographer of the year: AndreJa Ravnak (near Pienza, Italy)
"Early in the spring, the first rains allow wheat to grow in the rolling fields. Due to the cold nights, the landscape is often shrouded in beautiful mists on clear mornings during this period. This agricultural landscape is sparsely populated, with land being used to its fullest potential. Farms are located on the top of individual hills."
Travel photographer of the year: AndreJa Ravnak (South Moravia, near Kyov, Czech Republic)
"In early spring, the soil is still too cold for growth. An interesting pattern occurred while a new orchard was planted on the slope of the hill, making the scene very abstract."
(Credit: Caden Shepard Choi)
Young travel photographer of the year winner overall: Caden Shepard Choi, USA, age 14, (Chinle, Arizona, USA)
"The sheep are herded back to their pen at the entrance of the canyon. They walk through a dust cloud formed by the steady kick of their hooves. The sheep are initially reluctant to enter the mouth of the canyon, but when returning home, they show no resistance. After a long day steering sheep, the two herding dogs now playfully trail behind."
"The women dived for hours. I followed them with my lens as they disappeared and reappeared from the sea, the only constant was their orange buoys. I took this image of a Haenyeo just as she plunged back into the ocean with perfect form, as if it were her first dive of the morning. Yellow flippers in the air and a small splash create the foreground. The sea appears so unperturbed around the Haenyeo. In the distance, waves crash over strips of volcanic rock. A light fog rolls in, veiling parts of a small island in the background. The clouds loom mysteriously overhead."
(Credit: Lilly Zhang)
Young travel photographer of the year (15-18 age group): Lilly Zhang, age 17 (Exton, Pennsylvania, USA)
"Gold mist is suspended on the still lake surface, and amid this dreamy scene is the coexistence of a fisherman and a duck. Seeing this unlikely duo at Marsh Creek State Park, I knew that I had to capture the scene in a photo."
(Credit: Matthew Armett)
Joint runner-up young travel photographer of the year (15-18 age group): Matthew Armett, age 18 (Solomon's Temple, Buxton, United Kingdom)
"The moon lined up with the silhouette of Solomon's temple and one of my friends for scale. It was a challenge to get the line up just right, but it was all the more satisfying once I'd captured this shot with the setting moon."
(Credit: Arthur Cech)
Joint runner-up young travel photographer of the year (15-18 age group): Arthur Cech, age 15 (Ifrane National Park, Morocco)
"These wild monkeys climb freely on the majestic Atlas cedars in the Moroccan Middle Atlas and it's just great to spend hours and hours watching them. I tried to capture the special atmosphere of the forest and the life of the monkeys: calm, peaceful, cosy, familiar."
(Credit: Zayan Durrani)
Young photographer of the year (14 years and under): Zayan Durrani, age 14 (Litli-Hrutur volcano, Iceland)
"My father and I took a trip to Iceland to visit an ongoing volcanic eruption. I was able to witness the formation of new earth right in front of my eyes. We hiked for 10 miles through rough, mountainous hills and desert, never stopping to rest, just so that we could reach the eruption before it became dark. We were in a race against time because a thick, noxious fog was rolling in and we were told that we would have to evacuate the area. I finally got up close to the fiery eruption. I was able to capture this picture using a drone."
(Credit: Armand Sarlangue)
Landscape and environment portfolio winner: Armand Sarlangue (Svinafellsjokull, Iceland)
"This 360-degree panorama was captured with a drone. It shows the whole path of glacial waters, from the Skaftafellsjokull glacier, to the glacial lake, to the glacial river, then to the ocean in the background."
(Credit: Tim Bird)
Landscape and environment portfolio runner-up: Tim Bird (Obama Onsen, Nagasaki prefecture, Japan)
"The onsen (hot springs) in and around the town of Obama Onsen in the Nagasaki prefecture in Japan are often wrapped in a steamy cloud. These landscaped gardens near the springs were magically obscured by sudden snow flurries. I had to shoot fast – my camera wasn't weather-proof, and the snow didn't cling for long. A fleeting, delicate image..."
(Credit: Kasuaki Koseki)
Landscape and environment portfolio commended: Kasuaki Koseki (Lake Shirakawa, Iide Town, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan)
"For a period from the end of winter to early summer, Lake Shirakawa is filled with water from melting snow and a 'submerged forest' appears. The water in the lake changes colour between light blue and light green, and mist, combined with the reflections which look like a submerged forest create a fantastic landscape. In March, Lake Shirakawa, covered with deep snow, was changing little by little. It was a beautiful morning wrapped in mist and light. A beautiful light shone through the misty trees for a short time."
(Credit: Sam Turley)
Nature, wildlife and conservation portfolio runner-up: Sam Turley (Wild is Life Sanctuary, Harare, Zimbabwe)
"Every day, Mateo and Marimba the pangolin walk together in search of termites and ants. If Mateo can see that Marimba is struggling to dig through the hard soil, he will often help her out and provide her with an easy meal. Marimba, a ground pangolin, was around a year old when her mother was poached for her scales. Marimba was simply too young to fend for herself and so the decision was made to take her to Wild is Life Sanctuary in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she met her full-time caretaker, Mateo. Pangolins are notoriously difficult to look after in captivity, requiring particular and personal care. Mateo's gentle nature seemed like a perfect fit, and a remarkable relationship was born. Marimba and Mateo have spent ten hours a day together for the past 13 years, and it shows – they are inseparable. Many attempts have been made to rewild Marimba, but she always finds a way back to Mateo who refers to her as his last-born child."
(Credit: Roie Galitz)
Nature, wildlife and conservation portfolio highly commended: Roie Galitz (Tarangire National Park, Tanzania)
"The Last Embrace: a young female lioness feeds on a dead female elephant. This is a huge feast for the entire pride, that will provide them with nutritional intake while the surrounding environment of Tarangire National Park suffers from draught. For predators each meal is a huge and risky battle. This series shows four mammalian predators from four continents, facing the same challenges as the climate changes."
(Credit: Athanasios Maloukos)
People and cultures portfolio winner: Athanasios Maloukos (Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia)
"Shaman Aleksandr in an ice cave by the cliffs of Olgoi Island. Ice caves are considered the refuges of the middle-world spirits where humans live, while the 'upper world' is reserved for good deities and the 'lower world' for the dark forces."
(Credit: Jack Lawson)
Best single image in a people and cultures portfolio winner: Jack Lawson (Lagos, Nigera)
"Four members of The Special Eagles, Nigeria's national amputee football team, stand looking out into the ocean at a day on the beach."
(Credit: Sun Bin)
Special mention: Sun Bin (Zhuomulang Village, Yunnan, China)
"[The] Yi family in their centuries-old house."
(Credit: Shyjith Onden Cheriyath)
Special mention: Shyjith Onden Cheriyath (Al Qusais Cattle Market, Dubai, UAE)
"Camels are a vital part of the culture and economy in the United Arab Emirates, and ensuring their proper nutrition is crucial. Camel feed mixing at the Al Qusais Cattle Market involves the blending of various ingredients to create a balanced and nutritious diet for the camels. This process takes into account the specific dietary needs of camels, which often includes a combination of grains, legumes, hay and other essential nutrients.
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