The Mystery behind the 1940’s Time Travelling Hipster

Does time travel incidents fascinate you? In the “Their Past Lives Here” exhibition in 2004 at the Bralorne-Pioneer Museum in British Columbia, Canada, a photograph was made available to the general public. The black-and-white image featured a large group of onlookers during an event. A statement on the back of the photograph noted that it was taken in 1941 at the British Columbian South Fork Bridge’s reopening. Whoever took the photo is unknown. Also unknown is who the individuals in the photo are.

The collection was digitised and made available online by the museum in 2010. At this point, a number of online users noticed an abnormality in the bridge picture. After learning of the mystery, websites like “Fark,” and “BoingBoing,” began republishing the image under headlines like “Time traveller captured in a 1940s photo?”

The 21st-century time travel urban legend ‘The Time Travelling Hipster’ was born here.

The story refers to a man who was photographed in the crowd at the bridge’s reopening. A  man who just didn’t seem right. His physical attributes are too contemporary for the 1940s scenario. He is holding a camera that is too small to have existed in 1941 while sporting a modern t-shirt, futuristic sunglasses, and contemporary attire.

His presence among people who were more properly attired and in keeping with the time earned him the nickname “time travelling hipster”. According to time travel conspiracy theorists and followers of urban legend, the man was an imposter sent from the future to take pictures of the South Fork Bridge for an unknown motive.

So is this really a time travel ?

We need to verify that the image is real and that the modern man hasn’t been Photoshopped into it for fun and shits.

A second photograph, which was also published, is the first piece of proof that it is genuine. The image, which was found shortly after the first one went viral, shows the same scene from a different perspective. Opening of the new (1941) bridge at South Fork is the caption on this image, which is a part of the John Wihksne Collection.

Same scene, but from a different angle
Close up of the second photograph

The exact modern man from the first image is visible in the close-up of the second one.

Given their different provenances, it would be a stretch to say that both photos are fakes, while it is not implausible. However, there is more proof that the original shot is real. The original photograph was discovered in the Bralorne-Pioneer Museum in December 2010 by Evgeni Balamutenko and a colleague from the Russian television network NTV. A museum employee assisted them in confirming that it was authentic and unedited (as shown in the video below).

The fact that this man was there at the bridge on that particular day proves that he must definitely be a time traveller, right?

Unfortunately it’s a NO. The man was dressed considerably more casually than the folks around him, according to Snopes, but he had nothing on him that wasn’t easily available in the 1940s.

The first is that while wrap-around glasses with side shields for protection were available, they were not widely used or adopted. The second is that his t-shirt is thought to include the Montreal Maroons emblem, which belonged to a National Hockey League franchise that existed until 1938. (which means it was more likely that someone would be wearing the t-shirt back then than today or in the future). In 1941, Kodak began manufacturing cameras of that sort and size.


This doesn’t seem like the German tourist Lars Mittank who mysteriously disappeared near a Bulgarian airbase, they say that the attire of the time travelling hipster is not an evidence of time travel, but just an unusual fashion sense.

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