The Most Convincing Time Traveler Story

The Most Convincing Time Traveler Story

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In 2006, a mysterious man appeared on the streets of Kiev, claiming to have come from 1958. And the story gets crazier from there. The Sergei Ponomarenko story has become a bit of an internet phenomenon as one of the most compelling time traveler stories ever documented. It’s a great story. But is it any more than that?

Special thanks to AJ over at the Why Files for sharing his research from his video, you can see it here:

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0:00 – Intro
1:36 – Photographic Evidence
5:18 – Aliens
8:24 – Time Travel
9:10 – The Billiard Ball Model
11:52 – Sponsor – Brilliant
13:20 – Round 3 Sketch Madness

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37 Responses

  1. Zach Loken says:

    Sometimes it’s just fun to imagine these stories for a minute, suspend disbelief a bit and wonder. Like, just imagine if this were true.

  2. Arcgateway says:

    Being from Kyiv and in my teen years back at the time, I can share that such techno-mystical stories were quite a hit back in the day. In every corner, you could buy some yellow newspaper talking about Soviet UFO secrets, and TV was filled with “Psychic” reality shows and pseudo-documentary UFO-cryptid mystery dramas. One of the most popular shows was literally called “Psychic War” where they would test a bunch of “Psychics” and make them complete quest-like challenges. This story 1:1 fits the mold of such yellow entertainment and I vaguely remember hearing about it.

    • ForCommentsLOL says:

      ​@Michael Tsyrulnik , @ gmdriverer is trolling probably, it’s difficult to tell to who is trolling, pro-Russia, or a bot. LOL And Київ is spelled differently in other languages and on maps in other countries, it’s Kiev in Dutch and Italian, and on the map in the first seconds of the video

    • ForCommentsLOL says:

      @Jadty , it depends in what country you live. It’s Kyiv is in the US English. Names and borders on maps are different for people in different countries

    • ForCommentsLOL says:

      ​@Malcolm Hardwick , it does not have to be in Russian and it would be in Cyrillic letters, Kyiv is Kiev in Dutch and Italian, and Kiew in German. Names on maps and borders can be different for people in different countries

    • ForCommentsLOL says:

      ​@KaJaTi , names and borders on political maps look different for many countries. For example if a person is looking at a map of countries in Nederlands and in Italy, Kyiv is named as Kiev on both maps, and Germany is named as Duitsland on maps in Nederlands and Germania on maps in Italy. Also, maybe gmdriverer is trolling

    • Ainar86 says:

      You can blame Erich von Daniken for that. Late 90s and early 00s was his last peak in popularity, after he published another book and opened a theme park. With comic books based on his earlier stuff still being quite popular and TV shows like X-Files and Twin Peaks coming over from the US the woowoo factor went over 9000. Oh, around that time there were also rumors going around about Russia having developed a weather controlling technology, which later turned out to be partially true.

  3. Michael Burgess says:

    My favorite time travel story is _Palimpsest_ by Charles Stross. It takes all the concepts of causality, paradoxes and plot holes SF nerds love to argue about and flips them sideways. The story throws away nearly all the ‘rules’ and ends up making a lot more sense without them.

    • Adrian Todd says:

      @Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi Stross is pretty damn good in general, at least IMO.

      Singularity Sky’s got a sequel, “Iron Sunrise”, that’s a little weaker, but still good. Part of what made it weaker was that it was clearly setting up a sequel, which’s never been released. When I did some looking into why, I managed to find a blog post from Stross explaining: I forget details now, but apparently he’d written himself into a corner that he couldn’t figure a way out of without breaking the rules he’d already established in-universe. A disappointing result, but you have to respect the commitment.

    • ಠ_ಠ says:

      @MikeP2055 no it isnt

    • Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi says:

      I read Singularity Sky of his, which did very interesting take on FTL and breaking causality.

      You say Palimsest is good? Hm..

    • Marcos Danilo says:

      im gonna be completely honest, i have no idea why Street Fighter nerds would care that much about time travel…now the Mortal Kombat kommunity on the other hand…

    • Casey Riley says:

      @MikeP2055 if you like that, try giving a listen to Sabaton.

      All of their songs are about historical events, wars, and battles

  4. Dan Hollifield says:

    As a very minor SF&F writer who pens a lot of time-travel stories, this sort of topic is like a magnet to me. I love ’em–but since I know what I’m making is entertainment, as well as entirely fictional, I don’t need to believe the tales I’m drawn to. Good stories are worth learning from, as a storyteller, and I want mine to be memorable for my readers. So, thank you, this one was a well-developed piece of storytelling. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

    • Icarus Binns says:

      You might enjoy the Oxford Historian stories by Connie Willis… if you haven’t read them yet

    • morpher44 says:

      In terms of science, if a spacecraft did take him far out and back, that explains why he is young and time went by. But it can’t explain how his girlfriend saw him a few days later as a young person again. Is Einstien wrong?

  5. Daniel Bradford says:

    In Soviet Union, you do not manipulate spacetime, spacetime manipulates YOU!
    It’s good to know that Kiev is rebuilt after the current war and has skyscrapers. Thanks for the good news, Sergei. Now we have hope.

  6. Sebastian Hender says:

    Joe, I’d love to see you do a collab with “The Why Files”, you two seem like minded and have a similarly engaging way of telling stories!
    He too has done some very interesting videos on time travel 🤯

  7. key says:

    I’ve never been so excited and so disappointed in such a short period of time

  8. Victoria Eads says:

    I love this story as a story, it’s engaging and tantalizing.

    BTW, Sketch Madness has been a lot of fun! Maybe you could do something similar every so often? Once every couple of years or so?

  9. Makabet Designs says:

    Since we’re sharing favorite time travel stories, I’d have to say Mark Lawrence’s “Impossible Times” trilogy is the best I’ve ever read.
    Young teen D&D player who’s fighting leukemia meets his Future Self who comes back to tell him yeah, he survived the treatment, but he has to invent a time machine that allowed him to come back and warn him about one of the school bullies who’s going to try and murder him at some point in the future.
    It gets stranger from there. Highly recommended.

    • Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi says:

      Interesting, interesting. Will be adding this to the list.

      My favorite time travel stories seem to be those, that deal with time loops. Groundhog is the king of those stories, while it’s not really about time time loop.

      _Mother of Learning_ is an interesting fantasy novel, that makes a lot with a simple premise of a time loop, that lasts for a month.

  10. Doug Pulliam says:

    Appreciate your take on this story. You always add to a story even if I’ve heard some version. Thanks!

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