On August 30 2019 the Facebook page “Mysterious Society” shared the following video, “Time Traveler Took This Video in the Year 2045”:
In a rambling six-minute clip, a seemingly distressed man repeatedly impresses upon viewers that he is short of time, believes he is being pursued, and is providing the information in the video at great personal risk. However, the blurred and voice-anonymized individual seen in the clip appears to spend a great deal of time reiterating his claims of being pursued, thereby extending the overall run-time of the video by quite a lot.
It’s difficult not to wonder why the man doesn’t just say those things once and get on with it, clearly extending his time at risk of pursuit by repeating the same phrases over and over. That observation was regularly repeated in Facebook comments on the video:
I only have a second to show you something very important, but before i show you let me sit here for 6 minutes and tell you about how I only have a second to show you something really important.
If I had a time machine I could go back to the beginning of this video and save 6mins of my life .
He doesn’t have much time but hes going to repeat everything 3 and 4 times and never get to the point lol
He “doesn’t have a lot of time”, yet he constantly repeats himself???
In the clip, the man walks into the frame and begins animatedly ranting at the camera. As noted in the comments, much of the initial first few minutes of the clip is taken up by him saying that he is in grave danger, and that he has proof of the claims he will go on to make:
I need to make this quick, I do not have long before I need to leave, they’re tracking me and they know where I am right now … My story [pause] I know this is gonna be hard to believe. For those of you who have not experienced this yourself, you will find this hard to believe but I am telling the truth and nothing but the truth because you deserve to know … you deserve to know what is going on behind closed doors.
Time travel exists … and it is being withheld from the public … we can go into the future yet it is being hidden from the general public … I do not have long but I need to show you what I have … I am from the year 2045, I’m a scientist and I work on the machines that were developed to be released to the public, and it is released to the public in 2028.
In the year 2045, humans and robots are converging into one, we are living as one, artificial intelligence governs the entire world, there are no longer countries in the year 2028. I do not have long … they are looking for me right now … you do not understand, these may be my final moments …
I have a video from the year 2045 and I am going to show you what to do … in the future … in the future we have no privacy. The future is not necessarily bad …
It’s difficult to discern the timeline of events as described in that first few minutes. The “time traveler” implies that technology exists enabling time travel at the time the clip is viewed (presumably 2019), but then says that he worked on the machines in 2028, and that the machines were revealed to the public that year. He also indicates that some sort of artificial intelligence takeover occurred between 2028 and 2045, but doesn’t initially make clear how that relates to the putative danger or concealment of time travel.
As he continues, he makes confusing statements about discovering previous coverups of time travel during his 2028 work on time machines. He also references reverse-engineering of “alien technology” discovered due to a purported “alien spacecraft” crash at “Groom Lake.” Groom Lake is another name for Area 51, itself the subject of myriad conspiracies and memes. Before apologizing again, he says that reverse-engineering alien technology began in 1945, and that “these are the final years for humanity as we know it.”
The man then says he was sent on a mission from 2045 to 2018 to work on earlier time machines for unspecified reasons, and that he wished to show viewers a video from the year 2045. At this point, he points what is clearly a tablet available for purchase in 2018 to the camera, but the images displayed on its screen are almost impossible to see due to glare. (It’s unclear why a time traveler from nearly three decades in the future would present 30-year-old technology as proof.) He then says that the images on the tablet’s screen show “flying cars” and the “mega-cities” in which nearly all humans live in 2045.
Immediately thereafter, he claims that humans will at some point begin “uploading” their brains to computers (which apparently still exist in 2045) before abruptly stating he has to leave and concluding the video.
To recap, the man in the video claims he traveled from the year 2045, he worked on time machines in 2028, time travel was revealed to the general public also in 2028, humans in 2045 “have no privacy,” humans will eventually live in “mega-cities,” all governments are eventually abolished for unspecified reasons involving artificial intelligence, and that humans both “become one” with robots as well as “upload [their] brains to computers.” Nothing stated in the video strayed far from popular tropes involving time travel, artificial intelligence, singularity, robots, or speculative fiction about the future in general.
Finally, the clip shows an enhancement of the “2045 footage” from the 2018-or-earlier tablet, showing futuristic buildings and “flying cars.” Text displayed on the screen asks “is this an actual video from the year 2045?”
Originally, the clip was shared by known time travel hoaxsters ApexTV to their YouTube channel in October 2018, and titled “Time Traveler Took This Video in The Year 2045.” A description box reiterated the claims of the video, but does not say how ApexTV became acquainted with the time traveler or acquired the opportunity to film his supposed confession:
This man claims to be from the year 2045 and supposedly has evidence to back his claims up. This alleged time traveler showed us video footage in which he says is from the year 2045. Along with showing us this alleged video from the future, he also told about time travel being released to the public in 2028 and humans converging with robots. Despite many repetitions of claims that the man carried an important warning, no actual discernible warning or advised action appears in the video.
Beneath the description, a massive list of supposed time traveler confessions and other time travel videos were linked — all uploaded by ApexTV. In a confusing comment pinned to the top, ApexTV added:
After leaving, the man agreed to send us the raw video via email. That video, along with an analysis from an expert should be up soon!
Exactly how did an individual from 2045 agree to share and go on to send “raw video via email” from nearly 30 years in the future? That question is neither asked nor answered amid somewhat depressing comments such as:
How can I go back in time a few month ago? Prove to me that time travel is real. I will pay anything..
ApexTV featured subsequent videos of an alleged time traveler from 2045, one of which purportedly involved a “lie detector test,” also known as a polygraph. However, that “time traveler” was not the same one from the initial 2045 video. In the second individual’s “lie detector” follow up, he references the initial video’s claims and says that the world eliminates countries in 2030, and that time travel technology is released in 2028.
Not long after the October 2018 2045 time travel video was published, the Daily Dot spoke to the guarded individual behind ApexTV and its litany of time travel content. In addition, the outlet spoke to Noah, the channel’s most prolific “time traveler.” Noah told the Daily Dot that some of the subjects’ claims conflict with his purported experience with the future, and acknowledges that his own story is, at best, implausible:
ApexTV says it doesn’t know who these people are or from where they emerge. Their messages show up in his email inbox, we’re told. He looks at their proof. He listens to their revelations. Sometimes, he travels internationally to record his chats with them (the farthest he went for an interview is Armenia, he says). He takes the recordings from Skype sessions or from videos they’ve shot themselves and sent in, he does a small amount of fact-checking, and he writes a script. Then, a small team of mostly part-timers edits them and translates them into Spanish for his ApexTV Español channel (which boasts more than 250,000 subscribers). ApexTV does the voice-overs, and he uploads them to his channel.
He refers to the subjects of his videos as “supposed time travelers” or “quote unquote time travelers,” but he doesn’t say they’re telling the truth. It’s possible ApexTV knows characters like “Noah” in real life and uses them for his fun videos.
Noah doesn’t believe all the videos produced by ApexTV feature actual time travelers. “I do realize that what I’m saying sounds crazy from an outside perspective, and I try to keep an open mind to people with stories like mine,” he said. “But inconsistencies in some of their stories and things that I know to be true in the future keep me skeptical sometimes. I honestly would not believe someone claiming the same things I am if I had no outside knowledge of the secret time travel programs taking place.”
Of the man in the first 2045 video, ApexTV claims the clip was their first and only encounter with him:
ApexTV doesn’t know what happened to the man from 2045. They haven’t talked since the encounter. Was any of that real? Is there anything honest on the channel? If you’re being entertained, ApexTV’s success shows, the truth hardly matters.
ApexTV’s fellow YouTubers have published content assailing the channel’s business model of repeated time travel claims, one stating outright that it is “pretty clear that they have made money off of fraudulent content since their origin.” In July 2019, a teenager named Denis Bel stepped forward to take credit both for being “Noah” from most of ApexTV’s videos, as well as perpetuating the hoax. In the video’s description, Bel wrote:
It’s time for me to admit I’m Noah The Time Traveler, The Time Traveler from 2028 who went all over ApexTV and fooled the internet to think he could Time Travel. Noah had many videos such as him taking a lie detector test, him showing a video from the future, and many videos of him revealing future events. Well, it is all fake because I am Noah the time traveler, I admit it all in this video.
Bel’s confession video had just a fraction of the views accrued on the hoax clips. Bel states he was first approached by ApexTV when he was 14, and describes himself as a “16-year-old boy who fooled the internet.” Complicit in the initial virality of such videos are outlets such as the UK’s Mirror, irresponsibly publishing misleading headlines like “‘Time traveller from 2045 PASSES lie detector — and reveals who’ll be president.'” (Polygraphs are notoriously unreliable, and there was no evidence the subject — Bel — actually submitted to one versus merely wearing an arm cuff.)
Bel said that ApexTV paid him $20 to make a “time travel video,” and an additional $100 for a subsequent video. Bel also affirms ApexTV did not think he was a self-professed time traveler, and collaborated in fabricating the stories in the videos. He further attests that ApexTV requested he and his parents sign non-disclosure agreements, but he declined.
According to Bel, he decided to confess to the hoax because adults attempted to track him down and find him at home. By way of proof for his claims, he shows unedited “Noah videos” in which his face is not blurred. He apologizes to anyone who believed what he calls false information in earlier videos, adding:
I know ApexTV is going to be flipping once he sees this video because he knows I’m actually revealing everything.
The August 30 2019, “Mysterious Universe” repost of ApexTV’s 2045 time traveler was viewed nearly one-and-a-half million times on Facebook, and shared more than 5,000 times. But in July 2019, one of ApexTV’s alleged time travelers came clean, stating ApexTV was in on the hoaxes and paid him for participating, showing unedited videos of himself as a 2045 time traveler for proof.
An underlying element of the larger 2045 time travel videos evidenced how shoddy information is spread on social media, and how accurate information languishes in obscurity. Users viewing the Facebook post were unlikely to discover its source, ApexTV. And it seemed even few ApexTV fans had discovered Bel’s July 2019 confession of working with ApexTV to fabricate tales of time travel. While a repost of one such video was viewed 1.4 million times on Facebook alone, Bel’s admission squeaked out a measly 3,000 views as of September 13 2019.