Based in Brooklyn, NY, I write about all things creepy and strange. My book based on the real haunting of Doris Bither (The Entity 1982 movie) will be released soon. Got a question? Drop me a line.

GhostTheory reader Ben sent me this link:

Could ‘time traveller’ caught on film in The Circus mean Future Day has arrived?


The image above is a still from Charlie Chaplin’s 1928 film The Circus. In this frame, we see a person in the background holding what some say is a cellphone. Film maker George Clarke from Belfast was the first person to point this out (that we know of):

The Australian news site, has already pointed out the fact that this could just be someone walking about with a hearing aid. That to me makes totally more sense than to jump the gun and assume that this person is a “time traveller” who has traveled back to 1928 and so happened to be able to use their cellphone. I have to agree with on this one. It’s just a person with a hearing aid. One of those small bell-shaped horns people used to put up to their ears to amplify sound:


This theory of “Time Travelers” seems to be plausible to many people, I just don’t see how anyone could believe such thing. I mean say you really discovered how to travel through time. OK….. The best you can do is be a background character in some Charlie Chaplin movie no one really watches?

If it was me, I’d be dinning with the great Pharaohs of Egypt, throwing rocks at a brontosaurus head or maybe even putting a teenage Hitler in a chokehold. But Nooooo! These so-called ‘Time Travelers’ want to spend their travels through time and space walking around seeing if their cellphones get reception.
Can you hear me now? …..Hello?……


  • Andrew

    OK, I don’t know about the whole time travel thing, but for all of you who think this is a hearing aid device, I have a lingering question…If this is a hearing aid and she is obviously talking to someone…WHO IS SHE TALKING TO???

    On the other hand, there were no cell phone towers in 1928 so if it is a cell phone how is she using it???

  • Tom

    >According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, traveling backwards >in time is impossible.

    That’s a popular misconception. Actually, Einstein’s theory of relativity upholds negative time. What it doesn’t support is travelling *at* the speed of light as mass and time would approach infinity. Past the speed of light, you would travel back in time. Now, you might say, how could you go faster than the speed of light without ever going the speed of light. There are possibilties the lengthy to go into here.

  • DrAlen77

    @ PBJ,
    100% spot on. Hence his “buy my movies and support the cause” comment at the end of his video.
    The 1928 footage is real and so is the lady holding something to her ear and talking. But, it is not a mobile phone.
    If one could time travel, I believe they’d be smart enough not to risk altering history by talking openly on a communication device.
    @ Andrew,
    The first film originally presented with audible dialog was The “Jazz Singer”, released in October 1927. Close to the release of this film. But since this footage is a “behind the scenes” look at the film premier, it probably didn’t contain any audio. That lady could have been talking to anybody. She could have been a little loopy and been talking to herself.

  • What a lot of people are missing is this is from a DVD bonus featurette of the film premier of the movie. This is not from a SCENE in the movie, I.E. this person is not an extra. The clip is from footage of the films release at the movie theater, i.e. this person is some random person unrelated to the films production who happened to walk in front of the camera recording the day of the movies release. People, please watch the guys damned movie before drawing conclusions about who or what is going on. Once you have heard the original argument, then please draw your conclusions.
    As for me, I’m not sure what it is, but it gives me a good idea for a time traveling movie in which they reenact this scene as a tip of the hat to this strange film clip. ^_^

  • Oh, and as far as who she’s talking to, she may just be talking or singing to herself. I sing to myself all the time when walking around. And if this is a hearing aid and she is holding the wrong piece to her ear, hey, we have all seen old people use technology wrong, my grandpa sometimes holds his cell phone upside down and I have seen old people talk into the wrong end of a mic. So it’s not that plausible to think she is just confused with all this new-fangled technology.

  • There’s an answer for everything, and here’s mine for this:

  • Carlo Nino

    Chatted with a couple of friends on this.

    We divided it into two discussions.

    It is a time traveler.
    It is not a time traveler.

    We explored each scenario but since this is Halloween I’m more prone to discussing the first.

    First of all there were three questions we asked after we settled on the premise that it was a time traveler.
    a) Why 1928?
    b) Why Los Angeles?
    c) What was the subject of conversation (if it was a conversation period)?

    Some of the replies to those questions were questions themselves but:
    a) It was captured in 1928. The visitor could have arrived in 1920 for all we know and departed in 1930 (or theoretically still be here).
    b) We felt that the destination could have been anywhere but Los Angeles is where the person was caught on film.
    c) The subject of the conversation could have been about how hot the day was but we thought that:
    – The conversation had to take place in real time or they could have written a report from a more discreet location.
    – It’s not a cell phone.
    – It’s a terminal recording device like a dictaphone making a journal/notes.

    We had more analysis behind purpose of the journey, the listeners on the other end, theories on how many more of these visits could have transpired.

  • This is a cool blog message, I will keep this idea in my mind. If you add more video and pictures because it helps understanding 🙂 ml Falce.

  • Gentlemanmike

    Javier, if you are going to comment on this please make sure you get the story right. The person couldn’t be a “a background character in some Charlie Chaplin movie no one really watches” because the still isn’t from a Chaplin movie; it’s from some footage of the ‘premiere’ of a Chaplin movie. It appeasr as part of the extras added to the DVD.

    Aside from that, it’s interesting to see how many weird and wonderful ideas people have come up for the image. I don’t think we will ever know for sure what she has in her hand although I prefer the idea that it is some sort of special hearing aid (possibly being developed at the time) rather than the time traveller theory.

  • Anonymous

    She’s adjusting a a hat pin. Very common for the time.

  • Legit

    The clothes that person is wearing are not from this time. Ladies and Gentleman, there is a time traveler among us

  • Istanbul_Chick


    Are you serious?

    What “time period” are her clothes from if not the 1920’s?

  • Hans

    As a matter of interest , with all my respect to you :
    Watch that the cell talking woman ”dissolves” within the picture, this ”Image Dissolving technique ”is a modern video technique ,old mowies just cut , spliced and added film parts .
    even if the shadow of the woman matches with the moment , how could they dissolve the image ?
    Watch at 8:27 the Zebra is the central image , the woman talking on the ceel dissapears , and a new scene appears on the right side , persons walking into the wall and also there appears a window where previously was a wall .

    Could it be a schmuk trick to sell lots of the reedited movie collection ?
    I write with all my respect to you , maybe you focused your attention as the editors guide ….on the womans image..but look closer

    Best regards Hans …

  • Hailie, UK

    I can’t see anything 🙁