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Home » Headline, Mystery of History, Paranormal, Records Department, Weird news

Man Vanishes In 1876 – Reappears In 1950

Submitted by on January 18, 2012 – 7:36 AM13 Comments | 3,553 views

Rudolf Fenz, Senior


Lon over at Phantoms & Monsters found an interesting story about an alleged time traveler. I found it to be so intriguing that I decided to throw it up for our readers.

So amazing is this story that even the NYPD could find no other logical resolution to explain the strange and baffling nature of what transpired.

Here’s the whole sorted tale:

Translated: Did a space-time vortex snatch a man from the 1800s and plop him down in the middle of traffic on a busy New York City street? Many witnesses—including the New York Police Department—say YES…

Time travel stories have emerged over the centuries . One of the best time travel stories convinced many people—including some of the NYPD—that time travel is not a theory, but real.

The Spanish website sinmisterios.com recounts the tale of the best documented occurrence of time travel in recorded history. The incident is allegedly corroborated by witnesses 74 years apart.

All details are said to be documented by official law enforcement records.

Rudolf Fenz, Senior disappeared in 1876. Despite an intense search by police, Fenz was never found. Yet his family always held out hope that the kindly immigrant from Europe would return. They waited years, eventually dying one-by-one still with the hope that their beloved Rudolf might come back.

The return of Rudolf Fenz

Long after all his living relatives had died, Rudolf Fenz returned. And he returned in the most incredible fashion possible. For Rudolf Fenz suddenly materialized on June 1950 in the middle of a busy Fifth Avenue in downtown Manhattan—74 years after vanishing without a trace.

Seconds after appearing in the midst of heavy traffic he was struck down and killed by a car.

Time had played a cruel trick on Fenz, it propelled him three-quarters of a century into the future only to toss him in front of a speeding automobile.

New York’s Finest get involved

From the beginning of their investigation into the odd death of a strangely attired man, the New York police knew the case was anything but typical.

The motorist who struck and killed the odd pedestrian testified the man seemed bewildered and confused…in a daze. The driver swore the man literally appeared with no warning right in front of him.

The corpse itself was an enigma

Although the deceased dressed immaculately and his clothes looked new, the police investigation confirmed the mystery man laying dead on the street wore clothing almost a century out of date.

According to police records—written by the investigating officers at the scene of the accident—the dead man wore a black coat, a wide-brimmed hat, trousers and odd shoes that fastened with archaic, 19th Century style oversized buckles. He appeared to be in his early thirties.

Police found coins long out of general circulation—some still retaining mint luster—in the man’s pockets. In his leather billfold were U.S. banknotes with dates preceding the 1870s and crisp calling cards engraved with the name “Rudolf Fenz, Senior.”

The officers also discovered a receipt for the boarding of horses and storage of a carriage among the man’s effects.

Amazing facts uncovered

Unable to determine where Rudolf Fenz, Senior lived—or locate any next of kin—the police handed the case over to one of their crack missing person’s investigators, Hubert Rihn. With the resources of the Missing Persons Bureau of the State of New York, Rihn contacted his counterparts in European countries, including Austria and Germany, in an attempt to find any existing relatives of the victim.

Allegedly, Rihn’s investigation ran into blind alleys.

Finally, almost in an act of desperation, Rihn requisitioned a copy of an old New York City telephone directory from 1939. There, the dogged investigator found an important clue: the directory listed a man named Rudolf Fenz, Junior.

That discovery, followed by a lot of painstaking police work, led Rihn to an elderly woman, the widow of Rudolf Fenz, Junior.

Here the case takes its most unusual and bizarre turn. The facts that emerged left the officers of the NY police force stunned.

During a lengthy interview with Mrs. Rudolf Fenz, Jr., she told investigators that her father-in-law, Rudolf Fenz, Senior, disappeared during his daily walk. At the time, his son—later her husband—was only four years old. Reports were made by the family and an investigation was undertaken by authorities, but no trace of her missing father-in-law ever surfaced.

The year was 1876. Rudolf Fenz, Senior was then 31 years old.

So Rihn dug into the 19th Century archives of unsolved missing persons cases recorded by the Missing Persons Bureau of the State of New York. There, to his astonishment, was the record of one Rudolf Fenz, Senior, reported by his family as missing. The record stated he’d never returned from his daily walk.

An old photograph of Rudolf Fenz, Senior accompanied the missing person report. The photo was the exact likeness of the man killed on the busy New York street.

Could the hapless Fenz, out for his daily walk, have been swept
up by a time vortex and thrust into the alien world of the future there only to meet a swift and merciless death?

If so, then Rudolf Fenz, Senior, who lived only 31 years, died 105 years after his birth.

Are we to believe that Rudolf Fenz is a time traveler? Could this just be some sort of legend passed along over the years? I’m tempted to research this but I’ll leave that to our crack readers.

Anyone from NY heard this story before? This may require a physical visit to the public records cobweb division in NYC.

I look forward to any and all input on this as the premise of time travel fascinates me.

Thank you to the following sources:

Phantoms & Monsters
Disclose.tv

More interesting reading on the subject of time travel here:

How Stuff Works
Nova
About.com

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I grew up in rural NWPA, surrounded in forest. I took an early interest in cryprozoology and sharks and have read many books on various crypto subjects such as Bigfoot and Megalodon over the years. I am not a professional writer or a journalist, but I do the best I can. I have a quirky, obscurely dry and sometimes sarcastic sense of humor than can get me in trouble. Some love me and some hate me, but I am who I am.

  • Black George

    I first tried the usual avenue of top-notch research but that didn’t pan out — a thousand thanks, Wikipedia or SOPA/PIPA :-( (to cover both camps).

    Dragging-and-dropping the image into Google gave me this interesting link:

    http://ourlocalhistory.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/german-families-of-schaumburg-township-the-rohlwing-family/

    Scroll down about half-way and we see a John Fenz. I saw nothing in the post about his translation. Cursory glance over search results for Rudolph Fenz seems to indicate either urban legend or total fiction.

  • PCWilliams

    I was born in brooklyn and lived in New Yawk until 1983 and never heard this story. My father joined the NYPD in 1963, he never mentioned this story. I still have relatives who live in brooklyn and have been there since the 1930s, i’ll drop them a note and ask if they ever heard this story.

  • Henry

    Sounds like something out of Argossy, or its modern equivalent. A little too clean, that the man dies as soon as he appears so there can be no direct investigation of him, only indirect research into the limbo of “John Doe,” and missing persons cases based on items in his pockets. Little can ever be confirmed. The mark of a good supernatural story.

    Is it possible to randomly travel through time? Who knows. Is it likely that the effect that causes this is so focused as to only pick up a person off the street, no bit of ground, nor leave any part of that person behind, and deposit him on another street 90 years into the future? That is a problem I have always had with time travel stories; they are not only time travel. There is also space travel, simply because in the time that you are away, disconnected from “now” the planet travels, the solar sytem travels, the galaxy travels, the universe expands and you would have to direct your travel to not only the point in time, but the point in space. Was he lucky enough for a random event to perfectly position himself at ground level on the correct point in space to be on Earth? And even today, there is A LOT more open space on the planet than there are cities. Just look at what happens everytime an old satellite falls out of orbit. Mostly it lands in the ocean, but this man lands in the middle of a busy street.

  • http://terrythecensor.blogspot.com/ terry the censor

    Research Scott. This is a hoax.

    The details are taken from a 1951 short story.
    http://homepage.mac.com/cssfan/jackfinney/col510915024.htm

    The hoax reappears from time to time.
    http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/weblog/comments/367/

    Lon banned me from his site because I was fact-checking his UFO posts (he told me that on another site when I fact-checked his guest post — then had me banned from that site too). Please take that into consideration when using info from him.

  • http://www.ghosttheory.com Scott McMan

    Henry,

    What if Rudolph stepped thru some sort of time rip and was in some odd dimensional place for all these years? Then by chance he was able to locate the rip again and step back thru.

    Maybe these rips in time and space just appear under the right conditions and if you happen to be standing in the wrong place…Poof!

    However, I understand your arguments, I presented a topic on time travel over at ATS a few years back and got some awesome feedback from physicists and various others in the scientific community. It got to the point where I just stepped back and marveled as they argued back and forth. At times I was almost completely convinced on both sides of the kern.

    It’s such a thought provoking topic that I have to revisit it from time to time.

  • http://www.ghosttheory.com Scott McMan

    Terry,

    I have no problem with you looking this stuff up. In fact, I encourage it as I stated in the article.

    Here’s the thing though, if I took the time to research these stories, I’d end up falling behind. Frankly I don’t have the time to do check ups unless it’s part of an article I am writing completely on my own. Furthermore, if I did do these checks, how many stories would make it to print? I’d say 5% if we were lucky. Lets face it, 99% of this stuff is fiction anyway. We look for that glimmer and calculate the odds of how well it will be received.

    That’s why Javier and myself throw them up and let the readers do the debunking. We try to be neutral (for the most part) whether we believe a story or not.

    I am planning to do more articles like the alien debunking I did at the end of last year and I am currently working on one that I think will be well received.

    Suffice it to say, I want you to keep doing just what you’re doing. After all, we expect nothing less from our readership.

  • Henry

    Scott, I would love to read those comments.
    The “Rip” changes nothing in my mind. The planet will still be in a significantly different location, unless there is some physics that causes the “rip” to be caught in the gravity of the planet.
    But, the description then becomes very close to that of a wormhole, and there are serious problmes with that. If they exist they are likely so related to blackholes as to be indistinguishable, and then surviving the tidal forces becomes unlikely at my limited understanding. Also much smarter people than me have done the mathon wormhole travel, and according to them, travel through a womrhole incduces a shockwave ahead of the traveller which causes the hole to close before you emerge, and that.

    But it is all assumptions, fun to theorize about, but until there is more concrete proof, as Dan Sweetman and Dave Loupre say, “…still just a goat.”

  • justin

    What an amazing story, could it possibly be true??

  • d.a.

    Wikipedia has a good article that pretty thoroughly discredits the story.

  • http://www.fluxiondesigns.com Stephen Pruitt
  • http://terrythecensor.blogspot.com/ terry the censor

    No, Scott, this wasn’t a mystery that required the Ghost Theory hive mind to assess. Two minutes on google would have been enough for you to screen this.

  • http://elander-anthony.blogspot.com/ Anthony

    As posters have already noted, it is a hoax (or most likely one), but I think one can spot some things in the narrative that would point to it being fictional. Someone might want to fact check me on some of these points, as I haven’t taken an American history class in a few years.

    Most immigrants (German or otherwise) to American cities in the 1800s-early 1900s went to work in the manufacturing complexes, meatpacking plants, and other, blue collar fields. Their salaries probably weren’t more than a few dollars a week (if that much, would have to check). Additionally, they worked long hours (sometimes as much as 80 hours a week) and had few days off.

    Of course, some of the immigrants escaped this fate; they established small businesses, such as neighborhood grocery stores, saloons, or pool halls. Others made significant amounts of money in illegal trades, ie. prostitution, gambling, etc. However, most of these people would not need to carry or use calling cards. They knew their neighborhoods and conducted most of their business face to face.

    Mr. Fenz by contrast had the leisure time to take morning walks, possessed more than a few dollars on his person (all dollar denomination back then were in coinage (probably Morgan dollar coins with some trade dollar coins still in circulation), carried calling cards (perhaps some salesmen carried cards but they were mostly used by the elite at that time since printing was still very expensive), and wore new, clean (laundried) clothes.

    As, as hinted in a previous paragraph, if Mr. Fenz somehow had obtained enough status/wealth to do the things listed above, he would be anything but “kindly.”

    Finally, it is not based on anything historical but the person in that photo appears be much older than 31. He looks to be closer to mid-forties or even near 50.

  • realist

    dude, your post is sooo funny.
    if you’re gonna start spouting off ‘facts’ about people in the late 19th century, please, please, with a cherry on top, site sources.
    how do you know so much about people from that year?  
    and really, the funniest part “As, as hinted in a previous paragraph, if Mr. Fenz somehow had obtained enough status/wealth to do the things listed above, he would be anything but “kindly.”

    so people with money are not kindly or they just weren’t kindly in that particular year?
    guess Bill Gates is just a prick, then, huh?
    and foreigners with money, especially.