Hoaxes & Rumors

Classic Urban Legend: The Time Traveling Hipster

Classic Urban Legend: The Time Traveling Hipster

A photo allegedly shows a modern hipster who traveled back in time to the 1940’s. Is the photo real or fake?

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The photograph has been circulating since around 2010, with suggestions that the casually-dressed man’s appearance is too modern to fit into the a 1940’s setting. Here is one caption which has circulated with the photo in 2013:

In 1940, a mysterious man was photographed in Canada wearing what seems to be modern clothing and carrying a camera. Its authenticity was proven by NTV in Russia in 2010.

Is this a man with incredibly modern style? Or evidence of time travel?


The Photo

The image is not Photoshopped, and the original can be found at the Bralorne Pioneer Museum in British Columbia, Canada. The people in the photo were attending the re-opening of the South Fork Bridge in British Columbia.


The logo on the “modern” shirt worn by the man in the image is probably that of the Montreal Maroons hockey team, an NHL team which existed until 1938. Thus, it would be more likely to see someone wearing that shirt in 1940 than in the 2010’s.


One would expect to see this shirt in 1940.

The man’s knitted sweater also doesn’t indicate anything out of the ordinary for the 1940’s.

The Camera

The “modern” camera in the man’s hands is not clearly shown, but Kodak did produce cameras of this size at the time. Another man in the image is also holding a camera.

NTV Video

The caption above is correct in stating that the photo was deemed authentic by NTV in Russia, as seen in the video below:

Sunglasses, and the erroneous Stanwyk comparison

Sunglasses with side shades were common in 1940, so these would not have been unusual.

In their attempts to debunk the time traveler theory, some writers have used a photo of Barbara Stanwyck wearing sunglasses in the 1940 film Double Indemnity. If you look closely, however, the glasses are not the same. Stanwyck’s glasses are actually casting a shadow on the side of her face, which – from a distance – resemble the side shades in the sunglasses worn by the man in the 1940 photo.

Barbara Stanwyk's sunglasses are merely casting a shadow which resemble the man's side shades.

Barbara Stanwyk’s sunglasses are merely casting a shadow which resemble the man’s side shades.

Google Trends

In chart below shows search interest in this story. As you can see, it was around December 2011 when the story first went viral online. It has had several peaks in interest since that time.

Bottom Line

The man’s casual attire in comparison to those around him have led some to claim he is a time traveler captured on film. Casual attire aside, there is nothing contained in the photo which would have been out of the ordinary in 1940.


The YouTube video below summarizes the information in this article.


Updated December 10, 2015
Originally published July 2013

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  • Reddy

    What’s funny is that a reverse image search shows that there are loads of people who actually believe it.

  • Reddy

    Why are you stating things already in the article? Do you go on news websites and simply comment the headlines?

  • ch

    That shirt does not bear the Montreal Maroon logo. The logo on the example shirt in this article and the Snopes.com article both feature serifs on the M. The M on his shirt is sans-serif and not the same font. I’m not saying he’s a time traveler, but that is not the same logo.

    • Reddy

      Very true, it actually looks slightly like a Mario Bros logo, which it obviously isn’t either.

  • Stillwitty

    Has anyone actually IDENTIFIED the gentleman as an ancestor/relative/earlier incarnation of themselves? That would surely put the theory to rest….

  • Ernesto

    The same guy with Ringo…

  • Joe Mirza

    Check out the below link. Handsome guy with a hipster haircut, controlled beard scruff, flannel shirt and hooded down jacket. A&F model shoot from 2015? Try Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mt. Everest, in 1952. Sorry, but there is nothing new under the sun except the potential to get rich underestimating the intelligence of the public.


  • Glen

    I originally posted this photo with respect to time travel as a joke back in April 2009. It has since taken on a life of its own. http://pragueunplugged.blogspot.cz/2009/04/proof-of-time-travel.html

  • Mike B

    I’ve seen claims that they didn’t make T-shirts with stamped logos in the 1940s, but that’s a plain lie. All of this man’s attire may stand out against the crowd because he’s not wearing a suit, but just because he has some funky glasses and a T-shirt doesn’t make this a time-traveler. As stated in the article. Neat picture, and fun to think about.

  • Ginna Das Michalk

    I think this is a case of (fashion) forward thinking. Due to his attire, some of us have jumped to the conclusion that he is time traveler! To me, he’s a pioneer of a sort. It’s incredible!

  • Tom S

    Wouldn’t a time traveler buy clothes and a camera once they got to that place? I think they would feel uncomfortable wearing their normal attire, so they bought clothes to fit the time. However, they didn’t realize that casual of an outfit isn’t too common and still stands out.

    When I learn to time travel that is what I’ll probably do.

    • Tubsy

      haha you’re so right!

  • Soxer

    Time traveller or not, it’s a fun idea because he does stand out.

  • Timothy Campbell

    Okay, maybe the hipster isn’t a time-traveler, but …

    In the foreground, near the center of the photo, you can see a light-haired person biting his or her lower lip. He or she is CLEARLY playing “Tetris.”

    • waffles

      Hah! We must have missed that one.

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