Charlie Chaplin Time Traveler? Here Are Some Possible Explanations

Was a cell-phone-using woman of the future really caught on film?

By Joal Ryan Oct 28, 2010 8:03 PMTags
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"It's kind of strange. You just can't explain it."

So says George Clarke, a Belfast-based indie-film producer, in a YouTube clip that purports to show a woman attending a 1928 Charlie Chaplin movie premiere…and talking on a cell phone.

Clarke's right. That is kind of strange. Now, let's explain it.  

Possible Explanation No. 1: It's a time-traveler.

This is the first part of Clarke's theory. And it's not all that out there. Some scientists, including renown physicist Stephen Hawking, believe time travel is possible.

Possible Explanation No. 2: It's a time-traveler talking on a cell phone.

This is the second part of Clarke's theory. And it's not all that out there, either. The woman does appear to be talking, and she does appear to be talking on something.

But gadgetheads aren't keen on the possibility of anyone, even a time traveler, getting her iPhone or Droid to pick up a signal in cell-phone-tower-free 1928.

"You'd be searching for a long time," Kent German, a senior editor for CNET, told us. "'Can you hear me now?'—you wouldn't even get that far."

Possible Explanation No. 3: It's just a lady—a lady who's hard of hearing.

And she's using one of them new-fangled "pocket-sized carbon microphone/amplifier device[s]," patented in 1924.

Possible Explanation No. 4: The lady is "a nutter."

This one is courtesy the YouTube clip's extremely active comments section. It's rude, yes, but it addresses one of the most mysterious aspects of the footage: To whom is the apparently alone woman talking? Why, herself!

Possible Explanation No. 5: The lady is related to the 1940s hipster.

This could either mean she hails from a line of time travelers—or a line of fashion-forward individuals.

By the by, Forgetomori, the site that examined the 1940s hipster photo, has weighed in on the Chaplin time traveler. It's conclusion? Inconclusive.

Possible Explanation No. 6: The lady is the ultimate DVD Easter egg.

According to Clarke, the footage of the walking, apparently talking woman was found in the special-features section on a DVD release of Chaplin's The Circus. One YouTuber suggested the shot could be the result of a post-production whiz having some fun.

No word back yet from Warner Home Video as to whether the footage, as presented in the YouTube clip, appears undoctored.

Possible Explanation No. 7: The lady is Taylor Swift—she's everywhere.

That's gotta be it.

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