Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Leon and the time traveler!

A picture from World War II. The man on the right in this photo is my late father, Leon, with a fellow platoon member. It was taken in 1944. They were stationed in New Guinea during their time in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

 I found the picture among my mother’s storage, scanned it and showed it to my brother. It is one of several photos neither of us had ever seen before. Besides getting a laugh over seeing him in a towel, these pictures are a reminder that like millions of other men Dad did his service during that time.

But something caught my eye...what is that his friend is holding in his hand? It looks like a...gasp...cell phone! 

Is my father standing next to a time traveler who dropped in from our modern era for a visit to a long ago time and faraway place in the Pacific during a time of war? Such is the way Internet rumors start, and not just any rumors, but rumors of fantastic proportions beyond the scope of reality.

A couple of months ago I featured photos from a television program that shows a still photo dated 1941. The picture is interpreted by some to be a time traveler from the future who dropped in to watch a bridge in Canada being dedicated. It would seem an odd choice for a time traveling destination, but it did not stop those with fertile imaginations from working overtime on the most outrageous explanation for the man’s “modern” appearance (according to them) or for holding what they interpret as a digital camera. You can see the post by clicking on the link to “Time travel that goes nowhere”.

It is in the nature of some people to extrapolate the most outrageous explanations for what are really everyday things. It is part of the tendency of some to see conspiracies and dark forces, or to use imagination rather than logic to explain what they cannot readily understand.

The cell phone-shaped object in the other man’s hand is not a device unknown in that era, but a much more common item: a kit holding a razor for shaving. Even if I did not know that already logic would tell me that based on one thing I have no evidence of, time travel, and the other I am sure of, that there were no cell phone towers in New Guinea in 1944.

But this was a surprise, a rare color photo of Dad and his buddies. I know color film was available for years before the war, but the norm was black and white. Dad is kneeling behind the man wearing glasses, and his “time traveling” friend is center front, with a straw hat on his knee.

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