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  1. Birmingham

    Birmingham Active Member

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    You're a time traveller. And you need to prove it

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Birmingham, Feb 17, 2018.

    I figured out how to solve the last problem I mentioned with my time travelling protagonist anti-hero.
    Now the evil bitch has to recruit some people, and she knows exactly who and why.
    I have some idea as to how she recruits them (blackmail. Duh! She knows their secrets).
    I also want her to prove to them she truly is a time traveller (she wasn't able to bring the time travel technology with her, though she brought some other technological devices).
    I have some ideas as to how she proves it, but I still wanted to see what you guys come up with.

    If I went back to the 90s and showed you the phone I have in 2018, you might be psyched, but I don't know if it would be a definitive proof to my claims. Even if I told you stuff like "I know you killed your wife yesterday because I read it in the papers 20 years after the fact", you wouldn't know it's true. And if I told you stuff like "4 planes will hit the twin towers tomorrow" you might just think that aside from being a complete nutjob, I also work for Bin Laden or for some intelligence agency that doesn't know how crazy I am.

    So..... How do I convince you I'm a time traveller? How would you try to convince me you were one?
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I wouldnt bother - I'd tell you i'd been in the forces, or in jail, or living in finland or whatever ... my blackmail would be more effective if you didnt think I was a complete nut and had to come up with your own explanation of how I know you murdered your wife
     
  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Carry a Polaroid so you can't be accused of doctoring the images.
    Also I don't think an Iphone would work in the '90s since the cell
    towers would not be able to handle the network capabilities of it
    yet.
    Ultimately there is no absolute way of proving that you are a time
    traveler, at least not to anyone in the 20th century forward. Though
    it might stand to reason that you could with a less intelligent age
    like The Dark Ages, Renaissance, all the way back to ancient times.
    This is only speculation, and not provable.
     
  4. Robert Musil

    Robert Musil Comparativist Contributor

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    Tell them about some event no one could know was about to happen. 9/11? Although maybe that's a couple years too late for your setting. Maybe some famous upset in the sports world, and you tell them about it in detail down to the score and game-winning goal/hit/touchdown/whatever.
     
  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Frequency did it with a detailed description of the World Series.

    Edited to add: it belatedly occurs to me that baseball was a big thing all through the movie. I suddenly wonder if that came from the need for “proof” and then they ran with it, so that what was a device added a lot of richness to the story. I dunno but now I’d like to know.
     
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  6. CerebralEcstasy

    CerebralEcstasy Active Member

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  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    This way might work, but they still might not believe you.
     
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  8. Birmingham

    Birmingham Active Member

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    Thanks!!! All of you!!! This is really helpful. I heard of Frequency, the movie, a short while ago (researching time travel movies, of course).
    I only heard of the TV show today.
    Regarding phones, yeah, I figured it would be a hassle to talk with one if you go back a decade or more, not to mention to a time with zero satellites (that's one thing people never mention when talking about the time traveler in the Chaplin movie). I was thinking more in the direction of "look at how this phone can show movies with unbelievable quality".
    I think I figured it out, based on your helpful comments. And I'll certainly watch and read the links you posted.
    You've helped a great deal. I should come here more often.
    Anyway, if still any of you wants to throw in more comments, references, or ideas, it certainly won't hurt.
     
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  9. Birmingham

    Birmingham Active Member

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    Cerebral Ecstasy! I just clicked on your wiki link! Mind blown!!! This is hilarious and awesome!
     
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  10. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Yeah, that worked for Old Biff and Young Biff in Back to the Future 2 as well. Anything predictive should work fine. If the reader already knows the MC is a time traveler, convincing the other characters shouldn't be too much of a burden.
     
  11. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    You'd either be a time traveller or a witch. Probably a witch, though. Traveling backwards in time wasn't really a popular concept in most cultures and most stories about time travel had to do with people going to a specific place or falling asleep and skipping forward a few ages and even then the way they generally figured it out was by them going to a village and asking about their families and finding out from the oldest man in the village they died when he was but a child. Technology was more of a slow crawl back then than the development we've seen over the past couple of hundred years, so showing someone from the renaissance how to play Angry Birds would probably elicit more of a "Gasp, sorcery!" reaction than convincing them you are actually from the future. Either way, you'd have to know which of the three basic sets of rules your time traveling follows. You either have the malleable past, where what you do in the past affects the future, so the very act of going back in time could change events of the future. Therefore you really couldn't go back in time and tell people you know the future, because doing so could change those events and would make it really hard to convince people you are from the future if none of your predictions come true, or events you cause prevents you from going back in the first place and other paradoxes. Second is the multiple timelines rules, where going back in time causes a timeline to split off and therefore avoids any problems with paradoxes, but still suffers from the fact that things, just by your presence change and therefore any predictions you make would still be statistically viable options, but not certainties. Third is the immutable past, where everything a time traveler has does in the past has already been done and therefore can't be changed because trying to change anything will always result in the same outcome that's already happened. In that case the best to recruit people in the past is to know whether or not you already recruited them in the future, then whatever you do will be what you've already done to recruit them, so it doesn't really matter.
     
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  12. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    This reminds me of the anime Steins;Gate, which is all about time travelling. The twist right at the end was pretty good too :)
     
  13. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    I understand those concepts, and yes no matter those distant past destinations
    you would more than like be branded a witch. :p
    Though it conflicts with the theory that they would revere vastly more advanced
    species that came from the sky as gods. As they would be on the same level of
    'mythical' proportions to them as would a time traveler. Which has never been
    indicated in that sense to never have happened. Is this the result of a conformation
    bias, based on we understand that other humans can and have been known to be
    jerks, and a foreign visitor from the sky automatically gets greeted with open arms?

    The only viable way to time travel is to dilate it, and not have to worry about any
    effects on the time line (paradoxes are avoided). Though you can only travel to the
    future. And the next obstacle being the short amount of time of the lifespan of the
    traveler, which limits them to traveling extremely long periods into said future.
    This also coincides with the unbreakable speed limit of light, that we will never
    actually be capable of due to the inability to create infinite energy. But for arguments
    sake let us suppose that it were possible to toe really close to the limit at say 90% being
    the absolute threshold. This would extend the range of how far you could potentially
    go into the future, but still limited by the prior factors.

    Worm holes and white holes are still only theoretical, but if possible to survive
    the tidal forces to travel through them would be highly speculative as to where/
    when you end up. In the case of white holes(the other side of a black hole) you
    could find yourself in an entirely new universe altogether with no way of knowing
    anything about it. And wormholes could be mapped if you could safely travel through
    both ways and be able to map out where each side leads. And you could still suffer the
    same problem as passing through a black hole and wind up in a different universe.
    Though if you could safely orbit around the event horizon of a black hole, then you
    could use the time dilation principal to extend your range of travel into the future,
    while not having to create infinite energy (nor risk being thrown out the other side
    into a new universe). :)

    But neither of these concepts really works for a fun yarn, because there is no way to
    go back (or in some cases forward) to tell of the findings in their travels. And largely
    of what little we really know of time travel, it could be filled with paradoxes to compensate
    for, or literally have no consequences at all. And as current understanding of how
    most ways to plausibly do it are far outside of our technological means to even attempt
    to test them as they would more than likely just kill the traveler (in the best case situation),
    and destroy the earth (and possibly more in the worst case). Seems time travel is more
    entertaining when we cook a good BS story to make the process possible in fiction. :)
     
  14. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    I would take them with me to my broker, and in a few hours leave with a million dollars.
    Oh wait, that's my fantasy.
     
  15. Birmingham

    Birmingham Active Member

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    Hooligan - I decided on the multiple timelines idea. Paradoxes are fun but also annoying. In my universe (or multiverse) you can kill your grandfather all you want!!! Also: My time travellers go back to modern time (right now one of the "past" points in their perspective is 2034, so it's cool) and also to the civil war era. I do have one character there who is imaginative and gradually gets around to believing in time travel, and I also have a guy who thinks that God or the Devil is trying to tell him something.

    Thundair - You should watch Odyssey 5. I know I'm spoiling a 2-minute plotline from episode 1 here, but.... the change in the identity of the people who bet, can also tip the result sideways. So don't spend too much at once (if you need more reasons to be careful with your cash, watch Time Lapse).

    Cave Troll- Thank you for introducing me to Dust :)
     
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  16. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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    Even showing a non-linked iPhone might not do it, any time after the 80s people are just going to nod their heads and say "Ah, the Japanese". I think detailed sports results are your best bet, but that means that your character either needs to be well-prepared or a sports nut; I couldn't tell you who played in the last four major American championships, let alone who won, along with the score, of last Tuesday's sportsball game. Major events only work if you're temporally close to them, try telling someone in 1995 that the Twin Towers will be destroyed in six years, then wait around to be proven right?

    On the other hand, tell someone in 1985 that Donald Trump will be president, and they'll probably think you're talking about 1988, not 2016....

    Celebrity deaths might work too; if you broaden your net, they happen fairly often and are easily verifiable.
     
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  17. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    Princess Diana's death comes to mind. That was a big one that would be shocking for someone to hear about from a time traveler.
     
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  18. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, but that's a 9/11 type thing. You need a pool of events that can be verified quickly, not a world-changer that won't take place for a few years.
     
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  19. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Yeah, second that. That was a weird fucking night. I was at my high school girlfriend's house, and Saturday Night Live was interrupted (I think, might be mythologizing) by the news. I was too high to care at the time, but I knew something was happening. One of those days where I remember most of the details.

    ETA: looked it up and she died on a Sunday... so much for memory.
     
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  20. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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    So what night is Saturday Night Live on? :confused::D:confused::D:confused::eek:

    Seriously though, my parents never watched nor allowed it in our home, so it took me years to realized that SNL was actually, really live, and not just filmed in front of a live studio audience.
     
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  21. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Time zones. My brain is too fuzzy to do the math right now but I think it may work.
     
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  22. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    Your memory had it right, @Homer Potvin It was early Sunday UK time.

    I remember where I was, too...It was a weird fucking night where I was, too. I hadn't lived in Hollywood very long and was still somewhat wide-eyed over how the whole fame machine worked. That shit woke me up. The press had been hounding her that entire week because the Morton book and the TV interviews only seemed to make them hungrier during the last however many months of her life. I remember the week before she died an ex who was great at PR said, "She's going to have to just go with it and give them some shots and maybe they'll give her some peace." There was a time you could do that; that period was the tipping point over to the other side. I was spending the holiday weekend with that ex, and neither of us was surprised by the car crash. The breaking news announcing her death was a shock, though. Even the unflappable ex was rattled by it, and even though we weren't fans or Diana watchers, it was so shocking we just held onto each other and one of us blurted out "Oh my God they killed her." (Meaning the press and the whole fame machine.)

    Princess Diana's death and the OJ trial before it changed media coverage in the US, and our media consumption habits. Those would definitely be standouts for a time traveler. If the people back in time were fashion or pop culture followers, Gianni Versace's death might be a minor one as well.

    Could the time traveler bring back a bunch of newspapers? Depending on the year, it actually used to be kind of hard to fake those. The spacing of the fonts looked funky, so fake clippings used to be easy to spot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
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  23. Birmingham

    Birmingham Active Member

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    Yeah, she could bring newspapers. She could bring printouts or saved files on a USB of wiki page, about the people she's contacting in the past. I figured that in one case she brings a sensational video of a 60 year old man to show his 40 year old self.
     
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  24. samgallenberger

    samgallenberger Member

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    It actually says at the bottom Steins; Gate is based off his story.
     
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  25. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Didn't know that, but that makes sense!
     

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