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10 Attempts At Time Travel

These are the people, from cranks to legit scientists, who endeavor to make time travel a reality. The new time travel conspiracy series, 12 Monkeys, premieres January 16 at 9/8c on Syfy.

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1. The Chronovisor

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In the 1960s, an Italian monk named Pellegrino Ernetti claimed that he built a machine that collects residual light energy to view events from across time. Allegedly, Manhattan Project scientists Enrico Fermi and Wernher von Braun collaborated on the project. Later in life, Ernetti confessed that the chronovisor never existed. However, some believe that is a coverup, and that the chronovisor is locked away in the vaults of the Vatican.

2. Barack Obama, Martian Chrononaut

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Andrew D. Basiago — a lawyer for the state of Washington — and William Stillings claim that they were part of a secret government program called Project Pegasus. According to them, the project — run by DARPA — sent time travelers (called chrononauts) to Mars. They also claim that one of their fellow chrononauts was a man named Barry Soetero, better known to the rest of us as Barack Obama.

3. Iran's Unregistered Time Machine

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Ali Razeqi, the self-proclaimed "managing director of Iran's Center for Strategic Inventions," says he's invented a time machine using "complex algorithms." Iran's Deputy Minister of Science, Research, and Technology says no machine exists, because “such a claim has not been registered in Iran’s State Organization for Registration for Strategic Inventions." Razeqi says he's kept his machine under wraps because "the Chinese will steal the idea and produce it in millions overnight."

4. John Titor and the Second American Civil War

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On July 29, 1998, radio host Art Bell says he received two faxes from a man named John Titor, an alledged time traveler from the year 2036. Titor claims he served in the "second American Civil War as a member of the Fighting Diamondbacks in 2013."

5. The Krononauts of Baltimore

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One of the least scientific attempts at contacting time travelers happened in 1982. When all the planets and the moon were aligned on the same side of the sun, hundreds of Baltimore residents, calling themselves krononauts, tried to contact "visitors from the futures." That's right. Futures, plural. Their methods mainly consisted of drinking, dancing, and taking off their clothes.

6. The 2005 MIT Time Travelers Convention

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In 2005, MIT grad student Amal Dorai organized a convention to try to lure time travelers from across time to meet at MIT's East Campus Courtyard. The convention got plenty of press, including mentions on The Today Show. No time travelers outed themselves at the convention, but Dorai notes that "many time travelers could have attended incognito to avoid endless questions about the future."

7. Registered Patents for Time Machines

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Just because time machines haven't been built yet doesn't stop people from registering their yet-to-be-built ideas with the patent office. You can find patents for a "method of gravity distortion and time displacement" or a "space compression time dilation machine" or even your run of the mill "practical time machine using dynamic efficient virtual and real robots."

8. Ronald Mallett's Attempt to Save His Father

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For Ronald Mallett, becoming a physicist was really all about his dad. When Mallett was very young, his father died of a heart attack. What made Mallett interested in physics was a singleminded mission: "to build a time machine so he could go back and save his father."

9. Stephen Hawking's Instructions for Building a Time Machine

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Stephen Hawking used to avoid talking about his belief in the possibility of time travel "for fear of being labeled a crank." These days, he's not so shy. He even wrote a piece for the Mail Online stating that all you need for a time machine is "a wormhole, the Large Hadron Collider, or a rocket that goes really, really fast."

Whether or not time travel exists, Syfy’s new series 12 Monkeys may just make you a believer. Watch 12 Monkeys Fridays @ 9/8c – premiering January 16.

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