John Titor is the name used on several bulletin boards during 2000 and 2001 by a poster claiming to be a time traveler from the year 2036. In these posts he made numerous predictions (a number of them vague, some quite specific) about events in the near future, starting with events in 2004. He described a drastically changed future in which the United States had broken into five smaller regions, the environment and infrastructure had been devastated by a nuclear attack, and most other world powers had been destroyed.
To date, the story has been retold on numerous web sites, in a book, and in a play. He has also been discussed occasionally on the radio show Coast to Coast AM. In this respect, the Titor story may be unique in terms of broad appeal from an originally limited medium, an Internet discussion board.
Soon after, TimeTravel_0 claimed to be a time traveler from the future and began posting varying descriptions of his time. Gradually he began answering questions posted in the forum and started to reveal a more complex picture of the future. Although most of his posts concerned the condition of the world in the future, Titor also responded to questions both in the forums and in IRC, and sometimes posted images purporting to be of the time travel device or its manual. He also sometimes talked about more current events; for instance, in an early post he stated that "The breakthrough that will allow for [time travel] technology will occur within a year or so  when CERN brings their larger facility online".
The name "John Titor" was not introduced until January 2001, when TimeTravel_0 began posting at the Art Bell BBS Forums (which required a name or pseudonym for every account). The Titor posts ended in late March 2001. Eventually, a number of the threads became corrupted; but Titor's posts had been saved on subscribers' hard drives and were copied to Anomalies.net, along with new discussions of the science behind Titor's time travelling as well as his predictions. Around 2003, various websites reproduced Titor's posts, re-arranging them into narratives. Not all refer to the original dates posted.
On numerous occasions Titor posted comments that appeared to be tongue-in-cheek : when asked why his images were of such low quality, he replied that he was "not a photographer", and when asked if "Titor" was his real name, he replied that it was "a real name".
Titor claimed to be on a stopover in the year 2000 for "personal reasons"; i.e., to collect pictures lost in the (future) civil war and to visit his family, of whom he spoke often. Titor also said he had been, for a few months, trying to alert anyone that would listen about the threat of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease spread through beef products and about the possibility of civil war within the United States. When questioned about them by an online subscriber, Titor also expressed an interest in unexplained mysteries such as UFOs (which in his time were still as yet unexplained). Titor suggested that UFOs and alien visitors may well be time travelers from much further into the future than his own time, who possessed superior time machines to his own.
According to the posts, the device was installed in the rear of a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible and later moved to a 1987 truck having four-wheel drive.
Titor further claimed that the "Everett-Wheeler model of quantum physics" was correct. This model, better known as the many-worlds interpretation, posits that every possible outcome of a quantum decision actually occurs in a separate "universe". Titor stated that this was the reason the grandfather paradox would not occur; following the logic of the argument, Titor would be killing a different John Titor's grandfather in a timeline other than his own.
"...The grandfather paradox is impossible. In fact, all paradox is impossible. The Everett-Wheeler-Graham or multiple world theory is correct. All possible quantum states, events, possibilities, and outcomes are real, eventual, and occurring. The chances of everything happening someplace at sometime in the superverse is 100%.
Titor claimed that as a 13-year old, in 2011, he fought with the "Fighting Diamondbacks", a shotgun infantry unit of Florida, for at least four years. However, in other posts he describes himself as hiding from the war. As a result of the war, the United States splits into five regions based on various factors and differing military objectives. This civil war, according to Titor, will then end in 2015 with a brief, but intense, World War III:
"In 2015, Russia launches a nuclear strike against the major cities in the United States (which is the "other side" of the civil war from my perspective), China, and Europe. The United States counter attacks. The US cities are destroyed along with the AFE (American Federal Empire)...thus we (in the country) won. The European Union and China were also destroyed.Titor refers to the exchange as "N Day". Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville, Florida are specifically mentioned as being hit. After the war, Omaha, Nebraska is the nation's new capital city.
Titor is vague as to the exact motivations and causes for World War III. At one point he characterized hostilities as being led by "border clashes and overpopulation but also points to the present conflict between Arabs and Jews as a harbinger of World War III:
"Real disruptions in world events begin with the destabilization of the West as a result of degrading US foreign policy and consistency. ... The Jewish population in Israel is not prepared for a true offensive war. They are prepared for the ultimate defense. Wavering western support for Israel is what gives Israel's neighbors the confidence to attack. The last resort for a defensive Israel and its offensive Arab neighbors is to use weapons of mass destruction. In the grand scheme of things, the war in the Middle East is a part of what's to come, not the cause.
One of Titor's earliest claims was that CERN would discover the basis for time travel sometime around 2001. This event did not occur. An article about miniature black holes being created by CERN (a recurring theme, also ascribed to Fermilab and Brookhaven at various times) was taken by some to be evidence of this claim; but these events did not occur either. Civil war did not break out after the 2004 presidential election, despite the political unrest involved with it.
A particularly obvious example involves the Olympics, whereof Titor claimed: "As a result of the many conflicts, no, there were no official Olympics after 2004." The uneventful staging of the 2006 Winter Olympics refutes this claim; however, there were arguments as to whether or not Titor was referring exclusively to the Summer Olympics. A successful realization of the 2008 Summer Olympics has once again determined the inaccuracy of this claim.
In the context of the demonstration image provided by John Titor, the laser pointer's beam being "bent" reveals the obvious inconsistency of objects near the beam not appearing to be bent as well. The framing of the window visible in the background, for instance, should appear distorted in proximity to a large gravity gradient, but it does not. Some have speculated the "beam" is an optical fiber.
Titor claimed that he was sent back to obtain an IBM 5100 because it could translate several types of computer code. According to IBM engineer Bob Dubke, Titor's statements regarding the IBM 5100's little-known ability to emulate and debug mainframe systems were correct . Supporters state that this information was not publicly available in 2000 or 2001 when Titor made his declaration, and Titor himself stated that this feature was "discovered" as late as 2036.
However, this emulation capability was widely known in the industry and commented on in depth in numerous publications dealing with both the 5100 and programmable microcode in general. References to this fact were also available on the Internet as early as 1999 and therefore predated Titor's postings. This is a fairly obscure bit of trivia, however, which suggests that whoever was making the posts either was familiar with the machine specifically or else had at least a general interest in retrocomputing.
"Apparently, APL was a difficult task for IBM to accomplish with an interpreter in the 5100, so instead they wrote an emulation program so that the S/360 mainframe version of APL could be run instead -- The 5100 is like a desktop IBM S/360 mainframe computer which only runs APL.
Numerous commentators have pointed out the broad similarities between the Titor story and Pat Frank's classic post-apocalyptic science fiction novel Alas, Babylon. Alas, Babylon takes place in a small town in Florida just before and after a nuclear war and describes the struggle to survive as a family in the aftermath. In the book, the protagonist lives in the mythical town of "Fort Repose", while Titor claimed to live in the "Fort", formerly the University of Florida (UF). An examination of the claims also suggests several inconsistencies within the story. For instance, in some posts Titor claims that money is widely used and people still have credit cards, despite his statement that centralized banking no longer exists (though that of course would not exclude the possibilitiy of private currencies being used). In another posting he speculated that today's dollar would be usable in his time, but that this would be after the reorganization of the federal government according to his own history, potentially making the currency worthless. In most cases, he claims to have been given his basic education at UF, but in another post claims to be home-schooled .