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Issue 109 - December 2010 - Page 9

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) Premium Rate Scam Warning
  2. Check Your Receipts - Cash Back Scam Warning Email
  3. Christmas Tree App Virus Hoax
  4. Dan Murphy's 30% Off Voucher Hoax
  5. Warning from 'British Ministry of Health' - Danger From Broken Energy Saving Bulbs
  6. Friendship Inquiries Hacker Alert Hoax
  7. 'Strange City in Greece' Photographs
  8. Iceberg Spotted at Cape Town?
  9. Viral Video - Time Traveller in Charlie Chaplin Film?
  10. Bogus Facebook Rumour- Harry Graham Pedophile Warning
  11. Maria at Dell Hospital Money for Forwarding Hoax
  12. 'Very Important Message' Facebook Spam
  13. Optus ADSL Service Cancellation Phishing Scam Email
  14. Postcard Image Virus Hoax
  15. FedEx Incorrect Delivery Address Malware Email
  16. Plea to Help Find Missing Three Year Old Girl - Jewel Strong
  17. Mobile Phone Medical Equipment Warning - Phone Interference Caused Death Hoax
  18. USAA Phishing Scam Email
  19. Hilton Hotel Job Offer Scam Email

Issue 109 Start Menu

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Viral Video - Time Traveller in Charlie Chaplin Film?

Outline
Footage from a 1928 Charlie Chaplin film appears to show a woman using a mobile (cell) phone decades before they were invented. Commentators have suggested that the Chaplin film may have inadvertently captured a time traveller.



Brief Analysis
While the footage has certainly generated a great deal of debate, the most likely explanation is that the woman is using an early model hearing aid.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 1st November 2010
First published: 1st November 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: Cell phones in 1928?

Charlie Chaplin

Cell phones in 1928?
A Charlie Chaplin film from 1928 showing a woman using a mobile phone has left viewers stumped. Is the scene real or doctored?





Detailed Analysis
Footage allegedly depicting a time-travelling mobile phone user in a 1928 Charlie Chaplin film has generated a great deal of buzz. The footage, which circulates "virally" via a number of YouTube videos, shows an elderly woman walking with what looks like a mobile phone up to her ear. The woman appears to be speaking into the phone. The footage reportedly comes from extra, behind-the-scenes material included with DVD versions of Charlie Chaplin's 1928 film, The Circus.

Since mobile phones did not exist in 1928, it has been suggested that the woman was actually a time-traveller from the future who was inadvertently caught on film making a mobile phone call.


George Clarke's YouTube video about the "discovery" of the 1928 mobile phone user
In October 2010, Irish filmmaker George Clarke published a YouTube video discussing the "unusual" footage. Clarke claims that after repeated viewing of the footage, which he discovered in some behind-the-scenes material showing the film's Hollywood Premiere, he was unable to come up with an explanation for the apparent anomaly. Nor, he claims, were 100 other people to which he subsequently showed the film.

The footage is certainly intriguing. It does appear that the woman is not only holding a mobile phone to her ear, but also speaking periodically as one would during a normal phone conversation. Thus, it is not surprising that the footage has generated so much debate and commentary.

The time travelling explanation is certainly an interesting one, and as something of an SF fan, I almost wish it were true. However, sadly, a much more mundane explanation seems vastly more likely. Many have suggested that the woman is in fact using a hearing aid device which would have been held to the user's ear as seen in the footage. The device may well be an early hearing aid created by hearing instrument company, Siemens. A hearing aid of some description does seem to be the most likely explanation. A photograph of a woman using one such hearing device available on the Siemens website is quite reminiscent of the "mobile phone using" woman in the Chaplin footage.

Of course, many commentators have asked why the woman would actually be talking if the device was a hearing aid rather than a mobile phone. But perhaps she was simply talking to herself or the man in front of her, testing the functionality of the hearing device, or even just cursing the device's inadequacies.

And, in any case, if a time traveller went to all of the trouble of going back in time and carefully donning period costume in order to blend in, you would hardly expect her to whip out a mobile phone and start chatting openly in such a public place. Moreover, given that there were obviously no mobile phone towers or other necessary infrastructure back in 1928, one wonders how she got service at all! And who would she be talking to? Perhaps other time travellers, or was this "phone" a Dr Who type instrument that could work through both space and time? Either way, I'd really like to find out which phone company she users, as she is certainly getting better coverage and service than I'm currently getting from my provider! Smile

A more cynical observer might also point out that George Clarke's film about his "discovery" - which prominently features posters and other promotional material for the filmmaker's productions - has provided him with a great deal of valuable exposure.

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References
IMDb - The Circus
Siemens - 1924
Siemens - 1910



Previous Article            Next Article

Issue 109 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) Premium Rate Scam Warning
  2. Check Your Receipts - Cash Back Scam Warning Email
  3. Christmas Tree App Virus Hoax
  4. Dan Murphy's 30% Off Voucher Hoax
  5. Warning from 'British Ministry of Health' - Danger From Broken Energy Saving Bulbs
  6. Friendship Inquiries Hacker Alert Hoax
  7. 'Strange City in Greece' Photographs
  8. Iceberg Spotted at Cape Town?
  9. Viral Video - Time Traveller in Charlie Chaplin Film?
  10. Bogus Facebook Rumour- Harry Graham Pedophile Warning
  11. Maria at Dell Hospital Money for Forwarding Hoax
  12. 'Very Important Message' Facebook Spam
  13. Optus ADSL Service Cancellation Phishing Scam Email
  14. Postcard Image Virus Hoax
  15. FedEx Incorrect Delivery Address Malware Email
  16. Plea to Help Find Missing Three Year Old Girl - Jewel Strong
  17. Mobile Phone Medical Equipment Warning - Phone Interference Caused Death Hoax
  18. USAA Phishing Scam Email
  19. Hilton Hotel Job Offer Scam Email