Creepy Mysteries: Time Traveler in New York
On an average June day in 1950, the Big Apple may have gotten a strange surprise which could change the way we think of time. In the middle of Time Square a man in clothes which looked several decades out of fashion simply appeared in front of a number of spectators. Those who saw him said he looked like someone filled with dread, though it was a fleeting look as he tried to run off and was hit and killed by a vehicle. The NYPD assigned this strange case to Captain Hubert Rihm of Missing Persons who began an investigation to track down who this strange man who mysteriously materialized was.
The officer searched through his belongings and found; a 5 cent copper beer token (for a bar nobody in the area had heard of), $70 in old bank notes, a bill for horse care at a stable which no longer existed on Lexington Avenue, a letter dated for June 1876, a third place medal for a three legged race, and the man’s business card which identified him as Rudolph Fentz. Rihm and the other investigators wondered how the objects in the dead man’s possessions could be so old yet show no sign of wear or aging. The police captain went out in search of who this Rudolph Fentz was, and the closest he came was the locating of a Rudolph Fent Jr. who once lived in New York but had moved to Florida some years before. He reached out to Fentz Jr. and discovered he had passed away a few years before. Though his widow gave Rihm the shock of his life when the officer asked about the Rudolph Fentz at the center of his investigation. She revealed that when her husband was a boy in the 1876, his father went out for an evening stroll and never came back. Sure enough when Rihm found the missing person file on the man, it matched his Rudolph Fentz perfectly. Could Fentz’s innocent stroll ended with a time slip 74 years into the future.
For a number of years this strange story spread throughout different books and magazines and was touted by paranormal researchers as strong evidence for the idea of time travel. The tale of Rudolph Fentz eventually caught the attention of folklorist Charles Aubeck. Aubeck began researching the origins of the story, and though he found numerous recountings of it no original newspaper articles or police records could be found. In 2001, he published his findings and declared that the case of Rudolph Fentz’s travel through time was merely a work of fiction. With the help of a minister named George Murphy, he traced it all the way back to an early short story from science fiction legend Jack Finney. On the surface it appeared as if the case were closed and that the entire thing was simply a story which got blown out of proportion.
However in 2007, it turned out the story of Mr. Fentz had another twist. A researcher in Berlin claimed to have crossed paths with an article from the New York Times about the event when it occurred. This would have been about five years before Finney’s short story. Needless to say this has added a new wrinkle into this story leading many to wonder once more if there is truth to this story. According to this discovery perhaps the story was based off of an actual event.
While it seems as though Rudolph Fentz’s journey through time could simply be the work of imagination. But the 2007 discovery does provide some evidence that there may be truth to this strange tale. If it is true, one has to wonder if the terrifying prospect slipping through space and time is a fate that we can somehow tempt.