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1962, June 17: Time Traveler at the 1962 FIFA World Cup

Like the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup for men's football -- what Americans call 'soccer' -- only comes once every four years; the event started in 1930, and has been a major international event ever since. Teams literally from all over the world compete to determine who is, in fact, the best team in the world. In 1962 the event was hosted by Chile and ran from May 30 to June 17, with 57 teams coming from six different continents to participate. The cup was won, once again, by the team from Brazil, who had also won the cup four years earlier!

        The event was notable for many things -- for examples, there were many violent matches (much to the delight of the spectators) and it was the first time the average numbers of goals per game dropped below three -- so overall it was an exceptional sporting event, the chance of a lifetime for a true fan to attend... all of which may explain why someone would want to travel through time to see it.

        Yes, time travel. Sometime around 2007, when pictures from the 1962 world cup event were posted to the internet, someone noticed something very odd in one photo showing the Brazilian team's captain, Mauro Ramos, holding up the trophy after the team's win in Santiago, Chile. To be helpful, the strange object was highlighted... then posted to Pinterest and other social media websites to be sure no one missed it!

A cell phone in 1962...?
A cell phone in 1962...? [Picture sources here]

It appears that someone is using a cell phone to take Ramos' picture! Ramos himself is looking at this person, while everyone to the left of him is apparently distracted by something out of sight. How did a cell phone get to 1962?

        And, in a related question, if you could time travel what sporting event would you run off to?!?

More Details, Please

        The first thing that had to be done was to find a bigger and better resolution for the picture, something that doesn't always exist... luckily, in this case it was a very popular sporting event, and so a bigger and cleaner copy could be found. The strange object is much easier to see in the full resolution of the image; I've included a cropped section below that displays the object at the highest resolution.

Larger View
A larger, and better, copy [Larger version here]

Closer view

        Yep... it's a box camera, not a cell phone. It's similar in design to other box cameras in the same shot, but because its positioning in the picture only really shows one side and the fact the photographer is holding it up with one hand, it gives the impression of being used like a modern cell phone to take a picture.

        While the answer in this case is a simple thing, the situation itself points up a repeating problem in paranormal 'studies' at the moment, a problem that commonly crops up in both 'time travel' and 'ancient astronauts/technology' claims... namely, the assumption that if you see something represented from the past that looks like something you know now, that they must be the same objects. In this case, if it looks like a cell phone, it must be a cell phone. All I can really say is that people in the past were just as interested in new stuff as we are today; and it shouldn't be a surprise that objects occasionally take the same shapes. That's why these claims have to be double-checked.

        Personally, I'd love to see evidence for time travel show up -- I suspect it's quite possible, despite current scientific opinion -- but I also suspect it will be a very long time before I might find anything helpful!