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2010 (ca.): Time Traveling Celebrities?

The Legend:

Astounding though it may sound, photographic proof of time travel exists... we now know that people from this current time will, someday soon (if not already), be able to travel to the past to interact with people and events long gone. How do we know? A number of pictures have started to turn up on the internet that show known celebrities -- actors, singers, and others -- in photos or paintings over a hundred years old!spot

        If real, then there are almost certainly other people time traveling as well; but in the case of well recognized celebrities, it's pretty impossible to hide their interactions with our past... especially since they couldn't avoid cameras to begin with! Just glance through the examples below...

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Likely just a sample... [Larger versions here]

Just In Case...

        There might be one or two people out there who find themselves thinking this is viable evidence of time travel, or possibly of immortality and/or vampirism (both have also been proposed as explanations for many of these matches). So please allow me a moment to explain what I hope should be obvious to most:

Looking like someone is not the same as being that someone.

        The reason people talk about 'family resemblance' and tell people they look like their great-great-grandfather on their mother's side is because, realistically, there is both a limitation to the amount of variation in appearance within the human species, and people who are related -- even distantly -- share enough genetics to occasionally look like someone else in the past. Therefore, mere resemblance in two photos will not prove a link... and if it does, then that means that I, personally, am leading a second life as skateboarder Chris Haslam in Florida, whom I've never met but look just like. Soooo... with THAT out of the way, let me tell you what I've found out about these comparitive images.

The Wonders of Modern Life

        The images presented above (gathered by some helpful person for better display in Pinterest) only represents a small number of the celebrity/old picture matches floating around on the internet... it would be impossible and impractical to try to present all of them. While some few may warrent further attention, the vast majority were likely produced more as a laugh than an exposure. Thanks to the unique combination of people and organizations posting much older photos onto the internet, and the features of search engines that now specialize in finding pictures that are similar, matching up unrelated photos was bound to become a thing.

        I can trace at least two of the picture combos above -- the Justin Timberlake match and the Jack Black match -- back to a website called "Totally Looks Like" that had a tool that let readers combine two pictures and then submit them for review, with the best combinations being posted up to the site. Totally Looks Like only existed between 2008 and 2010, and most of the matches were clearly humorous in intent...

Example[Picture source here]

...which displays that the practice of connecting two pictures this way had become common enough by 2008 that someone thought it could support a website, and that many of the matches now being claimed to actually show a person in two different times and places were initially not meant to show that at all.

        So this all begs the one question: what would count as viable photographic proof of a modern celebrity in a distant past?

        Pretty much nothing, if all you show are people that look alike. The few photos that have put forward serious claims to demonstrate time travel -- celebrity or not -- tend to display clothing or objects that appear to be too modern for the time period of the photos. Of course, if the old timey "Eddie Murphy" above was holding a sign that said "Hi! I'm Eddie Murphy, actor, from the year 2000-something," that might be pretty helpful too.

        The same problem defeats attempts to claim the photos above show celebrities who are immortal; mere look-alikes are not proof. What's needed in these cases is evidence along the lines of tracing birth and death certificates for all people in look-alike pictures that shows a chain of connection between separate identities... which definitely takes more time and effort than looking for a good look-alike match.

        ... wait. Does all this mean that Darth Vader created coffee makers?