Welcome to this month’s Time Travel Nexus Investigates! At TTNI, we’re playing detective, hunting the TTTs (time-travelling tourists), and attempting to solve some much-talked-about cases of real-life time travel.

So… did a TTT from the future named Andrew Carlssin get arrested for insider trading and skip town by going back to the future?

Origin of the claim

On 25th February 2003, an article was printed in the Weekly World News about a man called Andrew Carlssin, who after getting arrested for insider trading claimed to have travelled back in time from 2256.

The story was reprinted by Yahoo! on 19th March 2003 and then by a number of other newspapers and magazines.

A follow-up article in the Weekly World News, printed on 29th April 2003, stated that Andrew Carlssin had absconded from court while on bail and disappeared without a trace, leaving authorities wondering if he had gone ‘back to the future’.

The story of Andrew Carlssin has since gone on to become one of the more famous modern time travel urban legends, one that’s still talked about today.

Nature of the claim

In a matter of two weeks, 44-year-old Andrew Carlssin turned $800 into $350,000,000 with 126 consecutive trades in the US stock market. Despite the high risk of each trade, Carlssin’s investments produced a winner every time. He quickly caught the attention of federal investigators at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who were sure that his success could not be put down to luck. As a result, Carlssin was arrested for insider trading.

During questioning, investigators got an explanation they didn’t expect. During a 4-hour confession, Carlssin stated that he had travelled back in time from 250 years in the future, bringing knowledge of which stocks were set to go through the roof in order to bag a fortune.

In his videotaped confession, Carlssin said, “It was just too tempting to resist. I had planned to make it look natural, you know, lose a little here and there so it doesn’t look too perfect. But I just got caught in the moment.”

Authorities were convinced he was lying, branding him “a lunatic or a pathological liar”. However, they couldn’t account for where Carlssin got his information from. An SEC source said, “If a company’s stock rose due to a merger or technological breakthrough that was supposed to be secret, Mr Carlssin somehow knew about it in advance.” The SEC also admitted that they couldn’t find any record of Andrew Carlssin’s existence before December 2002.

Vying for leniency, Carlssin said he’d be willing to divulge the cure for AIDS and the location of Osama bin Laden. He also said that all he wanted was to return to his ‘time craft’ and go back to his own time. He refused to reveal the location of the craft for fear that it would fall into the wrong hands.

The follow-up article in the Weekly World News revealed that Carlssin was jailed for a month before an “unidentified benefactor” posted $1 million to bail him out. He was then supposed to meet with his lawyer on 2nd April but didn’t show up. Law enforcement was unable to trace him and some people speculated that he’d returned to his time craft and gone back to the future.

In this article, it was also stated that while in custody Carlssin had correctly predicted the date of the US invasion of Iraq.

The evidence

The main evidence we have for the story of Andrew Carlssin is these two Weekly World News articles. There are no named sources in those articles that we can follow up, so I guess we just have to take what is said in those articles on faith.

OR we could take a closer look at Weekly World News itself. Its website tagline is “The world’s only reliable news”. Okay. Let’s see. At the time of writing, the top story was “Book your one-way trip to Mars!” The story’s about a Dutch company establishing a human colony on Mars called Mars One in 2019.

Mmmm. When did it suddenly become possible to live on Mars—and how did I not hear about this? 

Then there’s articles about a “super honey” that cures all wounds, a big, hairy beast roaming the streets of London, and an attack by millions of crazy killer ants.

How strange. I don’t remember any of these things happening.

On the Weekly World News About page, things get a bit weirder. They say, “Since 1979, we have protected civilians from alien slime.”

I then went to the Terms of Use page and found this:

“Weekly World News articles are drawn from a number of different sources and some are fictitious or satirical. Weekly World News uses invented names in some stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental. The reader should suspend disbelief for the sake of enjoyment. No mutants or aliens were harmed in the making of this website.”

Ah. There we have it. If you hadn’t already guessed, Weekly World News is a joke site. Wikipedia describes it as a “largely fictional news tabloid”. In the past, I learned, they’ve published stories about an extraterrestrial who had an affair with Hillary Clinton and a surgeon who reattached a pair of Siamese twins when they failed to pay their medical bill. And then there’s these corkers:

So, what happened with the Andrew Carlssin story is that Yahoo! reprinted a fictional article intended as entertainment but didn’t make it clear that it was fictional. Since Yahoo! was a primary news source for many internet users back in 2003, readers thought the story was legit.

Yahoo! did publish the Andrew Carlssin story under a heading of “Entertainment News & Gossip”. But that didn’t get across the bogus nature of the article, which perhaps should have been spelled out somewhere with a warning (for the people who can’t spot a hoax when they see one).

Conclusion

The Andrew Carlssin story seems almost reasonable by comparison to some of World Weekly News’ other stories. Plus, the original article is written in such a way that I can imagine people falling for it, particularly when they see it in a reputable news publication. At the same time it’s basically Back to the Future Part II. You know, when Old Biff goes back in time and uses a sports almanac from the future to correctly bet on the outcomes of sporting events and win a fortune.

And another big hoax warning light is the ‘stupid time traveller’ problem (alleged TTT ‘Noah’, who I wrote about back in November, also suffered from this particular ailment). As in, Andrew Carlssin—if he had any brains at all—should’ve known that profiting from 126 consecutive high-risk trades in 2 weeks was going to make him stand out like a flamingo with a yoyo. Someone that dumb would not have had access to a time machine.

Oh, and there’s also the fact that the photographs of Andrew Carlssin in the two Weekly World News articles are of, urm, different people.

I don’t really need to say it, do I?

C.R. Berry
C.R. Berry is a Grindstone Literary shortlisted novelist and author of the time travel conspiracy thriller series, "Million Eyes", which he describes as "Doctor Who" meets "The Da Vinci Code". The first book in the "Million Eyes" trilogy was released in early 2020 by Elsewhen Press and is available from bit.ly/Million-Eyes. An accompanying short story collection, "Million Eyes: Extra Time", was released in late 2019 and is available for free download from bit.ly/Million-Eyes-Extra-Time. On his website he writes articles about conspiracy theories and urban legends, and his top "Star Trek" episodes are the ones where time gets screwy and Captain Janeway's grumbling about "godforsaken paradoxes".
C.R. Berry

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