Time Traveler Captured in Charlie Chaplin Film?

George Clarke, founder of independent film company Yellow Fever Productions, has discovered something rather odd in an old bit of film.

At a film premiere for the 1928 Charlie Chaplin film, The Circus (which is part of a bonus feature on the Chaplain Collection DVD set. Hover over the title to see the set in question) a woman can be seen walking in front of the camera… and she appears to be speaking on a cell phone.

The still frame does it no justice.  Take a look at the short film by the filmmaker.  I’ve included his own description below the video.  After watching, let me know what you think?  Is there something anomalous about what we’re seeing here?  Or is it a case of misidentifying the situation.

From the Filmmaker:

This short film is about a piece of footage I (George Clarke) found behind the scenes in Charlie Chaplins film ‘The Circus’. Attending the premiere at Manns Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA – the scene shows a large woman dressed in black with a hat hiding most of her face, with what can only be described as a mobile phone device – talking as she walks alone.

I have studied this film for over a year now – showing it to over 100 people and at a film festival, yet no-one can give any explanation as to what she is doing.

My only theory – as well as many others – is simple… a time traveler on a mobile phone. See for yourself and feel free to leave a comment on your own explanation or thoughts about it.

George – 20th October 2010

Here are some theories that are floating around:

It’s a “hearing aid” or Ear Trumpet:  Charlie Chaplin time traveler debunked: It’s just a hearing aid

She’s holding her face because the fella in front of her just smacked her. (He DOES seem to be running away from her…)

She has a toothache.

She’s using a walkie talkie.

She’s merely covering her ear from all the noise…

Etc etc etc… What do YOU think?







  1. HanMinSu

    Charlie Chaplin is an extraterrestrial time traveler…with big shoes and floppy pants.

  2. GW

    I disagree with this video. Simple logic here, why would this time traveler be using a phone that was an 80′s model? Large and chunky. Even if the time traveler had it with her, there would be no signal to use it. The infrastructure would be to difficult to create. Until I see some bluetooth earpiece in a B&W pic, I’m not sold on it.

  3. Kev

    If I were able to travel through time, I would also want to get myself on film or in photograph which I could then show to people to prove I’d been there. However, can you imagine discovering said item before you knew you were going to be able to go back into the past? That would be brain-bendingly strange.

  4. Cornbread

    My only question would be that if it was a time traveler, why would it be a mobile phone from our current era? Why not a mobile phone from 15 years ago which would be almost the size of a shoe? Or why not a mobile device from 20 years into the future from now which might not even require using our hands? Wouldn’t the “time traveler” use something that is more advanced than what we have today and use something from our future’s technological creations?

  5. Interesting. I think, for one, she looka-lika-man. Definately looks like a man in drag. I was looking closely to see if it may be a hoax…be apparently this is on the DVD for the movie…might have to get it myself and see.

  6. Nathan Hurd

    If this piece of film was actually made in 1928, then the woman (or man in drag) was definitely NOT holding a hearing-aid or a walkie-talkie (unless she truly was a time-traveler). Neither hearing-aids nor walkie-talkies existed in 1928. The transistor wasn’t invented until 1948 (twenty years later). Any such device made in 1928, would have had to use rather large vacuum tubes and would have been as big as a suitcase. You would have no trouble seeing it in the picture as it would have been down by the ladies left knee, with a fat electrical cord running up to her ear!

  7. StrawberryBlonde

    As I watched the video, this morning, I got a strange clutch in my gut and tears welled up in my eyes? I suddenly felt pins and needles all through my arms and this feeling lasted for quite awhile afterward. Like my Grandmother, I am very sensitive to unusual events, and I felt like a “parallel door” had opened upon this person? It seemed I had lost my footing in my regular everyday world and entered another ‘Zone’ of time. I wish my Granny were still alive to watch this with me. I would be so desirous to know if her feelings and thoughts matched my own reaction. She always said that we red-haired bloodlines were ‘blessed & cursed’ with abilities to see into the other worlds? Truly, my old world European psychic abilities flared open with this video!? The feeling is unfathomable, except, I absolutely trust my gut instinct.

  8. gypsy

    I am a firm beleiver in time travle and in tares in the “fabric” of time and space. i have seen and felt to many stange things not to. but if this person is a time traveler, then she might have only teporarily steped through one of these tares. who knows

  9. Brian

    The part that I must argue is there was no cel phone towers back then. With that being fact. That would be a cel phone without any service.
    SO who the heck can she possibly be talking to..

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