1940s wartime photo shows proof time travel ‘is real’ after man spotted with ‘phone’

News

There is nothing strange about spotting a smartly-dressed chap chatting on a mobile phone while standing on a busy street corner.

But what if that picture dated back to the 1940s?

Some eagle-eyed history lovers think they might have spotted a man out of time in a photograph of Iceland taken during war-time.

Taken in 1943 in Reykjavik, the country’s capital, the image shows a crowd of locals and US soldiers from the Second World War walking along a packed pavement.

It is not the buttoned-up GIs, however, who have caught people’s attention in the black and white snap.

Instead, it is a light trench coat-wearing gentleman leaning up against a shop window.

Looking like he is staring directly at the camera as people pass around him, the mystery figure has his hand to his ear — taking up the same stance someone speaking directly into a mobile phone would use.

Some social media users have claimed the man could be a time traveller who was making use of his futuristic bit of technology.

Posted on the Facebook group Gamlar ljósmyndir — meaning “old photographs” in Icelandic — by Kristjan Hoffmann, he made light of the image, which harks back more than 80 years.

“One thing that draws attention to this beautiful picture is… in the middle of the picture, a man is leaning and is using GSM [Global System of Mobile Communications]”.

In his 2016 post, Mr Hoffman said the man was “far ahead in technology”.

Other commentators join him in being convinced that the flat cap-wearing fella looks like he is from another era.

One even used a very British sci-fi phenomena to explain what might be happening in the old shot from WWII.

“Dr. Who,” wrote Karolina Petursdottir.

The first handheld mobile phone was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, which hit the market in 1973 — exactly 30 years after the Icelandic street scene was captured.

Another commenter turned to humour, joking that the photograph was proof that Icelanders had “already invented the mobile phone way before anyone else”.

However, others thought there was a much more mundane explanation for why the smartly-dressed man might have adopted such a position.

“He’s checking if the watch works,” wrote one Facebook group member.

With a scarf around his neck, the man looks to be positioned next to a shop selling or repairing watches, giving credence to the watch theory.

Another suggestion offered was that he was using his tobacco pipe to scratch the back of his ear.

Allied forces took over Iceland in 1940, with British war leader Sir Winston Churchill fearing that Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany would invade and take control of the Northern Atlantic seas.

US troops agreed to defend Iceland, in place of British and Canadian troops, in 1941.

By 1943, when the photo is said to have been taken, around 30,000 Allied troops were said to have been based in Iceland.