Time Traveler Attending Premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Circus”?

Ken AshfordRandom MusingsLeave a Comment

An 82-year-old film clip from a Charlie Chaplin movie premiere that appears to show a woman talking on a mobile phone has baffled movie buffs and caused an online sensation. 

George Clarke, a film festival organiser from Belfast, claims to have discovered the puzzling vision, shot in 1928, on a Charlie Chaplin DVD. 

Mr Clarke said he studied the black-and-white film and sent it to his colleagues. The video clip shows a woman dressed in a dark cloak and hat walking past a sign for Charlie Chaplin's film "The Circus." 

She appears to be speaking into a device that looks remarkably like a mobile phone. Mr Clarke said there was no rational explanation for the clip. 

You be the judge:


So, what's going on.  Some of the serious theories (from the Washington Post):

1. She's using a hearing aid: Michael Sheridan of the New York Daily News points out that small aids would have been available during this time period, so it's likely that that's what she was holding up to her ear. Although that doesn't explain who she's speaking to, but maybe she's just jibber-jabbering to herself. I know, it's hard to believe that people walked along Hollywood Boulevard talking to themselves in the '20s, but it just might be possible.

2. She's using her hand to amplify hearing: In a twist on the hearing aid theory, one YouTube commenter suggests the woman is merely cupping her hand to amplify the sound around her and there isn't anything in her hand at all. Which is plausible.

3. She's just adjusting her hat or gesturing to her face: After watching the footage several times, this is the most logical conclusion I can draw. if you watch closely, she eventually starts to put her hand back down and — to me, a non-Irish filmmaker who hasn't devoted hours to parsing this footage — it looks like there isn't actually anything in her fist at all.

As for me, I think it has something to do with the Army of the 12 Monkeys.