Why You Can't Go Home Again

18 December 2656

Grandmother Julia came by my office today and invited me to lunch. We went to the Prince Albert Restaurant at the Victorian Village north of Cambridge. She knows that's where I feel the most comfortable. The other customers assume I work at the Village.

The Village was decorated for Christmas which is only a week away. By the way Grams looked at the holly and ivy, I knew what the subject of conversation would be.

We had just ordered our meal when Grams leaned forward. “You won’t be spending Christmas with the family, will you? You’re going right back out into the Field, just like you do every year.”

I nodded. “I’m leaving this afternoon.”

“You won’t even be here a full day. You were just going to slip away without contacting anyone.”

“I’m sorry, Grams. It’s just too hard. You know what happened the last time I showed up for Christmas.”

“That was forty-five years ago, Wendell.”

“And if I show up, it would ruin everyone’s holiday again. They don’t want me there.”

“Of course they do, dear.”

“No, they want the old Wendell. They want the 27th century history student, with the hair hanging in his eyes, who listened to pop music and dressed in the latest fashion. Father keeps nagging me to retire and become a professor. I suppose he thinks that if I do that the old Wendell will miraculously return. That Wendell is gone forever.”

“It’s been forty-six years. That Wendell would be gone anyway.”

No, that student would have evolved into a twenty-seventh century history professor--not a stodgy Victorian gentleman.”

“Well, I like the stodgy Victorian gentleman.”

“I must say, you are the only one in the family that does. Would you feel that way if you hadn’t taught Victorian literature? Who am I too you, Grams? Philias Fogg? David Copperfield?”

“You’re Wendell Howe, dear. Yes, I know the Institute changed you, but I still see the old Wendell in your eyes.”

The Institute of Time Travel’s training had transformed me into another person. I had to become Victorian so I could fit into the 19th century perfectly. Now I no longer fit in the 27th or in my own family. It was a necessary sacrifice if one wanted to study the past first hand. I sometimes wondered though if the Institute didn’t go a little overboard in their programming. We couldn’t just be actors; they wanted us to be the “real” thing.

Grams leaned across the table and patted my hand. “Maybe you aren’t the same Wendell, but this Wendell is nice, too. This Wendell pulls out my chair and opens doors for me.”

“And it gets me plenty of stares. No one behaves like that anymore, Grams. I do it without thinking.”

“It's a shame people don't act that way now. I had always read about Victorian etiquette and thought it might be nice. It is. I like it.”

“So, you lost your grandson but gained a Victorian gentleman? I wish the rest of the family felt like you.”

“They still love you.”

“Yes, I know. My family is better than most. They do their best to tolerate me. Most Temporal Anthropologists I’ve talked to, their families disowned them outright and won’t even let them in the house.”

“That’s horrible!”

“Perhaps, but it is understandable. At first the family thinks you’re being a gitt because you won’t drop out of character. When they finally see you can’t, they look upon you as a stranger.”

“So let them get to know the stranger, dear. I’m sure they will learn to love him just like I do.”

I shook my head. “I think after awhile, when the family realized the person they knew and loved was gone, they came to look upon me as some monster who killed their son, and then possessed his body.”

“That’s ridiculous. They know you’re Wendell.”

“Maybe consciously they do, but what about subconsciously? Too often family members either seem to be angry with me for no reason, or look at me like they are mourning my death. I’m both the murderer and the corpse to them. I killed the old Wendell they loved, their only son and grandson. I’m amazed they are as civil as they are to me.”

Grams had no comeback to that. She just looked at me, like she knew it was true.

“That’s why I can’t stay for Christmas, Grams. My presence would spoil it for everyone.”

Grams nodded, then smiled. “Just remember, dear. I love both of you--the new Wendell and the old Wendell. He’s not really dead, you know. He’s in the very core of your being. You saved the best parts of him, I think.”

“I love you, too, Grams. If there’s any good qualities in me, I probably inherited them from you.”

“So, where are you going this time?”

“London, Christmas 1879.”

“Are Victorian Christmases as wonderful as they say?”

“The Victorians ‘invented’ Christmas! I wish you could see it. I would give the world to take you.”

“You can bring me back some video and maybe a Christmas card.”

“I’ll bring you back a Victorian Christmas, Grams. I promise.”


Tales of Twelve Characters

I found my name on this blog with something called Tales of Twelve Characters. It appears the object is to list Twelve Characters and then answer some questions on how they would interact with each other. I recognize all the Temporal Anthropologists here, but who are these other people?
Tales of Twelve Characters


New and Improved Temporal Tuesday Blog

I had no idea Temporal Tuesday would go on for twenty weeks! I had been putting each Temporal Tuesday archive on a separate blog because--well I'm a Temporal Anthropologist not a web designer. One of my followers, Scablander, was kind enough to consolidate all the blogs into one and make it look nicer. She didn't even charge me.
Temporal Tuesday Archive.


How to Stop Spam-Demons

I found this site exposing the Spam-Demons who have invaded Twitter by hacking into people's accounts. It tells how to stop the dastardly cads.
How to Exorcize a Spam-Demon


Sources for Victorian Research

One of my followers, @scablander, set up a blog listing places on the internet that are useful for anyone doing research into the Victorian Age. I'm glad she finally found something productive to do with her time.
Sources for Victorian Research


Wendell Howe - Author

Everyone is talking about something called NaNoWriMo. I thought it might be an island off British Columbia, but found out it meant National Novel Writing Month. That inspired me to write something completely fictional, something I've never had the opportunity to do before. Be warned, this is a gripping adventure in the grand tradition of the Victorian authors. It could cause your heart to pound with excitement. May I present for your enjoyment (I hope) The Adventure of the Dastardly Cad!


Interview at Book Byte

Christina Nelson did an interview with me on her blogsite. Most charming lady--even made me tea. You can read our chat at:
Book Byte

Temporal Tea Party Big Success

Here is an archive of yesterday's Tea Party at my office. I was surprised at how many people showed up! My last tea party was twenty years ago and only two people showed up.



The Last Ten Days

joqatana: @Wendell_Howe I'm confused. Are we having a temporal rerun? I could swear you did Emily Carr Last week.

Confused? It’s all very simple.

Monday last week, 5 October, I was in 1885 Victoria, where I met, the famous Canadian artist, Emily Carr, then 14 years old. Thursday left 1885 Victoria and returned home to 2656 Bohemia, New York, the home of the Institute of Time Travel. Found out Dr. Matilda Warwick was in the Present. She’s usually in the Middle Ages, so I wasn’t about to pass this up! Ironically she was at University of Cambridge, where my office and flat is. Traveled to Cambridge so we could spend evening together. Friday flew to Winnipeg to show my visit in 1885 to their fair city to the University of Manitoba, then flew back to Cambridge to meet Matilda. Saturday went to Calgary to show footage taken for the University of Alberta. Yes I know they are in Edmonton, but they wanted me to make a presentation in Calgary since footage was Calgary before Great Fire of 1886. From there I went to Chicago to meet Matilda again. Sunday left Chicago and followed Matilda to Melbourne because she had to pack for trip back to 12th century and I wanted to spend as much time with her as I could, because I only get to see her every six months for a couple of days, it seems like. Monday, we took a very early flight from Melbourne to Bohemia, NY. Institute informed me I could finally go back and study Emily Dickinson, but I had to leave Wednesday and return Friday. Found out later all the Universities had ganged up on Institute to pressure them into allowing this trip and being so inconsiderate was probably their way of reasserting control. So flew to Cambridge and packed for 1861. Took late flight to Vancouver, British Columbia. Tuesday in Vancouver gave presentation that morning at Emily Carr University of footage I took of their namesake. That afternoon I gave a presentation at the University of British Columbia of footage of 1885 Revelstoke, Craigellachie, Port Moody, Granville/Gastown/Vancouver (town hadn’t quite decided on name yet), New Westminster and Victoria. Took late flight to Bohemia, New York. Dragged myself into Institutue of Time Travel the next morning, and took one of their preset time machines to 1861 Amherst. And here I am. There simple, right?

And people wonder why I drink so much tea!



Dr. Wendell Howe

----cordially invites you to attend----

a Temporal Tea Party

Sunday, 18 October 2656

at his office in the

Faculty of History Building

University of Cambridge

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Please feel free to bring
biscuits or other refreshments.

Be sure to type in
#temporaltea on Twitter

Please RSVP in comments below.

Meeting Yourself Coming Back

Wendell doesn't know this, but he met himself last year--and four years from now.
Excerpt from Chapter 5, Book 2


My Life as a Cartoon

Cartoonist Daniel Escobedo, aka @Dannyson1 on Twitter, created this cartoon to commemorate our tea safari at Twinings in London in 1920. I never looked so good. Daniel has a webcomic at The Sons Comics


Temporal Tuesday 22 September

Here is the archive for all the time travel trips last Tuesday. Temporal Tuesday No. 12


A Day in the Life of Dr. Wendell Howe

Here is a description of the Institute of Time Travel, the Time Stream Pub, and those horrible debriefings.
The Debriefing


Nice to Know I'm Appreciated

I hadn't mentioned this before, being rather modest, but I've been told I need to toot my own horn if I want to promote my upcoming book The Rise of Tea in Victorian Great Britain and It‘s Social Impact (due to come out in 2658). Maximilian Forte, founder of Open Anthropology, included my blog, as well as my colleague Dr. Henry Darrel, on his link page under the heading of Academic Blogs.

I was so touched by this I left him a comment thanking him for being included, since some in the academic world don't take Temporal Anthropologists seriously, seeing us as little more than errand boys. Mr. Forte responded by saying that Henry and I were probably the only two anthropologists he took seriously. It is recognition like this that keeps one going on those lonely nights out in the Field when one wonders if it's all worth it. It means a lot to know we are appreciated for our sacrifices in delving into the mysteries of the past so we can bring the light of truth.

You can read Mr. Forte's touching comments at: Open Anthropology

(All right, I admit it's not that big of a sacrifice. I really do enjoy what I'm doing. Just indulging in a little Victorian melodrama, is all.)


New Photo Page

I have created a page on which to put photos that I will add to from time to time. Now you can see where I live and work.

Photo Page


Archive Update

I have the Tweet Archive updated with files 11 & 12. Includes my trip to New York City.

Tweet Archive File 11
Tweet Archive File 12


Just About Write

Christina G. on her blog Just About Write wrote a very nice article on self-promoting that mentions me in it. No doubt she heard of my efforts to educate the public on the discipline of Temporal Anthropology. You can read her article at Just About Write.

There is Help for the Technically Inept

Thank you Iapetus999 and mikejmartin for your help. I am of the opinion that anyone can eventually learn any computer program if they just poke enough buttons. Apparently one cannot follow a follower's blogsite if they do not have a blogsite. Odd how that works. This basic principle of physics is what had me stymied. So now I believe I have finally figured it out. For those of you wondering why I hadn't followed back before now, please accept my apology. And thank you to all my followers for your show of support.


Please Help the Technically Handicapped

I have all these nice people following me on Blogger and I haven't a clue how to follow them back or even contact them to thank them for their support. They must all think me very rude, little knowing I'm just very inept. Every time I try to follow one of them, I windup following myself!

It's probably just as well Licensed Time Travelers aren't allowed to operate or maintain time machines. I fear I would be lost somewhere in the Neolithic Age by now, hobnobbing with Bell Beaker Folk. Technology and mechanics are just not my cup of tea.



Story Casting

Story Casting for the Movie of Your Mind is a new website that lets you pick a book and then cast the actors for the parts. They currently have Dr. Serendipity Brown's biography Walking a Fine Timeline among their offerings. I say, who would I pick to play Dr. Brown? Sarah Burnahrdt? No, she's dead now. Very much alive back in the Victorian Age, but I doubt if the Enforcers would allow me to recruit her.

Walking a Fine Timeline: The Movie


Four Years in the Future

When Wendell meets Serendipity...don't tell Wendell. He's not allowed to know his own future.

Walking a Fine Timeline Chapter Five


Annual Temporal Anthropologist Candidate Endurance Test

You may have noticed I have been very quiet this last week. I have spent the last six days cutoff from the outside world without access to the internet. I was living in 19th century conditions as closely as one can in the 27th century. This year was my turn to supervise the Annual Temporal Anthropologist Candidate Endurance Test.

The Association of Temporal Anthropologists was given a huge plot of land in the Rocky Mountains in the Yukon forty years ago. I’m sure it was a tax write off for the donor. The land was never developed because it’s under snow most of the year. The only time we come up here is in the summer. We built a log cabin and furnished it with only 19th century technology like kerosene lamps and a wood stove. It has one bedroom with three bunk beds and a kitchen/dining room/parlor. A bit more rustic than what I’m used to--no restaurants, carriages, or shops. Still very comfortable, rather charming. Most people in the 27th century would find it too primitive. Many Temporal Anthropologists live in conditions far more primitive than this!

We started out with ten candidates. All of them were grad students, with at least a Master’s Degree in history, anthropology or both. One dropped out after he read the Institute of Time Travel’s Rules more carefully. We took them to the Institute and let the Enforcers put them through a mock debriefing with compliance disks. Five more decided they never wanted to be Temporal Anthropologists and go through that again. That left four candidates which I met up with at the University of Yukon in Whitehorse for a Field Test. We dressed them up in period clothing. They would spend the next six days devoid of modern technology, including personal pocket computers. I even had to surrender mine.

A transport then took us to the cabin along with our supplies. As we were unloading, one of the students asked where the loo was. I pointed to the outhouse. He went in, then immediately ran out and jumped back into the transport, demanding to go back. He said he would rather die than use the accommodations. So that left me with three students.

It’s not like we had to go out and hunt for meat or harvest the food. They had left us with flour, sugar and such, as well as fresh carrots, onions and potatoes. We had canned milk and meat. All period. No prepackaged meals or synthetic food. Our guests had never peeled potatoes or cutup vegetables before. None of them had ever cooked from scratch, let alone cooked on a woodstove. But we had a cook book with measurements and directions that even a chimpanzee could follow.

Outside of cooking, washing dishes, fetching and heating water, we had few chores to do. We lived the life of leisure. Absolutely beautiful country, a veritable paradise. Even so, one chap came down with abdominal pains by the third day. The only piece of modern technology we were allowed was a special pocket computer with a medical scanner, first aid files, and an emergency communicator. No sense endangering anyone’s life. The scanner showed no physical problems, but I called emergency dispatch anyway. Personally I think he was suffering from hunger since he refused to eat anything, saying it tasted funny. I guess he wasn’t used to eating anything with flavor.

That left our last two candidates, a girl from the Netherlands and a chap from Liverpool. Our Dutch candidate toughed it out, but spent most of her time writing in a journal about the deplorable conditions she was living in. She said she had decided she did not want to be a Temporal Anthropologist and live like this the rest of her life. She wanted to be a history teacher and maybe write historical romance. She said she had decided to stay so she could accurately describe the horrible sufferings of her ancestors, including that of writing by hand. Sufferings? This is a vacation home!

Which brings me to our last candidate, Archibald Cocker, from the University of Liverpool. He never complained. In fact he seemed very excited and fascinated by everything. He begged me to let him do most of the work. He wanted to cook and fetch water and wash dishes. All I really did was show him what to do. He got blisters chopping wood, even though we already had a nice pile. Archie is that rare breed that had been born in the wrong century--he is a Temporal Anthropologist in the rough.

Archie said he was descended from a long line of working class families. He said he wanted to study the Industrial Age in Great Britain. He dreamed of working in mines and factories, and being a chimney sweep, dustman, and cab driver. He wanted to do it all. I warned him that could be very dangerous. Safety codes were nonexistent in the Victorian Age. Dr. Henry Darrel is doing something very similar in 19th century America. The man has often lost fingers and had to have them cloned and reattached.

I told Archie he still had years of study ahead of him, but I think he will make it. I gave him my personal contact information, as well as Henry’s and let him know he could get a hold of us and we would try to help him any way we could.

It’s worth baby sitting a bunch of whingeing chronophobes when you find someone like Archibald Cocker. Remember that name, you’re going to hear it again.


Archive of First Temporal Tuesday

I have sorted out and collected all the tweets for #TemporalTues. If you do not see yours here, they were probably sucked into some blackhole (there are several on the internet, you know). Please Direct Message me at @Wendell_Howe at Twitter. Let me know how many tweets there are and I will go to your Twitter site and collect them.

This was an experiment, so there are bound to be some glitches. A few forgot to put #TemporalTues on their tweets so they didn't show up. Some of you put in #TemporalTuesday. The Search in Twitter is very picky. And some of you did exactly as you were suppose to and they still didn't show up. I don't see why you should be punished by being omitted, so please contact me.

Also it appears this event was so popular that several people have begged me to do it again next week. So if you missed out...well, you haven't missed out.

To read all the Time Travel Journals go to



Temporal Tuesday

I’ve noticed many of you have Tweeted asking if you could come along with me to the past. Alas, this is illegal and I’d not only lose my Time Travel License, but they would lock me up and throw away the key. Others of you have Tweeted where you would go if you were a Temporal Anthropologist.

So I’ve decided to start an experiment. Tuesday, 7th of July, will unofficially be the first Temporal Anthropologist Tuesday on Twitter. Type in #TemporalTues and then Tweet about where you would go back in time. Since the Institute of Time Travel has no jurisdiction on where we go in our heads, you can throw away the Institute’s strict Rules for Temporal Anthropologists. You can pretend your Dr. Serendipity Brown, the Inventor of Time Travel, who had no Enforcers breathing down her neck, and could do as she pleased. (I don’t know if those rumours are true, that she snogged Benjamin Franklin. I surely hope not.)

I've long suspected there are alternate universes out there that Twitter apparently can access. So feel free to bring your own time machine, and let us know where you wind up.

If 140 characters is too limiting, you can put in a link to your blogsite. There you can write a short paragraph or an epic trilogy. That all depends on you. The only limitation is that you MUST put #TemporalTues in all your tweets. That way people can click on the hashmark and then they will be able to see where everyone went. I'll try to gather them all up and post them on a blog for posterity.

We probably won’t make Trendy Topics, but who cares. The few people I’ve bounced this idea off of like it. And who knows, you might find someone who likes the same era as you who you might be worth following. Or you might find a blogsite that looks interesting. Or a writer with an exciting looking book. Tuesday you all get Time Machines. Have fun!




TimeTweet Archive Update

I have the TimeTweet Archive updated. File 8 has my visit to London 1887 featuring Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show's command performance, my interviews with Bram Stoker (author of Dracula), actor Sir Henry Irving, Lord Samuel Montague, Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Lillain Smith and Black Elk, as well as my run in with playwright George Bernard Shaw. I say, that was a rather busy visit, wasn't it?



Account of History's Very First Time Trip

I ran across this file on the maiden voyage of Dr. Serendipity Brown's Time Machine back in 2353. There's now a fifty foot obelisk on the site in Kelso, Washington where the time machine landed in 1985. Oddly enough it was still a vacant lot in the 26th century when they built the historic marker.



On Being a Professional Wallflower

Wendell Howe:
May I ask how you avoid giving away your time traveling to the folks you are meeting?
Signed: Katherine aka KatFlap

I would be happy to answer that question.

I am a Temporal Anthropologist. That is a title that takes decades of education and training to acquire. I had to get a doctorate in both History and Anthropology to even be considered for the real training. The hardest part is acquiring a Time Travel License. To be certified I had to be trained to never stand out, to fade into the crowd, to be unmemorable, least my presence have an impact on those around me. I was also trained to be introverted. I must not make friends or even have meaningful conversations with those in the past, least I influence them and change history that way. It must be as though I was never there. I discuss the importance of avoiding Time Manipulation in my essay “Why the Institute of Time Travel is Necessary” in my April posting.

People have wondered why I am not allowed out of the Victorian Age. That is because I am ingrained in this era. I’ve been teased that I’m more Victorian than Queen Victoria! Outside of a few necessary high tech items that have been carefully disguised (see my essay below “Tools of the Trade”), just about everything I own is Victorian. My clothes, down to my underwear, is Victorian. I don’t even own a 27th century suit. I shave even when I’m in the 27th century with a straight razor. I have developed an embarrassing Victorian modesty. My mannerisms and speech are Victorian. I fit in so perfectly that if I told anyone in the 19th century that I was from the future, they would laugh at me. On the down side, I no longer fit in the 27th century. But then, anyone devoted and crazy enough to become a Temporal Anthropologist, never felt like they belonged to the 27th century anyway, but to another time.

It can be a lonely life. I feel an outsider in the 27th century. Yet the 19th century, where I feel at home, I am not allowed to get involved with anyone. But it’s all necessary to protect Time, and if this is the price I have to pay to be in the Era I love, then so be it. I’m not sorry I became a Temporal Anthropologist. I can’t imagine any other life.

Bram Stoker Interview

The following is an interview I had with Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.



TimeTweet Archives

I have created a blog with my back Tweets for those of you who want to see what has happened so far.



New Experimental Twitter Tool: TimeTweets

Many of you have wondered how I am able to communicate from the Field. Well, that would be thanks to the brilliant computer programmer and engineer, Antonio Marco. He has developed for Twitter a new tool named TimeTweets, which I am testing out for them. This allows me to communicate from the Victorian Age directly to you back in the 27th century. I think it is a marvelous innovation for raising interest in the discipline of Temporal Anthropology. And from my side it has been nice to be able to talk to you folks back home. Since Temporal Anthropologists aren’t allowed to get involved with people in the past, it can get very lonely in the Field.

A few of you have teased me about Tweeting from the early 21st century. I’m sure you picked that particular time, because Twitter was still in its infancy and was known for technical difficulties. It was all new then and Twitter was trying to cope with the monster it was creating. I mean, of all the time periods, that would be the least likely to be able to read past and future Tweets, since they are having a hard enough time keeping track of their current Tweets. Thank heavens those early pioneers valiantly marshaled on and smoothed out all those problems, or Twitter never would have survived into the 27th century.

Twitter has assured the Institute of Time Travel that no time periods in between the Victorian Age and the 27th century can read my tweets. Can you imagine the disaster that would cause! What if people really were reading about the future in the 21st century? That could change history and break every law of time travel! The Institute of Time Travel Enforcement Agency would shut this site down immediately!

It’s rumored the Enforcers can go back and “erase” people, making them have an “accident” before they were able to change time. It is just a rumor, though, I think. I would hate for the Enforcers to “erase” poor Mr. Marco. I’m not sure what they would do with me, or for that matter everyone that read these tweets. No, I think erasing so many people in the past would be too risky. What if one of them was suppose to help save the world? More likely the Enforcers would simply erase their memories of me, or go to great lengths to convince everyone this was just a hoax or something. I daresay, it gives me a headache trying to guess what the Enforcers would do. I just don’t have a devious enough mind.

I have also gotten some strange Tweets from people who appear to be outside of accepted reality, like they were coming from another universe or plane of existence. The Institute has decided these are just a bunch of college students pulling a prank. For the Enforcers to accept that these tweets are real would mean the Institute would have to change it’s entire way of thinking. Such a worldview would imply that Time Manipulation doesn’t matter. If you change time you simply create new reality and your own is unaffected. Such a belief would put the Institute out of a job. So officially I have to agree with the Institute that these aren’t real. Unofficially, well…their tweets seem far too consistent to be a just a prank. These “fictional characters” appear to be as real as I am! Besides, they all seem like very nice chaps.

I do hope the Institute of Time Travel will continue to allow me to post TimeTweets on Twitter. I do enjoy communicating with all of you. It certainly beats talking to Samantha, my teapot.



No, I'm not THE Doctor

Occasionally I’ll have people ask me if I’m the Doctor. Well, I do have two Doctorate Degrees, one in Anthropology as well as History, as all Temporal Anthropologists do. No, no, they say, THE Doctor. As they talk it finally dawns on me they are talking about that character in that Doctor Who show.

Please, asking a Licensed Time Traveler if they are the Doctor is like asking an Archaeologist if they are Indiana Jones! They both give a distorted view of the professions. I mean Indiana Jones was a fortune hunter compared to those dedicated real Archeologists who spend hours in the sun on their knees painstakingly digging with a hand trowel. Temporal Anthropology isn’t that back breaking, but we do spend hours just researching, tracking down artifacts, and recording life in the past. Most outside of the discipline would find it rather dull. Like Archaeology it’s what we finally discover that is exciting.

I’m afraid Temporal Anthropologists, or any other Licensed Time Travelers, don’t go gallivanting through time wherever we please. We need permission from the Institute of Time Travel and we have to stick with the period we have been trained to blend in with. We have to dress in period costumes instead of those eccentric outfits the Doctor always wore. We can’t go getting involved in other peoples lives.

And as for saving the Earth from invaders, well, as you know, humans are the scariest thing we have come across in the universe so far. Oh true, there are some nasty creatures out there, but they are all non-sentient and as long as we stay off their planets, they are no threat to us. Since Doctor Who dates back before time travel or alien contact, it really has no basis in fact.

All right, I will admit I was a fan of the show when I was a kid growing up in the late 26th century. I remember waiting eagerly for the next adventure of the 99th Doctor played by actor Adolphus Fairchild. I even had a poster of him on my wall leaned against that Blue Police Box and wearing that orange bowler, green bowtie and yellow lab coat he always wore. I actually met him some years ago. He was much older, of course, but he still had those mischievous eyes and infectious grin. I was shocked to find out he was into Victorian History and was in fact a big fan of mine! Temporal Anthropologists are hardly the celebrities that famous entertainers are, but we have a small following. I have a photo of the two of us together, and he looks more excited than me. (Of course, everyone tends to look more excited than me.)

So, no I am not the Doctor. And if they based any of the Doctors on me or my life I fear the show would get cancelled rather quickly. No Time Traveler has ever lived the free wheeling life like the Doctor. Well, there are rumours that Dr. Serendipity Brown, the lady that invented Time Travel did as she pleased. There were no rules at the time and she had the money and genius to do as she liked. Rather mysterious figure but legend says she liked to attend famous 20th century Rock concerts.

One story says Dr. Brown went back in time just to pickup a long defunct brew called Rainer Beer for one of her companions. It’s said he was actually from the 20th century. She also ran around with a historian from the 19th. Both of these men are even more mysterious than her.

To be honest, if I had the choice I would rather travel with Serendipity than the Doctor. I mean, she’s real…and she’s a woman…quite the woman!



Tools of the Trade

To give you a clearer picture of my day to day life, I have decided to write an essay telling you about my personal effects I use in the field. Well, that and 140 characters in Twitter are hardly enough for a history scholar to blather on a bit. Every Temporal Anthropologist needs the following items: pocket computer, scanner, camera, Theta Wave projector. Since these are all high tech, they must be disguised as a period object or objects, some T.A.s putting all four items in a medallion. Fortunately, we get to choose what we want our personal tools disguised as.

High Tech Tools

Time Machine:
Technically I can’t call this mine, since the Institute of Time Travel owns all of them, but I would be hard pressed to travel without one. The vehicles appear as six foot square shiny black box. I’m not certain how many the Institute actually owns. Most are one seaters, although some have two, four and even six, I do believe. Inside, besides the seat, are cabinets built in the walls and a large button. The button is the only visible instrument. We step into the machine, close the door, sit down and strap in and push the button. It is a safety feature that the Time Machine will not operate unless the door is closed and you are strapped in.

The Institute presets the destination coordinates, the Holographic Skin and the return coordinates. I assume the switches and dials are under one of the panels. If I was to try to remove the panel and tamper with the instruments, that would be the end of my career as well as my freedom. Also I am not the least mechanically minded, so the Enforcers would catch up with me standing there staring at the dials and scratching my head.

Once the Time Machine reaches it’s destination, it will disguise itself as whatever the Institute preprogrammed it to look like. Of course, it’s still a large black box, covered with a web of holographic projectors that create the illusion that it is a wooden shed or whatever would be ignored. The only control Time Travelers out in the field have is that we can return early if need be, by just jumping into the Time Machine and pressing the button.

Pocket Computer
Back in the 21st century computer manufacturers switched from microchips to synthetic DNA, allowing once huge computers to be made very, very small. Soon the only limitation was making a computer large enough to be practical. My pocket computer is disguised as a Victorian Pocket Bible, leather bound, New Testament. The computer proper is in the spine. In the middle between the Gospels and Letters is a dividing page, which reads Epistles, that is on slightly thicker paper. This is in fact the computer screen. If needed I can pull a keyboard up on the screen, but I use voice activation normally. My voice cue to turn on the computer is to click my tongue twice. No one thinks anything of a Victorian gentleman pulling out a Bible at odd times, opening it up, clicking his tongue and muttering “I wonder where one can find a good tea shop in Glasgow nowadays.” The answer will pop up on my screen.

My computer is programmed not to respond with audio as most computers in the 27th Century would. If I need a voice verification, it can respond using my voice. No, I don’t have that big of an ego, I just want to make sure that if I am overheard, people will assume I am talking to myself. If anyone picked up my computer and opened it, they would find a normal King James Bible, complete with printed pages. If I need a larger screen I can command my computer to show a virtual screen of any size above it. This feature would never be used among the natives in the “field”. I am rather proud of this computer. While I did not make it, I did come up with the concept.

My scanner is with my computer. I simple pull out my Bible, point the back cover at something and tell it to do a scan. A scanner is very valuable in the field. One can scan food to see if there are any dangerous ingredients like botulism or lead. It also is handy to do medical scans on ourselves to see if we have indigestion and should take something, or we have acute food poisoning and should stagger back to the Time Machine and get back to a 27th century hospital, as soon as possible. Never trust the doctors of the past, since medicine is very primitive and they will probably kill you in their attempt to cure you.

What is the point of going into the past if you can’t record it for the folks back home? Many have their camera built in with their computer, but I thought pulling out a pair of spectacles and putting them on to study something seemed less obvious then pulling out a Bible and pointing it at something. That might be a little too eccentric. My camera looks like a pair of wire rim reading glasses. To take a photo I reach up and press the left screw, looking like I am simply adjusting my glasses. On the left side lens at the bottom is a clear circle that shows the picture I took for a few seconds. To take video, I press the right screw. Pictures are downloaded to my pocket computer. I can then view the photos or video on my screen or use the virtual screen.

Theta Wave Projector:
This is something I don’t often use, because it isn’t the most reliable and should only be used in an emergency. Theta Wave light makes one more susceptible to suggestion. If you can catch someone off guard, you can hypnotize them. Of course you can’t hypnotize someone into doing something they don’t want to. Effectiveness varies from individual to individual. One can’t depend on this tool, but it has come in handy. Mine is hidden in my pocket watch. It’s a normal brass watch, but I can pop open the cover, press a hidden button and project Theta Waves. To be honest, I have used it most often to hypnotize myself to relax and go to sleep. Very soothing.

None Technical Items (all Victorian)

Carpet Bag:
Most Victorians traveled with huge wooden trunks that were next to impossible to get around without a handcart. I go with the example of Phileas Fog and Nellie Bly and travel with a large carpet bag. Far more practical. And since I am posing as a gentleman scholar of independent but not elaborate means, it carries enough--my clothes, my shaving kit, and maybe a period book or two.

Tea Chest:
I have a small wooden chest with a handle on top to hold my tea service which I have pared down to the essentials: a spirit lamp with stand (the Victorian answer to the hotplate), a small tea kettle, a four cup tea pot, two tea cups with saucers, a canisters for tea and sugar, tea strainer, teaspoons, and flannel tea towels to wrap the pottery in. This chest is my one extravagance, and makes me feel at home no matter where I go. It’s comforting to know that I am never without tea.

Top Hat:
You can never go wrong with a top hat, which was popular all through the Victorian Age, especially for a gentleman. Top Hats came in all colors, although 90% of them were black. Mine is dark brown. I probably should have gone with black, but this is my one vanity--and it goes nice with my brown suit.

That’s about it. I could carry a walking stick, but I find they just get it the way or I lay them down and forget them. I sometimes carry a derringer. Temporal Anthropologists are allowed guns, but we aren’t allowed bullets, so it’s only good for bluffing. We aren’t allowed to kill or wound anyone, not necessarily because it’s immoral, but because it could change the past.

Remember Temporal Anthropologists should travel light. Take only the essentials. If you have to bring the 27th century with you, then you should just stay home. You should try to immerse yourself into the period you are studying as much as possible. It’s the only way to truly understand the past.



Rebuttal/Apology to WritingSpiritResources.com

Writingspiritresources.com left a comment April 21st. I only discovered it May 6th because I am a History Geek and not a Tech Geek. I still can’t figure out how to contact all those nice followers. I do apologize for that.

Writingspiritresources.com pointed out that the Rules for Temporal Anthropologists that I posted implied only men were Temporal Anthropologists. That is not true. There are currently over a dozen women in the field. Unfortunately too many time periods in the past treated women with little or no respect, even hostility. I’m not surprised more women aren’t in the field. It’s hard enough being alone in the past with just normal hardships. Who wants to go somewhere where you are treated like dirt? That would take someone with far more commitment and grit than I have. I have a special admiration for female Temporal Anthropologists. For that matter, I know very few male Temporal Anthropologists who don’t feel the same. The brotherhood does have sisters in it.

I would dearly love to have a female associate in the field with me, even on a platonic basis, but I could never ask any woman to live in a time when women’s fashion was downright oppressive and women were treated like children. As much as I love the Victorian Age, there are things I don’t like about it. I do hope I have not absorbed any of the sexism, racism, or class elitism of the age. I will say one thing for the Victorian Age, though. This was the period when people first stood up and fought against these social injustices.

When women students come up to me and say they want to be Temporal Anthropologists, I let them know exactly what they are getting themselves into. Most decide it wasn’t as romantic as they thought. However, there are those fiery souls who seem undeterred by hardship. I do all I can to help them. Those women devoted enough to follow the path usually make the best Temporal Anthropologists.

Sincerely yours,
Dr. Wendell A. Howe
Temporal Anthropologist
University of Cambridge

P.S. Those rules were not created by Cambridge University or the Association of Temporal Anthropologists, but by the Institute of Time Travel Enforcement Agency. The Enforcers, I cannot vouch for. They are not very friendly to any Temporal Anthropologist of either sex but treat us like criminals. I suppose they are just trying to be professional but would it kill them to smile at us once in awhile?



The Truth About the "Understanding"

Check out Dr. Henry Darrel, another Temporal Anthropologist, blog site at



Why the Institute of Time Travel is Necessary

Time Travel was first invented in 2353 by the brilliant Dr. Serendipity Brown. In the century that followed the only thing preventing others from traveling in time was the exorbitant cost of building and operating a machine. Also few were brave enough to travel into the primitive past. It was rather reminiscent of the space program in it’s early days. Still there were those stalwart souls who braved the past to bring back extinct species, terra form planets, and study history.

Those freewheeling days ended after Dr. Jonathan Taylor published his run away best seller, Ramification of Time Travel: Are We Polluting Our Own Time Stream back in 2449. He popularized the Time Manipulation Theory. This stated that it was possible to change history either intentionally or accidentally with even the smallest action. Once done no one would notice the change since their memories and historical records would now all reflect the new reality. This conversion would so complete that even the perpetrator would be unaware of the change when he returned. Dr. Taylor argued that this had happened numerous times and blamed just about every tragedy in history on it.

Although his theory was impossible to prove, it was also impossible to disprove, which he argued just proved the theory. Several physicists pointed out that Dr. Taylor had received his doctor’s degree from a dentist school and knew nothing about the physics of time travel. Dr. Taylor countermanded that someone must have gone back in time and persuaded him to become a dentist instead of a physicist to cover up their own illegal use of time travel.

Despite these circular arguments, Dr. Taylor’s book started a worldwide panic. A group, called the Time Purists, was formed and began demonstrating and rioting to get Time Travel outlawed. Time Travel however was too precious to just eliminate completely. The governments of the world were forced to band together and come up with a solution. Thus the Institute of Time Travel was formed in 2457.

The Institute was given the authority and power to control and oversee all Time Travel. Anyone traveling without their approval is dealt with swiftly and made an example of by the Institute’s Enforcement Agency. All Time Travel machines are now owned and operated by the Institute. All trips into the past are approved and controlled by the Institute. Now only Licensed Time Travelers, who had been certified by the Institute, are allowed to travel into the past. It is the Institute’s responsibility to see that these individuals are carefully trained so they make absolutely no impact on past events and manipulated time in any way.

To further make sure that no intentional or accidental attempt to manipulate time has been committed, the Enforcement Agency is required to debrief all returning Time Travelers. To make sure the individual is not lying, Compliance Disks are used. These are harmless devices that adhere to the back of the neck, so it can connect directly to the nervous system. The subject is then compelled to do exactly as ordered, making any deceit impossible. I will admit that being made completely helpless is scary and humiliating, but the Enforcers always act in a professional manner and are careful not to make it any worse than it needs to be.

All right, to be honest, the "interrogations", as we Temporal Anthropologists call them, leaves one quite shaken. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if the Enforcers weren’t so detached about it. The Institute is very strict about this because they are concerned that their Enforcers may become too sympathetic with the subjects, and allow indiscretions to slip by.

I have also heard rumors that the Enforcers brainwash us Time Travelers into being terrified of them, so we won’t even be tempted to try anything. I know all this sounds extreme, but it is all necessary to protect history from being tainted by outside influence.

Thanks to the Institute of Time Travel and their tireless Enforcement Agency, everyone can sleep at night knowing they are safe from the world being turned upside down by some careless act by a Time Traveler. There have been no known incidence of Time Manipulation since the Institute was formed.

…Of course, there were no known incidence of Time Manipulation before the Institute, but that is beside the point…Hmmm, maybe I should take this last paragraph out…Dash-it-all, how do you delete in this ridiculous program???…Oh, blast!…


Rules for Temporal Anthropologists

For those of you thinking of pursuing a career as an Temporal Anthropologist, you may want to read this first. This is from a handout issued by the Institute of Time Travel on our first day of training for a Time Travel License. Many immediately drop out after reading this. I'm not sure if it is the brave or the foolish who stay.

Dr. Wendell A. Howe

Rules for All Temporal Anthropologists
As Issued by the Institute of Time Travel

To avoid all possible Time Manipulation incidents, whether intentional or accidental the following rules must be obeyed at all times.
(1.) Only Licensed Time Travelers will be allowed to travel into the past.
(2.) All time trips must be approved by the Institute. You will only be allowed to go to a year you have been trained to fit into.
(3.) All trips to the future are strictly forbidden.
(4.) All Time Machines are owned, operated and maintained by the Institute. It is illegal for anyone other than the Institute to own, operate or maintain a Time Machine of any kind. The Time Machine you are issued will be preset for you so you can return by pushing a button. No other controls are accessible. Any attempt to remove a panel and tamper with the equipment will lead to fines and imprisonment (usually life).
(5.) 27th Century devices are not allowed in the field unless approved and deemed necessary by the Institute. Any devices must be camouflaged to appear as a period object. All future technology must be on your person at all times, or in your locked Time Machine. Guard them with your life. Do not let them fall into the hands of the natives of the past, no matter how cleverly disguised.
(6.) When in the field (the past) you will dress appropriately for the period and for your persona. You must not wear anything that will make you look odd or stand out.
(7.) You will be provided with period money or barter items. You will be given enough to live comfortably on. Do not live extravagantly as to call attention to yourself, unless it is necessary for you current project and is approved by the Institute.
(8.) Your personal computer will have a bio scan so you can do self examinations and be given first aid advice. If seriously injured or sick, you can return from the field at any time. It is not advisable to go to native healers. They will not have the technology to tell you are from the future, but they will have enough lack of skill to cause you grave injury or death.
(9.) You shall return by the set return date. You may return earlier, but never later. If you do not return it will be assumed you either ran into trouble, you are dead, or you are trying to run away into the past. The Institute’s Enforcement Agency will come after you to either save you, retrieve your body and equipment, or arrest you.
(10.) All Licensed Time Travelers must undergo sterilization before they will be allowed in the field least they bring someone into the world that was not meant to be there.
(11.) Sexual relationships are forbidden in the past despite sterilization. By taking a spouse, mistress or lover you may prevent them from being with the one they were meant to be with and thus preventing someone from being born. Also such relationships can influence and change the life of your significant other. Visits to brothels are allowed, as long as you do not keep returning to the same establishment or prostitute. You must have no affect on the lives of anyone involved.
(12.) You shall not have a platonic relationship or friendship with anyone in the past, since you will have an influence on them and this could change history.
(13.) You shall not use excessive force and cause serious injury to anyone in the past. You will use the least amount of force necessary to protect yourself. You will do everything in your power to avoid confrontation.
(14.) You shall not take the life of anyone in the past, or save the life of anyone in the past.
(15.) You shall not give charity of any kind to anyone in the past.
(16.) You shall not do anything to change the mind or attitude of anyone in the past. You will politely nod, no matter how unsavory the persons opinion is to you.
(17.) You shall not have a conversation that could in anyway influence, encourage or be remembered. Speak only when necessary to others in the past. Be polite and speak when spoken to, for being rude will make you stand out. Keep conversation to a minimum and only about the most mundane things like the time or weather.
(18.) You shall do everything in your power to remain unnoticed while in the field. If deemed necessary you will agree to plastic surgery to make your appearance more unmemorable for your era of study. You will need to pass all tests on being inconspicuous before given a license. You will be a face in the crowd.
(19.) You must not be gone for more than two months. Whenever you return from the field you will be debriefed. You shall agree to wear a Compliance Disk and you will answer all questions. You will tell everything you did and said. Nothing will be considered too trivial or private. You may then return to the same place and year with the approval of the Institute if they feel you have done nothing to be noticed by anyone.
(20.) You shall always cooperate and give immediate compliance to the Enforcers, obeying what ever they ask of you.

These rules are to protect Time from being manipulated in anyway and the history of the past changed. Even the most insignificant action can have dire consequences. Any breaking of these rules can lead to probation, suspending or revoking of License, imprisonment or whatever action is deemed necessary. These rules are for your protection as well as the rest of society. When in doubt take no action which could disrupt the natural course of history.

Leave No Footprint in the Sands of Time


Temporal Antrhopologist Recruitment ad

Some of you have asked exactly what is a Temporal Anthropologist? I found an old recruitment ad and have copied the text. I do hope this will give you an idea.
Dr. W.A. Howe

Study the Past in the Present Tense
Join the fascinating world of Temporal Anthropology
Are you a history buff? Have you ever wished you could go back in time to study and live in an ancient culture like the Roman Empire, the Renaissance or the 20th Century? This is what Temporal Anthropologists do everyday. Working with the approval of the Institute of Time Travel, you a can actually visit the past and investigate unrecorded history. Walk through a Medieval village, sip tea in a Victorian café, watch a play in Classical Greece--any of these activities are possible.
All that is needed is the desire to live your dreams. Other requirements include a PhD in History, a PhD in Anthropology, and a certified Time Travel License from the Institute of Time Travel. The Institute will make sure you have the proper training to blend into your chosen era of study so well the natives will think you are one of them. You will also be trained to be unnoticed and uninspiring, so you will not be remembered or influence people in the past.
The Institute of Time Travel Enforcement Agency will work closely with you to make sure that you need not worry of ever being guilty of the horrendous crime of Time Manipulation, and thereby changing history. (Stories that the Enforcers have been known to go back in history and ‘erase’ someone by making them have an ‘accident’, before the Time Manipulation incident, intentional or otherwise, have never been proven.) All time trips are under the careful control of the Institute of Time Travel and therefore safe. All time machines are provided, maintained and controlled by the Institute, freeing you of the headache and expense.
Added bonuses are that all universities want a Temporal Anthropologist on staff and will often provide not only a salary and pension, but also housing on or near their campus. Period money, clothes and other essentials will be provided so you can live comfortably and safely in the ‘field’. Other universities around the world will come with offers of projects, begging you to investigate various subjects in your chosen era. Invitations for speaking engagements will be too numerous for you to honor. There will be royalties from any videos and books you produce for the edification of the public. You will be a celebrity among the academics and admired by all. Most importantly you will be a member of that elite brotherhood known as the Temporal Anthropologists.

Why not join today?
For more information contact: The Association of Temporal Anthropologists, George Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1, United Kingdom

Delving into History’s Mysteries since 2454