Alleged chrononaut Andrew Basiago claims that in 1972 he was sent backwards in time to November 19, 1863. Where to? Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the very day Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address.
I’ve written about this before (see my article on Project Pegasus), but last week I received an email inquiring about Basiago’s photographic evidence, and thought I’d do a little digging into its origin.
Here’s what I found.
Photographs In Time
Basiago claims he is the boy in the above photograph, and often shares it as proof of his time travel adventures. In this case, he says, he had stepped into a plasma confinement chamber in 1972 New Jersey, and hopped back to 1863 Gettysburg. There, he visited the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.
Basiago also claims that his original pair of shoes vanished during his voyage, like Dandelo in The Fly. That’s why they appear over-sized in the photo. He was given a new pair when he arrived, and tried his best to avoid drawing attention to himself.
Ultimately, however, he failed, leaving behind a single piece of evidence of his temporal journey — the photograph we see here today.
Now, aside from Basiago’s story, here’s what we know about the picture itself.
According to the Library Of Congress, it was indeed taken at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, likely by photographer Mathew Brady. It’s available in higher quality at the LoC website.
However, as you may notice, this version of the photograph is cleaned up and cropped. You can’t see as much of the man on the bottom right corner, and the other edges are cropped out, as well. Not to worry.
A scan of the original glass plate negative can be found at the National Archives. As you can see, it’s uncropped and about as worn as you’d expect from a photo taken in 1863.
What’s most interesting is that this photo is apparently the first ever discovered of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. Josephine Cobb noticed his face while viewing the glass plate negative at the National Archives in 1952. If you zoom in very closely, you can see who historians believe is Lincoln, standing with his hat off in the crowd.
Of course, none of this proves or disproves Basiago’s strange tale, but I thought it’d be interesting to track down the original photo.
It is, in a way, its own kind of time travel.
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