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Rudolph Fentz Mystery: Real Time Traveler or Hoax?

Rudolph Fentz Mystery: Real Time Traveler or Hoax?

Do you believe in time travel? Do you know there is a man who time traveled from 1876 to 1950?  Do you like unsolved mysteries? Here’s his full story:-

 Unexplained Mystery of Rudolph Fentz

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In June 1950, at approximately 11:00 p.m., a young man unexpectedly appeared in the middle of New York City’s Times Square. He was spotted by an on-duty police officer.  The man was looking confused, having mutton-chop outdated sideburns and wearing old-fashioned clothes which astonished the officer. Before the officer could approach him, the man was hit by a car and died.




Police found several curious things in the man’s pocket during the investigation.

  • A token of copper for a beer worth 5 cents belonging to the name of an unknown saloon.
  • Old banknotes before 1876.
  • A bill drawn by a livery stable on Lexington Avenue (unknown address) for the care of a horse.
  • Several business cards with the name Rudolph Fentz (assumed to be the name of the deceased) and an address on Fifth Avenue.


Rudolph Fentz Unsolved Mystery Explained

Captain Hubert V. Rihm (officer of Missing Persons Department of NYPD) tried to identify Rudolph Fentz using his information. He found that Fifth Avenue’s owner did not know Rudolph Fentz. Fentz’s fingerprints did not match to any modern records, his name was not found in any modern address book, no one filed any missing report against him and no one claimed to know him.


Eventually, he came across a record of Rudolph Fentz Jr. in a telephone book from 1939. After tracing Rudolph Fentz Jr., he found that he died five years before but his widow was still alive and she is living in Florida. Rihm contacted his widow and stunned to listen that her father-in-law (Rudolph Fentz) went for an evening walk and never returned.   He was missing since 1876 when he aged 29.

Rihm then searched Rudolph Fentz in the missing person’s file of the year 1876 and found a report filed on Rudolph Fentz with exactly the same appearance as of the strange dead man from New York. Afraid of being called crazy, Rihm never wrote any of these results of this investigation in his official files and marked the case unsolved.

After he was retired, he publicly revealed details of this strange unsolved case during an interview.

Was Rudolph Fentz a Time traveler?

Rudolph Fentz was considered as an urban legend, who traveled from 1876 to 1950. But, unfortunately, coming into the year 1950, he reached the middle of Times square and hit by a car and died. Whether he was a time traveler or not? It is still a question. But, his strange disappearance and reappearance spread through the internet and was written in several books. Some people changed his name to Rudolf Fenz and some have even changed the contents of his pocket.

The story doesn’t end here.


Strange turns in the strange tale of Rudolph Fentz

In 2000, A Folklore researcher Chris Aubeck investigated the truth behind the strange Fentz tale. But, he couldn’t find the origin of this story. He concluded that this story didn’t contain any element of truth. People and events in this story all are a part of some fiction. He published his research in the Akron Beacon Journal in the year 2001.

Pastor George Murphy, later told Aubeck that the story was plucked from Jack Finney’s 1951 short story, I’m Scared and may be from Jack Finney’s, “About Time: 12 Short Stories”.



This short story of Jack Finney shows a great similarity with Rudolph Fentz story but Finney died much earlier than he could be questioned.

In 2007, a news archive researcher from Berlin found a similar story in the newspaper archives from April 1951 which was printed 5 months before the Jack Finney’s short story.

Also Read: Elevator Ritual – Game that takes you to another world


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