The Phantom Time Hypothesis: WHAAAAA?

16 March, 2008

This is one of those things that seems really lame, but once you think about it, it gets into your head. It’s called the Phantom Time Hypothesis. So, there are a bunch of versions of it (I’ve linked there to the wikipedia article), but the main conceit is that a certain period of time in our past didn’t actually happen; either that dates got confused or that events were recorded as happening more than once—the different viewpoints of the same event got interpreted as separate events. The evidence of this is basically the lack of evidence—that is, there is relatively little archaeological evidence that can be placed from 614-911 (roughly the early Middle Ages), say, and so we are just relying on written sources, which could be unreliable.

It’s interesting. Not true at all, I don’t think, but just like the “life-changing” idea put forth in the Matrix, it’s sort of natural that it shows up every now and then in the back of your mind, even if you don’t think it’s true. Actually, unlike the “the world is a computer game” theory, this kind of affects me rather significantly; I’m studying history. If this theory was true, college would be even more pointless—I’m taking two courses on the Middle Ages this semester, and if that period didn’t exist…!

The real question now is, does it feel like 1711 to you?



  1. I think, this is not new hipotesys. In my country Indonesia there a black hole in histories from 1500 up to 1 AD. I already calculate that the number year is not 297 but it cover 1 millenia. Exactly around 1012 years divided in several segment (not continuos). We have three holes from 1125 bc up to 1500 ad.

  2. As a trained historian, yeah, it’s a crock. If you look at records from the Islamic world, from the Byzantine Empire, and especially from East Asia, there is no “gap.” This is Eurocentric navel gazing at its worst.

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