Rudolph Fentz mysteriously disappeared in 1876, only to show up in New York City in 1950. He hadn’t aged a day.
The case seemed to lend creedence to the idea of time travel, to temporal disturbances and rifts in time.
Accounts since the 1970s cited a report by NYPD Capt. Hubert V. Rihm, telling how Fentz had appeared as a disoriented 30-year-old man in the middle of Times Square at 11:15 p.m. He was promptly hit by a car and died.
The man’s clothing was out of style, and information found on the body led to all kinds of details linking him to earlier times.
The investigation to determine his ID eventually turned up a listing for a Rudolph Fentz, Jr., who had died five years earlier, and the story of how his father had disappeared sometime in the 1870s.
But now Snopes.com has seemingly cleared up the whole story, tracing the tale to a short story titled “I’m Scared,” by science fiction writer Jack Finney. An excerpt was published in Collier’s magazine in 1951.
Read the full story from Snopes.
Finney was most famous for “The Body Snatchers.”