Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Phantom Time

In June 2005, at a conference in Toronto on "Anomalous Eras - Best Evidence: Best Theory," Heribert Illig presented a paper he called "The Invented Middle Ages." It was not the first time this theory of history had been presented to the public—it had been known in Germany since 1996—but the first time it had been presented outside of Europe. In it, he explained his path to finding an anomaly in the historical record: that 300 years of our history did not exist! This theory is called the "Phantom Time Hypothesis."

Illig was born in 1947 in Germany. He studied economics, mathematics, physics, some art history and Egyptology, and describes himself as "not a historian in the narrow sense of the word." While reading the theories of Immanuel Velikovsky (that Earth has barely survived closes passes by Venus and Mars, before they settled into their present orbits, and that these fly-bys took place within the memory of ancient man and were recorded as myths), he began to question the historical record in Egypt, which led him to co-author a book, Wann lebten die Pharaonen? (When Did the Pharaohs Live?).

Diagram of missing and "recalibrated" years.
Once he was comfortable with questioning the accepted history of the human race, he started looking at the Middle Ages. He asked himself questions. Why did certain documents with earlier dates only get discovered later? How far off might the calendar have been by the time Pope Gregory insisted it be fixed? Could the engineering of Charlemagne's time really produce a building like the Chapel of Aachen, which looks to be part of Romanesque architecture style, which only existed two centuries after Charlemagne? As for Charlemagne himself: did he really create a re-birth from 768-814, when everything on either side of him is still "dark," and could one man possibly have done all that scholars say he did? How much can we trust those periods in western Europe that we now call "Dark Ages"?

His conclusion: there is a gap of years, from 614 to 911, for which any dates and events ascribed did not in fact take place. Essentially, a 300-year span has been "presumed" by historians who have tried to make sense of the unclear and inaccurate data we have; methods of radiometric and dendrochronological dating are unreliable, et cetera. Others have picked up on this and added to it; of course, he also has his opponents.

Illig has to assume enormous errors on the part of archaeologists and historians, as well as an elaborate conspiracy taking place in the centuries after 911 to "record" history that took place in the three centuries previous. Some of his arguments result from his misunderstanding of Gregorian calendar reform and dating methods. Some are just assumptions that contemporary witnesses are untrustworthy.

Is there a chance he's right? Is it possible that we are living in the year 1715 CE? Fortunately, astronomy helps. The Persian Wars between Greece and Persia lasted from 499-449 BCE.* The Greek historians of the wars tell of two solar eclipses taking place not far apart. The only times for two solar eclipses near each other in that part of the world were 2492 years ago and 2490 years ago, on 2 October 480 BCE and 14 February 478 BCE.

So there it is. No missing time. Thanks, science!

*One of these battles, Marathon, is remembered in the present day in footraces across the world. Another battle, Thermopylae, gave us the plot for the movie "300."


  1. We Greeks laid the foundation with some hard work and amazing creations, but yet we can't maintain an economy because we work two days a week. There's not enough olive oil and Greek yogurt exports to cover this one up!

    1. Thank heavens the Greeks spent so much time fighting and writing about it.