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Time Traveling iPhone User In 1860 Painting Has An Obvious Explanation

Incredible signal they had in the 1860s.

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

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A painting of a woman holding something which looks like a smartphone.

Seriously, what network is she on? Image credit: Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller via Pavel Flegontov/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Every now and then, an old painting resurfaces online after people reassess it years later and believe it to contain a time traveler

It never is, of course, but that hasn't stopped people once more believing that figures in a painting from centuries ago were walking around the woods and reading updates on a smartphone. This time it's the turn of Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller’s “The Expected One”, which has been "baffling" Internet users, according to the New York Post.

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Though it's not explicitly impossible that the woman in question traveled back in time from some far off distant point in the future, then got bored while posing for a portrait and started checking her notifications, the simplest explanation is of course the truth: she's from the time and... holding a book.


“The girl in this Waldmüller painting is not playing with her new iPhone X, but is off to church holding a little prayer book in her hands,” Gerald Weinpolter, CEO of the art agency austrian-paintings.at, told Vice News when the iPhone last got spotted in 2017, with an added photoshopped screen glow emitting from the prayer book.

“What strikes me most is how much a change in technology has changed the interpretation of the painting,” added blogger Peter Russell, "and in a way has leveraged its entire context."


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