Does this 1995 video of a Mike Tyson fight show a time traveller with a cameraphone? The simple answer is no. And the complex answer is also no. But it’s a perfect example of how the past can play tricks on us.
With the benefit of hindsight we can get to truths that were harder to see in the moment. But we can also get tricked by our brain into thinking that we’re seeing something out of place.
As Snopes points out, the camera in the video could be “any one of a number of handheld cameras that were in fact widely available in 1995”. Snopes gives just a few examples such as the Casio QV-10A and the Logitech Fotoman which are seen below.
Photos of old cameras from the mid-’90s (Snopes)
People today often think they see time travellers in old footage. Or even “proof” of technologies being older than we think. Take this mobile telephone from 1922, for example. People were quite confused when the film was posted online a few years ago. The title cards explained that it was a mobile telephone. But the terminology that people used for radio during the late 1910s and early 1920s often included the term wireless telephone. So it wasn’t a two-way telephone like we think of it today at all. It was a radio.
Title card from a 1922 film reel describing a “wireless phone” that’s actually just a radio (British Pathe)
We bring all kinds of biases when we look at old film, read old books and listen to old music. We can’t help it; we live in the early 21st century and our brain fills in what it wants to see based on what we’re most familiar with.
So no, that probably wasn’t a time traveller at this 1995 Tyson fight. But if time travel does become possible everyone knows that you should bring rock and roll back to the early 1950s and hoverboards back to the Wild West.
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