Have you ever experienced the time illusion where you feel time is either moving fast, or slowing down? Especially, that awkward moment when you’re watching your favorite team play when its starts to feel like time is running slow when your team is a the verge of winning, and/or running fast as your team loses — and probably you ask yourself, “where did the time go?” Sometimes hours can feel like minutes, weeks like days, years like months — and vice versa. It seems time really vanish swiftly into the ether.
This might have really happened during the years of 614 to 911 in the Common Era (C.E), — a period of 297 years. According to German historians Herbert Illig and Hans-Ulrich Niemitz, this is the Phantom Time Hypothesis, and well, it never really did.
Related media: The Conspiracy Theory that the Middle Ages Never Happened
Once Upon A Long Time
There was the beginning… but let’s start at the beginning of recorded time. According to the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Scotland, the oldest known calendar in the world at the moment is believed to date back to 8,000 B.C.E. You might have guessed, using lunar phases, early hunter-gatherer civilizations invented a basic calendar to help them keep track of the seasons as the moon appeared over the course of months.
As the civilizations rapidly evolved, each adapted their own devised calendar based on the lunar phases and harvest seasons throughout the year. For instance, the Babylonian calendar began every new month when the crescent moon appeared in the sky just over the horizon in the west. The Mayan calendar had a twenty-day month, a two-year calendar, the 260-day Sacred Round, and 365-day Vague year.
For every 52 years, these two calendars conceded and created a bundle, which was quite equivalent with our present-day hundred year century. As the Roman Empire rose and fell through the last centuries Before the Common Era (B.C.E), they developed their own calendar and forced it on all that they managed to conquer. And with assistance from the renowned astronomer Sosigenes from Alexandria, Julius Caesar had a new calendar devised in 46 B.C.E, which was based on the Roman calendar.
The Julian calendar had 365 days a year (with a leap day every four years) divided into twelve months, and was based on the sun (a tropical year), rather than the moon. Coincidence? For the records, the Julian calendar started on January 1, 45 B.C.E, and was the predominant calendar in much of the world for over 1,600 years, until the Gregorian calendar was instituted in 1582 B.C.E by (you guessed it) Pope Gregory XIII.
Apparently, the reason behind this (besides his power and influence) were three themes: one, to ensure that the Easter celebrations would always coincide with the spring equinox; two, to correct a ten day error that accumulated over the 1,600 years because the Julian calendar was roughly 11 minutes and 14 seconds longer than a year; and three, to make changes to the leap year from four years to 97 out of every 400 years (precisely 4.124 years) in order to make up for those accumulated days. The Gregorian calendar was born, and is still in use today.
Adding Time, Building History
In a 1991 paper published by Illig, he believed that 297 years are missing from time, and that we’re not living in this year. This could have been due to the changing of calendars, or simple miscalculation. According to Illig, this should have only been a matter of days, perhaps months. In fact, Pope Gregory really did make an error that accounted for thirteen days that accumulated over 1,600 years prior to the Julian calendar, a clear human error. So whence goeth thine years?
Also in another paper published in 1995 by Dr. Niemitz, a colleague of Illig and believer of the Phantom Time Hypothesis, cited several evidence that the years between 614 to 917 C.E never happened. For instance, the Chapel of Aachen that was built in 800 C.E had similar architectural designs to chapels that of 200 years ago. Another coincidence? And during that time, the Byzantine Empire had a massive government reform, yet there are no historical records of this reform.
Niemitz later used the lack of historical recordings of the spread of the Islam religion throughout the Middle East, and the inactivity of the Jews during that time as great evidence as well. He explains that those 297 years seem to have disappeared from the histories of many different cultures and civilizations.
“Nobody looks over the whole situation and therefore nobody is astonished that the same structural problems occur in different disciplines,” he says.
Later in Niemitz paper, he asks the multi-million dollar question that readers would:
“Who (and when and how and why) falsified history by adding 300 years?”
He then blames the Catholic Church. He argues that the Church constantly faked their records to upheld their doctrine and theology. By adding days, weeks, months, leading to 300 years of time, it was good enough to add credibility to their customs, relics, decrees that were relevant to the emerging of their new religion as time evolved. But was that really the case? There’s even more.
Theories Upon More Histories
Another theory centered on the Roman Emperor Otto III claims he wanted to make sure his reign happened in 1000 C.E so he can prove that he understood “Christian milleniarism.” Thus, adding a ton of years to time, accounted for all that missing time (and to also invent Charlemagne in his name — who “lived” from 742 to 814 C.E). Niemitz, with the help of Byzantine historianPeter Schreiner, hypothesized that the Emperor Constantine VII had the entire Byzantine history rewritten and told his “transcribers” to destroy the originals.
“It is not important to explain the motivation of the emperor Constantine VII. I only want to demonstrate, that an action of rewriting and faking like this has happened. If it could happen in Byzantium, it might have happened at any other place, too,” as Niemitz summarizes.
Niemitz last statement is why most historians believe the Phantom Time Hypothesis isn’t easy to fathom. Their evidence are circumstantial. Its just like the case of unicorns. If you’ve never seen a unicorn, that is not evidence that unicorns don’t exist. What if these 297 years were actually faked, then many historical figures (like Charlemagne) never existed at all. For instance, the Tang Dynasty that supposedly existed in China from 618 to 907 C.E, was right in the Phantom Time Wheelhouse. Another time creation?
Lastly, according to professor Steven Dutch of the Natural and Applied Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, says for all this to be true: “someone from medieval Europe (had to have) convinced the Chinese to create a fake dynasty complete with bogus archives.”
Now, with that information and evidence at hand, you can answer the question, “where did all that time go?” Let us know in comments.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sun, Apr 14, 2019.