ApexTV/YouTube

A man stalks onto the computer screen. It looks like a blustery day. The trees in the background are swaying, and the sound of the wind filters through the camera’s microphone—directly into your earbuds. He’s a man without a face, and he shouts, either because he’s frightened or to make himself heard over the noise.

We know nothing about him. We don’t know where he is, where he’s from. We don’t know what he looks like. His face is pixelated, his body is all quick twitches and sweeping hand movements, and he is panicking.

“I need to make this quick,” he tells the camera in a terrorized voice. “I do not have long before I need to leave. They’re tracking me, and they know where I am right now. I need to show you what I have … You deserve to know what’s going on behind closed doors. Time travel exists, and it is being withheld from the public.”

He nearly bursts into tears before telling his story.

The man, wearing a slightly wrinkled button-down shirt and a slightly oversized blazer, says he is a time traveler from the year 2045. He knows you will find this incredibly hard to believe. But he says he can prove it, and he has a video from the year 2045 that he wants to show you. He needs you to see it.

But his message only provokes more questions. Are assassins actually tracking him? Does he know something we don’t? ApexTV, a YouTube channel soaring in popularity this year, wants to find out. And hey: Maybe it’s enough that these videos are entertaining without having to guess if there is anything true about them.

Whatever the reason, people are watching—and they’re judging.

Three weeks after this video was published, it had already accumulated nearly 875,000 pageviews. More than 2,700 people had commented on it. The ApexTV channel has almost 785,000 subscribers, and fans want more.

This man from 27 years in the future isn’t the only visitor. There’s a good chance we’ll never see him again on ApexTV, but there are plenty of other supposed time travelers who want to talk about their journeys. They’re approaching ApexTV for coverage and exposure even though they want their faces pixelated and their voices modified.

They claim to have traveled through time. They claim to have proof. They are, of course, full of it.

The man who runs ApexTV wants to remain anonymous. He won’t tell us his name, how old he is, or where he lives. He signs his emails as “ApexTV.” His area code emanates from a part of the U.S. where UFO sightings have been prevalent for decades. If you look at videos of him on the site, he covers most of his face and his hair, but he appears to be a white man somewhere between the ages of 25-35.

He also doesn’t share his opinion on whether the time travelers on his channel are real. He wants them to speak their truths without the varnish of his judgment surrounding their confessionals. He wants to let you decide.

In the case of the man from 2045, he originally reached out to ApexTV via email. The two sides messaged each other a few times and then talked on the phone before meeting in real life at an undisclosed location. The man from 2045 was more panicked than most everybody else featured on the channel, but the creator behind ApexTV won’t give his opinion on that.

“I try to be really careful not to push our opinions on anybody,” ApexTV told the Daily Dot. “There’s a time and a place for that. When we’re the ones distributing the story, we don’t want to muddy the waters. We want to create an environment where people feel OK with coming forward with their stories. I’m human. I have opinions. But I don’t like to give them.”

What ApexTV doesn’t mind talking about is why he started a YouTube channel that originally focused on the paranormal but eventually morphed into a platform for supposed time travelers to reveal themselves.

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ApexTV time travel YouTube time machine ApexTV/YouTube

Ever since he can remember, ApexTV was entranced by the paranormal. He thinks the fascination began as a kid when he received a book about mysteries, enigmas, UFOs, and aliens. He imagined extraterrestrial beings were real, and he gobbled up the theories that alien sightings were actually caused by humans from the future and that UFOs were actually time machines.

He doesn’t talk about it much, but ApexTV says he had paranormal encounters of his own—a couple of UFO sightings here and there, and once, while in Florida, he observed a “strange object” next to the sun.

In 2014, he wondered if he could fill a paranormal niche on YouTube, so he began posting videos looking into that spooky world. There were videos titled “5 Mythical Creatures Caught on Tape,” “TELEPORTATION Caught on Tape,” and “10 Haunted Dolls Caught on Tape.” At the time, he didn’t even realize he could make money on the platform.

“It was all for passion,” ApexTV said.

He began building a following. Some videos only compelled a couple thousand people to watch, but other offerings reached a few hundred thousand views. One supposed time traveler noticed the popularity and reach of the channel in September 2016. That’s when ApexTV says he received an unsolicited email from a man claiming to be from the year 2126. ApexTV asked him to film a short video of himself and to send it into the channel. The man complied, displaying his face, and this was the result:

More than 1.6 million people watched that video. Another video posted to ApexTV showed a man named Hakan Nordkvist claiming he traveled to 2042 and met his future self after finding a portal in his kitchen sink. That accumulated more than 2.8 million views. With those numbers in mind, ApexTV had a business model.

For the past year or so, the channel has gone all in on time traveler interviews. That led ApexTV to a guy named Noah.

Noah claims he’s lived for 50 years but, thanks to a combination of secret drugs, he is now 25 years old. In the past (or really, in the future), he worked on a secret project for the American government. He’s from the year 2030 but spent much of his life in 2021. Now, he’s stuck in 2018, and he can’t get back to his real life.

He’s also become the most popular “time traveler” to appear on ApexTV.

He first showed up about a year ago, and as Noah spoke, he said he was fearful about being assassinated. Later, he began to cry. He said time travel became possible in 2003 but was kept top secret until it was released to the public in 2028.

Unlike most everybody else ApexTV has encountered, Noah has returned to the channel a number of times, participating in hours-long conversations with fans and taking a lie-detector test in a video that received nearly 4 million views. He’s like a recurring character on a TV sitcom, showing up every once in a while, and ApexTV said Noah helped the channel grow even larger in popularity.

“I think it’s because Noah comes across as believable and also he is very spontaneous with his answers,” Theresa Fitton, a fan of ApexTV and a contemporary landscape artist from the U.K., told the Daily Dot. “I was hooked [on ApexTV] from the start but mostly with the Noah videos.”

Fitton believes in time travel, but she didn’t say whether she believes Noah is truly from the future. Regardless, she finds him compelling. She’s not alone.

“It was a story people could follow,” ApexTV said. “He kept coming back for more interviews. He kept telling us he couldn’t do anymore. Then, we’d get another email, and he’d want to reveal more about the future, or so he claims. He became a character in a way.”

Noah said he predicted Stephen Hawking’s death a few weeks before it happened, and he says that Yolanda Renee King—Martin Luther King’s preteen granddaughter—will eventually become president. That first prediction, he said, built his credibility.

“I have seen my story translated into so many languages I can’t keep track,” Noah told the Daily Dot via email. “I don’t know why some people like me, but I am very grateful for everyone that does.”

Yet, Noah must be making up stories because time travel—at least how everybody on the channel describes it—doesn’t exist.

That’s not to say time travel isn’t possible. There are well-regarded scientists who believe that it’s conceivable. Brian Greene, a theoretical physics professor at Columbia University, said there are two ways that time travel could occur.

If a spaceship could travel at the speed of light, the astronauts inside would age slower than the people who remained on Earth.

You could travel at the speed of light (186,282 miles per second) for six months and then spend the next six months on your return trip to Earth. You’d be a year older, but everybody else on Earth would have aged exponentially more. In essence, your body would have traveled into the future.

“This is not controversial stuff,” Greene told Business Insider last year. “Any physicist who knows what they’re talking about agrees with this.”

Option No. 2, according to Greene: If wormholes exist, it’s possible somebody could traverse through one like a tunnel and come out of the other side in a different space and time. Wormholes are an idea that you could take a shortcut in space that drastically reduces your travel time across the universe, as Einstein proclaimed in his theory of general relativity. This idea seems unlikely to plenty of scientists, but Greene hasn’t ruled it out.

The supposed time travelers in the ApexTV videos aren’t journeying into space, though. Most of them say they’ve traversed time thanks to secret machines that aren’t yet available to the public. Noah was vague in his description of how he time traveled, but he said that he has a chip implanted in his wrist that help facilitate his journeys.

Noah, though, wants to be interviewed, because he says he wants to spread his truth for the good of humanity. Millions of people can’t help but listen. You can’t see his face, but he’s entertained viewers for hours. From what we know, Noah is not much different from anybody else on this channel. All of them seem to be saying the same thing.

If you watch enough ApexTV, you’ll notice that many, if not all, of the “time travelers” have similar stories. Most of them are wanted by somebody, or they’re in danger of being hurt or killed because they’re divulging the secrets they’re not supposed to share. They have to be very careful with their identity, which is why many prefer anonymity.

They all seem to have the same talking points. Time travel will be available late next decade. The future is beset by climate change. Artificial intelligence is a real danger. Overpopulation is making life difficult. You may start to wonder if ApexTV is really a front for a pro-environmental, anti-technology group.

“Well, we are funded by Al Gore,” ApexTV joked.

ApexTV says it doesn’t know who these people are or from where they emerge. Their messages show up in his email inbox, we’re told. He looks at their proof. He listens to their revelations. Sometimes, he travels internationally to record his chats with them (the farthest he went for an interview is Armenia, he says). He takes the recordings from Skype sessions or from videos they’ve shot themselves and sent in, he does a small amount of fact-checking, and he writes a script. Then, a small team of mostly part-timers edits them and translates them into Spanish for his ApexTV Español channel (which boasts more than 250,000 subscribers). ApexTV does the voice-overs, and he uploads them to his channel.

He refers to the subjects of his videos as “supposed time travelers” or “quote unquote time travelers,” but he doesn’t say they’re telling the truth. It’s possible ApexTV knows characters like “Noah” in real life and uses them for his fun videos.

ApexTV ApexTV/YouTube

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“If I were to tell you the truth, several people we’ve met have been… different,” ApexTV said. “I will admit, though, that they seem like normal everyday people. That might lead some people to speculate whether they’re telling the truth. Or it could be seen as credible that they’re relatively normal. I think the majority of people truly believe what they’re saying.”

One thing ApexTV knows is that plenty of people don’t believe the time travelers. And some get really upset at him for posting their videos. ApexTV said he’s received death threats—that’s one reason why he prefers to keep his identity and location a secret—and he’s seriously pondering whether he should stop interviewing his subjects in person. Noah, meanwhile, told the Daily Dot that the level of animus he received put him in a “severe state of depression.”

There have been occasions where ApexTV has refused to upload a video, he says, because he knows the subject isn’t telling the truth. Mostly, though, he lets viewers decide for themselves.

“In the first 10 minutes of a new video going up, we get a lot of supportive comments,” he said. “As the videos get on major news networks and the people we’ve interviewed go on TV, there does seem to be bigger waves of hate after that. But it’s inevitable that if you’re claiming to be a time traveler, people aren’t going to believe it.”

In this context, being mysteriously entertaining is just as important as telling the truth. Other YouTubers seem split—but they’re talking about it.

After reviewing a past ApexTV video, the host of the Reaction Time channel said, “I don’t believe it. I think it’s a hoax.” Another YouTuber on the Mitchell Reacts channel declared after watching, “I love time traveling videos. … Personally, I believe in time travel. I’m not even kidding. Time is in space, right? I don’t know how it works. But I believe in it.”

Noah doesn’t believe all the videos produced by ApexTV feature actual time travelers. “I do realize that what I’m saying sounds crazy from an outside perspective, and I try to keep an open mind to people with stories like mine,” he said. “But inconsistencies in some of their stories and things that I know to be true in the future keep me skeptical sometimes. I honestly would not believe someone claiming the same things I am if I had no outside knowledge of the secret time travel programs taking place.”

But the internet is fascinated, and that interest has allowed ApexTV to turn his channel into a full-time job. He says he runs a few tech blogs on the side, but his main focus is maintaining and growing the channel. He has plans. He’s selling his own merchandise now, he’s pondered the possibility of having his videos translated into Arabic, and he’d like to branch out from being a channel that only interviews time travelers.

But then he looks at the traffic of that content and he looks at his email inbox—on the day he chatted with the Daily Dot, three supposed time travelers had already contacted him—and he understands that he’s in the business of giving people what they want, whether or not this is all make-believe.

“It’s hard,” he said, “to turn that off.”

Six minutes after beginning his frenetic explanation, the man from the year 2045 feels he’s said enough. The wind continues to howl. The leaves continue to blow. The man continues his paranoid ranting. Then, he’s done.

After displaying his futuristic video footage of his (obviously CGI) mega-city, he rises from a bench, gives a hasty goodbye, and rushes off camera.

ApextTV time travel YouTube future video 2045 ApexTV/YouTube

ApexTV doesn’t know what to make of that. But he knows the path forward. He remembers his early days of YouTube when he checked his channel’s analytics and he discovered that there were viewers from Argentina. He can’t forget that thrill. So, despite the death threats and the controversy he invites, he doesn’t want to stop his channel’s progress. It’s too entertaining, and too many people are watching.

“It’s still a shock to me that I’m doing this and that I’m part of this,” he said. “I see how many people are watching. I feel an obligation now because there’s so much momentum with people reaching out to us, sending us audio files and video files. That’s what keeps me going.”

ApexTV doesn’t know what happened to the man from 2045. They haven’t talked since the encounter. Was any of that real? Is there anything honest on the channel? If you’re being entertained, ApexTV’s success shows, the truth hardly matters.

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz is the Weekend Editor for the Daily Dot and covers the world of YouTube. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. He’s also a longtime sports writer, covering the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.