The 2006 film, Déjà Vu featured a machine that allowed people in the present to view events in the past. The machine utilizes a wormhole and has a restrictive range of what you can view (it goes back exactly 4 days, 6 hours, 3 minutes, 45 seconds). This is one of my favorite time travel movies and I was especially excited about the concept of the technological window to the past.
As it turns out, it is not a new concept and in fact might not be entirely fictitious…
In the 1950’s twelve world famous scientists allegedly developed a machine called the Chronovisor. The Chronovisor was described by one of the scientists, Father (yes, he was also a priest) Ernetti as a large cabinet with a cathode ray tube and a series of buttons. With the buttons one could select a specific time and location and through the tube, one could view (and hear) the past.
The development and construction of the Chronovisor was kept a secret, until Father Ernetti told his story to the author Francois Brune (another priest) in the early 60s. According to Ernetti, his machine worked by decoding and reproducing the electromagnetic radiation left behind from past events.
Ernetti claimed to have used the Chonovisor to view and photograph the crucifixion of Christ and also to witness and transcribe partions of a play called Thyestes by the Latin playwrite, Quintus Ennius.
Although there is no physical proof of the Chronovisor’s existence, it is believed that the Roman Catholic Church seized the machine and currently has it hidden at the Vatican.
This is not the only (or even the first) claim of a working time window. Many scientists have claimed to have created time viewing devices and you can read about many of them HERE.