Time Traveler Needs Dimensional Warp Generator

I, like many other people, recently received this email:
Hello,

I'm a time traveler stuck here in 2003. Upon arriving here my dimensional warp generator stopped working. I trusted a company here by the name of LLC Lasers to repair my Generation 3 52 4350A watch unit, and they fled on me. I am going to need a new DWG unit, prefereably the rechargeable AMD wrist watch model with the GRC79 induction motor, four I80200 warp stabilizers, 512GB of SRAM and the menu driven GUI with front panel XID display.

I will take whatever model you have in stock, as long as its received certification for being safe on carbon based life forms.

In terms of payment: I dont have any Galactic Credits left. Payment can be made in platinum gold or 2003 currency upon safe delivery of unit.

Please transport unit in either a brown paper bag or box to below coordinates on Monday July 28th at (exactly 3:00pm) Eastern Standard Time on the dot. A few minutes prior will be ok, but it cannot be after. If you miss this timeframe please email me.

Latitude N 42.48018 & Longitude W 071.15503 and the Elevation is 96. WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TRANSPORT ITEM BY REGULAR MEANS OF TELEPORTATION. THEY ARE MONITORING AND WILL REDIRECT THE SIGNAL!! I DO NOT CARE HOW YOU HAVE TO GET IT HERE, JUST DO IT IN A WAY THAT NO SPYING EYES WILL POSSIBLY BE ABLE TO REDIRECT THE TRANSFERENCE. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU BE ABLE TO MONITOR THE TRANSFER.

Although those coordinates are a secure guarded area, these channels through email are never secure. Unfortunately it is the only form of communication I have right now.

After unit has been sent please email me at: info@federalfundingprogram.com with payment instructions. Do not reply directly back to this email.

Thank You

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I almost deleted it without reading it, assuming it was typical spam. But then I started to read it and wondered, what in the world is this? Is it some kind of joke? A hoax?

After doing some research, I discovered that I wasn't the first person curious about this mystery email. People have been finding it in their inbox and wondering about it since at least late 2002, but no one really seems to have a solution as to what it is.

There are a few main theories:
  1. It's part of an elaborate scam to harvest deliverable email addresses. Evidence to support this conclusion includes the strange nonsense letters at the bottom of the email. People speculate that should someone reply to the email, these letters would indicate to the spammer what address he had originally contacted you at. But others say that these letters are truly just nonsense, created by the bulk email program the spammer used.

  2. It's a scam created by hackers to put some kind of virus into your computer. Evidence for this is that some people who went to the website http://www.federalfundingprogram.com (which is no longer active), claimed that a .exe file was automatically downloaded to their computer. No word on what this file did, however. And since that website is no longer up, there must be some other reason for the continued dissemination of the email.

  3. It's just a joke.

  4. The guy sending the email is certifiably nuts and really believes that he needs a dimensional warp generator.

  5. It's somehow connected to a secret government program, and if you respond to it the men in the black helicopters will be coming for you soon.

  6. Then, of course, there's the possibility that he really is a stranded time traveler.
To further research this mystery, I went to whois.org and looked up who federalfundingprogram.com was registered to. I found an email address, but when I googled this address I discovered that quite a few other people had my exact same idea. They had contacted the owner of the site, and all of them had received the same response from a man named Bob White, who purports to be genuinely interested in securing a Dimensional Warp Generator. One guy, Dave Hill, has taken his email communication with the time traveler quite far. Posing as a retailer in alien technology, he even set up this online store to showcase his wares to the time traveler. Dave has come to the conclusion that the time traveler is not joking, but is instead completely nuts and needs to be hospitalized.

But given how many people 'Bob White' has corresponded with, I suspect that he's sending the emails as a prank just to see what responses he gets.

Intriguingly, Sean Sosik-Hamor over at Inert Ramblings received an email giving him an exact time and location at which to deliver the Dimensional Warp Generator. He was to go to the corner of Cummings Ave. and Village Street in Woburn, MA at 3:00 PM on July 28, 2003. Out of curiosity, Sean went there. He found other people there, lurking around, but eventually he left without seeing anything happen.

Anyway, until I hear otherwise, I'm considering the 'Time Traveler in need of a Dimensional Warp Generator' to be a bizarre prank.


Update: August 6, 2003
David Emery, at About.com, has dug up some interesting clues about the time-travel spammer. He notes that an authentic mind warper generator was once offered for sale on eBay, as well as a Generation 4 Dimensional Warp Generator. Bidding on these items has closed. He also notes that there's speculation that the mystery spammer is a well-known, Woburn-based spammer named Robert Todino, since the mystery spammer states that he lives in the Woburn area. But someone who wrote to me claims to have talked to the time traveler on the phone and supports the theory that the guy is crazy as a loon.

Update: August 8, 2003
Dave Kaplan has sent me some interesting correspondence that he has had with the time traveler.