When I first saw this video on YouTube from filmmaker George Clark, I was surprised as the rest of the viral world who also watched it.
The video is a clip from the DVD extras of the Charlie Chaplin film “The Circus” and shows what appears to be a normal picture of hustle and bustle. However, upon closer inspection, there is a woman in the background (with unusually large feet and looking uncannily like a man in drag) talking into something in her/his ear. The object in question looks to be a rectangular black device, not unlike a mobile phone. Now we all know that mobile phones weren’t even invented at this time, which poses the curious question – why is there a woman talking into a mobile phone in a film from 1928?
Curiouser and curiouser.
Naturally, the speculations were rife. Most of them revolving around time travellers. Now I’m no scientist, in fact I all but flunked science at school, and whilst I admit that perhaps time travel is a little bit unrealistic, I don’t doubt that at some point in the future, it will be entirely possible. So are we seeing a human from the distant future time travelling back to 1928 just to see what the craic was with this Chaplin bloke?
Or is the whole thing so much easier to explain? I believe so.
I came across this site when researching for this post, which in turn linked me to this piece of interesting history. These are hearing aids which were manufactured in 1925. The woman in the video looks pretty well off, with her fur coat and hat so it’s not unlikely that she could have afforded a state of the art hearing aid. The device is also the exact same shape and size as the one in the video.
Mystery solved? Maybe. I’m still dubious about the fact that if she isn’t talking into a mobile phone, and is indeed using a hearing aid, then who is she talking to? Could she just be some crazy old woman talking to herself as she saunters down the road? And why does everything about her scream “man in drag”?
Answers on a postcard folks.