Who Was Rudolph Fentz?

Who Was Rudolph Fentz?

The strange case of Rudolph Fentz seemed to have been put to bed when a ​folklore researcher named Chris Aubeck provided evidence that the story was nothing more than fiction.

That all seemed to change in 2007 when a 1951 newspaper report came to surface…

Rudolph Fentz

In 1950 a strange looking man in Victorian clothing suddenly appeared from nowhere in the middle of Times Square.

He stood out like a sore thumb and onlookers reported him looking very worried and bewildered. Within minutes he was hit by a passing car and killed on impact – it was as if he had no idea what a car was!

When his body arrived at the local morgue they searched his pockets and found the following items…

  • A beer token that had an imprint of a saloon on it that was not from the area
  • A receipt for a horse care service that was not listed anywhere in the area
  • Just under $100 in banknotes from a bygone era
  • ​Business cards that contained his name along with a business address on Fifth Avenue
  • A letter with his address on it that was dated on June 1876 ( the letter had been sent from Philadelphia )

​All of these objects were considered very old but not one of them showed any signs of age – they were certainly NOT fakes.

The Missing Persons Department

This was obviously a case for the Missing Persons Department of NYPD and they took it upon themselves to figure this mystery out.

At first they checked out the info on the business cards and managed to locate it on Fifth Avenue. When they got hold of the owner he claimed that he had never heard of a Rudolph Fentz.

They then went through address books and fingerprint records and found nothing on the stranger – there were no reports of anyone missing that fitted his description.

The investigation faltered until one day an officer stumbled upon a record of a Rudolph Fentz Jr. in a telephone book of 1939. Could this be the lead they were looking for?

They paid a visit to the building where Fentz Jr. had lived and some residents claimed to have known him quite well. They informed the authorities that he was a man of approximately 60 years in age and he had retired to an unknown location back in the 40’s.

After more diligent searching they managed to locate Fentz Jr’s widow in Florida. When they interviewed her they found out that her late husband’s father had disappeared in in 1876 aged 29.

Nobody knew what had happened to him – he simply disappeared one night.

Chris Aubeck – Fact or Fiction?

In 2000 a folklore expert named Chris Aubeck decided to head his own investigation into the Rudolph Fentz mystery.

He wasn’t able to find the original source of the story but he did conclude that it was nothing more than folklore and fiction mixed together.

He had discovered that a 1952 Robert Heinlein science fiction anthology, entitled Tomorrow, The Stars had contained a story identical to the one surrounding Rudolph Fentz.

The author had passed away and there seemed to be a bit of difficulty locating the book itself but people now believed that Rudolph Fentz was a fictional character…

A Twist in The Tale…

In 2007 a researcher working for the then Berlin News Archive managed to get hold of a article dated to 1951. This article reported the appearance and demise of Rudolph Fentz in detail.

The article was actually published several months before Robert Heinlein’s science fiction anthology was even penned.

This led to a newer breed of researcher uncovering proof that Rudolph Fentz did actually exist and he did disappear at the age of 29 in 1876…

What are your thoughts on the strange case of Rudolph Fentz? Was he a fictional character or was he the real-life inspiration for a 1950’s science fiction anthology? Please leave your opinions in the comment section below.

26 comments on “Who Was Rudolph Fentz?

  1. In 2007 a researcher working for the then Berlin News Archive managed to get hold of a article dated to 1951. This article reported the appearance and demise of Rudolph Fentz in detail.

    Could you have not perhaps included this article?

    1. Hi Matt. Unfortunately we couldn’t find a Royalty Free copy of this article and we are not in the business of ‘borrowing’ images off other sources on the web – the penalties can be quite a drag and end up ruining our hard work ( aka we learned the hard way! )

    2. The periodical is “Colliers Weekly” and the story named “I’m scared” by Jack Finney is in the September 15, 1951 edition. The story begins on page 24 and continues later in the issue. Rudolph Fentz is one of several stories told by the narrator regarding time travel. The story includes all the plot points, including finding the widow of the son (conveniently named Rudolph Fentz, Jr) whose father disappeared when the son was very young. The entire article is a short story that is clearly FICTION.

    1. I was in two minds whether to let this comment through moderation but then I realized every asshole needs a voice and published it anyway. It’s just a simple mystery that has been banging about for many years now – some believe it is based on the works of fiction whilst others believe the evidence is true. That’s what makes it a mystery Ian – hence the name of our site!
      We’re sorry we wasted five minutes of your day doing our job and we’ll try and provide something more up your street next time…
      ( Any ideas? )

      1. I think the story was great and certainly piqued my interest.. most definitely not a waste of time…I wish we really knew what happened.

  2. Not sure on this one.

    I’d like to see the news article they supposedly dug up and whatever evidence was uncovered to prove someone named Rudolph Fentz did indeed disappear in 1876.

    For that matter, why are there no copies of this book with the short story in it?

    Odd all around.

    I’m of a mind that weird things happen everyday and who are we to dismiss what we can’t prove.

  3. It sound very interesting but is it fact or fiction? Are there police reports? Did the items described really exist? Check census records for fentz right?

    1. It’s one of those mysteries that has been floating around for quite a while now – a simple Google search will bring up people that believe it’s fact AND people that believe it’s fiction. The story’s origins are the real mystery here!
      It’s firmly down to the individual…but in my experience there’s no smoke without fire!

  4. Theoretically moving forward in time and back is possible depending on speed and direction. I think its perfectly reasonable to add time travel into one of the many possibilities of what happened to this man. He could have been victim of a time travel experiment somewhere in our own future, that hasn’t happened yet our own time

    1. Hi Dave, Thanks for stopping by and leaving your opinion on the subject. I like the idea of a time travel experiment somewhere in our own future – interesting 🙂

    2. This story hits on the idea of the missing Thunderbird/Aka Pteredactyl photo. My take on this incident is that someone wanted to prove time travel (in the past) was/is possible. I and many others believe that they saw this picture (of a huge dead bird tacked to a barn with many hunters/cowboys pictured below it). I saw it in library book which is now probably out of print. At the time, I unfortunately dismissed the image as fake(d). What I believe happened is someone went back in time and destroyed the just taken photo. Hence, it will no longer appear in that or any book about it. Whoever this person was, probably won that bet/argument and proved time travel.

  5. I believe this story is true.I’ve heard about this back in 1997.i think there’s a very organized campaign going on to discredit it and it’s believers .Alan Hynek denied existence of UFOs all the time while admitting their existence privately .

    1. Hi Lincoln, thanks for popping by and jumping on our bandwagon – we’ve never had any reason to think that this story was fabricated ( and we came across it many times before we decided to write an article on it! ). Cheers for your input 🙂

  6. I beleive it but it would be nice to see the article that the person from the Berlin News Archive found from 1951. Its a known fact that the government has “trolls” that “debunk” a lot of stories like this. To that I say check the story of Jim Penniston in Rendelsham Forest, The Philadelphia experiment, etc etc. The fact is that Nikola Tesla, the greatest mind of our time, was onto time travel and is responsible for almost all the tech we have today. Another fact is the FBI confiscated all his work the day he died. The truth is way stranger than fiction. The sumerians were not the first major civilization; 10,000 yrs ago there were the Dogons at Nabta Playa, theres a 9500 year old civilization found underwater off the west coast of india, theres what appears to be a large civilization off the coast of cuba now underwater that is believed to be tens of thousands of years old…Skeletons of humanoids with elongated skulls or giant skeletons…Check out Salamanca church built between 1600 and 1800 and the astronaut carved into the front, Recently unearthed chinese tomb (forgot the name but you can research it and it pops up easily on google) thats 400 years old that had a small ring sized artifact that looked like a shrunken watch that had the word “swiss” engraved on the back…There is so much evidence out there that ANYTHING including time travel is possible, but this type of revelation would cause us to question our government (who has all the money power and resources) so why wouldnt they send out trolls (and its a FACT they do, its part of their using media to decieve the public -MILDEC for short campaign) to “debunk” everything by paying off “credible” people to do so? Such a shame…just so that Fat Cats can stay fat forever..thats what it boils down to. have a nice day!

    1. I’m wide open to the other anomalies you’ve posted – the watch, ancient batteries, etc. – wow! However the Salamanca astronaut isn’t a time traveller. It’s well-documented to have been added during an early-1990’s restoration as both a kind of “Easter egg” and an homage to the long-standing practice among cathedral-builders of including carvings evocative of their own era.

  7. I hope we’d get more such interesting stories on about here.It was a real fun reading Rudolph Fentz as I have heard a lot to stories about him.

      1. The short story you mention about time travel was written by Jack Finney, called “I’m Scared”. He was a famous Sci-Fi writer who is most well known for Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The story in question was published in 1951 in Collier’s. I’m not sure if this story was published at the same time, before, or after the news article that was allegedly found

        1. There is no “news” article. The article in question is actually a short story, published as fiction in Collier’s in the September 15, 1951 issue. The name of the story is “I’m Scared” and the author is Jack Finney. The story starts on pg. 24 and continues later in the issue. Everything is there about Rudolph Fentz – even the widow of the son who is tracked down in Florida.

          1. It’s not proof one way or the other, but the specific details noted in the report are a hallmark of Jack Finney’s style. He’d offer meticulous descriptions of an individual’s pocket contents, desk drawers, etc. As someone interested in numismatics he’d pay special attention to bills and coins, even fashioning an entire novel around an out-of-place coin in “The Woodrow Wilson Dime”.

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