Screw with history for fun & mischief. One rule: no killing.

For the next 168 hours I will be making RhymerTech* continua buggies available to various Dopers. The verniers will be locked down so that you are confined to our universe, and you can only go into the past; minimum trip of 100 years. I’m looking to cause some chronal chaos, so anybody who wants to borrow the keys will have to persuade me that they’ll be screwing with the timeline in one way or other. You don’t have to be outright evil, but you do have to change things at least mildly for the worse.

One rule: no killing allowed. It’s not that I’m against murder; I just want you guys to exercise your creative muscles.

  • What’s that? You say Jacob Burroughs invented the continua device? Says who? If Burroughs wanted credit for his alleged “invention,” he shouldn’t have gotten in front of my shotgun.

I’d like to go back a bit more than 100 years so I can screw with the various forefathers of invention. Edison and Franklin being the two I had in mind. Nothing huge, just moving various items in their workshops to different places during the night. See if maybe I can’t drive them to insanity to see how that works out for humanity.

I think I’ll subtly change the teachings of Jesus…

Details. You’re not getting the keys until you convince me I’ll be amused.

I’ll tie up Alexander Graham Bell’s attorney for a few hours so that Elisha Gray can get his patent application in first.

Well, not literally tie him up, unless it turns out to be necessary.

Homosexuality and polygamy approved of. Nudity is nothing to be ashamed of and is in fact, encouraged “on the shores of the sea”. Children should be kept in the home, out of public view for their first seven years. An entire chapter of Christ railing against people “who knoweth not where they walk in public places”, complete with the story of the inobservant man crashing into Jesus and being struck blind and lame.

And yes, the sermon on the mount would actually say “Blessed are the cheese makers”.

But would it represent ALL manufacturers of dairy products?

Henry VIII falls madly in love with Catherine of Aragon. They live happily ever after and have a passle of little kinglets. England remains Catholic and the Reformation never happens. Martin Luther is a forgotten footnote in history. North America is never settled, just exploited like the land to the South. Any European expansion is going to have to go either South or East, with undoubtedly hilarious consequences.

Are we allowed to indirectly kill someone, for example by inciting a war, outing or falsifying a scandal, or something like that, as long as we don’t personally pull the trigger, swing the sword, or whatever?

I suppose your origin story is off-limits, right Skald?

I like the idea of certain key events having long-lasting effects.
How about we somehow convince McClellan that the Antietam battle plans were accurate AND Lee’s forces were depleted?

Change the first Telegraphed Morse Code Message to:
a.) What Hath Rod Bought

b.) One large, one small, extra cheese

c.) Please wait and listen to the following while your party is reached – dti, dit, dit, dit, dit, dit, …

Okay, I got one: Intercept Grace Bedell’s letter before it gets to Abraham Lincoln. I want to see how the Lincoln presidency, and his later legacy, would have turned out without the beard.

How are you going to make that happen? Raid the Rhymer warehouse for some love potion #10 (#9 doesn’t seem to have the affect you are looking for)? And it wasn’t a lack of love that was the problem, it was the lack of male children - not sure how you’re going to fix that.

And Luther started his trouble in 1517 with the posting of his 95 Theses - Henry set Catherine aside in 1531, so I don’t think Henry’s break with Rome affected the Reformation much; if anything, he piggybacked on it, Luther having shown the Pope could be ignored.

Can’t kill Hitler, per the OP’s rules… but we could arrange for him to be “discovered” as an artist well before the whole “kill the Jews” thing got started. Whereupon he’d get quite rich, move to a Caribbean country, and be known as an artistic weirdo who wasn’t too fond of his neighbors, the Rosenbaums.

(in fairness, I stole the initial premise from a SF story).

I’d go back to 1660 or so with a big pile of modern university textbooks covering assorted scientific topics and give/sell them to the folks at the University of Oxford. Let’s see how the colonial era and industrial revolution unfold when Britain gets an additional three and a half centuries of know-how.

I plan to do nothing strange or life altering with the time machine.
I’m going to don a t-shirt and sunglasses, go back to 1941 and watch the grand re-opening of South Forks Bridge in Gold Bridge, British Columbia, Canada.

Give the buggy to Chimera!:smiley:

I’d slip a dose of antibiotics into Alexander the Great’s wine around the first of June 323 BC. Since he doesn’t die suddenly at the age of 32, he lives another 3 to 4 decades as the ruler of a unified Greek empire stretching from the Egypt to India. This gives him plenty of time to found a dynasty, insuring the empire’s existence and stability for centuries. It’s guaranteed to majorly screw up the evolution of Rome, the birth of Christianity & Islam, and maybe even the histories of India and China.

I would find out who your great grandparents were and encourage them to raise their offspring with an insane hatred of hypothetical situations.

Or you could simply not open my threads.