Everything you know about calendars is wrong. Or so says Dr. Hans-Ulrich Niemitz, author of “Did the Early Middle Ages Really Exist?” Dr. Niemitz’s paper proposes that roughly 300 years of medieval history were fabricated.

The theory of the phantom years, or The Phantom Time Hypothesis, suggests that the years 614 CE to 911CE never happened and were, instead, inserted into the timeline of our history. Meaning that this year would be the year 1716, not the year 2013 as the unenlightened claim.

The addition of 300 years of history may seem impossible, but it is not as crazy as it sounds. Calendars are always, to a certain degree, arbitrary.

Our calendar, the Gregorian calendar, uses the proposed birth of Jesus as its year zero. Furthermore, it uses the earth’s orbit around the sun to determine the length of a year and the earth’s rotation to determine the length of a day.

This style of recording, however, is problematic as the rotation of the earth and its orbit are completely unrelated. This discrepancy makes perfect calendars impossible (this being the cause of February’s many lengths).

It was one such problem in annual accounting that led to the move away from Julius Caesar’s (the Julian) calendar, and the main argument for the Phantom Time Hypothesis. Without becoming mired in detail, there should have been a remainder of 13 days (one for every hundred years or so) when the switch was made from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. Instead, there was a difference of only 10 days.

Add to this the large gaps in archaeological evidence and architectural advancement between these years, and you have the recipe for a full-blown conspiracy theory.

“I must emphasize that the thesis of the phantom years is one proposal for solving those problems,” wrote Dr. Niemitz. “There exists,” he continued, “an unexpressed and unconscious prohibition against questioning the chronology as if it were unimpeachable.”

Calendars do seem unimpeachable, and yet we run into different calendars frequently. The Chinese and Jewish new years are different than our own. Even within European countries there are different calendars.

Michele Lalich, the daughter of Serbian immigrants, celebrates all the Christian holidays twice, since she ascribes to both the Gregorian and Christian Orthodox calendar.

As you are likely aware, the world did not end on December 21, 2012, as was predicted by people who misunderstood the Mayan calendar. Do not get too comfortable yet, though, the end may still be nigh, just wait 300 or so years.

Like the Mayan apocalypse and Y2K, this theory is not that sinister. The government is not lying to us, nor are these phantom years the proof of some ridiculously circuitous plot to keep us down. Unsurprisingly, this phantom time is likely due to an error or, at worst, vanity.

This theory points out the very tenuous grasp we have of our own history. If, however, the Mayans were right, it may be time to invest in space travel for the sake of our great-great-great-great-great grandchildren.

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