Are we living out the results of a temporal conspiracy in which hundreds of years were smuggled into the Roman calendar to convince us that the Middle Ages happened? Are we really living in the 1700s? This chart explains.

According to Michael Paulkner, the source of this bizarrely lovely infographic, this theory can be traced to one man's strange obsession:

When Dr. Hans-Ulrich Niemitz introduces his paper on the "phantom time hypothesis", he kindly asks his readers to be patient, benevolent, and open to radically new ideas, because his claims are highly unconventional. This is because his paper is suggesting three difficult-to-believe propositions: 1) Hundreds of years ago, our calendar was polluted with 297 years which never occurred; 2) this is not the year 2010, but rather 1713; and 3) The purveyors of this hypothesis are not crackpots.

The only thing Niemitz left out is the man behind this whole conspiracy, who left abruptly in a police box shortly after 911 AD.

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Read more about this chart via Michael Paulkner (spotted on Brain Pickings)