Andrew Basiago and Project Pegasus
I had heard about Andrew Basiago before, but I had forgotten about him until watching a recent episode of Jesse Ventura's Conspiracy Theory. Basiago claims that between the ages of 7 and 12, he participated in an ultra-top-secret military program called "Project Pegasus." This was (according to Basiago) a DARPA project involving time travel.
Basiago says that DARPA used Tesla technology to create a portal which - in his explanation - sounds quite a lot like the prop from the Stargate movies and television show. The subjects of the experiment, all children, leaped through the vortex and were sent back in time.
According to Basiago's accounts, he was sent back primarily to the earliest years of United States history. He appeared once in George Washington's camp, and made several jumps related to Abraham Lincoln. In one of these, he claims to have been recorded in a famous photograph that Josephine Cogg took of president Lincoln. And indeed, the boy in the photograph does look somewhat like Basiago as a child. (But then again, so would a lot of kids.)
Perhaps the greatest refutation of Basiago's claims is the plain fact of the world as it is today. If the United States military truly had the ability to send people to different locations and eras in the past, surely they would have put it to better use by now. Why would the military take what is literally the most powerful weapon on the planet, and put it in mothballs?
And then there is the question of why DARPA would use children in these experiments. The idea of the military performing experiments on American children sounds preposterous in any context, particularly one as dangerous and complicated as sending them back in time. And why would the kids' parents sign off on it? The concept of "informed consent" was first introduced in the late 1950s, and was well in place by the early 1970s, when Basiago claims to have been involved in these experiments.
Even if we take the extremely cynical view that the US military does whatever it wants, whenever it wants, why would DARPA use kids in the first place? Basiago's explanation is that children would be less alarming to the locals than the sight of a full-grown modern military recruit. But children are simply not as capable as adults, in any capacity. In fact, an unattended eight year old wandering around Gettysburg would probably attract more attention than a trained and appropriately-attired adult.
Jesse Ventura came to the conclusion that Project Pegasus may have been an experiment in hypnotic suggestion, a.k.a. mind control. That Basiago may be experiencing false, planted memories. That's still a stretch, but it's still more plausible than time travel.