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Why is there a historic sign reading ‘Tear in the Space-Time Continuum’ in uptown Charlotte?

I’m not going to leave you in suspense with the question in the headline: I have no idea.

Now I realize it’s bad form to post a story that doesn’t answer the question in the headline, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

The tip

Reader and friend Philip Sanford sent me a photo of this sign back on May 8. It has the N.C. Historic Sites logo on top with “Tear in the Space-Time Continuum” written beneath and a black arrow pointing toward the older Duke Energy Building.

Is that real? I asked.

“Yes,” he wrote back. “I can’t find an explanation for it during the many hours I have searched.”

I got busy with other C5 projects, but this sign kept nagging at me. Last week I decided to investigate.

The investigation

I rode my bike over to the corner of Poplar and Stonewall — across from the older Duke Energy building and right by the old Charlotte Observer parking lots, near the Panthers stadium — last week to see if the sign was still there. Yep.


There’s nothing on the back and nothing to explain its existence, just the logo for N.C. Historic Sites, which looks legit. But there’s nothing on the organization’s website mentioning “Tear in the Space-Time Continuum.”

A screenshot from the N.C. Historic Sites website showing the organization's logo.A screenshot from the N.C. Historic Sites website showing the organization’s logo.

I followed the sign, biking down Stonewall and turning right on Mint, but found no such space-time continuum tear.

N.C. Historic Sites?

So I called N.C. Historic Sites Deputy Director Charles LeCount to ask him about it. He seemed baffled. He said the logo looked hand-painted, but other than that he had no clue. He promised to ask around the office.

“So, far no one has any answers to where or why it is there,” he said in an email Friday.


Next, I reached out to someone at the Charlotte Department of Transportation to see if they knew anything about the sign on a city street.

“I’ve checked with several CDOT sources and it doesn’t appear to be something CDOT installed,” Linda Durrett, CDOT Communications and Public Relations Manager, said in an email.

Duke Energy?

Thinking it might be some kind of super-obscure Duke Energy reference or protest, I shot an email to Randy Wheeless, who is in the company’s corporate communications department.

“Nope. Nothing we put up,” he said in an email. “A co-worker thinks it may have been put up by convention goers at the Heroes convention the other week.”

Unlikely, since the sign’s been up since May and HeroesCon happened June 17-19.

Charlotte Center City Partners?

Durrett from CDOT suggested I reach out to Charlotte Center City Partners, so I contacted Adam Rhew over there to see if he knew anything.

“Whoa, that’s really weird,” he emailed back. “I’ll ask around the office, but I haven’t heard anything about it.”

I messaged him Sunday to find out if he’d heard anymore information — no one he talked to knew about it.

So what now?

Finally, I messaged Sanford again to see if he’d learned anything since he first messaged me. He showed me a Facebook post that shows another sign at Park and Selwyn. I drove out there Sunday and, sure enough, there it is, pointing south down Park Road.


Then he found this post (he is clearly a better Googler than I), which references a similar sign at Park and Sharon in 2002 and links to a site about Cameron Yards Municipal Stadium, which seems as fake as it is thoroughly weird. The site also uses the N.C. Historic Sites’ logo. I sent an email via the contact form on the website but have yet to hear back.

So we still haven’t found any real answer. Is this just some elaborate, long-running prank?

UPDATE: Here’s what we have learned about the “Tear in the Space-Time Continuum” sign.

Now I’m asking the C5 community: Do you know anything about this sign?

Shoot an email to, post in the comments for this story on our Facebook page, or send me a tweet @CoreyInscoe if you have any information.

Together, we can get to the bottom of this.

Photos: Corey Inscoe