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Photos recently offered for sale on eBay claim to show that Nicolas Cage and John Travolta were alive and well in the mid-19th century. How? The rationales range from vampirism to time travel.
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TODAY contributor
updated 1/23/2012 2:08:05 PM ET 2012-01-23T19:08:05

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The traditional biographies of iconic film actors Nicolas Cage and John Travolta go like this: Cage, born into Hollywood royalty (the Coppola family) gained a foothold in films with “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” in 1982, while John Travolta rose above his working-class New Jersey roots playing dim-bulb Vinnie Barbarino on TV’s “Welcome Back Kotter” in the 1970s

But two eBay entrepreneurs suggest the pair’s histories trace back farther — 150 years farther.

They’re hawking antique photographs taken in 1860 and 1870 of men who don’t just look uncannily like the two actors, but (according to the cheeky sellers) actually are them.

The eBay listing for the supposed Cage photo from Jack Mord of Seattle, Wash., that surfaced in early September inspired widespread Internet musings: It was a portrait from Bristol, Tenn., of a man taken in 1870 — a spitting image of the prolific actor. The asking price: A cool million dollars.

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Does Cage show his age?
To justify the steep price, Mord made the case that his possession was actual photographic proof that Cage is a real vampire — not just an actor who played one in the 1988 movie “Vampire’s Kiss.” “Personally, I believe it’s him (in the photograph) and that he is some sort of walking undead/vampire … who quickens/reinvents himself once every 75 years or so,” Mord wote in his eBay listing. “150 years from now he might be a politician, the leader of a cult or a talk show host.”

Story: Nicolas Cage's Son Restrained Following Psych Evaluation

The buzz around the supposed Cage portrait prompted a seller in Ontario to re-list an item that attracted little attention when it was first put up on eBay in August: an 1860 photo purportedly of Travolta.

The unidentified antique dealer, who had a 100 percent positive seller rating on eBay and avowed his photo was not doctored in any way, asked a comparatively reasonable $50,000 — but offered an equally explanation of how the star of such iconically 20th century films as “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease” could have been photographed more than 150 years ago.

“I know you are saying John Travolta is alive today in 2011 and he doesn’t look 151 years old,” the seller wrote. “John Travolta is a Scientologist, and many Scientologists believe in a type of reincarnation. Of course, time travel can’t be ruled out as well.”

Story: John Travolta Spotted Sans Hairpiece in Hawaii

As if the Cage-is-a-vampire and Travolta-is-a-time-traveler theories weren’t eye-grabbing enough, others on the Internet began serving up their own theories — with their tongues lodged firmly in their cheeks.

Of the supposed Cage photograph, Sean O’Neal wrote on the A.V. Club website: “Our own theory (is that) there has long been a secret race composed entirely of Nicolas Cages, which would explain both how he can seemingly make three or four movies simultaneously, and also why he needs to own more than a dozen homes — and often how he appeared disoriented and confused as to their location.”

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Of course, Cage, 47, and Travolta, 57 — or so they claim — have something else in common besides their supposed uncanny longevity: They co-starred in the 1997 thriller “Face/Off,” in which they exchanged faces.

But could those faces have been much, much older than either has let on? We’ll let you be the judge.

(For the record, Mord has recently pulled his dubious Cage photograph from eBay, and the equally questionable Travolta photograph has yet to find a buyer.) 

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