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Oldest Message in Bottle: Behind History's Famous Floating Notes

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posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 01:09 PM
Oldest Message in Bottle: Behind History's Famous Floating Notes

New find recalls "amazing paths" of drifting documents since ancient times.

Ensconced in a plain glass bottle, the scrap of paper drifted in the North Sea for 98 years. But when a Scottish skipper pulled it from his nets near the Shetland Islands (map) last April, he didn't find a lovelorn note or marooned sailor's SOS.

"Please state where and when this card was found, and then put it in the nearest Post Office," read the message. "You will be informed in reply where and when it was set adrift. Our object is to find out the direction of the deep currents of the North Sea."

Sorry, romantics.

The message in a bottle found by Andrew Leaper—certified by Guinness World Records on August 30 as the oldest ever recovered—belonged to a century-old science experiment. To study local ocean currents, Capt. C. Hunter Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation set bottle number 646B adrift, along with 1,889 others, on June 10, 1914.

Found in a bottle set adrift 98 years ago, this document was part of an ocean-current study.


This "history in a bottle" story was very interesting, anyone experience something like this first hand or know of something intriguing floating ashore (non-Fukushima that is!)?

edit on 20-9-2012 by Ericthenewbie because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 01:29 PM
Here's some other stories I came across;

The Right Fisherman

In 1999, Steve Gowan spotted something clinging to his fishing nets. It was a very old bottle containing two letters written by Private Thomas Hughes, dated September 9, 1914. The first message asked the person that found the bottle to forward the second message to Hughes’ wife, Elizabeth. The note for Elizabeth was a nice, simple love letter, showing that his wife was in his thoughts as he made his way to France to fight in the early days of World War I.

After reading the letters, Gowan felt a great personal responsibility to see that they found their way home, even though he assumed Mrs. Hughes had died long ago. He began searching for her descendants and soon learned that Thomas and Elizabeth Hughes’ daughter was still alive in Auckland, New Zealand.

Sadly, Hughes died in battle shortly after he wrote the letters, so he never got to see Elizabeth, nor his two-year old daughter, Emily, ever again. Due to her young age at the time of his death, Emily never knew her father, though she grew up listening to stories about him from her mother and cherishing his posthumously award medals. So when The New Zealand Post offered to send Gowan to Auckland to hand deliver the bottle to Emily, he jumped at the chance to help her connect to this lost piece of her past.

For Emily, the bottle was a great source of joy and comfort. She said her father’s message couldn’t come home “until the right boat came along at the right time with the right fisherman.”

A Soldier To Watch Over Them

When Josh Baker was 10 years old, he dumped an entire bottle of his mother’s vanilla extract down the sink. He then wrote a quick note that said, “My name is Josh Baker. I’m 10. If you find this, put it on the news. The date is April 16, 1995.” He stuffed the note inside the empty extract bottle and threw it into Wisconsin’s White Lake.

Life went on and, after high school, Josh signed up for the Marines. During his tour of duty in Iraq, he survived the dangers of fighting door-to-door in Fallujah and made it back home to the U.S. safe and sound. Tragically, shortly after his homecoming, Josh was killed in a car accident, leaving his family and friends devastated and asking the obvious question, “Why?” A few months later, Steve Lieder and Robert Duncan, friends of Josh’s, were walking on the banks of White Lake, when they saw something glimmer on the water. After fishing it out, they realized it was a vanilla extract bottle with a piece of paper inside.

To friends and family, the message from 10-year old Josh appeared when they needed it most. It felt as though he was reaching out, letting them know that he was watching, and trying to help them move on. This message of hope is currently displayed in the Bakers’ home as a constant reminder that their son is still with them, even though he’s gone.

Love in a Bottle

Ake Viking was a lonely Swedish sailor who decided to place his search for love in the hands of fate. He wrote a simple letter “To Someone Beautiful and Far Away,” corked it inside a bottle, and tossed it overboard in the hopes that it might help him find a young woman to marry.

Two years later, in 1958, he was surprised to receive a letter from a Sicilian girl, Paolina, who said, “I am not beautiful, but it seems so miraculous that this little bottle should have traveled so far and long to reach me that I must send you an answer…” The two began writing one another and, three years after he threw a bottle into the sea, Ake moved to Sicily to marry his very long-distance love.

A Ticket to Freedom

During a 1979 cruise to Hawaii, Dorothy and John Peckham passed the time by writing notes and throwing them overboard inside empty champagne bottles. They asked anyone who found one of their bottles to write them back, and even went so far as to include a $1 bill to cover the postage.

On March 4, 1983, John’s 70th birthday, the couple received a letter from Hoa Van Nguyen. Nguyen, a former soldier in the Vietnamese Army, said he and his younger brother had found one of the Peckhams’ bottles as the two men were floating 15 kilometers from the shore of Songkhla Province in Thailand. They were braving the waters of the Pacific in a small, shallow riverboat in order to escape the Communist regime in Vietnam. When they saw the bottle, they felt as though a prayer had been answered, giving them the strength to carry on. After reading the letter, the Peckhams looked for Songkhla on a map and were shocked to find that the bottle had traveled 9,000 miles from Hawaii.

The Peckhams corresponded with Hoa for years, sharing in his joy when they received a photo from his wedding, then again nine months later when they saw his newborn son. But most of all, they empathized with Hoa’s desire to give his family the best life he could. So when Hoa asked if the Peckhams could help his family move to the U.S., they didn’t hesitate. After months of working with U.S. Immigration, the two families finally did meet in 1985, when a plane from Thailand landed in Los Angeles—the Nguyens’ new home.

edit on 20-9-2012 by Ericthenewbie because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 01:55 PM
Wow Eric, awesome and inspiring messages. Suddenly I feel the need to hurl a bottle into the deep blue. Sadly I am land locked here in TN.

Next time I am home in Pensacola you better believe my message will be sent out.

( I wonder if I can be fined for littering?)

posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 03:29 PM
Neat thread! I love the idea of messages in bottles. When I was on a cruise, off the north coast of Cuba in 2003, I wrote a note and put it in a plastic diet coke bottle and threw it overboard.

I doubt I'll ever know what happened to it, since I've moved several times since then, got married and changed my name....But I often wonder if anybody found it.

Anyway, some fascinating stories you've shared with us. Thanks!

posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 03:45 PM
Interesting to think of the "what if's" eh Fissiosurplus!

In keeping with the theme of the thread...

posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 05:39 PM
reply to post by Ericthenewbie

LOL, I thought of this song as I was writing my reply to your thread.

posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 06:07 PM
I found this story pretty interesting.

Jeremiah Burke from Co. Cork in Ireland, died when the Titanic sank in 1912. A year later a bottle was found on the shore near his home in Ireland that held a note that he wrote while onboard the ship.

The note said,. 'From Titanic, Goodbye All, Burke of Glanmire, Cork'

It was long believed that he had thrown the bottle overboard while the ship was sinking, but is now generally accepted that the note was thrown into the sea within a couple of days of leaving Cobh.

The bottle was given to him by his mother on the day of his departure and had contained holy water.
It is now on display in the Cobh heritage centre in Cork.

posted on Sep, 21 2012 @ 11:02 AM
reply to post by cahlmac

Thanks for contributing another story, much appreciated!

Here's a link to a site where a guy seeks and gathers a variety of "message in a bottle" stories and experiences.

In this blog, I will be posting about my experiences with finding messages in bottles, tracking down the senders, and hopefully, my experiences with meeting them in person.

Message in a Bottle Hunter

If you come across any others please don't hesitate in adding them to this thread

edit on 21-9-2012 by Ericthenewbie because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 21 2012 @ 02:39 PM
Here's another;

A Russian boy has answered a message in a bottle from a German child nearly a quarter of a century after it was dropped from a ship into the Baltic.

Message in bottle gets Russian reply 24 years on

posted on Sep, 21 2012 @ 03:18 PM
Some time ago I was thinking about a time capsule for our future generations.
Not message in a bottle but what who where when and how of current situation plus some "latest" items we got - Iphone 5 for eg. Sealed within thick stainless steel that can withstand water pressure it shall be drop into Pacific in the equator line for every year as a "I love you" postcard from us to our kids. Dunno about the engineering stuff, but at least something for them.

Sure, they might find or might not, but at least we try in hope and spirit of message in the bottle.
Our ancestors/somebody intentionally leave us Puma Punku, Trilithon, Granite balls (and yeah pyramid) for us to marvel showing their superiority, whats about us ? It might be bad news but nevertheless, a postcard from past is really something in the future.

I'm imagining an alien collecting it from a Mars like Earth

Anyone in ?

posted on Sep, 22 2012 @ 05:03 PM
Time capsules are generally pretty cool...they always seem to capture an accurate depiction of the era in which they are initially sealed.

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