Every so often, a miracle does happen.
The latest miracle is the discovery of the world’s oldest recorded message in a bottle out of the sea. Rendered illegible due to dampness, the news is still pretty darn scintillating.
101 years ago in Germany, a message in a bottle was cast in the sea, which went on to float for several decades, reaching just a few generations late. The letter was presented to the writer’s overwhelmed 62-year-old granddaughter who was tear-struck.
A fisherman found the beer bottle last month from the Baltic in the northern port city of Hamburg, said Holger Von Neuhoff of the International Maritime Museum
"This is certainly the first time such an old message in a bottle was found, particularly with the bottle intact," he said.
Researchers sought to identify the person behind this message, ultimately tracking down the writer’s 62-year-old granddaughter Angela Erdmann, who lives in Berlin. "It was almost unbelievable," she told the German news agency DPA.
Last week, Angela Erdmann held the bottle for the very first time at the Hamburg museum. Sealed within the bottle was a message on a postcard pleading the finder return it to the writer's home address in Berlin.
The researchers were able to decipher the mystery, concluding that the author of the world’s oldest bottled message was Richard Platz, who in 1913, threw the bottle in the Baltic while on a hike with a nature appreciation group
Berlin-based genealogical researcher then located Erdmann, who never knew her maternal grandfather as he died in 1946 at the age of 54.
Von Neuhoff said a handwriting comparison with letters penned by Platz later in life confirmed that he was "without a doubt" the author.
Erdmann told local newspapers that the surprise discovery had moved her to scour family scrapbooks to learn more about her grandfather.
The beer bottle will be on display at the museum until May 1, after which experts will try to make sense of the rest of the message.
The Guinness World Records had previously identified the oldest message in a bottle as dating from 1914, making it 98 years old.