90 Year Old Man Discovers 83 Year Old Message in a Bottle is From His Father


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Living in the world of messages in bottles, there’s a certain level of coincidence that comes with the job. That’s what makes it so cool 🙂

But occasionally something happens that knocks even my socks off!

Laurence Reid, an Edinburgh resident who recently turned 90, spent his working life as a joiner, constructing the wooden elements of buildings and the like. According to a story published by the Edinburgh Evening News, he recently decided to donate an old carpenter’s plane to the Living Memory Association, which is not exactly a museum, but an organization that nevertheless keeps the past alive.

While there, Laurence and LMA worker Miles Tubbs, struck up a conversation. I can’t imagine the conversation they had that led to this next moment–but somehow Miles got the idea to show Laurence an item the Living Memory Association had recently acquired–a message in a bottle.

Laurence Reid Message in a Bottle

The message in a bottle at Living Memory Association. Photo: / Daily Mail

A few months before Laurence’s visit to the LMA, the bottle had been found by workers renovating a building in St. Peter’s Place in Viewforth, an area southwest of Edinburgh’s old town. Apparently, in knocking out walls and whatnot, this bottle, holding a note, was discovered in some hidden space. The guys who found it didn’t know exactly what to do with it, so they donated it to the Living Memory Association. And then Laurence came by.

When Laurence read the note, the whole world tilted.

The note, dated 1934, was signed by his father.

Not only that, but Laurence’s brother and his brother-in-law were also signatories.

In full, the simple note reads:

16th July 1934

This shop taken over by St. Cuthbert’s Co-op Assoc. and altered by Flying Squad.

N. Reid

J. Reid

W. Barclay


Laurence Reid and James Barclay

James Barclay, left (son of Willie Barclay); Laurence Reid, right (son of Neil Reid). Photo: / Daily Mail

Can you just imagine, for a minute, what this would be like? You are 90 years old. You have long understood that you would never hear from your parents again. But then, out of the clear blue, one day, you receive one final note from your dad. One final chance to connect. And to think–Laurence was just a kid, just 6 or 7 years old when his dad hid this message in a bottle. It reminds me of the story of Carl Ott’s message in a bottle, discovered after 87 years and given to his beloved granddaughter.

Neil Reid

Neil Reid, Laurence’s father (and James’s grandfather), who helped conceal the message in a bottle in 1934. Photo: Reid family /

As you can tell from the note, Laurence’s dad, brother, and brother-in-law (Neil, John, and Willie, respectively), were joiners, too. They concealed the bottle within the walls of a building they renovated. They never could have guessed that Laurence would stumble upon their note these 83 years later. James Barclay, son of Willie in the note (also the grandson of Neil and nephew to Laurence), wasn’t even born yet when the note was written.

James Barclay with Reid Message in a Bottle - Edinburgh Evening News

James Barclay with the message in a bottle signed by his dad and grandfather. Photo: Edinburgh Evening News.

The sheer coincidence of this story boggles the mind. That the message in a bottle survived so long; that the finders donated it instead of keeping it; that Laurence just happened to donate a tool to the same place; that Miles Tubbs happened to be working and decided to share the bottled note with Laurence. The whole thing is bananas! I love it!

One last thought: People who leave time capsules like this usually don’t just do it once. If anyone reading this knows a way to find other buildings renovated by Neil Reid, John Reid, and Willie Barclay, known as the Flying Squad, speak up! It’s possible that other bottles from these guys have already been found, but the finders didn’t know how to find their descendants. Or there could be other bottles waiting to be found in walls… This story is amazing already–but maybe it’s not over?


Edinburgh, by the way, is home to at least one other amazing message in a bottle story.

(Random sidenote: The building where the bottle was concealed in 1934 is in a spot called St. Peter’s Place in southern Edinburgh, near an area called Morningside. If you are a Proclaimers fan, you might recognize “Morningside” from the song, “Then I Met You,” when the guys sing, “I thought I knew this city / Thought I knew all about it / And then one night I went to Morningside and you were waiting”. Well, one thing they certainly didn’t know was that in visiting Morningside, they were within spitting distance of a message in a bottle so old it had been hidden for decades before they were even born! But this is one of the many things to love about Edinburgh: it is a city with a thousand layers of history, an endless supply of lovely surprises.)


Message in a Bottle Found: “These facts may surprise you…”


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My friends, I need your help!

Don Lehman, crime and county government writer for The Post Star in New York state, was fishing in the Hoosic River last week when he found a message in a bottle!

The message, from Evan Hutchinson of Cambridge, New York, is dated 2015, and strikes me as a truly intriguing find.

Evan writes:

If [this] is found [50 years] into the future, these facts may surprise you. The year is 2015. Global warming is a theory, not yet recognized by the US government. Adell’s “Hello” is the most popular song in America. Donald Trump is winning the race to the Republican nomination, and he is saying we should ban Muslims.

Evan Hutchinson Message in a Bottle

Message in a Bottle from Evan Hutchinson, found in the Hoosic River by Don Lehman. Photo: Don Lehman / The Post Star.

It makes you wonder–what will people think of all this in 50 years?

Evan’s note got me thinking…

It’s actually not suprising at the moment that climate change is still not taken seriously in the US. It’s bizarre, but not surprising. This has been the status quo for years. I’m really not sure why, when just shy of 100% of scientists worldwide agree climate change is real and caused by humans, but somehow, a great number of Americans have convinced themselves (or been convinced by people seeking public office) that climate change is a hoax. Maybe it’s less scary to believe that? Maybe they believe there’s some vast, global conspiracy among scientists? But this isn’t the case in other countries. As I’ve traveled in the UK, France, and Germany, I have found the vast majority of average people understand that climate change is real and caused by humans. One recent survey of those very countries found “a clear majority think that climate change is at least partly caused by human activity”. Today, more Americans believe climate change is real than don’t, but we’re taking our sweet time catching up to other western nations on this.

Meanwhile, We keep breaking records for the hottest recorded years, and as the global temperature rises, a cycle is set in motion that results in acidification of the ocean, which is rapidly killing coral reefs. As NOAA says, “Climate change = ocean change”.

Here in Utah, we keep breaking record after record for heat. But that’s nothing special, since cities across the country are breaking heat records, as is the earth itself.

So, Evan, it will indeed be interesting to see what people think of climate change in 50 years! Most countries seem to understand it pretty darn well already, but we’ll see what the US thinks of it by then.

But! Back to the message in a bottle!

Evan Hutchinson Signature

Evan Hutchinson’s signature on his message in a bottle. Photo: Don Lehman / The Post Star

Don writes in his article that he has not been able to find Evan Hutchinson.

And that’s where you come in, friends! Let’s spread the word in New York and beyond and try to get Evan’s attention! We may not be able to fix climate change overnight, but this is one problem we can solve! We’ve found message in a bottle senders before, and with your help, we can do it again!

Let’s goooooo!!! 🙂


Message in a Bottle: Madelyn has been found!


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Woooo hoooo!

ABC11 News in North Carolina reports that Wyatt and his mom managed to track down Madelyn, whose message in a bottle Wyatt found on July 17th.

Turns out she’s 13 and lives just a few miles from Wyatt himself!



According to a note from Wyatt’s mother, the reason it took some time to track down Madelyn is that Madelyn had recently gotten a new cell phone and memorized the number–or thought she had it memorized–before she made the note. The trouble was that she got one digit wrong! We’ve all been there, right?

Madelyn Message in a Bottle found by Wyatt Young - Credit Jenny Young

Madelyn’s note. Photo: Jenny Young.

Wyatt’s mom says Madelyn had made the message in a bottle months ago, but only sent it a couple weeks ago a few miles down the beach–so it spent about a week drifting and washing up before Wyatt found it.

Some may think this makes the message less special and less exotic–that it would have been “better” if Madelyn had been from thousands of miles away.

But you know what? I don’t think so. I think their connection is plenty special!

Just take note of how many total strangers you pass on a daily basis–even people who live just down the street or around the corner from you. Isn’t that strange? Don’t you find yourself wondering what it would be like to know all these people with whom you share a neighborhood, a city? Wouldn’t it be wild to just suddenly befriend these total strangers? I think that’s plenty exotic, and it’s exactly what’s happening here!

Wyatt and Madelyn have managed to break down one little wall by connecting through this message in a bottle, and that’s more than many of us can say. So I say kudos to them! Here’s hoping for many years of friendship from this experience 🙂

Message in a Bottle Found: Seeking Madelyn!


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July 17th, 2017 was a big day for 10-year-old Wyatt Young! He was with his family at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, when he spotted a bottle with a note inside:

Wyatt Young with Message in a Bottle from Madelyn - Credit Jenny Young

Wyatt Young with his Message in a Bottle find. Photo: Jenny Young

A beautiful find! Amazingly, the note inside was in nearly perfect condition. It is signed by Madelyn, but not dated. There is even a phone number from the 919 area code (Raleigh, North Carolina).

Madelyn Message in a Bottle found by Wyatt Young - Credit Jenny Young

Message in a Bottle from Madelyn, found by Wyatt Young. Photo: Jenny Young

Naturally, Wyatt and his mom Jenny called the number.

Instead of Madelyn, they reached a man who said he’d had the number for about 5 years, and didn’t know anyone named Madelyn. Bummer!

This means its up to us to help Wyatt solve this mystery and find Madelyn. Please share this to help spread the word! We’ve done it before, my friends! I know that with persistence, we can help Wyatt find Madelyn.

Madelyn, your message in a bottle has been found!

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Tale


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I recently stumbled upon a story that is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking…

Off the coast of Massachusetts lies a small island, a world unto itself, called Thacher Island.

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In the early days Continue reading

Message In A Bottle Found: Seeking Socorra From Philly!


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On April 30th, 2017, a woman named Katie was walking the shores of Ocean City, Maryland, looking for shells when she spotted an unusual bottle in the lapping waves. Inside was a piece of paper!


The tiny scroll inside held a message that was very small, but somehow very big.

On the front side, just a name and a simple heart:


Hi. I am Socorra from Philadelphia, PA.

On the back, a spiritual declaration:


God will bless you know matter what.

With a message so short, and just a first name, it would be crazy to try to find the sender…right? But of course, my friends, crazy doesn’t stop us here at Message in a Bottle Hunter!

With your help, stranger things have happened

I say we spread the word about Katie’s find and try to connect with Socorra from Philly. Something tells me she would cherish this small miracle 🙂

1987 Message In A Bottle Found: “We Tried to Sail Away”–Help find the senders!


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Well, this is a weird one!

Enviro-crusader and “litter picker” Paul Southworth (I am a fan!) was recently out cleaning trash from Arastradero Lake in California–it’s nestled in the San Francisco Bay area. Woo hoo!

Paul Southworth Picking Litter.jpg

Paul with his trusty litter grabber and bags of junk from litterpicking the O&W Rail Trail in Kerhonkson, NY.

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Message In A Bottle Found: Who Are The Men In This Photo?


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Manon van der Molen is the kind of person who picks up trash off the beach. Plenty of people get upset about plastic trash at sea, mucking up our beaches. But Manon? She actually does something about it.

“I hate all the trash in the ocean,” Manon told me. A kindred spirit! She has even volunteered with the Archelon Marine Turtle Protection Association.

“My kids are amazed by all the plastic in the ocean and do not understand why people do that. See–even kids understand!” Indeed. I think kids often understand these things better than adults. It’s obvious, even to children, that too many of us are not taking care of the ocean. But we could.

So, when Manon was walking the beach with her family–her husband and three kids–on May 5th, 2017, at De Haan, Belgium, she was picking up plastic trash. That’s a great way to help! And sometimes, among the trash, we stumble upon a little “treasure”–a reward for cleaning the beach, in the form of an unexpected human connection. A reminder, perhaps, that while most of what’s floating around in the ocean is simply trash that shouldn’t be there, still…maybe, just maybe, one in a billion or so pieces of flotsam can create an amazing and beautiful connection between strangers.

“That’s when I found the tube,” she told Continue reading

1967 Message In A Bottle Discovered Inside Concrete Slab in Australia


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When you hear message in a bottle, I bet you think ocean. I know I do. After all, the most famous message in a bottle stories revolve around the sea…

The Police Message in a Bottle Cover

A&M Records cover for The Police’s single, Message in a Bottle.

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WWI Messages in Bottles from Australian Soldiers, Sent on Christmas 1915, Told of Female Stowaway


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New Year’s Day, 1916, three messages in bottles washed ashore right beside each other near Portland Bay, Victoria, Australia. Three!

All three bottled notes were written by Australian soldiers from New South Wales, sailing on their way to WWI. The incident, including the story of how one bottle was forwarded to the mother of the writer, was shared by the Koroit Sentinel and Tower Hill Advocate on January 22nd, 1916.

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The whole thing is crazy! Can you imagine finding three messages in bottles washed Continue reading