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The Best Messages in Bottles of 2018

1. The World’s Oldest Message in a Bottle (so far…)

Beyond any doubt, one of the best messages in bottles of 2018 is the oldest message in a bottle ever found (so far), clocking in at 132 years old. That…that is seriously old. Even by message in a bottle standards! Previously, the oldest message in a bottle ever found was 108 years old when found (preceded by bottles that were 107, 101, 98, 97 years old, and so on). This one shattered the records–for now. Every time one of these bottles has been found, people have said, “Surely there can’t be any older bottle than that!” but time after time, older bottles show up. But really, you have to wonder, will anyone ever break this record?

The Best Messages in Bottles of 2018 - Oldest Message in a Bottle Kym and Tonya

This is an incredible discovery, and you can read the full story with more photos here. At its simplest, Tonya Illman found an antique gin bottle in the dunes of Western Australia and picked it up only to discover paper preserved inside. The letter inside was compared with 19th century records from the German folks who sent it, and it was confirmed to be authentic. Whoa.

Definitely one of the best messages in bottles of 2018!

So, let’s enjoy this incredible discovery for what it is: The oldest message in a bottle found so far. Who knows what 2019 will bring?

2. The 21 year old message in a bottle found by a former paratrooper / “extreme walker” and a dog.

Chris Lewis is a former UK paratrooper who struggled to readjust to civilian life when he exited the military and became responsible for his young daughter. Things deteriorated until he and his daughter found themselves homeless, at which point he turned to SSAFA for help. They got him back on his feet, and his daughter is now in college.

Chris Lewis walking the coast of Northern Ireland after returning 21 year old message in a bottle.

Chris Lewis walking the coast of Northern Ireland after returning 21 year old message in a bottle. Photo: Alan Lewis / Belfast Live.

As thanks, Chris decided to walk the entire 11,000 or so miles of the UK coast to raise funds and awareness for SSAFA. While walking a stretch of Scotland’s coast, he found a 21 year old message in a bottle. A young boy from Northern Ireland sent it back in 1997, and Chris managed to find him. Then, Chris traveled to Northern Ireland to return the message–and to walk the Northern Ireland coast!

I have been totally inspired by Chris’s story, and the thing is–I never would have heard of him or what he is doing if it hadn’t been for a message in a bottle… The fact that this little bottled letter is helping Chris raise money for such a worthwhile cause makes it one of the best messages in bottles of 2018.

Read the full story here.

21 Year Old Message in a Bottle Found by Chris Lewis

3. The German Man Who Found his Grandfather’s 88 Year Old Message in a Bottle Hidden in the Roof of a 12th Century Cathedral

I learned of this story back in September, and I am still bewildered!

Imagine finding a message in a bottle from your own grandfather.

That is exactly what happened to German roofer, Peter Brandt, when he was tasked with maintenance of the Goslar cathedral roof in Goslar, Germany. This portion of the church is all that remains of the 12th century cathedral. Back in 1930, Peter’s grandfather, Willi, was also a young roofer, and he worked on refurbishing the roof back then. During that process, he and some coworkers sealed a message in a bottle and hid it in the roof, where it lay undisturbed for 88 years until Peter found it in 2018.

The Best Messages in Bottles of 2018 - Willi Brandt and Peter Brandt 88 year old message in a bottle

This is totally incredible. As far as I know, no one else in the history of earth has found a message in a bottle from their own grandparent before. This seems like as good a record as “oldest message in a bottle” if you ask me! 

Read the full story of Peter’s incredible find here.

4. The 1979 Message in a Bottle from “His Majesty’s Servant” found in the Chattahoochee River after 39 Years

Every year, messages in bottles turn up that are lovely, enigmatic, and refuse all attempts at being solved. For example, the bottled scroll found by the Bland family along the Chattahoochee River. This thing is incredible: 

Message in a bottle from 1979 found by the Bland family in Georgia.

Amazingly, even though this message includes all kinds of pertinent information (the author’s name, the ship’s name, etc.), no one can find James H. Fort to let him know his message in a bottle has been found. WHY?!

It’s worth checking out the full story here–and sharing it to help solve the mystery!

5. The enchanting mystery of Dora Taylor of Temple, TX, whose message in a bottle was found in a Texas lake.

This may be one of the best messages in bottles of 2018, but it is also perhaps the most frustrating.

Dora Taylor was a bright, curious, funny 12 year old girl living in Temple, Texas when she sent her message in a bottle years and years ago — and that is all we know about her. Multiple social media campaigns to find her have come up short. Newspapers can’t find her. So, where is she?

Dora Taylor Message in a Bottle
Found by: Priscilla Caldwell Dahl, 2018. Sent by: Dora Taylor, probably 1990s – early 2000s. Unsolved as of Nov. 2018. Click here for the full story.

This one makes the list because it is so deeply intriguing, and highlights the mystery of messages in bottles. But mysteries can be solved, and you can help by sharing the full story.

6. The Mystery (or Joke?) of Andrew Meers’ Message in a Bottle

In March of this year, students from Scotland’s Inverkip Primary School participated in a cleaning of Ardgowan Beach. Like good message in a bottle hunters, what they primarily did was pick up plastic trash. But amid all the rubbish, they found a fascinating message in a bottle. Thanks to the bottled note, their cleanup efforts got some media attention, and with any luck, inspired others in the area to help keep beaches clean. 

Inverkip Primary Students find a message in a bottle during beach clean
Inverkip students find a message in a bottle and a whole lot of trash on Ardgowan Beach. Photo: Inverclyde Now / Inverkip Primary School.

Inverkip Kids Find a Message in a Bottle During Beach Clean
Message in a bottle found by Inverkip Primary School students during cleanup of Ardgowan beach in March 2018. Photo: Inverclyde Now / Inverkip Primary School.

S.O.S. 22nd October 2007

Dear Rescuer, I am floating out to sea – holding onto a piece of drift wood. Last landmark – Greenock Esplanade. I have been surviving on seaweed and fish. I am not sure my body can take much more. My co-ordinates are 30 degrees longitude and 24 degrees latitude heading for the Arctic circle – can see polar bears and penguins too… You will be rewarded with some of my treasure … if you send help. Yours helplessly Andrew Meers.

The message in a bottle the students found was sent in 2007, and signed by “Andrew Meers”. While the message itself is a bit whimsical, the students hope to find Andrew Meers to let him know his intriguing message in a bottle has been found. Check out the full story here, and again, consider sharing to help solve the mystery of this message.

7. 35 Year Old Message in a Bottle Found in River, Solved in Dentist’s Office

In March, Shea Shaneyfelt of Glencoe, Alabama found a message in a bottle in a river dated October 14th, 1982. She immediately launched a search for the author – a Julie Watson. 

Shea Shaneyfelt on Coosa River 35 year old message in a bottle
Shea Shaneyfelt on the Coosa River where she found a 35 year old message in a bottle. Photo: Dustin Fox / The Gadsden Times

Weirdly, Julie Watson’s mother was the one to crack the case – and she did it in the dentist’s office! Apparently, she was just visiting the dentist like normal when someone in the office who had heard about the message in a bottle recognized her last name – Watson – and asked her if the author could be her daughter, Julie Menk (nee Watson).

Julie’s mom looked at the photos online and boom–she recognized her daughter’s handwriting, and that was it! Shea and Julie got in touch, became Facebook friends, and made plans to meet.

Julie Watson's 35 year old message in a bottle
Julie Watson’s message in a bottle from 1982. Photo: Dustin Fox / The Gadsden Times

Some messages in bottles are noteworthy because they travel long distances. But this is one of the best messages in bottles of 2018 precisely because it didn’t travel “far” in terms of distance. Instead, it “traveled” through decades of time, and brought together two people who were always only a stone’s throw from each other. Magic!

8. “Hey Dude!” 1985 Message in a Bottle from Nova Scotia High School Student

Full disclosure: My dad found this message in a bottle, so I am perhaps biased in thinking it is one of the best of 2018, but here we are 🙂

This message in a bottle was sent by a high school student in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, in 1985 as part of a school experiment tracking ocean currents. The message was in extremely fragile condition when we opened it up, but luckily we could make out most of the writing.

Merle Sellars 1985 Cole Harbour Message in a Bottle

Hey Dude

I’m a grade 10 student from Cole Harbour District High School. I like to party and have a good time. I…..coast and this is, I think, half decent. If you [are from another] country I would appreciate a penny [of] foreign money. Being a Canadian isn’t bad. There is a lot to do and the people aren’t so bad. This was released offshore in the gulf stream by a swordfish boat.

Yours Truly,

[Merle / Merla / Marlene]

[Dellans / Dellars / Dellanos / Dellairs / Delares]

Amazingly, even though alllll this writing was clear, the only part we couldn’t quite make out was the author’s name. Nevertheless, thanks to the lovely people of Nova Scotia, a social media campaign via the Message in a Bottle Hunter Facebook page turned up the author of the note, and my dad spoke with him on the phone! Check out the full story of the search here and the resolution here.

Best Message in a Bottle Lists

Every year, people find amazing messages in bottles that change lives, create friendships, spark romance, and give the dead a final chance to speak. I hope you enjoyed my list of the best messages in bottles of 2018, and encourage you to check out these lists of messages in bottles from years past.

Best Messages in Bottles of 2017

Best Messages in Bottles of 2016

Best Messages in Bottles of 2015

More About Message in a Bottle History, Mysteries, Stories, and News

***If you liked this story, like my Facebook page for more message in a bottle stories! YOU could be the next one to solve a message in a bottle mysteryClick here to learn more about messages in bottles, and you can always contact me with questions, ideas, or stories.

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