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 was the oldest message in a bottle ever found at the time, 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 someone finds one of these bottles, people say, “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? (***UPDATE: Yep, as of 2022, an older message in a bottle has been found, at 135 years old!)
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.
Experts compared the letter inside with 19th century records from the German folks who sent it, and confirmed the letter’s authenticity. Whoa.
Definitely one of the best messages in bottles of 2018! Definitely belongs in the old Message in a Bottle Museum 🙂
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.
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 am 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.
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
This story blew my mind when I first read it. In fact, no matter how many times I revisit this story, it’s never any less amazing!
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.
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!
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 stubbornly refuse to let us solve them. For example, the bottled scroll found by the Bland family along the Chattahoochee River. This thing is incredible!
Amazingly, even though this message includes all kinds of pertinent information (the author’s name, the ship’s name, etc.), no one could find James H. Fort to let him know his message in a bottle has been found. WHY?!
This drove me nuts for 4 years, until I finally cracked the case in 2022. Here’s the full story of the man behind this beautiful, enchanting message in a bottle. This is also a rare example of a message in a bottle that made it onto two separate “end of year” lists: 2018 was the year it was found, but I didn’t solve it until 2022, so it’s on the 2022 list, too!
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?
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.
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 is from 2007, signed by “Andrew Meers”. While the message itself is a bit whimsical, the students hope to find Andrew Meers so they can tell him that they found his intriguing message in a bottle.
Check out the full story here, and 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.
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.
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.
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.
[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 other years!
More About Message in a Bottle History, Mysteries, Stories, and News
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