Message in Bottle Finds Way Home 101 Years Later

But not quite into the hands of Richard Platz
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2014 8:34 AM CDT
Updated Apr 12, 2014 6:54 AM CDT
Message in Bottle Finds Way Home 101 Years Later
The postcard was found in an old brown beer bottle.   (Shutterstock)

At age 20, Richard Platz tossed a brown bottle into the Baltic Sea. Some 101 years later, it has found its way home, or as close to home as it can get. A German fisherman whose previous wild finds include bombs, torpedoes, and a corpse hauled the bottle out of the sea last month, and it made its way to researchers at Hamburg's International Maritime Museum. Inside was a postcard dated May 17, 1913, and bearing a "polite" request, reports the Local: that the bottle make its way to a Berlin address. Using that address, researchers sourced the bottle to Platz, who apparently let loose with the bottle while on a hike.

The researchers then turned to a genealogist who tracked down Platz's 62-year-old granddaughter. Angela Erdmann never met her grandfather, who died in 1946, but describes the situation as "unbelievable" and "pretty moving." Though the handwriting was verified against other samples from Platz, much of what he wrote has largely been lost to the ages, on account of the moisture and time, though experts plan to take a stab at recovering the text. As far as time goes, the 1913 bottle is being hailed as the world's oldest, reports the AFP, beating Guinness' current record holder, which entered the water in 1914 and stayed there 98 years. But could a find from 1906 have it beat? (More message in a bottle stories.)

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