The oldest message in a bottle was discovered —here’s what was found

Mysterious messages in bottles aren’t just for Disney movies — an actual message in a real, washed up bottle was found in April, and we are just now learning about it. Marianne Winkler, a retired post office worker, found the more than 108-year-old message while vacationing on the beaches of Amrum, an island off Germany’s North Sea coast. And while the message in the bottle isn’t a love letter or treasure map, it’s still super awesome.

The message was one of 1,020 sent by George Parker Bidder from 1904 to 1906 as part of research for the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.“It was quite a stir when we opened that envelope, as you can imagine,” Guy Baker, communications director at the Marine Biological Association, told The Telegraph

The paper inside the bottle, according to The Telegraph, instructed to “Break the bottle.” Mrs. Wrinkler stated, “My husband, Horst, carefully tried to get the message out of the bottle, but there was no chance, so we had to do as it said.”

Each of the 1, 020 bottles contained a postcard with instructions to send it back with information — the finder would be sent a shilling. True to their word, the MBA sent Winkler an old English shilling, according to the MBA’s report. The MBA said it was waiting to hear confirmation it had surpassed the previous record-holder for oldest bottled message — a 99-year-old beer bottle note found near the Shetland Islands in July 2013. And what exactly happened to the rest of the bottles? According to The Telegraph, “Many of the bottles were found by fishermen trawling with deep sea nets. Others washed up on the shore, and some were never recovered.”

Though it may not be as romantic as a long-lost love letter, Bidder’s research yielded several cool bits of info, including the confirmation that bottom-feeders tend to move against the current.

Now, go take a celebratory listen of The Police’s “Message in A Bottle.” Cheers, science.

(Images via Twitter)