World’s Oldest Message In A Bottle Returned To Granddaughter 101 Years Later

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A message in a bottle that was thrown into the sea in Germany has been discovered 101 years later.

A fisherman pulled the beer bottle out of the Baltic Sea last month, according to Holger von Neuhoff of the International Maritime Museum in the northern port city of Hamburg.

"This is certainly the first time such an old message in a bottle was found, particularly with the bottle intact," von Neuhoff said.

The note's writer, 20-year-old Richard Platz, asked that whoever found the bottle return it to his home in Berlin.

Platz reportedly threw the bottle into the Baltic during a group nature hike in 1913.

He died at age 54 in 1946.

Researchers managed to indentify the author and track down his granddaughter, Angela Erdmann, who is now 62 years old.

"It was almost unbelievable," Erdmann, of Hamburg, told the German news agency DPA.

Erdmann held the brown bottle last week at the Hamburg museum.

"That was a pretty moving moment," Erdmann said. "Tears rolled down my cheeks."

Erdmann never met Platz, her mother’s father. He died before she was born.

Von Neuhoff said the handwriting on the note was a match for Platz’s other correspondence.

Much of the ink on the postcard, however, is illegible. It will be on display in the museum until May 1, at which time experts hope to examine it so they can decipher the rest of the message.

The message surpasses the previous Guinness World Record holder for oldest message in a bottle, which dated back to 1914. That bottle spent 98 years at sea before being plucked from the water.

Sources: The Guardian, ABC