Message Bottles In History

written by Kraig Josiah Rice

The following 16 paragraphs of information is from Reader's Digest Strange Stories, Amazing Facts, printed by the Reader's Digest Association, Inc., Pleasantville, New York in 1976.

Queen Elizabeth I of England in the 16th Century used bottles to carry intelligence reports.
"Elizabeth I once received an intelligence report by this means and was so disconcerted to find it had been opened by a boatman at Dover that she appointed an official Uncorker of Bottles and decreed that no unauthorized person might open a message-carrying bottle, on pain of death".

"The strangest case was perhaps that of Chunosuke Matsuyama, a Japanese seaman who was wrecked with 44 shipmates in 1784. Shortly before he and his companions died of starvation on a Pacific coral reef, Matsuyama carved a brief account of their tragedy on a piece of wood, sealed it in a bottle, and then threw it into the sea. It was washed up 150 years later in 1935 at the very seaside village where Matsuyama had been born".

"When he was postmaster general for the American colonies, Benjamin Franklin realized that, because their whaler captains knew the currents much better than their English counterparts, American ships were crossing the Atlantic much quicker than the British mail packets. He therefore compiled a chart using both the whalers' lore and information he obtained by dropping bottles into the Gulf Stream and asking the finders to return them. The information he recorded is little changed today".

"In 1875 the crew of the Canadian bark, Lennie, mutinied and murdered the officers. A steward who was spared because he could navigate steered them to the French coast, telling them it was Spain, and surreptitiously dropped several bottles over the side revealing the whole story. The French authorities found one, boarded the ship, and arrested the surprised mutineers".

"Fragile as it is, a well-sealed bottle is one of the world's most seaworthy objects. It will bob safely through hurricanes that can sink great ships. And for most practical purposes glass lasts forever. In 1954, 18 bottles were salvaged from a ship sunk 250 years before off the English coast. The liquor in them was unrecognizable, but the bottles were good as new".

"It is impossible to predict the direction a bottle will take. Of two bottles dropped together off the Brazilian coast, one drifted east for 130 days and was found on a beach in Africa; the other floated northwest for 190 days, reaching Nicaragua".

"Speed is also bound to vary according to wind and current. A bottle might be completely becalmed or, if caught up by the Gulf Stream at its raciest, might travel along at four knots and cover as many as 100 miles a day".

"The longest bottle voyage ever is thought to have been made by a bottle known as the Flying Dutchman. It was launched by a German scientific expedition in 1929 in the southern Indian Ocean. Inside was a message, which could be read without breaking the bottle, asking the finder to report where he found it and throw it back into the sea.

It apparently caught an eastgoing current, which carried it to the southern tip of South America. There it was found, reported, and thrown back again several times. Eventually, it moved out into the Atlantic, then again into the Indian Ocean, passing roughly the spot where it had been dropped, and was cast ashore on the west coast of Australia in 1935. It had covered 16,000 miles in 2,447 days (a little over 6 1/2 years)- a respectable average of more than six nautical miles a day".

"In 1953 a bottle was found in Tasmania 37 years after it had been dropped overboard by two Australian soldiers on their way to France in a troopship. The mother of one of the soldiers recognized the handwriting of her son who had been killed in action in 1918".
Historical note: Australia fought for her mother country, England, against Germany on the battlefields of France and Turkey during World War I. Remarkably, Tasmania is a State in the country of Australia.

"A message found on a beach in Maine in 1944 read: 'Our ship is sinking. SOS didn't do any good. Think it's the end. Maybe this message will get to the U.S. some day.' It was identified as coming from the USS Beatty, a destroyer torpedoed with heavy loss of life somewhere off Gibraltar on November 6, 1943".
Historical note: the bottle from the sunken American warship floated to the shores of that country during World War II. The destroyer was probably sunk by a German submarine in the Atlantic Ocean off the Southwest coast of Spain.

"...both the British and U.S. Navies have used bottles extensively to compile intricate current charts. And the movements of oil slicks, mines, and even fish have been predicted with help of seaborne bottles".

"Paolina and Ake Viking were married in Sicily in the autumn of 1958, thanks to a far-traveling bottle. Two years earlier Ake, a bored young Swedish sailor on a ship far out at sea, had dropped a bottle overboard with a message asking any pretty girl who found it to write.

Paolina's father, a Sicilian fisherman, picked it up and passed it to his daughter for a joke. Continuing the joke, Paolina sent off a note to the young sailor. The correspondence quickly grew warmer. Ake visited Sicily, and the marriage soon followed their first meeting".

In the Lodi, California News Sentinel Newspaper appeared the following United Press International (UPI) article on Friday, September 6, 1985, entitled,
"Message in a bottle found, in nine years"
A message in a bottle dropped into the Baltic Sea was found nine years later in San Francisco, the East Berlin daily newspaper Tribune said Thursday. The bottle, with numbered message '4,764,' was one of 13,000 'posted' into the sea at Oresund between Denmark and Sweden on August 7, 1976, by the East German Institute for Marine Studies in Warnemuende, the paper said".

In the Lodi, California News Sentinel Newspaper appeared the following UPI article on Friday, July13, 1984, entitled,
"Note in bottle answered after almost two years"
"South Portland, Maine-
Nearly two years ago a South Portland boy wrote a note and stuck it in a bottle that was tossed into the Atlantic. He forgot about it but this week he got an answer from the Azores- more than 2,500 miles away.'I didn't think the bottle would make it,' said Wayne Broderick,Jr.,13, who wrote the note as part of a class project two years ago. 'I'm writing a letter back.'
Broderick this week received a letter from Anna Isabel Chaves Sousa, 16, who lives on the island of Santa Maria.

He was a sixth-grade student of teacher Lynda Stofen at a local elementary school when he and his two-dozen classmates launched their message bottles with the help of a fisherman, who tossed them into the ocean. The girl wrote back that her brother, a fisherman, picked up the quart bottle at sea. Wayne's letter was the second from the school to net an answer. In November 1982, former sixth grader Frank Marston heard from a Spanish merchant navy captain of the Canary Islands off North Africa.

Miss Stofan said sea message projects are good writing, ocean and geography exercises as students speculate where the messages will drift. And Wayne said he also made a new friend. Anna asked him to be a pen pal".

In the Lodi, California News Sentinel Newspaper appeared the following UPI article on Friday, August 21, 1987, entitled,
"Writer of 31 year old note in bottle found"
"Genoa, Wisconsin-
Joel Gruhn was only 8 years old in 1956 when he scrawled a note, plugged it in a ketchup bottle and had his father toss it into the Mississippi River. This week Gruhn discovered a Genoa man found the bottle and the note last October and had been looking for him ever since. Duane Froh, 40, pulled the bottle from the Mississippi October 31, 175 miles south of Minneapolis, where it had been tossed in. He showed it to his wife, Diane, and they tried to find its sender. 'My age is 8 years old and one-half. I weigh 65 pounds. I am 4 feet and 5 inches high. The writer of this note is Joe ... . .' the note said, becoming undecipherable at the end. It was dated April 2, 1956, and had a Mound, Minnesota address".

In the Santa Rosa, California, Press Democrat Newspaper appeared the following Associated Press (AP) article in June of 1984, entitled,
"Child's bottled message reaches England"
"Providence, Rhode Island-
Stuffing a message in a bottle and tossing it into the ocean with the hope of someone ever finding it is the stuff of children's stories- a dream that seldom comes true. But James Westerman is a believer. Westerman thought his handicapped students would find it fun to put messages in bottles found on the beach and toss them into Narragansett Bay. Last week, more than three years after Westerman's students last played the message-in-the-bottle game, a letter arrived for Bernice Graser, the principal of Westerman's Pleasant View School. It was from 10 year old Jayne Ayre of Barnstaple, England, who wrote that she found the bottle January 29, while taking a Sunday stroll on a beach in southwest England with her father. The note inside fell apart when they pulled it out, but the managed to paste it together, she said. The sender's name, Nomp Travis, was clearly legible, as was the return address: Pleasant View School, Province, R.I.

I found your name on it and was thrilled to see it had come all the way from America,' the girl wrote to Nomp. She also enclosed a clipping from the North Devon Advertiser about her find".

In the Santa Rosa, California, Press Democrat Newspaper appeared the following AP article on April 27, 1985, entitled,
"Refugees Find Freedom, Note in a bottle changes lives"
"Los Angeles-
A Vietnamese refugee family arrived in the United States on Friday to a tearful welcome from an American couple whose bottled message floated 9,000 miles to the shores of Thailand and answered their prayers for freedom.

'Welcome to the United States of America,' Dorothy Peckham told the family as reporters and photographers swamped the refugees at Los Angeles International Airport after an 18-hour flight from Singapore. Hoa Van Nguyen, 31, a former South Vietnamese soldier, told reporters through an interpreter that he's 'the most lucky man in the world.' He said he doesn't know why what he called 'a sixth sense' prompted him to pick up the bottle carrying the message from John Henry Peckham and his wife. Nguyen, 31, flew in Friday afternoon with his wife, Joang Kim, 27, who clung to his arm and said nothing, their 16 month old son and Nguyen's 17 year old brother, Cuong Van.

Peckham took the sleeping baby, Hoang Gia Thay Nguyen, and grinned widely despite tears that streamed down his face. Nguyen then gave the Peckhams a present, a picture he had crafted while in a refugee camp in Thailand.

The family was whisked out of the airport by officials from the Catholic Welfare Bureau, who settled the refugees in an Echo Park apartment rented for them by the Peckhams".

"Bottled Message Travels 9,400 miles"

"Charleston, West Virginia-
Three years ago, Patrick Fiddler put a message in a bottle and dropped it into the Atlantic Ocean off North Carolina.

Last week, the 12-year-old Charleston boy received a reply- from the island nation of Mauritius about 9,400 miles away in the Indian Ocean.

The note in the soda bottle Fiddler dropped into the water on a visit to North Carolina's Avon Beach said simply, "Hi!" and included his address.

"I expected it to wash down the beach or in America somewhere," Fiddler said Wednesday.

But ocean currents apparently carried the bottle around the tip of Africa to Mauritius, about 500 miles east of Madagascar."

Quoted from the Lodi News Sentinel Newspaper, Lodi, Calif., December 27, 1991.


Washington state child's message in a bottle found in Alaska

"Merle Brandell and his black lab, Slapsey, were beachcombing along the Bering Sea when he spied a plastic bottle among the Japanese glass floats he often finds along the shore of his tiny Alaskan fishing village.

He walked over and saw an envelope tucked inside. After slicing the bottle open, Brandell found a message from an elementary school student in a suburb of Seattle. The fact that the letter traveled 1,735 miles without any help from the U.S. postal service is unusual, but that's only the beginning of the mystery.

About 21 years passed between the time Emily Hwaung put the message in a soda bottle and Merle Brandell picked it up on the beach.

"This letter is part of our science project to study oceans and learn about people in distant lands," she wrote. "Please send the date and location of the bottle with your address. I will send you my picture and tell you when and where the bottle was placed in the ocean. Your friend, Emily Hwaune."

Brandell, 34, a bear hunting guide and manager of a water plant, said many of the 70-plus residents of Nelson Lagoon were intrigued by his find. Beachcombing is a popular activity in remote western Alaska. Among the recent discoveries was a sail boat that washed onto shore last October.

"It's kind of a sport. It keeps us occupied. It's one of the pleasures of living here," Brandell said of the village reachable only by plane or boat that is too small to have its own store.

Brandell tried to track down the sender: a fourth grader from the North City School in the Shoreline School District.

No one answered when Brandell called the school in December so he sent the school district a handwritten letter, which eventually ended up on the desk of district spokesman Craig Degginger.

After some searching, Degginger discovered Emily Hwaung is now a 3O-year-old accountant named Emily Shih and lives in Seattle. She was in the fourth grade during the 1986 & 87 school year at a school building that closed more than a year ago.

Shih said she was flabbergasted by the news and immediately shared it with her Kirkland co-workers.

"I don't remember the project. It was so long ago. Elementary school is kind of foggy," Shih admitted during a recent interview. "I've been getting a kick out of it for a month now."

Quoted from the Lodi News Sentinel Newspaper, Lodi, Calif. March 25, 2008, page 5

In conclusion we see that messages inside of bottles have been floated over a long period of time by a variety of people, for a variety of reasons. We see that it is a form of communication and that there can be great results from this kind of activity. Using this fact as a foundation, I put God's Word inside of bottles. There is communication from a holy God to sinful people. God's Word is a love letter to the human race. God wants every individual to return love to Him and to live an obedient and holy life for Him and to reject Satan and all Satan stands for.

It is my great delight to share His Word with others. It is something I have chosen to do because I enjoy it. It gives me a good feeling to know that I am able to help other people. To be able to share with others my experiences with the living and all powerful God (who is total love) is an absolute delight for me. Sharing my experiences will help others understand that each one of us can have similar experiences with the living God. This is why I have written this work...

If you would like to read more true stories of people who have found messages in bottles please click on the floating bottle below. On that page there are six ministries documented. Each floated missionary bottles. Where they floated them and the results of their ministries is presented.

Click Here- An Important Link For You To Click On

Additional links you might be interested in:
Proof for the Existence of God The Bible Is Special
Teaching Creation Versus Evolution Testimonies of Former Homosexuals

Click on the bottle to go to the main missionary bottle ministries index page

since April 7, 2005