• Mike

Message in a bottle


Message in a bottle

No doubt most people will immediately think of the 1979 hit singe by 'The Police'.

However this blog has nothing to do with music, and everything to do with actual messages in bottles.

Why do we love to find messages in bottles? and perhaps more importantly why do we write them?

Few would disagree that discovering a message in a bottle sets the mind wondering, is it a treasure map, could it be some poor souls plea for help from a distant desert island, or perhaps a romantic message about a lost love?

In reality all of the above could be true, however scientists have long sent messages in bottles to discover if people would respond to them all in the pursuit of gaining a better understanding human behaviour.

In one experiment in 1906 just over one thousand bottles were released at the same time into the sea, all with the same message and reward. .

The scientist behind this experiment was George Parker- Bibber who wrote the same message for each bottle which was in fact a postcard. The message asked who ever found it to respond to the Marine Biological Association where he worked, in return a reward of 1 shilling would be paid to the finder. One bottle drifted for over 108 years before finally being discovered by a German woman who was on holiday in Anrun who, as requested, sent the enclosed postcard back to the Marine Biological Association, they duly paid the handsome reward of 1 shilling. Since the message was so old and shillings had long since ceased s being currency, the company had to turn to eBay to find, and eventually purchase a shilling so they could pay the finder.

What of love?

Could there be a connection between peoples perception of how hard it is to find their ideal partner and the odds of someone finding a message in a bottle and responding to it? More likely the perceived romance connected with a love struck couple writing a love note to each other, sealing it a bottle and casting it to the sea to seal their love forever is more accurate, and perhaps in the hope that one day someone will discover the message and respond to it.

There are numerous books written about the subject, mostly fictional, the most prominent of which is Nicholas Sparks’ Message in a Bottle which was turned into a movie.

The film focused on the romance behind finding a message in a bottle. although this is a work of fiction, one real life story exists of a man and woman meeting via a message in a bottle and ending up marrying each other. There’s another story of a couple who were moving house and in the process of emptying out boxes found a letter from one to the other as children that neither remembered. It turned out that, although they had been together for years as adults, neither recalled the fact that they had been the sender and finder of a message in a bottle when they were children. So they knew each other before they knew each other…It blows my mind!!!

Regardless of the message, romance is eternally connected with writing and finding messages in bottles, indeed songs, plays and even films have been produced all in celebration of 'MIB's.

Finally and although not technically a message in a bottle I turn to space, humans have and continue to release 'MIB's, although these have taken the shape of gold discs rather than a bottle.

The discs are inscribed with details of humans, our way of life, language, beliefs and religions. One must wonder if they will ever be found, and if they are found what they would think about us and or way of life.


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