Message found in bottle after 97 years underwater goes on display

The Sideshow

A scuba diver looking for treasure in the St. Clair River near Detroit stumbled upon a different type of prize at the bottom of the river: a message in a bottle.

Dave Leander of the Great Lakes Dive Center told Detroit's WJBK that the note had been buried for 97 years until he found it in the silt.

"I happened to see a piece of paper in there, and I could actually read the writing underwater," Leander told WJBK.

This was last June. Now, the bottle is heading for a local museum on Harsens Island, Mich., where it (and the note inside) will be on display.

So, what was on the note? A simple message from two young women who were at the Tashmoo amusement park on Harsens. The message read, "Having a great time at Tashmoo," and was written by Stella Pramstaller and Tillie Esper.

Eric Schiebold, one of Esper's 32 grandchildren, spoke to WJBK about the note and his memories of his grandmother.


"Here's something that's 100 years old in the bottom of the river, and how can that be related to me?" Schiebold said. "I remember her from the time I was a kid, but what about her life before? This is a fascinating story."

While Leander's find makes for an amazing story, it's hardly the first time someone has discovered a message in a bottle. In 2010, for instance, a 10-year-old boy put a bottle with message in it into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Oregon. A year later, a girl in Hawaii found it washed up on the beach.

In 2010, a Florida teen named Corey Swearingen tossed a message in a bottle into the Atlantic Ocean. Fast forward a year and a half, and the teen got a response from a boy and his father in Ireland, where his message had come ashore.

And then there's the story of Dorothy and John Henry Peckham. In 1979, the couple threw a message into the Pacific while on a cruise. That message was found six years later by a Vietnamese man, Hoa Van Nguyen, while he was on a refugee boat off Thailand. They began writing to each other (via regular mail, which is much more efficient) and a friendship blossomed. Eventually, the Peckhams helped to sponsor Nguyen and his family's immigration to the United States.