Message in a Bottle Found After Almost 50 Years

When Dennis Komsa was 12 years old, he put a message in a bottle and threw it into the Atlantic Ocean. Almost 50 years later he got it back. On Saturday at a Seaside Heights, New Jersey, centennial celebration, Komsa, now 61, was reunited with the Mason jar he tossed into the sea while on vacation in Seaside Heights, New Jersey back in 1963.

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Norman Stanton found the glass jar about a week after Superstorm Sandy hit the coastal town on October 29, 2012. Stanton, 53, was helping his sister clean up debris when he noticed a jar that seemed too special to toss with the rest of the trash.

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Stanton’s intuition was right. Inside the jar was a note written on August 16, 1963, that reads, "To whom it may concern, Please fill out the following questions and mail. This is a scientific experiment by Dennis Komsa, age 12." The letter asks the locator to write to Komsa and tell him where, when, and how the jar was found. The vessel also held a 1958 nickel (for the discoverer to buy a stamp) and a self-addressed envelope. 

The bottle was recovered only two-tenths of a mile from where it had been cast.

“So you throw in a bottle, figure somebody’s going to find it and the note,” Komsa told the Courier Post. “And sure enough, the bottle came back. It’s the same way with Seaside. If you believe it will come back, it will come back.”

It’s not the first bottled treasure to surface in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the massive hurricane that devastated homes and shorelines along the East Coast last October. In December, cleanup workers in Long Island, New York found a message inside a ginger ale bottle that had been cast years ago by Sidonie Fery. Fery passed away in 2010 but the bottle, and its message — which read “Be excellent to yourself” — were presented to her mother as a keepsake.